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epicureangirl

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Everything posted by epicureangirl

  1. Although, I didn't stay here on a Hotwire or Priceline bid, I have stayed here on at least 4 trips and have always paid much less than the rack rate. As nlrjkr mentioned, the rooms do vary in size. I've stayed in a very compact room (smaller than I expected for a Seattle hotel), a mid-size room and a very spacious suite. This is a high-style, colourful hotel (as our many of the Kimpton properties) so may not fit the bill for a traditionalist. However, the service I've experienced has been first-rate. Make sure you ask for your complimentary Gold Fish pet, to borrow during your stay -- my 6 year-old daughter LOVED this. The concierge was helpful and went over-and-above what I expected in making a family holiday really special. It doesn't matter what room you get, you can expect: bathrobes for your use Aveda shampoos, soaps etc. complimentary newspaper complimentary morning coffee (served downstairs) complimentary evening wine reception (lobby at 5PM I think) Although this hotel is about a 4 or 4 1/2 star in most ratings, it does have some special touches that you would expect in a 5* hotel. Remember that when checking in, you can always politely ask if there is a view room, or a room available with a King bed. I never 'wait and see' what room they have assigned me, but politely ask if they can accomodate my preferences (if occupancy allows). If they can't, the worse that will happen is you get the exact same room they were going to assign you in the first place! Cheers.
  2. Spent one night at the Hilton Hotel on December 6th, rated as a 4* byHotwire. $73 plus taxes and fees. Not a 4* by any means I must tell you that I had no idea what this hotel was when I bid. No one could figure it out and their were no posts with those Icons and star rating to help me figure it out. I went for it anyway, as a 4* hotel in Seattle always goes for much more. Usually $130 and up (if you get a good deal). After discovering what property I had selected, I checked it out on tripadvisor.com and was concerned at all the negative reviews travellers had given it but decided to keep an open mind and judge for myself. I am going to try and give you a balanced review of this hotel, so here it goes... Good things: Right downtown and walking distance to everything. Cheap parking (for Seattle) at about $19/day if I recall. Good views from high-floor rooms and good blackout drapes and sheers. The price of the room would be on-the-mark if I were looking for (and expecting) a 3* hotel. Service at the front desk was very polished and helpful. Since I was celebrating my birthday, the hotel was good enough to get me a view room on a high floor (one of their better rooms I'm sure). If you want to like this hotel, stop reading now. The rest of it: When you get to the hotel there is no valet. There is no grand entrance, people holding the doors or sense of arrival of this hotel. No elegance or polish in public areas. You self-park then take an elevator (LONG WAITS) up to the lobby. When you get out of the elevator you are in a short hallway, opening up NOT to the lobby, but into the lounge/bar area. I am a non-smoker, and don't like being dumped out in a smokey lounge that seems like a sports bar with the football game blaring on the TV. There is another sitting area (not directly in the bar) but all the sofas and chairs were threadbare on the arms and other wear points. Just plain shabby. Anyhow, once you walk through the lounge, you get to the front desk. No complaints with the front-desk staff as they were polished and helpful. You are then directed to another set of elevators (LONG WAIT YET AGAIN) to get to your room. We had one of the better rooms (I'm quite certain) and were on a high floor (there was only one floor above us) with a good view. The room is a good size but the traditional furniture looks cheap. Lamps, chairs, cabinets... everything looks cheap and worn. The bathroom is small and dingy with heavy vinyl wallpaper peeling back at the seams. Looking at the finishing of the tiles and wallpaper, I don't really believe this place ever sparkled as most surfaces are poorly finished. Other reviews I read, complained of noise from guests or air conditioning. I took heed and wore ear-plugs to bed and had a good sleep. Besides the feeling of staying in a shabby place, the constant waiting for elevators and having to take 2 separate sets of elevators to get to street level was very annoying. Often there was a line for the elevator to get to the parking and street levels which was shared by the staff. That meant the bellman and baggage cart would take up much of the elevator, so guests could not always fit in and would have to wait for the next car. When coming up to the hotel from street level, it stopped on many parking levels -- the people trying to get on with their bags had no room to get on, so had to wait for another elevator. Hilton hotels can (and usually) do better than this. Don't get me wrong, this wasn't a vacation spoiler and I can deal with a less-than-perfect room. My problem lies in the Hotwire rating for this property. It is what it is, and it is NOT a 4* property. I don't care if the amenities lead you to believe it is. This is a 3* property, 3 1/2 if you wear your rose-coloured glasses but no more. I would have gladly paid double for a REAL 4* hotel but have learned a good lesson. I won't rely on Hotwire ratings anymore and will tie myself more to the betterbidding.com hotel hints to identify properties before I bid. I called Hotwire today to give them my opinion (that their rating is too high) which probably will do nothing but has made me feel better. Maybe even good enough to try Hotwire again. This property is a solid 3* hotel with nice staff in a great location. If I had expected a 3* hotel, I wouldn't have had any complaints. Seattle has a lot of terrific hotels, and I've stayed in many of them. Next time I'll hold out for the Hyatt or Hotel Monaco to come up on Hotwire. Cheers.
