Tag: Adventures in Blind BookingView All Tags
Travelocity has been enabling guests to book hotel rooms on the go since 2008 when they first introduced their iPhone application. But with all the new apps on the mobile booking scene recently like Expedia and HotelTonight, Travelocity has upped the ante by adding their Top Secret Hotels service to the app.
Top Secret Hotels allow guests to book hotel rooms at steep discounts (up to 55 percent off) but without knowing the hotel name until after their credit card has been charged. We did this last year and stayed at the Planet Hollywood Hotel in Vegas for just $57.
We don't need to declare our love for Hotwire and their awesome hotel bargains yet again on these pages but there is a new option on the site that has our hotel deal-seeking hearts beating just a little harder for them.
As head over heels in love as we are with the steep discounts we find on Hotwire (particularly for those one night stays mid-week), we've always been slightly perturbed that you could never choose your room type, i.e. king, queen, double. Most of the time, we've always wound up with a king or queen bed in a standard room type of the hotel. So that's typically what we expect when we book through Hotwire.
But last summer, when a HotelChatter contributor got denied requesting a room with two beds at the hotel after booking through Hotwire, we began to think it was really crazy that Hotwire never gave you this option in the first place.
Well, it looks like they now have.
Hotel Video Tours / Adventures in Blind Booking / HotelChatter Reviews / Tribeca Hotels / Manhattan Hotels / → All Tags
Congrats to David Jeffrey, Camille Eslick and ApollyonMastema for correctly guessing the smart and simple hotel last week--The Duane Street Hotel which also has a sister property in Brooklyn in the NU Hotel.
We scored a great rate on Quikbook.com through their Secret Sale option for $159 a night which included breakfast and WiFi. Considering that we were only going to be in the room from about 5:30pm to 9am the next day, we thought this was a great deal and we didn't care too much for a giant room with a killer view.
Well, we definitely didn't get that but we didn't expect for much of the hotel's lower level and its restaurant, 'beca, to be under construction. And we also didn't plan for a subway to constantly rumble under the hotel either. But first, let's get the hotel basics out of the way....
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We've been known to try our luck with blind booking for hotels around here, but we're still green when it comes to blind booking an entire trip. This latest promotion from booking site, Luxury Link may just get us to take the plunge, though. (But will it land us in a villa with a plunge pool?)
This summer, Luxury Link is letting one Mystery Auction winner each month take their trip for a buck—yep, they'll override the final bid and charge just $1 for the package.
The site's Mystery Auctions are typically packages that include four nights accommodation, transfers, breakfast, and excursions or resort credit. Two mystery properties are featured each week, with a starting bid of $1.
The Se may have separate chairs in its lobby, but separate beds are a different story
We’ve told you over and over again how much we adore Hotwire here at HotelChatter, but while we’ve raved over the big discounts and free upgrades it’s scored us, we were always under the impression that once you book it, there’s no going back. Turns out, we were kind of wrong.
The saga: we took a last minute trip to California for our Fourth of July weekend and, on Thursday afternoon, used Hotwire to book ourselves a 4.5 star hotel in San Diego's Gaslamp Quarter for Thursday and Friday night. It came up with the Se San Diego. Excellent, we thought – it may be in danger of closing, but that’s hardly a concern when we’re staying that same night, plus the rooms look lush on the website.
The only thing was, we would be arriving late, and we were traveling with a friend who we weren’t that buzzed about sharing a bed with. So we called up the hotel to ask whether it’d be possible to request a room with two beds. And we were told in no uncertain terms: no.
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This is a tale of a traveler who blind-booked a European hotel on Hotwire only a few days before traveling, and actually got a serious deal. We told you all about our $105 night at the "5-star" Westin Grand Frankfurt yesterday, but now we've got to break out with the full review, including all the juicy details of this centrally-located property, and how a Hotwire customer is treated.
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Have you seen the good news? Good for Americans and not-so-good for Europeans, though. The Euro has dropped significantly in value recently, making summer European trips very appealing and affordable. We just got back from Germany ourselves, and on top of reaping the benefits of better exchange rates, we also blind-booked a hotel for one night in Frankfurt, and majorly scored on the deal.
