Assessment Process

Georgina Campbell’s Guides - Assessment Process

As Ireland's leading independent hospitality guide we will lead you to the very best places to eat, drink & stay wherever you are on the island of Ireland.

Since its inception in 1997, the editorial position at Georgina Campbell Guides has always been fiercely independent – unlike many other ‘guides’ there are no free meals (lunches or otherwise), and no payment for our recommendations.

Our mission is simply to seek out the best places to help travellers and diners who value quality and want a range of choices to suit many different occasions (both business and leisure) and varying budgets.

Each year Georgina Campbell and her husband, the sailing journalist and author W.M. Nixon – who writes the County Introductions for the Guide, and supplies many of the photographs – lead a team of fellow food writers and other qualified hospitality professionals who travel incognito to every county in Ireland checking that standards in recommended establishments are still up to scratch while also seeking out interesting new recommendations that our readers will enjoy, ultimately providing a comprehensive critical coverage for the entire country.

Our assessment process is based on the time-honoured principle of the ‘mystery shopper’, so our team make anonymous visits and report back without fear or favour, truthfully and in detail.

To save your time - and the inevitable disappointments associated with trial and error - we select the best within category, describe them as we find them (which will be mainly, but not necessarily entirely, favourable), and leave out the unsuccessful ones.

Real value for money, genuine hospitality and good (preferably local) food all earn high marks on our report sheets. So do great locations, an element of quirkiness (where appropriate) and ‘going the extra mile’ - by, for example, welcoming your four-legged friends as much as your children.

Promising places that we’ve heard about ‘on the grapevine’, others recommended by readers, and many requests for consideration by establishments themselves - all these make it onto our annual research list. However, following initial investigations, roughly half will fall at the first hurdle and be judged unlikely to be suitable for our discerning readers. Then, of those actually assessed, a further proportion will fail to make it to the Guide.

NB: We do not promote unregistered accommodation: Accommodation establishments must be Irish Tourist Board Approved in order to be considered for recommendation.

Our assessments are holistic, based on the entire experience – so initial impressions, good or bad, may be formed long before arrival, depending on factors like ease and pleasantness of booking (online or by phone), accurate directions, road signage and the maintenance of gates, driveways or parking areas on arrival. The process continues through checking in (is the receptionist’s greeting genuine? does somebody offer to show you to your room and help with luggage? are the public areas welcoming and well maintained?) and so on, throughout every aspect of our stay or dining experience.

We believe that this model is the best for consumers as it ensures that we cover all areas/regions of the island of Ireland without any vested interest, ensuring that the very best, hardest working, quality-driven hospitality establishments are being promoted to you the consumer at no cost to them ie no barrier to recommendation except for quality.

These ongoing anonymous visits, together with the information we receive from questionnaires that are sent out each year, ensure that the entries you read are constantly updated and edited as required; similarly, the system ensures that new recommendations are added as they come on stream, while those closing down or no longer making the grade are dropped.

As the longest-running independent hospitality awards in Ireland The annual Georgina Campbell Guides Awards are highly sought after. The award winners are selected based on the reports and findings of our annual assessment process - all recommended establishments are considered for all relevant awards each year and there is no charge for entry or for winners.

So who are we? Click here to find out