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epicureangirl

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Everything posted by epicureangirl

  1. On January 21st (a day before I wanted a room) I bid up to $130 for a room on Priceline for Oahu. Had many free rebids and bid for all 5 zones. It seems odd that I didn't get anything, especially since availability seemed to be there (checked Expedia for the hotels that are 4* and resort for Priceline). Also a previous post, shows someone got the Waikiki Price for January 25th at $105. I really expected to get something around $110. Anyhow, went the Hotwire route and got all 5 nights at a 4.5* for $124. Details in the Hotwire Forum. Cheers.
  2. I was checking on the prices for the Hyatt for various weekends, and it didn't seem to come up as an option (no 5* listing). However, in the 4.5* category there were a variety of icons coming up on different dates (yet none with the boutique symbol, so ruled the Monaco out). Anyhow, I checked the packages in the Hotel product and it looks like they're now listing the Hyatt as a 4.5 star. This may make hotel identification a bit more difficult, especially if they periodically drop off amenities (such as the pool or boutique symbol) I might get this property mixed up with the Sheraton or Monaco. Glad I grabbed the Hyatt when I knew what it was! Something to watch for... Cheers.
  3. I posted about the $20 discount for Palomino earlier, but what I didn't realise is that by going back to their 'home company' site at www.r-u-i.com/ you can see a list of all their restaurants (many cities across the US) and sign up for the dining club at any of the restaurants. I was able to enrol in the dining club for all 3 of their Honolulu restaurants, and will enrol for their Seattle restaurants closer to my next Seattle trip. I just rec'd the following for Honolulu: Palomino $20 off dinner, Kincaid's $20 off dinner and Ryan's Grill $15 off dinner. They expire 30 days from the time you enrol, but if you like any of these restaurants or just want to save money, this is a nice offer. Restaurants in this chain are: Clinkerdagger Cutters Bayhouse Horatio's Kincaid's Maggie Bluff's Palisade Palomino Ryan's Grill Scott's S Simon & Seafort's Skates On the Bay Stanley & Seafort's Cities are: Anchorage, AK Phoenix, AZ Berkeley, CA Burlingame, CA Los Angeles, CA Oakland, CA Palm Desert, CA Redondo Beach, CA San Francisco, CA San Leandro, CA Denver, CO Honolulu, HI Indianapolis, IN Bloomington, MN Minneapolis, MN St. Paul, MN Charlotte, NC Cincinnati, OH Pittsburgh, PA Dallas, TX Norfolk, VA Edmonds, WA Seattle, WA Spokane, WA Tacoma, WA If this offer is of use to you, please post so we can keep this string active for others to find it. Happy dining.
  4. Icons were still Restaurant & Fitness Center. The last few days this property has hovered between $130 and $136. I finally had my husband book this on his computer at work, as I could never get the price to come back down to $130 (as it was the very first time I checked the rate). It's $189 on Expedia and Hyatt, or $179 using a AAA promotion. So, $49 saved per room leaves us with a good chunk of money to spend on dinner (Brasa anyone?!). This is absolutely my first choice for a hotel in Seattle, so I'm very pleased as it's only $20 more than the 4* Priceline seattle hotels are going for right now. 2 Rooms, 1 Night $260 + $43.95 (Taxes and Fees)
  5. Have any Canadians out there been able to process this offer? I could register my Hawaii book under my relatives address, and have them apply for the rebate -- however the booking would be under my name and account. Hmmm.... does anyone know how I could take advantage of this... it seems such a shame to let this coupon go to waste! Cheers.