  3. Spent one night at the Palomar Hotel on November 1st, rated as a 4 1/2* byHotwire. $113 plus taxes and fees. The lobby is modern and open and gives a good first impression. This is a high-style hotel. I had faxed ahead to the concierge for some assistance, as we were celebrating a special occasion. The service was horrible in this regard. We didn't feel 'expected' and the girl doing the check-in wasn't as polished as I've grown accustomed to at Kimpton properties. I wondered if everyone was a 'trainee' at this hotel. If were doing the ratings at Hotwire, I'd knock off 1/2 a star for that reason alone. The rooms were attractive, but I don't think they're comparable to the "W Hotels" (as others have compared it to on a travel review website). The rooms are small, but that's to be expected in San Fran. What I do like about this hotel, as with other Kimpton properties I've stayed in is the complimentary newspaper, wine reception and Aveda products are all standard. The location is excellent for walking to all the shops and restaurants of Union Square. A Hotwire rate made me 'okay' with this choice, but if I were paying rack rates I'd choose to stay elsewhere. San Fran is a great hotel city and I think this property would do well to take as much care with their service as they do their decor. Other Kimpton properties in San Fran such as the fabulous new Argonaut and gorgeous Monaco would be my first choices as they've never failed to satisfy. I'm pretty sure both these hotels have been available on Hotwire and I would hold out for them in the future.
  4. Spent one night at the Prescott Hotel on October 31st, rated as a 4* byHotwire. $79 plus taxes and fees. The lobby is not as opulent looking as on the website, but is cozy (a.k.a. small and unassuming). I had faxed ahead to the concierge for some assistance, as we were celebrating a special ocassion. The service was flawless in this regard, we felt 'expected' and chocolates were sent up to the room by the management. Very nice. Their service is top-notch. The rooms were a little worn looking, dark wood and fabrics looking like they had seen better days, but everything was clean. However, there's a musty Grandma's house smell to the room which I suppose is because this is an older hotel which the walls and ceiling really show. The rooms are small, but that's to be expected in San Fran. What I do like about this hotel, as with other Kimpton properties I've stayed in is the complimentary newspaper, wine reception and Aveda products are all standard. The location is excellent for walking to all the shops and restaurants of Union Square. A Hotwire rate made me 'okay' with this choice, but if I were paying rack rates I'd choose to stay elsewhere. San Fran is a great hotel city and I think this property may have been 'it' in the early 90's because of it's association with Postrio -- but they're due for another reno in my opinion.
  5. Rating: 4* Area: Downtown/Pike Place Icons: Restaurant, Fitness $73/1 night Taxes & Fees $18.95 Total: $91.95 I had no idea what this hotel was (too little information) but snapped it up because of the price for a 4* hotel. Seattle has been REALLY expensive lately, so it seemed like a steal. I'm having a case of buyers remorse since I don't believe it should really be a 4* hotel. Both Expedia and Travelocity have it as a 3*/diamond property. The reviews on tripadvisor are pretty poor. I will try to have a good attitude going in and will report back. What can I do after the fact if this place is horrible and I don't feel Hotwire should have rated it a 4*?
  6. Area: Union Square West Icons were: Boutique, Restaurant, Business, Fitness $73/night for 4 nights I checked the nights individually first, and all came up as $73 The Kimpton website had a "Fall Retreat" rate of $159, so this was a terrific deal.
