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epicureangirl

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Everything posted by epicureangirl

  1. Just added another night at the Willard. A steal at $74 for a 5* property. My rate would have been MUCH more expensive if I booked all 3 days together -- it really payed to try different combinations. Thanks betterbidding. :)
  2. Those days were extremely expensive when I looked yesterday so I held off doing anything. This morning (I'm up bright and early) I just purchased the same hotel on Hotwire for another night only this time an even greater bargain at $74. By making the 2 purchases separately, my average nightly rate works out to $86 a night. I'm sure that's the best deal I've gotten to date. Many thanks! I'll add a separate post for that.
  3. I was trying to decide between Chicago and Washington DC for a September weekend, and this impulse purchase has decided it. 5* DC (White House - Capitol Hill) Willard Intercontinental Amenities: Restaurant, Business Center, Fitness Center September 4-6 The price was $90 a night when I searched, then went to login under my id and the price had changed to $94. Called Hotwire and was able to get it for $93, since that is what came up on his screen when I called the agent. Annoying, but it goes to show how quickly availability and prices can change. Prices were all over the place and didn't make any sense: Night of the 4th $228 Night of the 5th $76 Should average out to $152 a night but paid $94 -- sounds good to me! I still need one more night on either end, but adding the 3rd pushed the average nightly rate to $317 -- insane! I'll keep searching.
  4. Thanks, I didn't even think to look in the Vacation Package section for this hotel... Also, thanks for confirming my suspicions on the location of the Loop area hotels. Cheers.
  5. There's a 5* property in Edinburgh showing up, which from TOBB appears to be the Sheraton Hotel & Spa. Only one bidder has reported getting it, on the first try at $202 for July 1-3rd. I'll be in Edinburgh mid-September and would need at least 3-4 nights. What research should I do to decide where to start bidding and what amount to increase -- or could you please make a suggestion? I've never bid on Priceline, but can see that I would have 2 free rebid zones. I obviously want to pay as little as possible (I'll bail and book a B&B I'm interested in if the price isn't right), but do have a little time. I also could stay weekend or weekday nights, if either would yield better price results. Any and all suggestions welcome. Thanks.
  6. I'm searching for a hotel September 3-6 and have come across a 4.5* hotel I need help identifying: North Michigan Avenue - Water Tower - Gold Cost Restaurant, Fitness, Internet, Business Center Any ideas? Also, I already have my 'backup plan' booked (Hotel Burnham & Hotel Monaco), but the hotels are in the loop area -- I'm worried it won't be the best location for a leisure trip, any comments? Thanks everyone.
  7. Another Hotel Monaco update, as I have just stayed after their renovation/update. What's been changed: all soft goods, drapes, carpets, mattresses, bedding etc. Everything looked fresh and new but the style is not the same. I'd say the whole look is more conservative now, although still a bit busy with a large variety of prints on the fabrics and walls. I have to say their service REALLY impressed me again. My first night was booked on Hotwire and my second directly through the hotel. Somehow they had managed to 'connect' the two reservations prior to my arrival, so I had no problems when checking in at the front desk (kept the same room, etc.). They used my loyalty profile to give me a room on a higher floor (club levels) and a spacious King non-smoking room with a view. There are some very small rooms facing a courtyard (ugly view), so I wasn't sure what kind of room assignment I'd get using Hotwire. I was very pleased with my room and the front desk. What really blew me away, was on my first night (my Hotwire night), chocolate-dipped strawberries and a bottle of wine was sent up. A note, signed by the manager was with it -- thanking us as a repeat guest. I'm sure they must be doing this for all their repeat guests (I think the last time I stayed was a year ago) and I was very impressed. Considering we were not celebrating a special occasion, and hadn't faxed ahead with any special requests, they really did a fantastic job of making the stay a great one.
  8. Icons are still Boutique, Restaurant, Fitness & Business. Just cancelled my Hyatt reservation to get a better deal on the Monaco for Saturday night. By calling the Monaco directly and searching for their lowest rate (and I qualify for almost all the discounts out there) the lowest they could give me was $170. Very happy to save $46. As I mentioned in a previous post, Sunday nights in May are available directly through the hotel at an e-mail exclusive rate of $99, and Hotwire was unable to beat that...
  9. When checking out restaurants for my upcoming Seattle trip, I found an offer on the palomino.com website for a $20 meal coupon they send you by email. It's valid for a month from the day you request it (dinner only)and is valid for the person named on the e-mail (so use your REAL name when filling in their form!). I also immediately rec'd another coupon, but for $15 with the same validity period and rules of use. I was able to make my reservation at the Seattle location using opentable.com and collect points too. Hope this helps someone out. Cities that have Palomino Restaurants: Charlotte, Cincinnati, Dallas, Denver, Honolulu, Indianapolis, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, Palm Desert, Pittsburgh, San Francisco, Seattle.
  10. Thanks for bringing that to my attention... I had completely disregarded the four star listing. I lost faith in the rating system on Hotwire after ending up at the Seattle Hilton (4*) which I felt did not deserve such a high rating (and I would NEVER want to stay there again). The last time I stayed at the Seattle Westin was 15 years ago... I'll have to check tripadvisor to get an idea of how this property measures up. Many thanks.