With a last-minute extra night in the city, we had to make a quick decision for a hotel that would ideally be luxurious, but not too expensive that we'd be traumatized at losing the room charge in case the Iceland volcano threw off our entire trip. Thus, we turned to Hotwire and spotted a 5-star for $105 per night. That's 105 dollars even.
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After our "mysterious" upgrade situation at The Hudson Hotel a few weeks ago, we decided we needed to give Quikbook's secret sales option in New York City another try. We were also in need of a respectable hotel for under $200 but May is practically high season for hotels in NYC. Everything we were looking at had a starting room rate of $350.
But over on Quikbook, we found a secret hotel in the Times Square/Theater District for $189 a night. The theater district location had us a bit concerned but when we checked out the hotel's Q ratings, Quikbook's internal rating system, we felt confident this hotel would suffice. After all, it was just for one night.
We took the plunge and about 12 hours after paying for our room, Quikbook emailed to say we would be spending the night at The Flatotel.
Cross-checking the rates on the hotel's site with what we paid, we found that we saved $156 by booking through Quikbook. Um, amazing.
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Sleeping around may not be worth it if you can't earn loyalty points.
If you've been following our Adventures in Blind Booking, you would know that we are on a serious blind booking kick. It's all about the best deals, baby! But we have momentarily come down from our bargain-hunter's high to reflect upon a very serious issue--our loyalty program points.
When we Facebooked our love of blind booking, a fan of ours pointed out that while he loved getting the "awesome deals" on sites like Hotwire and Priceline, usually hotels will not give you loyalty points because you did not book through the hotel.
This is very true. Many hotel loyalty programs state this in their program's Terms and Conditions (See below.) Yet it's never been a big deal for us because we like to sleep around and so for the past few years our loyalty membership cards have collected dust in our desk drawer.
However, there have been exceptions.
Quikbook got into the blind booking game back in early March so after having done Hotwire in Hollywood and Travelocity in Las Vegas with reasonable success, we hit up QB for our trip last week to New York.
We settled on a deal for $139 in the Central Park area for a superior room with a queen bed (it's just us traveling.) Looking around at what else Quikbook was offering in that area we guessed it would be either Six Columbus or The Hudson Hotel.
Quikbook emailed us immediately with a confirmation saying that we had booked the room for $139 but it took a few more hours until we received the actual email telling us which hotel it was (Travelocity and Hotwire do this instantaneously.) And for everyone who guessed the hotel on Friday, you were right! It was The Hudson. And it was certainly a deal. Room rates were going for over $200 that night on various other sites.
We've expressed a some hesitancy with this new blind booking function before because we're so married to Hotwire and the amenities that Travelocity listed under their secret hotel options were scarce. We were also concerned about the vague location listings and the lack of on-strip hotels for Las Vegas. But we can't truly judge anything without having tried it first.
So we plugged in our date and began our search. We found a four-star hotel on the Strip for $57 and decided to jump on it. After we selected the hotel, Travelocity took us to a ridiculously long page where travelers can customize their trip by selecting show tickets, activity tickets, airport transportation, etc. In theory, that sounds ok but this page had a gazillion options, all practically screaming for our attention.
Once we finally the button to ignore all this jazz and get to the booking page, we clicked it with much relief.
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Now that Quikbook and Travelocity are getting into the blind booking business, joining Hotwire and Priceline, we've got many more tools to use when searching for bargain hotel rates. So we've decided to keep regular tabs on our wins (and in some cases, losses). We used to call this Hotel Roulette but it's a new decade and this type of research needs a new name--Adventures in Blind Hotel Booking. Here's our first match.
There is this man named Sir Paul McCartney, you might have heard of him before? Anyways, even though he is 67 years old, he is still touring the world playing his greatest hits from the Beatles, Wings, Fireman and his own successful solo work. So when we heard that he was coming to the Hollywood Bowl, we jumped at the chance to see him live.
And we decided to make a night out of it. We don't live far from Hollywood but we wanted to enjoy the concert, if you know what we mean. Yet since we splurged on the tickets, we needed to keep our hotel room costs down. So we turned to our trusty friend, Hotwire.