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Getting the Best Hotel Room

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  • Getting the Best Hotel Room

    Some people join hotel rewards programs. Others sweet-talk the guy or gal at the front desk. How do YOU make sure you get the best available hotel room when you travel? Share your tips here!

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    Get the Best Hotel Room
    Sarah Schlichter
    Senior Editor
    Independent Traveler

  • #2
    Re: Getting the Best Hotel Room

    Generally, travel in the off-season gives a traveler an edge on getting more hotel room for the money, i.e. you can walk into a 3 star that might have empty rooms they are willing to let you have for 2 star rates; better to get some money in the till than nothing at all!

    It also works well if you show up, bags in hand, with no reservations (isn't that the name of that guy's show on the travel channel? I've never watched it) and see what they have to offer you.........offer lots of praise on what you've read about t heir establishment in your guide (and heard of from friends, even if you haven't) and you took a chance to come and see if there were rooms available upon arrival into the city/town etc.

    It's also worked out for me almost literally crying because I was miserable where the people I was traveling had booked us into and I couldn't take it and needed an out; the gent on the other end said they'd take care of it, make me a nice price (and I was going into a 3*** Savoy property in Berlin - Hotel Bleibtreu, which helped as Berlin was and may still be, "in the works") and I was SOOOO happy in the beautiful boutique hotel I was in where I could afford room service even!! That hotel was found from stressfully flipping through my Frommer's through tears - gotta keep those guide books on hand, and/or and local tourist guide. Found a fab hotel in York, England that way (guidebook/BritRail train tourism guide) Judges Lodging, well indirectly from one hotel in the guide, which was full and led me to another, which was straight out of a Jane Austen novel to die for gorgeous-not even in my budget but I got the best room in the place cause it was January!

    Finally I rolled into Edinburgh, Scotland on Robbie Burns Day (QUITE A BIG DAY IN SCOTLAND!!!!!!!!!!!!) and just sorta went into the tourism office at the rail station, which luckily was still open. I can't remember what time I got into Edinburgh; don't know where my travel journal is right now. I was lazy and just asked them for a nice hotel, kind of budget etc. Well, they seem to have their own faves and friends among some of the properties because again, I got sent to a very lovely hotel near Carlton Hill sort of at the vortex of Old and New Edinburgh - ideal for the walker - and at a fine price for me, the budget traveler. Lovely entry, the lobby was beautiful, blazing fire & large salon/sitting area, very cozy. On display is an old elevator carriage - there is a new one but one yearns to go into it. Rooms, spacious and pretty with just the right decor etc. and breakfast was included! This was the Parliament House Hotel.

    I've also managed to secure great rates in advance of traveling by faxing or emailing in advance to the hotel manager. I've found that by sending a cordial greeting indicating my travel days, and any questions regarding my needs (is there a hairdryer, is breakfast included or whatever) and usually, the quoted rate comes back less than the rates listed in the guide. Keep in mind currency exchange rates if you are traveling overseas of course; at present, most currencies are beating the US Dollar, which means, your dollar buys you less now than it did five years ago. But that does not mean that you cannot still save money and make deals on hotels and do better that the "rack rate/stated rate" etc. Almost always, you can do better, so long as there isn't a convention in town, the Olympics, a President of some country and it isn't super high season. Otherwise, practically everything is negotiable. Maybe not so much at a 5***** but then again, ya never know. They may give ya a room for less, but it won't be the kind of "less" that a budget traveler would consider a deal, although if someone decided they were fixing to do something nice for a night or two splurge, you might have a chance on that, again, if it's off season and MAYBE, if it's your birthday (show your passport) or you've just been married (bring your marriage certificate or a copy! Or the wedding invitation) and you might get a wee discount IF there are vacancies and the manager is feeling a bit "joyous" and "generous" with their 1000 thread count sheets! Ya never know, can't hurt to try?

    What have you got to lose but remember, don't try it in Cannes during the film festival - think OFF SEASON, or, show up without a reservation - someone might have cancelled. If it doesn't work, and you are in a fairly big city/town, you'll find a place to rest your head; no worries. But why not try for the best you can get in a hotel at the price you want to and can pay? And you can do it all by yourself - sometimes you don't need the big guns to help you - being there is person, ready to pay for a possibly empty room is VERY POWERFUL!! USE THAT POWER!!!

    Oh, and I did it on Macau at the Westin Resort on the South China Sea for my 30th Birthday - got a killer room at an awesome rate and if memory serves, Aussies dining nearby me that night picked up my dinner tab and invited me to drinks afterwards, which was great fun & quite safe as we stayed on hotel property and I knew folks were looking out for me but as I learned the year later, with almost all Aussies, as they say, there are "no worries, mate" and it was a fun, affordable but luxurious birthday overnight away from HK.

    Go for it fellow travelers - seek your price, seek your fine hotel and try to bring them together!! Make it happen!
    Colleen Costello
    Message Board Moderator

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    • #3
      Re: Getting the Best Hotel Room

      Colleen, I had to laugh when you said you got a better room by crying to the guy at the front desk! I'm sure it wasn't funny at the time, and that you weren't deliberately milking the situation (or WERE you? ), but really, that's one effective strategy!!

      Personally, I've never really tried to get an upgrade, just because I'm not all that picky about where I sleep as long as it's clean and so I never think about it. But maybe I'll try that crying thing on my next trip.
      "I haven't been everywhere yet, but it's on my list." -- Susan Sontag


      • #4
        Re: Getting the Best Hotel Room

        This is not my usual tactic,however---
        "Crying' really worked...Last March found
        "Special " deal for Waldorf-Astoria otherwise way out of my price range.
        Room i was shown , faced a wall, twin beds so close could not open bathroom door all the way, no place to set suitcase except sideways in tiny closet..
        I was so upset I started to cry (mainly because I was so mad and disappointed). The porter looked really puzzled and worried, so he called the front desk--I told them, I have wanted to stay at this hotel all my life. My father stayed here in WWII as a soldier (for free) as part of W-A "war effort"and told me many times how great it was. AND this room is not the type I expected...
        I was then taken to a 3 room suite overlooking 5th Ave. and provided room service breakfast for next three days...No extra charge.
        Sure worked for me...


        • #5
          Re: Getting the Best Hotel Room

          That is a lovely story, nonny....I'll remember it when I'm next put into the broom cupboard!
          Jo. sigpic