  6. This offer is still going strong... I just rec'd my Honolulu $20 coupon.
  7. I had a 3 night September stay at the Willard, under 2 separate Hotwire reservations (it was much cheaper to split my dates) which the hotel handled without any problems. Check-in was smooth, we were given a non-adjoining, non-smoking room (as requested) on the top floor. I had read on Trip Advisor of the 'lesser' rooms that were rather dark with a small window. This was probably one of them as we had a porthole window and the room wasn't over-the-top opulent, as in some of the room photos shown on their website. The decor is very traditional, my room decor was mostly gold-tones. It wasn't a jaw-dropping, stunning room, but still very nice and plenty of room. The bed was extraordinarly comfortable with wonderful Frette sheets (watch out Starwood!). The quality linens extendend into the marble bathroom as well. The towels were superior quality (Frette too, I think) and the water pressure was fantastic (Speakman shower head). Toilettries were plentiful (a British brand I wasn't familiar with) and included mouthwash and a few other items that are non-standard in most hotels. I have stayed in many 5* hotels, but hands-down their overall level of housekeeping was superior. Turndown service was automatic, music and lighting comfortably set and our ice bucket was filled each evening. The bedding was folded differently each night of our stay, in a decorative way (think of decorative napkin folding for your bedding). If any of our toilettries were partially used, they also replaced these at turn-down. The hotel is about a 6 minute walk or so between two of the stations, so if you don't have a lot of luggage you may consider taking public transit to or from the Dulles Airport (which was quite cheap considering the alternatives). The area immediately around the hotel is not too exciting -- if I was going for pleasure again I'd probably choose a different area of the city (with more restaurants and shopping). It does feel perfectly safe in the area and I would not hesitate to recommend the Willard. Overall, many things going for this hotel for the price I paid (about $90 a night). Cheers.
  8. This is more of an observation, than a what to do next unfortunately... Your dates are still at the tail end of Summer, so the seasonal price may be high to begin with. Also, when you check Expedia, 4* hotels in Vancouver (where I'm from) start in the $160 range and go up to $250 (and that is in US$'s!). You just may not be able to get a 4* room at the range you've been trying. Traditional advice would be to try 3*'s or increase your bid (which I'm sure you know). On Hotwire, the 4 1/2 star in Vancouver (Downtown West) is $105. It's probably the Wall Centre which would be my first choice and does not appear to be available on Priceline. It seems like the hotel that seems to come up a lot on the 4* for Vancouver is the Hyatt. Ranging from mid $50's to around $85 or so. Do you feel comfortable starting at $75 and go up in $5 increments for your rebid zones? I wouldn't consider staying in another zone however (to save money). Although bus is easily available from the Richmond or Vancouver Airport locations, I think you would kick yourself every time you boarded. Have a wonderful trip. Cheers.
  9. I really like that Hotwire has 1/2 star ratings -- at least when it comes to 4.5*'s. In Seattle (where I bid the most often), there are some Priceline properties I really would NOT want to stay in that are Priceline 4* rated. My one experience with a 4* Hotwire property was horrible -- I'm sure it would have been 3* on Pricline -- I'll never bid on Hotwire at the 4* level again. Once burned...
  10. I know how you could have missed Salumi -- it's hours! It's closed Saturday - Monday (which are usually the days I'm in Seattle). I really want to try this place but doubt I'll get the chance. I'll wait for your chow-report mucsea2003!
  11. Tune into News 1130 AM on your approach to the border. At 01 past the hour, then every 10 minutes (10:01, 10:11, 10:21 etc... you get it) the traffic report includes border lineups for the main crossings. Northbound is generally a shorter wait than Southbound, but the Truck Crossing is not always the shortest wait -- but is still a good bet if you haven't checked the radio. Please double check what ID you need to cross the border. Since 911 it's been much tougher and I ALWAYS have a passport available for every person in the car. It would be lousy to spend most of your trip inside the office at the border or even get turned back. The customs officials are notoriously slow -- this is not a service-oriented business. At the office at the truck crossing there seems to be no real queueing method, so you can get stuck behind people who arrived much after you. If your lack of passports forces you into line, the Peace Arch crossing is more efficient. Since I'm a landed British citizen in Canada, I have to go into the office each time I cross -- I am intimately familiar with the line-ups and procedures (how unfortunate). Have a great trip.
