Skip to main content

Featured

Walking Over Haddon in The Peak District

I confess I'm a fair weather walker, which means I often want to walk on our holidays, but whether we go is always dependent on the weather. I have a Goretex jacket but it's like a talisman. I own it, but I don't want to wear it and I hope vainly that just by having spent so much on it an schlepping it with me that it's going to ward off the rain! As you can see my travel planning involves a good deal of "magical thinking!" In California our cultural exuberance (paired with low standards) means we shamelessly call anything a "hike"  - as if we've scaled Everest in an afternoon. Here in England I'm not sure I even qualify as a "walker" because that denotes a level of seriousness I've failed at previously. Minimally it means you're wearing boots  and have an Ordnance Survey map (and possibly a compass) in your back pocket. I guess I'm more of stroller to be honest and I've blogged about my strolls all over the world; m…

How to Get the Best Deal on a Hotel

So you know you want to go away and you know where, but how do you get the best deal on a hotel? To ensuring you get the best value possible you need to consistently follow these four rules:
1.   Search for Deals
  • LUXURY LINK - This is one of my favorite sites and we have travelled all over the world on their deals including trips to; Ladera in St Lucia,  Haciendas in the Yucatan, a luxury B&B in Savannah, C'a Pisani in Venice, Pimilai in Thailand,  Bastide de Capelongue in France, several lovely hotels in Prague and Dhuni Kholu in the Maldives. What makes their auctions so appealing is the combination of excellent rates and generous extras.  Inclusions like breakfast, taxes, transfers, spa treatments or room credits can quickly add up to a great deal. When you see a deal you like on Luxury Link always check the past auction results and email the hotel to check their availability for the dates you require before bidding. We have secured amazing deals with luxury link but be cautious and check the rates against what is available elsewhere. www.luxurylink.com



  • OPAQUE SITES, JETSETTER AND VOYAGE PRIVE -   I recommend  keeping an eye on the opaque sites (Jetsetter, Voyage Prive or Tablet Hotels' private sale) the ones where you have to be "invited". The deals change frequently. Don't despair if you don't see the destination you're looking for, it could easily come up soon. Sometimes the deals are sensational and  they're often available three months in advance. These sites often offer good deals on expensive places, so think good value rather than cheap prices. Here are links for the two most useful ones, they could  be useful in the longer run for places in Europe, New York or the Caribbean. Apologies for the self serving "Invite" this is the only way to join. Email Tablet hotels directly and ask them for access to their "private sale which starts on Tuesday. http://www.voyageprive.com/invitation/AngelaD3947   http://www.jetsetter.com/invite/angela43
  • FRIENDS AND FAMILY RATES - The IHG group which includes Intercontinental, Crowne Plaza, Holidays Inn and Hotel Indigo offers a wonderful "friends and family" rate which can be very favorable. It is reliable and we've used and recommended it multiple times. You can find the details in the link below. To secure the rate you must prepay, print out the friends and family voucher and  be prepared to provide it at check in. This is a reliable discount which can be substantial and is worth checking out. For an explanation and how to book see, http://boardingarea.com/blogs/mileopoly/2009/03/13/friends-and-flyers-insiders-hotel-discount/
  • TRAVELZOO - Travelzoo.com offers their own coupons with direct click throughs to hotel deals. We have booked great winter deals in California (Sonoma Mission Inn) and they often offer special rates throughout Europe. In order to ensure the broadest search check their US, UK and even Australian sites depending on where you're heading. www.travelzoo.com www.travelzoo.co.uk  http://www.travelzoo.com/au/
  • DEALBASE - It's often worth checking Dealbase. Like Travelzoo they aggregate deals from elsewhere but sometimes they have their own exclusives. Last March we booked an upgraded room at Ventana Inn and Spa (in Big Sur) for $250, an unadvertised rate unmatched elsewhere. www.dealbase.co


2.  Comparison Shop


3.   Use Online Coupons and Cashback 


4.   Breakfast, Upgrades and/or Lunch for Free

    Udaivilas in Rajasthan-  a Virtoso property
  • LUXURY HOTELS  If you are looking at high end properties where you may be paying a standard rate I recommend using a Virtuoso travel agent. The advantage of Virtusos is that their rates include breakfast, upgrades and a possible credit for lunch or the spa - particularly at Four Seasons.  Often their rate is the same as the regular rate so the extra are free and we all know how much breakfast can be at an expensive property. Up until recently you had to speak to an agent directly but now whatahotel.com has gone online. Because of their agreement with the hotels they can't always advertise their perks but they have an automated system that will email the details to you and allows you to check the rates on their site. We have used this approach for Four Seasons properties, The Imperial in Delhi, the Peninsula in Bangkok and the Oberois in India, we have always received the room upgrades and all the inclusions with no problems. Whatahotel is a "Preferred Partner" with Four Season which means you can even have room service breakfast included which is even better than the Virtuoso deal. I can also recommend a Virtuoso agent we've worked with if you prefer to deal with someone directly. http://www.whatahotel.com

     Free Champagne is always nice! 
  • BOUTIQUE HOTELS       It can be difficult to secure good rates at highly desirable smaller properties. In order to get the best possible deals book through a portal that offers additional offers. Obviously one should choose the lowest available rate, but when the standard rate is all that is on offer you'll want to consider i-escape.co.uk or the club at slh.com.  I-Escape is a wonderful resource for charming, atmospheric properties and their website is a great place to start planning your trip. If you book through them they often include a room upgrade, a bottle of wine or a local gift. Small Luxury Hotels is larger and represents a wider range of properties but if you join their "club" for free they promise to provide an upgrade where available. This approach has worked for us in both Croatia and Thailand. Generally it's worth joining the hotel loyalty program as many offer immediate benefits. For example the Fairmont loyalty program provides free wifi to all members, even on their first stay.   http://www.i-escape.com/  http://www.slh.com/club/



  Our hotel in Santa Fe, Luxury Link
Additional Resources:

ASIAROOMS  often has good deals in Asia.
LATEROOMS can be good for the UK and Europe.
QUIKBOOK For New York I would check www.quikbook.com where you'll get an edited list, not every hotel in Manhattan..
ALPHAROOMS maybe worth checking for Europe.
PRICELINE If you're flexible and cost conscious This is a good option. If you're going to bid on Priceline make sure to check a forum where they discuss recent bids and help you work out which hotels are on offer. http://www.betterbidding.com/

LUXURY HOTEL REVIEWS If you are going with the high end these guys can tell you which is the best of the high end hotels and discuss it in ridiculous detail. They are real snobs, it is after all a luxury hotel forum!

Comments

TinaR said…
Found you and your blog on Tripadvisor. I thought I was book-a-hotel-savy, but you take it to the next level! Thank you for some nice tips. We are going to New York for 10 days in september and that is not cheap.....Thank you again.
Kind regards from Copenhagen
Tina.
Thanks so much Tina, I really appreciate your kind words. I hope this helps you get a great hotel at the right price. it's a lot of work to check all the sites, but in a place like New York it's well worth it, because it's so expensive and the deals change constantly.
Kavey said…
Roaming the rest of your blog after the more recent Middle East posts and stumbled upon this. A wealth of great trips! :)
Carl Kukec said…
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
ddezine studio said…
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

EXPLORE POPULAR POSTS BELOW...