  7. I didn't investigate this 'thoroughly' but have you considered it may be the Wyndham Palace Resort & Spa in the Walt Disney World Resort? I checked the features on Expedia... "Amenity highlights: The hotel
  8. The Edgewater would be nice if the price was right. I'll have to keep my eyes open to see if anyone reports a new hotel for WA. Everything in Seattle seems so expensive these days. I swear that since I discovered this board I am becoming increasingly 'frugal' (a word I've never used before). http://www.seattlesupersaver.com/ will be listing their special off-season rates (Nov-April) beginning in October. I wonder if this will have any effect on the prices we see on Hotwire as many (if not all) the Hotwire properties participate in the Seattle Super Savers. Are there any relative old-timers on this board who have seen prices shift between the seasons, or is it pretty level throughout the year?
  9. Thanks for posting, Scorp. I wonder if Priceline would decrease the 3* ratings on the Red Lion for instance or if they'd just move the Laurel Point up a level and increase the price? It makes me wonder how they come up with their ratings to begin with! It's just too bad that the hotels are rated like this. I'd really like to bid at the 3* level if I knew I'd get the Laurel Point, but I'm not willing to take the risk on being stuck at the equivalent of a 2.5*. Thanks for your comments, I'd be pretty upset if I ended up in Saanich -- I like to walk everywhere and leave my car in the hotel parking if I go to Victoria. Cheers.
  10. Hello again, thesqueegeekid! Your parents will love the Hyatt Calgary. I think it's a beautiful hotel and enjoyed my stay there -- very contemporary, yet they combined some of the historic structure in their remodel. I might just be tempted to give it an extra 1/2*. I am stunned at the price you got. I'm sure I paid about $180 C. Maybe you should do my hotel shopping! :) Cheers.
  11. I'm from Vancouver, but frequently go to Victoria for weekend trips mostly and was looking at the Priceline hotels people have been getting. I was surprised to see some of the hotel ratings on PL being LOWER than they would be ranked normally. 4* Fairmont Empress 3* Coast Harbourside Marina 3* Laurel Point Inn 3* Red Lion I'm not sure about the Coast Harbourside or the Red Lion, but I have stayed at the Empress and Laurel Point and need to comment: I can tell you that the Fairmont Empress is at least a 4.5 or 5* hotel. It is a grand old historic Fairmont hotel and is luxurious and beautiful in an old-world way. The Laurel Point Inn can hardly be compared to a Red Lion! It should at least be ranked as a full 4* hotel and is my choice to stay when going to Victoria. And I'm pretty fussy. It is not an old-world Victorian/English style hotel, but is a modern boutique hotel right on the water. If you got this property on Priceline or Hotwire for anwhere near $100 US, you would be getting a terrific value. Also, I believe the parking was complimentary, which is a nice touch too. The rooms are very spacious, I had a private deck overlooking the water and a HUGE marble bathroom with soaker tub, separate shower and a tv on the very long marble counter with double sink. Terry bathrobes of course and a wonderful location. Asian art in glass display cases in the very wide gallery like hallways were impressive. I paid for just a room, but thought this was more like a suite. Happy travels.
  12. I just got back from an Orlando trip in June and stayed at the Hard Rock & Animal Kingdom Lodge. For the Universal area there IS only one 5* hotel and it IS the Portofino Bay.(as of this writing) If you're considering one of the Universal properties, keep in mind that they are available at a good rate through the Entertainment Book (backup plan). The Hard Rock can be had from about $125, and the Royal Pacific Resort from $109. Now that I've seen all 3 hotels I'd stay at the Royal Pacific Resort. It is lush and gorgeous and the public areas are divine. The rooms are not luxurious but still very nice quality. Front of the line access for Universal cannot be beat -- I'd never stay off site again. My very biased opinion! BTW, when planning an Orlando trip I found the boards at http://wdwinfo.com/ to be invaluable. But no board beats this one for the VALUABLE hotel savings information! If you want to check out what rates people are getting on the Universal hotels, check out this post at http://disboards.com/showthread.php?threadid=187829 If it doesn't work out it is titled "What is your date and your rate?" It will be a good benchmark when comparing available rates on Priceline and Hotwire. Have a wonderful time! Cheers!
  13. Hello, thesqueegeekid: Have a great time in NYC -- I love it there. If you like seafood there's an awesome fish shop called Sable's -- they'll make you a sandwich from anything at their counter (lobster salad or smoked sturgeon perhaps) and it's pretty cheap. Well, cheap for NY, that is. When I stayed there, I stayed at an Inn on City Island. It was just way too far from the City. I wish I had some good advice back then, other than a guidebook that made it sound like it was just a 20 minute train away. I love the Village -- oh, and it's just the most perfect time of year to go too. Sitting out on the sidewalk cafe's in those small back-streets. Getting nostalgic... :) Cheers.