  11. Thanks, damo. I just checked my reservation (Oct/Nov 2003) and my "Preferred Guest Email Exclusive Rate" for their Grand Opening was $129/night. And I thought that was a GREAT deal at the time -- you certainly did very well. Cheers.
  12. Any guesses as to if this is the same hotel (different amenities) or truly a different 4.5* hotel showing up? Dates: May 22 depart 23, rest, bus, fit, pool and customer favorite $126 May 23 depart 24, rest, bus, fit $121 I've secured a great (non-hotwire) rate for the 23rd, but would like to extend my trip if the right property & rate comes up. I'm suspicious that the Sheraton Hotel & Towers may frequently change their amenities. When I last bid on that property, the pool icon had been dropped -- maybe they ocassionally use the pool icon to keep us guessing? What do you think, thereuare? Thanks
  13. Just rec'd this as an e-mail offer (sent to those on their Preferred Guest Rate mailing list), but you could book this by calling 800.715.6513 and ask for their "Sundays in Seattle" offer. As in the e-mail: "This May spend your Sunday nights at The Hotel Monaco Seattle for only $99! Experience our recently completed guest room renovation! ... Additional nights available for $170. Don't wait!" I just booked the Sunday of the May long weekend and could not get a rate this good (for this star level) on Hotwire. I'm looking forward to checking out their newly renovated rooms and will report back. Cheers.
  14. Awesome to see this hotel come up! I stayed at this hotel in October/November and it was terrific. Politely request an external room -- if you can get a view of the pier, even better! You'll be very happy there -- have a great trip.
  15. Just came back from a 4 night stay at the Hyatt Regency Orange (Garden Grove). Now I can report first hand on the North/South Tower comparisons as I spent 2 nights in each. Perhaps coming on one of the busiest weekends (Easter Break) was the reason I was unable to swing a North Tower room. I really did try! Apparently, they were fully booked and almost all the North Tower rooms are Suites (one standard room per floor). I was sadly assigned a South Tower room which was disgusting (think shabby hotel room, dingy, dark, dirty). After complaining about my room conditions (and my EXTREME disappointment) they found me a 'business' room on a higher floor. This looked exactly the same to me, but apparently it 'was bigger'. Patched carpet, cheerios and peanuts on the floor near the beds were what greeted us in this 'better' room. I can't even imagine that this room was stylish and nice 'once upon a time'. Anyhow, we had 2 double beds on a non-smoking floor so the 3 of us at least didn't have to share a bed. This was the first time sleeping in a double bed with my husband and hopefully the last (in a double that is!) -- I though that in North America most hotel rooms had 2 queens or 1 king? The room always SMELLED fresh, in that there is a strong deodorizer smell constantly. It is very noticable, even if you've been in the room all night. I don't even think the Hyatt (Portico) toilettries are even all that special, but I did notice they cheaped out and did not replace these the second day -- they merely relocated remaining products from the shower to the counter. This is the first time I've come across this. Do they really think 3 people can use the remaining product in those little tubes without rationing them? We were told the first day we could have upgraded for $50 a night. If I was planning to double the cost of my hotwire bid, I would have booked directly with the hotel of my choice. Another person I asked (on day 2) said it would be $40 a night for an upgrade -- which made me wonder if they really have a set price or not. I have heard a whole range of prices, but expected a cheaper nightly upgrade as people who are Hyatt Gold Members have reported getting upgrades for as low as $15. My husband politely complained about the cleanliness of the room (even though we didn't ask to move yet again) and when we came back from the parks there was a fruit & cheese plate waiting from the front desk manager. That reflected some good points about the service, but if they were really concerned about keeping me as a customer I feel they would have moved us to the North Tower (even if it was a Suite). I know this sounds ungrateful, but being a Hyatt Gold Member, I've booked directly with them for some of their premium properties -- I've also spent an obscene amount of money on a wedding at the Hyatt. I think my loyalty was worth keeping, and better room quality would have done it -- not cheese and fruit. On the upside, the soft cheese and dried cranberries where delightful. :) We were told there were many people checking out on the Sunday night and they would try to get us a North Tower room at that time. And they did come through. The North Tower room was wonderful, very contemporary, clean and had a nice (though basic) bathroom with granite counters. It had a King bed and we were able to get a cot for our daughter at no additional charge. I would stay here again if there was absolutely no possibility of a South Tower room. Even furniture in the lobby was worn through and not up to what I percieve to be the Hyatt standard. I guess there are a wide range of properties under the Hyatt umbrella and I should be cautious of which ones I book at. Parking was $12 a day, but there was a free shuttle to the parks (which I believe balanced out my costs). The shuttle could be incredibly crowded (especially on the way back) but seemed more convenient that parking at Disneyland (which we did for one day). I didn't eat at the restaurants in the Hyatt as there were strip-malls across the street with some very good eating options. The pool near the North Tower was very small and the one near the South Tower was better but just functional. No exciting water-play areas or cabana bars so I didn't spend much time by the pool. I'm glad I ended my trip in the North Tower Room, but now when I think of Hyatt I will be more likely to associate it with the dirty South-Tower room than my favourite -- the Seattle Hyatt Grand. The trip was great, I had fun and 2 nights at a nice hotel. We just wont mention the other 2 nights again, okay?!
