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HOWTO: Get a Hotel in Manhattan For Under $200

April 6, 2007 at 11:29 AM | by | ()

Sure, Priceline and Hotwire work great when you want to find a deal in the Bahamas or get a chain hotel room in bizcity, USA, but what about in the high-occupancy alternate universe known as New York City? Twice in past years we've gotten a room there for less than $150 through one of these services, but as demand has risen and supply has only slightly nudged up, how's it looking now?

Not all that bad, actually, assuming there's not some convention going on and it's not a holiday weekend. When we surfed over to the NYC message board at Bidding for Travel, here are some of the recent Priceline deals people have posted. All are total nightly rates with taxes and fees:

Hilton (midtown west) $174
Grand Hyatt (midtown east) $167
Paramount (midtown west) $195
Sheraton (midtown west--pictured here) $125
Hudson Hotel (Central Park) $181
Le Parker Meridien (upper midtown) $191

Some look at that whole bidding process as a game with a great payoff, but others find it too time-consuming and daunting. If you're in the latter camp, go to Hotwire and see what's on offer. If you do some sleuthing on BetterBidding.com, you'll often get a pretty clear idea of what hotels are hidden behind the descriptions.

When we pulled up next weekend (April 13-15), we found 18 hotels on offer, but most of them in the $200 to $300 range. The obvious deal was a 4-star hotel in midtown east for $175 (plus tax and fees). We didn't dig into the listing to figure out which one that is, but the likely culprits, based on previous transactions posted, are not a bad bunch: Grand Hyatt, W New York, Omni Berkshire, and Inter-Continental the Barclay. Your mileage may vary, but any one of those would be a bargain at that price.

There are drawbacks of course. You pay in advance, without knowing the hotel, so you've got to be sure you'll get to your destination on time. If you want a specific place and a specific experience, doing it this way is risky. If you just need a reliable hotel at a good price, however, do some sleuthing. You can grab a room that the hotel would rather part with at a discount than leave empty and make nothing. Everybody wins.

[Photo: dunkindoughnuts]]

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Archived Comments:

Re: HOWTO: Get a Hotel in Manhattan For Under $200

"Some look at that whole bidding process as a game with a great payoff, but others find it too time-consuming and daunting."

I know it's stoopid and I have probably lot a lot of money this way, but I must admit I have always been in the latter camp. I can't stand the idea of not knowing what I'm paying for.

Re: HOWTO: Get a Hotel in Manhattan For Under $200

Lost a lot, I mean.

It is strange

I would have loved to have been in that Hotwire concept meeting. "Ok so get this, we make 'em fork over the money and THEN we tell them which hotel it is. Genius, right??"

Re: HOWTO: Get a Hotel in Manhattan For Under $200

It depends a lot on the purpose of the trip for me. If I'm going somewhere for business or the hotels in that area are either overpriced or ho-hum, I'll use Priceline or Hotwire. If it's a nice vacation with my wife where we've been planning for six months, that's a different story. I've saved a massive amount of money over a year's time though--enough to pay for a whole other trip or two. It's not uncommon to pay half the listed price over and over. I do think it's a brilliant business. So is SkyAuction. Hotel inventory is so perishable. When the night comes and a room is empty, it has lost all its value for that day--a non-performing asset as they say.