  12. I didn't read all 2 pages, and don't want to step on any toes, but here's my 2 cents on the restaurant front. I think the restaurant you are referring to is Brasa, you can make your reservations online at opentable.com (Same with Union, Sazerac and many others)-- I didn't get to go my last weekend in Seattle (as intended) but have heard nothing but good things about this place. As for Sazerac (it's a Kimpton restaurant attached to the Monaco, so I'm already a fan) I haven't tried it outside of breakfast, but the decor is great (in a big-city kind of way) and the menus have always looked good. I got the impression that McCormick and Schmicks (spelling?) was a bit on the touristy side, but hey, you're a tourist... :) . It is part of a very large chain, so I wouldn't consider it exclusively a 'Seattle' restaurant. Also, read some reviews -- one of the Seattle papers had nothing good to say about it. Maybe things have got better since then -- anyhow, I'd do a little more research before making such a huge commitment! I was planning to try Icon Grill this last time in Seattle, but after much feedback from a food chat-board I'm on, I cancelled my reservation. They are now owned by Applebee's, and apparently some of the food has gone a bit downhill as well as the look of their menus has cheapened. Small things I know, but I'm a such a food snob. I've only had about 3 meals at Flying Fish. I've always had excellent service, but they screwed up on my meal once (seasoning was off). The owner is the same as my beloved Fandango (which is now closed) and does a terrific whole-fried fish with accompianments. Seafood bisque is great too. I recently had a group of foodie friends go here (for a girls weekend) and they had a chance to sample a lot of dishes. They had nothing but good things to say. However, I have been subject to a botched entree, so I guess it does happen. The word according to those in the know on my food board, say that Union and Lark are both phenomonal. Lark may be a little less convenient for you(Capitol Hill), and they don't take reservations unless you have a party of 6 or more. Matt's in the Market can be a bit difficult to find, so don't hesitate to ask directions if you don't stumble upon it immediately. Bellevue, hmmm. When staying at the Bellevue Club (and the restaurant was closed) we ventured out and found a family-chain Italian place. I would never want to go again, but it was pouring rain and we needed somewhere close and open, so that was it. We did end up at Seastar for one dinner, which was great but it was on the fancy-side so it depends what you're in the mood for (entrees range from $19 to $40 at dinner). I think it is regarded as one of Bellevue's best restaurants though, you can check it out at this link http://seattle.citysearch.com/profile/1162...__1_profile_2_1 I hope we're going to get a trip report when you get back! Cheers.
  13. I would rather not pay that much, but I'm quite used to cities (like Seattle) where it's often hard to get a 4* for under $100. The room I stayed in was nicer than some other 4.5* (Hotwire rating) properties I've been in and paid more for. I thought the new rooms were great, but the furniture in the lobby needed an update -- quite shabby and worn, actually.
  14. I just wonder if they'll stay on Priceline and Hotwire once the renovation is complete. And if they do, will the prices go up? After staying in both towers, I can't believe they'll keep the prices so low -- the newly renovated rooms are gorgeous. I would be more than happy to pay over $100 for those rooms (although clearly, $30 would be better!). Thanks for the info. Cheers.