  14. The above quote comes from an old post, but here's my 2 bits on Bellevue vs. Seattle. I've been to Seattle more times than I can count but decided to stay in Bellevue one weekend because the Bellevue Club Hotel (which gets 5* reviews) had a fairly good price for a suite and I wanted to try this place out (which is supposed to be all-that). I had visited Bellevue in the past (gone to the mall there) but had not stayed the night. I discovered that Bellevue is absolutely sleepy on the weekends/ The hotels restaurant wasn't even open on the Sunday night I was there. I went out to some fancy new Seafood restaurant for dinner, which definitely didn't compare to the restaurants in Seattle. After the meal I thought I'd try to find some place for a nice dessert and ended up at some Italian chain restaurant (not Olive Garden but close) because it's all that was open. They have a nice mall with Oilily and some other high-end shops but not much else to keep you there. It is a suburb, nothing against suburbs but it just doesn't have the 'buzz' of Seattle. I would probably choose to live there (nice and safe, beautiful homes) but not vacation at. So what I'm really trying to say is that if you have a car and will drive into Seattle to spend the day there, and all your meals there as well -- you may find it worth the savings and be pleased. I personally wouldn't. A taxi back and forth would be quite pricey and I enjoy every single minute in Seattle. It's also a city where you really can walk everywhere and not need to rent a car. I'd rather drop the * level on my hotel and stay in Seattle if price is an issue. I must say that I too experienced that same awe at seeing the Bellevue Hyatt's terrific weekend rates, especially when you compare it to the rates at the Hyatt Grand in Seattle. But I tell you, the Hyatt Grand is a hotel to be reckoned with -- it's simply amazing and worth the splurge.
  15. If you are planning to book multiple nights at this hotel (or any others) this information might be useful to you: Although I only booked one night at this hotel, I was considering up to 4 nights. Hotel Prescott: October 31st $79 November 1st $88 November 2nd $82 November 3rd $88 If I took: first 2 nights/$90 ea first 3 nights/$90ea all 4 nights / $89ea In this case multiple nights always worked out to more than individual ones. If I took all four nights I would have paid $19 more than if priced individually -- go figure? BTW this hotel was $189/night on the "saver rate" on the official hotel website. Anyhow, my advice is if you need multiple nights check all the nights individually and in combination -- you may have a chance to save some more money.
  16. If you are considering booking multiple nights at this hotel this might be useful information as it WILL impact how much you pay or save: Although I only booked one night at this hotel, I was considering booking up to four nights. Here is what my options were: I was looking at daily rates over a 4 day period: Hotel Palomar: October 31st $102 November 1st $118 November 2nd $108 November 3rd $162 (a real price-jump for this night) If I took: first 2 nights/$100ea first 3 nights/ $102ea all 4 nights/$96ea If I took all four nights it would have been an amazing deal, I would have saved $106 over the combined daily room rate for those four nights! And that's just the savings for Hotwire rates, nevermind what the room "saver rate" on the official hotel website for $189/night. On hotwire (when I checked back later that day) the room rate dropped by $5, to $113 on November 1st , so I booked it.
  17. You just know WAY too much! I had know idea I'd get that level of detailed information here -- thanks! I wasn't quite sure from your note if you had eventually gotten to stay at the Grand Hyatt or not. I really love it (electronic blinds, heavenly beds, waterfall faucet on the soaker tubs, wall to wall marble (or is it granite?) in the bathrooms, large rooms with contemporary decor) and will always choose it over the Four Seasons, W, or the Hotel Monaco (even though I love Kimpton hotels) especially if the price is right. I haven't had a chance to connect from the room, since I go there for pleasure instead of business but I had read about how technologically advanced the rooms were. If you get back there, I highly recommend trying their restaurant. Their "Simply American" breakfast (hopefully I got that right) which sounds boring is absolutely the best breakfast I've had anywhere (and I've had some pretty fabulous food). The breakfast is quite often complimentary if you book a AAA rate. Now I think I need to book a Seattle weekend....
