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Accor Hotels in the Asia Pacific are getting ready for a three-day sale--they say there'll be a million rooms in 250 hotels up for grabs at rates discounted by more than 75%. The sale runs from February 24 to 26 and is for stays between April and July.
Right now at the super sale website all you can see is a tantalizing "Coming soon", but we'll be there early on February 24. We're after an Adelaide hotel room in May and we'll let you know what kind of bargain we snag.
If the standard hotel package that throws in free meals, some champagne or maybe a nice box of chocolates has got a bit boring for you, then perhaps you'd like to get dunked into a pool infested with crocodiles instead? That's the angle the Novotel Darwin is going for in the far north of Australia.
We'd like to say up front that we will never sign up for this package ourselves, but it's a free world so we thought we'd mention it anyway. The current Novotel Darwin deals work together with nearby Crocosaurus Cove and you can get a Cage of Death package for A$287 ($195) a night, including accommodation and one experience that they describe like this:
Guests are suspended in an acrylic transparent cage on a monorail system above the crocodile enclosures at Crocosaurus Cove and then slowly lowered into one of the four chosen enclosures for an "experience of a lifetime."
We just hope it's not the last experience of your lifetime.
If you just prefer to watch others risk getting eaten, then there are cheaper packages which just include entry to the croc park going for A$197 ($130) a night. We're probably even going to give that one a miss.
AmandaK has left her perch in Perth, Australia and spent some time in Melbourne. This week she'll be giving us the lowdown on the hotels there. If you have a question or suggestion, send it our way and we'll get right on it.
If we're back in Melbourne during the summer season (rather than the windy, rainy winter they're having now) then our next hotel of choice will be the Novotel St Kilda. Along the Esplanade in trendy beachside St Kilda, this Novotel looks really attractive--all those palm trees evoking some kind of island stay--but is still just a short tram ride into the city center.
Some of the recent guests have had mixed opinions about the Novotel St Kilda, but what we really like is that management gets involved with the feedback of guests on TripAdvisor--that always makes us feel like they actually do care.
Renovations are still in progress to renew some of the rooms and they should be done in September--but since we're thinking this hotel is a summertime destination anyway (remember, that starts in December down under), this won't cause a problem.
Current room rates for standard rooms are averaging out at A$225 (about US$215). Just remember, make sure you get a newly renovated room as they're a whole lot nicer than the old ones.
You know the scene. You open the door to your brand new hotel room, run over to the window, open the blinds and bam, you are hit with the anti-view. Maybe you are looking down a dirty alley, witnessing a drug deal, staring at an air shaft in the face, or seeing a brick wall. Whatever you are viewing it is not extremely pleasurable. Help out your fellow hotel mavens by uploading your anti-views to the HotelChatter/Flickr photo pool, or by sending the photo along to us. Remember to tell us the name of the hotel and the room number with the not-so-easy-on-the-eyes view.
This week, we're looking at some of the best places around the world to spend New Year's Eve. Got a suggestion for ringing in 2008, let us know.
If you're considering the Jaunted suggestion of spending New Year's Eve in Sydney--especially because the time difference means you get to celebrate sooner--then we have a hotel package that might suit.
The Novotel Darling Harbour is well-located with fantastic harbour views (that means fireworks views, check-out this daytime view above.) and they've got a few special things happening on New Year's Eve.
The most delicious-sounding part is their massive Seafood Buffet meal. Starting from 8.00pm on New Year's Eve, you can get a buffet dinner including King prawns, Sydney rock oysters, lemon coriander black mussels, chilli lime baby octopus and blue swimmer crabs, and the list just goes on and on.
Local beers, house wines and soft drinks are included, although we reckon you'd need to eat and drink quite a lot to get A$199 (US$175) value from it--but of course you're also paying for the location, and it is New Year's Eve.
Accommodation and dinner packages aren't available--you'll have to book into the hotel separately--but be aware that during this peak season (it's summer in Australia, as well as the holiday season) there is a minimum booking requirement of three nights. Rooms start at A$229 (US$200) including breakfast, but you'll have to pay more if you want your room to have a harbor view.
· A Darling Place for a Honeymoon [HotelChatter]
· Party (Not Too Hard) Above Sydney on NYE [Jaunted]
· Hotels in Sydney [HotelChatter]
Those signs explaining how you can help the environment by not having your towels washed every day have become a pretty standard way that hotels try to help the environment now, but the Novotel chain are taking things a whole lot further.
Australia's having some water shortage problems, and the Novotel Melbourne on Collins has an interesting solution:
Guests checking in at the Novotel will receive a complimentary three-minute shower timer to ensure those would be singing starlets stick to a short tune rather than an operetta! With guests across 324 rooms taking three-minute showers, that's a lot of water being saved.
While we heartily applaud these environmentally sound efforts, we're not quite sure that we want to give up our luxurious lengthy shower, especially when we're staying at a nice hotel. Fortunately, if we let our three minutes slip over to four, Novotel is still doing other things to save water, like using water-reducing shower heads and installing water restrictor pipes to all rooms.
Internationally, Novotel's owner, Accor, is emphasising other green activities in their hotels, including rejuvenating plants and trees in North America and focusing on reducing carbon emissions in Europe. For Accor and Novotel, 22 April is Earth Guest Day: so at least on that day, make your shower a three minute one.
While Westin Hotels are trying to cater for the lonely solo traveler by creating their Unwind social events, the Novotel group seem to be facing reality: solo travelers often just want to sit down, eat their dinner in peace, not speak to a soul but at the same time, not look like they have no pals. Having worked this out, Novotel also figured out a solution:
We know that guests travelling alone frequently avoid restaurants because they stand out from other diners. With TV Dining, they have an experience that's designed for them, with in-built entertainment that doesn't intrude on other guests.
It works like this: Novotel solo guests can ask for a "TV Dinner", sitting in the restaurant but at a table especially designed for one, with a personal TV screen (and headphones) for company.
Which is pretty similar to what one hotel in Chicago has been doing.
Initial trials of TV Dining in Heathrow and Birmingham airport hotels worked out so well that Novotel is planning to extend it to at least another dozen British hotels, and later into the continental European market as well. It's all very nice that we don't want to talk to anyone and that hotels are recognizing this, but in a way, it's also a little bit sad, isn't it?
We are sorry to inform that there was left some of your personal effects in room 304....Fortunately, due to the professional and personal characteristics of Novotel, the lost item was found. And we are happy to return it.
The hotel even used a special VIP route to get the missing "items" back to its rightful owner.
See the full letter after the jump.