  15. This trip I stayed in a Club Level room, so thought I'd tell you the differences I experienced and a few general comments... When I went to check in, I got in the Starwood Preferred Guests line, but then so was everyone else (there was only one desk clerk on duty). The person in front of me was complaining about the wait time and poor service (in not-so-nice terms). In a few minutes, a second person helped at check-in, which sped things up. Last time I stayed, the check-in was also the weak-point (if any). I had faxed ahead, with very specific room requests, as we were bringing our daughter and would need a non-smoking room and roll-away etc. There was no note on my reservation, it was as if they did not receive anything so I made all my requests in person. Fortunately, they still had a room on the Club Level that met my requirements (I had asked for the upgrade for an additional $30). We got our corner room on the 32nd floor, where the Club Lounge is located. The first thing I noticed, is that the carpets were wet, just cleaned, but I didn't mind -- seeing as they were actually CLEAN. :) Being on such a high floor puts you above many of the surrounding buildings, but not all -- so any views are partial, through surrounding towers. The room is actually much the same as the standard King rooms, but the bedding was a bit different. Instead of country-checks and stripes for coordinates, the accent pillow on the bed was white-on-white embroidered silk. The bathroom was the same as the standard, but had a magnifying mirror, bath gel, 2 bottles of complimentary water and some Scope mouthwash (the other toiletries were the same as in the standard rooms). The only other additions I noticed were the in-room fax machine and bathrobes. My parents were also staying in the hotel at the same time, so my mother confirmed the differences when she came up to my room. Overall the room is NOT different, just a few of the amenities and bedding. This in itself is not worth the $30, in my opinion. The other perks made the difference, however. I have a letter from my room which outlines the Club Level amenities (in summary): Continental breakfast in the Club Lounge on weekdays, Full Breakfast Buffet at The Pike St. Cafe on weekends, Evening Hors d'oeuvres in the Club Lounge nightly; Use of Club Lounge equipped with Internet/HP Printer/Fax/Copier and self-serve tea & coffee service; In-room speakerphones; complimentary local calls; in-room high-speed Internet access (additional charge); turndown service on request; USA Today or local paper; use of Health Club; private concierge services. Unfortunately, I didn't need to make local calls (like I did last time), which are usually $1.60 each. We took advantage of the evening hors d'oeuvres. Children are not allowed to stay in the lounge (after 4PM by law), but you can get your food and take it back to the room, which is what we chose to do. Selections were nuts, fruit, vegetables, dip, many cheeses, crackers and bread. There is a bartender available to mix you drinks (additional charge for cocktails), but wine and non-alcoholic beverages are complimentary. They ask you to fill out a card with your name and room number and there's space on it (of course) to include a gratuity. My husband used the health club, and I used the pool. I found out that the pool/sauna/whirpool is available to all guests without charge, but the health club is actually just the gym area -- which incurs an additional charge unless you're a Club Level guest. The pool was a bit crowded for my liking (laps not possible), but was great for the kids as they have kick-boards available. Piles of towels are available poolside, but no staff were on duty when I was there. In the evening, we had the cot delivered (it showed up at 9PM, exactly as requested) and turn-down service. The turn down was not-very-special (compared to other hotels), but my daughter happily ate the 2 mint chocolates provided. The highlight was the weekend buffet breakfast. Coffee, tea and juice is also included in your complimentary buffet. Food included made-to-order omelettes, blintzes, smoked salmon, Belgian waffles, eggs, all the standard breakfast meats, buttermilk biscuits, fruits, deli meats, salads, hot porridge, yoghurt, desserts galore and much more. The buffet is priced just under $22 per adult and $7 per child, so this alone was worth $51 for the 3 of us. The only cost for this was the gratuity. Granted, I'm not usually one to spend a huge amount on breakfast, but it really made the $30 upgrade seem WELL worth it. I'd definitely do it next time. As for price, my room was $98 on Priceline (plus $30 upgrade) and self-parking was $26. I'm not too sure about how they price the the parking... there is a price range for parking if you check their website. Earlier, when I booked using Hotwire, I was charged $22... this time (as with the last poster who booked through Priceline) it was $26. Other than the line at check-in, their service in every area was excellent. The Sheraton is really growing on me.
  16. Booked 2 nights for my parents. Started at $90 and increased in $3 jumps to a win at $99. Lots of free rebids when booking a 4*. My mum's thrilled with the price. I guess I'll be running into them at the hotel, which coincidentally I also booked using Priceline a couple of days ago. Cheers.
  17. Cancel my recommendation for Fandango, I just found out it is now closed (see me crying). Apparently Seattle wasn't 'ready' for this kind of restaurant. Oh well, I'll have to look for a new favourite spot. Please add me to the list of those who would like to be kept 'posted' on any upcoming meet in Seattle.
  18. I was actually staying right across from the Library (at the Hotel Monaco) on opening day. Because of all the hoopla, I was scared off by the lines and crowds. It did look gorgeous from the outside though. :) I'll be sure to go this time for a peek. Thanks again.