  18. Thanks, Well Done.... I will post reviews of EVERYTHING (trust me!). I think the Fifth Floor is a little pricey for this trip (being a Canadian everything seems 40% higher) but maybe I'll at least have brunch at Postrio. I had brunch there years back and can't get the smoked sturgeon out of my mind! The room at Postrio is gorgeous, but then again many of the SF restaurants are designed beautifully. I sure wish I could book the Magritte suite at the Palomar (sigh!), but I'm sure a standard room will do! I'm also staying a couple of nights at the new Argonaut Hotel (Kimpton) at the quiet end (is there such a thing?) of Fisherman's Wharf. I'll review that too, since I am almost POSITIVE they are participating in Hotwire. When I searched the Fisherman's Wharf area a 4 1/2* came up sometimes (with a boutique symbol). I don't think there are any other hotels in the area that qualify for a 4 1/2 star in combination with a boutique rating. They just opened in August, which is why I believe they're not listed on the boards here. Cheers.
  19. I'm ALL about flawed reasoning! ha-ha Thanks for the information and all your help -- I do love this board... one day I may even be brave enough to venture from Hotwire over to Priceline!
  20. Yes, the Hyatt. When it first opened it was called the "Elliott Grand Hyatt". Now it might be referred to only as the "Grand Hyatt". What do people have against the name Elliott I ask myelf? :) Thanks for the info on the icons. For a San Fran purchase (I think you replied to my notes there too) I second-guessed myself with identifying a hotel, thinking hotwire purposely left the 'spa' icon off the listing so it would be more transparent. But alas, it was a completely different hotel than I expected. I will trust your recommendations implicitly in the future! Thanks again.
  21. Thanks for your help. I don't think I'll take the risk on the 3 1/2 star because there are some in your list of guesses I wouldn't want to stay at. Have you ever seen the W come up on the boards? I've loved staying there in the past, and would again if the price was right. Although, I must say that the Elliott Grand Hyatt is even more plush than the W. I see that (what apears to be) the Hyatt is frequently the 5*, but the prices are really high now (Usually over $200). No one has actually posted this hotel as a win... have you heard about anyone booking it through hotwire (not including the sure-thing packages)?
  22. Both selections came up for January 16 - 18th. It's the first time I've seen them come up, and I've check several dates already. Thanks.
  23. I've already checked the lists on this board and Expedia but have not had luck identifying these hotels: For Seattle/Pike Place Market area: 3 1/2* Boutique, Restaurant, Fitness, Business Other than Kimpton Hotels (which are all 4* in Seattle) do you have any idea what hotel (or chain) would be billed as a "Boutique Hotel"? _______ 4* Restaurant, Pool, Fitness, Business Customer comments: raves about the wonderful beds/linens On the four star, the pool icon should narrow things down and I was wondering about the possibility of it being the Sorrento, Westin or Renaissance? Would they use a pool icon even if the hotel only had a hot-tub? Any ideas? Thanks everyone. Cheers.
  24. For Hotwire I can't figure out the method of pricing the hotels (do they even have one?!), but in this case they did much better than 'averaging' the price of the nights. I booked one night at the Palomar in San Francisco 4 1/2* (so I am pretty sure it's the same hotel), but here is what my options were: I was looking at daily rates over a 4 day period: Hotel Palomar: October 31st $102 November 1st $118 November 2nd $108 November 3rd $162 (a real price-jump for this night) If I took: first 2 nights/$100ea first 3 nights/ $102ea all 4 nights/$96ea If I took all four nights it would have been an amazing deal, I would have saved $106 over the combined daily room rate for those four nights! And that's just the savings for Hotwire rates, nevermind what the room "saver rate" on the official hotel website for $189/night. ___________________ When I booked a night at the Prescott Hotel San Francisco 4* these were my options: Hotel Prescott: October 31st $79 November 1st $88 November 2nd $82 November 3rd $88 If I took: first 2 nights/$90 ea first 3 nights/$90ea all 4 nights / $89ea In this case multiple nights always worked out to more than individual ones. If I took all four nights I would have paid $19 more than if priced individually -- go figure? BTW this hotel was $189/night on the "saver rate" on the official hotel website. Anyhow, my advice is if you need multiple nights check all the nights individually and in combination -- you may have a chance to save a lot of money. Yes, it takes a bit of extra time, but you might just save enough to stay an extra night or splurge one night out at a way-too-expensive restaurant (which would be my personal choice!). Cheers.
  25. Convention Center Icons were: Boutique, Restaurant, Fitness Center $113 $21.95 (taxes/fees) Total: $134.95 I was very happy with this purchase and LOVE LOVE LOVE this site. Many thanks!
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