  16. If you don't mind the cost of the Hyatt, it is my absolute favourite hotel in all of Seattle. I have nothing really bad to say about the Four Seasons -- their service is excellent, the rooms were large, albeit uninspiring. If you really like traditional styles (Queen Anne furniture etc.) I'd pick the Four Seasons. The Hyatt is very urban and stylish and the rooms (and bathrooms) are luxurious in a very modern way. Check the web rate at the Hyatt (must be paid for in full with no cancellations, just like hotwire) before booking -- just to make sure you really are getting the best rate for the date you've selected.
  17. You were right, but now I've posted a win on it for the upcoming Easter Weekend. It came up as 3.5* on Hotwire (I see it as a 3* on Priceline). Cheers.
  18. Referring to you as 'newbie' is not a dig (since it is I whom you're quoting I thought I should reply here), it is what appears underneath your id, since you only had 4 posts. I was not 'calling you a newbie' it is your current status -- it was not meant to insult. I say this sincerely. Also, since I am not a moderator, do not profit or know the people who run this board, I should (and do) say whatever I wish without questions to my motives. I don't think you have proven that there is a rivalry, just that everyday people have made there own opinions after visiting each site and have expressed them. People who post on TOBB are free to choose to spend there time there and say what they wish (although it sounds like their posts may not stay for long). I'm glad the two sites exists, just like I'm glad we have a choice of more than one supermarket -- competition is good and it's okay to have a preference. And me saying the site is ugly... well... it's my opinion and I stand by it. More importantly, I don't like the way in which the information is organized. If they're thinking of a redesign, I'd be happy to offer some pointers. :) I have nothing against the moderators on TOBB, as I said, I've never posted there or had a personal negative experience. I don't mind people saying glowing things about TOBB here either, but the opinions and comments should be able to go both ways. This is my leisure time and I don't want to spend it sensoring my messages or apologizing for stepping on toes. But I think it's great that we both can say what we want without fear of being banned. Welcome to the boards. Cheers.
  19. I don't see the rivalry between the two websites, nor do I see the moderator complain or 'worry' about the other websites demeanor. When someone posts a topic that they've been banned, shouldn't the moderator be allowed to respond how they wish? It's an observation of (and confirmation of) so many people coming to this board and complaining about TOBB. I have never posted on TOBB because I find it disorganized and ugly. I'm a marketing person and web designer -- any board that is less than organized or attractive drives me nuts. But not as nuts as rude moderators, which I have not come across here. Better Bidding will succeed because of the integrity of the moderators and the comfortable environment they've created so we can help each other travel and save money doing it. I love this board and will scream it from the rooftops without encouragement from anyone. For someone who rarely posts to any boards (Newbie) I'm surprised that this discussion would warrant your attention at all. I'm happy with the good-looking younger sibling. :) Cheers.
  20. Sorry, thereuare. I wasn't contradicting your last reply... I just took forever to respond and you beat me to it. I'm getting slow in my old age!
  21. Are you paying $151 US or Canadian? This seems obvious, but I'll mention it anyhow... Hotwire of course is in US$'s, so sometimes it seems like a great deal on Canadian properties until you factor in the exchange. Make sure you know the hotel price and taxes in both currencies so you can make a true comparison. June is getting into high season, but it's still early so there may be some other 'conventional' ways of getting a discount. Ask about AAA rates and Entertainment. Being a Starwood hotel they probably offer both. I usually try to secure the cheapest 'conventional' rate I can find, and then use Hotwire to see if something better comes up for my dates. Their inventory changes so frequently, I keep checking back until the right price and property show up. Cheers and happy rate hunting!
  22. Can't directly comment on those specific hotels, but I always do my hotel research on www.tripadvisor.com. The brutal truth (some good stories, some bad), plus a lot of posts from Priceline and Hotwire users on if there were any issues at check-in. List the hotels available on Hotwire, check the reviews on tripadvisor (to steer clear of the bad-apples) and go back and book your hotel. Have fun in Toronto! P.S. Don't bother with the area around the Airport. It's too far from the city. Your time and money would be better spent on a downtown hotel than for a taxi.
  23. This is not a criticisim -- just an observation. It is not Hotwire that is so expensive. It is Seattle. There are so many other cities I can get good deals on... Seattle is not really one of them. Sometimes a good deal on a 4* plus is well over $100. You might want to also try Entertainment rates. If the availability is there, you may be able to get a 50% off rack rate room for a 3* hotel. You can always book a room at the Entertainment rate and then try to borrow someones card in the next few days (if you don't have a book). Check places you know already are less expensive and have availability on Expedia (like the Vance for instance) and then call their 1-800 or direct number to ask about their Entertainment rate or any weekend specials. Good luck.
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