  19. I've often found that the worst room in a 5* hotel is as good or better than the best room in a 4*. If the 5*'s in your budget, go for it and enjoy. Especially where amenities are concerned. If you're a person to use the pool, restaurant and more, it can be nice to stay in a classy hotel that has a lot going for it. If you go for the 4*, it sound like some have had much success with tipping their way into a nicer room, particularily in Vegas. When I'm concerned about room assignment, I usually fax a nice letter to the concierge to ask him/her for their help in meeting my room preferences (if availability exists). At the better hotels, most often they will try to meet specific requests (non-smoking, view, away from the elevators etc.) -- If you just wing-it and don't say anything at the front counter, I wouldn't expect much. If the concierge does well for me, then I'm more inclined to leave him a thank-you note and a tip. I haven't been brave enough to tip the front-desk staff at check-in. Enjoy your trip.
  20. For all the details you can check http://www.glideusa.com/ They're located in the Green Lake neighbourhood, which is a short drive from Downtown. It's great, because for a first-time rider, you're getting a lesson and practising with supervision until you're completely comfortable with it -- I can't imagine trying one without it. It takes a little getting used to, but after about 10 minutes or so of practice you'll gain confidence and start having fun. They're allowed on city streets and sidewalks, but not on the boardwalk surrounding green lake (inside the park). There's a bicycle lane that also runs around the park which you can Segway on, as well as all the streets and sidewalks. You give a credit card for security, sign a waiver for injury or damage to the Segway, put on your helmet and away you go! My husband and I did an hour rental which was enough for us -- I'm not running out to buy one or anything, but I am glad I had a chance to try it, and might do it again some sunny Seattle day. Definitely a neat experience. Go for it!
  21. I'll try and find some new 'fun stuff' and let you know the results! I was recently disappointed to learn that my favourite Seattle restaurant, Fandango, is now closed. I'm mourning it, but I hope to find somewhere equally as great. Fortunately, I tried some of Mucsea2003's recommendations, and made the trip out to Ballard. His recommendation of Cafe Besalu was wonderful -- it will be my new breakfast stop outside of the Downtown area. A new experience for me was renting a Segway in Seattle last month -- it was a blast! Cheers.
  22. One night, July 3rd, ($98 + $21.10 services fees) total charges $119.10 I've stayed at this hotel before on a Hotwire bid and will be very comfortable here again, Im sure. I finally graduated. I didn't go the Hotwire route this time and made my first successful bid on Priceline. Since choosing a 4 star gave me 8 free rebid zones, I started at $83 and added $3 each zone. The magic number for that date was somewhere between $96 and $98, as I was rejected at my $95 bid. Very happy about the price, since the same hotel on the same dates was on Hotwire this morning for $160.
  23. When I did a hotel search for Washington, DC on Orbitz, a coupon for Hard Rock Cafe (2 for 1 entrees) came up on the left-hand column (had to scroll down to see it). The fine print says it is good for ANY hard rock cafe location, although the logo for the DC location is on it. Expires September 30th/2004. I tried searches on NY and FL, but nothing came up, so try DC if you want to grab the coupon. Cheers.
  24. I stayed for much more than that on a Hotwire rate so to me it looks like you did well (I think it was 4.5 stars on Hotwire). The Palomar has an incredible location. The rooms are really nice and modern, but the service when I stayed was awful (was everyone in training?). Some of their rooms face a courtyard (lousy view) so maybe you can ask for a cityview when you check-in. Have fun.
  25. The 4* B&B that I'd like to stay in would be 75GBP ($138 US). Dates are September 17 - 20th (Fri-Sun which are the cheapest days) The Sheraton.com cheapest rate is 158 GBP and Expedia is $240 US. I tested the waters today (bidding as low as possible) for each day individually, 2 together and then all 3. Only went up to $155 with no luck. One thing I realised I need to consider, is on Priceline they add tax, whereas other rates from hotels I've dealt with have their prices inclusive of VAT. I guess I'll have to think about how much I'm REALLY willing to pay for this place then try again in a few days. Hope my rejected bid info may help someone out.
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