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Everything posted by flyme2

  1. My first ever stay at a Tage Inn only to discover that 3 of the 4 properties comprising this New England micro chain have been sold to La Quinta. Hopefully, the properties won't experience a deterioration in standards, as I was quite pleased with my stay here. This is a small five story property with only 89 rooms, half as many as its sibling in Andover. There's abundant free parking (you are asked to provide license plate details) and the property is nicely landscaped with mature trees in a rear lot that shield it from I-495 nearby. There's a little strip mall across the street with its main draw being a Big K (Mart) and a Dollar Tree. A BK and a McD are also close by, so there's little chance you'll ever go hungry. Check in was a breeze, the only mention of Priceline was when I was asked if I wanted to leave a deposit or have an imprint of a CC done to activate the telephone. The check in clerk couldn't have been friendlier. When we were unhappy with the only non smoking King room available at the time of our arrival, she cheerfully called housekeeping to see if something more to our liking was available. Within no time we were placed in a much larger room. The young lady was also a fountain of information regarding local shopping venues replete with detailed directions. Needless to say, my wife was very happy to put this information to good use. Our room was spotless. Furnishings were of good quality and undamaged. No stains on carpet, drapes or wall coverings. There was ample work space, but the only outlet available for my laptop was behind the desk via an electrical outlet already overloaded with adapters and piggyback plugs. A lamp mounted plug would have been much appreciated. Local and 1-800 calls were free. Wired high speed internet was available at no charge, and cables could be borrowed at the front desk. Free wireless service was available in the lobby area, and there was a lounge off to one side that could be comfortably used. The bathroom was immaculately clean, with the tub and toilet separate from the vanity sink/make-up area open to the rest of the room. Water pressure was great, no visible signs of mold or mildew anywhere. An iron and ironing board were stashed in the open closet. Free continental breakfast was served between 6:00 and 10:00 and consisted of the usual cold fare; pastries, bagels, fruit, yogourt, cereal, juice and coffee. A waffle maker with all the fixings proved quite popular, as did the Vermont Green Mountain coffee. BTW, coffee is available all day long, and freshly baked cookies make an appearance in the evening. All in all, an unobtrusive little gem, esp. in light of the advertised $67 rate, or even cheaper PL wins. If Boston is your destination, and you don't mind the 35 miles to get there to save some serious cash, this may be a viable choice.
  2. I found this property most deserving of its 2.5*. The lobby is a two story atrium with stone and wood accents, nicely furnished with a number of comfortable sitting areas. The property is very nicely landscaped and is actually comprised of two separate wings joined by an attractive indoor pool. A barbeque and picnic tables outside could prove quite useful during sizzle season. There's plenty of free parking, and a large Italian restaurant, the Chateau shares the back lot. Location is handy, right off the I-93 and about 30 minutes north of Boston, traffic conditions permitting. Staff was very cordial, no mention of Priceline, and I was given my choice of any available room configuration. The 2 queen non-smoking unit I chose was a fair size and immaculately clean. No stains on the carpet, drapes or wall coverings. Furnishings were good quality, while the bathroom was spotless, if a bit dated. There was free wired high speed internet in the room with cables available at the front desk. The lobby area, however, has free wireless service. A work desk in the room had a lamp with an easily accessible power receptacle, perfect for plugging in your laptop. Lighting was adequate, there were no dark zones. A 20" televison, rather small by today's standards, offered ample programming selection. Heating and cooling was accomplished by a rather noisy wall-mounted unit typical of most pre-fab constructed hotels. An iron and ironing board were stashed in the open closet area. A free continental breakfast was offered between 6:00 and 9:00 and consisted of the typical cold fare; cereals, fruit, breads, muffins, bagels, danish, yogourt and hard boiled eggs. There was a waffle maker with all the necessary fixings, and a microwave, handy for preparing oatmeal from available packets. I would not hesitate to recommend this property, esp. at Priceline rates. This hotel, along with 3 other Tage Inns in MA, has been sold to the La Quinta chain, their first foray into MA. Renovations are scheduled to begin shortly, so be aware of any possible disruptions this summer (2005) that may affect your stay.
  3. Continuing my drive through New England. I was surprised to get a property in the same chain at the same price. Congratulations, you got your price of $35 for a 2�-star hotel room. Tage Inn And Suites Andover 2�-star Your Offer Price: $35.00 Number of Rooms: 1 Number of Nights: 1 Subtotal: $35.00 Taxes & Service Fees: $10.86 Total Charges: $45.86 I've never stayed at a Tage Inn before, so, upon my return, I'll write a review and post some pics. I remember trying unsuccessfully to get a couple of their properties in the New England area during last year's leaf peeping season on behalf of my wife's visiting European relations. Of course, I used the S-B portal.
  4. Looking to take a leisurely driving trip through New England, I tried a few unsuccessful bids in New Hampshire, and then decided to set my sights on Massachusetts. Got this hotel on the first try. Congratulations, you got your price of $35 for a 2½-star hotel room. Tage Inn Milford 2½-star Your Offer Price: $35.00 Number of Rooms: 1 Number of Nights: 1 Subtotal: $35.00 Taxes & Service Fees: $10.85 Total Charges: $45.85 Bid through S-B.
  5. If I were in your predicament, I would call all the identified hotels listed here in the zone and star ratings I'm bidding for and ask them if they 1) have any vacancies on my dates of travel and 2) do they have adjoining rooms and are they currently available during those dates. You'll then know what properties you can target and gauge your chances of getting a successful bid. Another route, is to use Hotwire and try to match up properties. Then call them asking the same info.
  6. The free CDW coverage offered by many credit card companies are basically 2 types: primary and secondary. Primary insurance, as offered by my Royal Bank of Canada Gold Visa card, covers the entire cost, less a deductible, of replacing the entire vehicle including the rental firm's lost revenue. Secondary insurance, as offered by my Canadian based America PRICELINE EXPRESS Platinum, is similar with one exception. They will cover only what your own personal auto policy won't. If you don't have a car or an applicable insurance policy, then they cover the entire cost. I presume that's why the Enterprise agent was technically correct. They were compensated by the renter's own policy and that's why Amex was off the hook. BTW, I recently added special coverage for rental cars to my personal auto policy. The cost was only $29 CAD for a year, with a cap set at $35,000 CAD per incident. Here's a run down of Visa's US based car rental coverage.
  7. From my trip there a few weeks ago, the Sheraton was still undergoing major renovations. Many of the rooms were closed off. I'd avoid that property until all work is complete. The Grand Hyatt is a much better property in a more contemporary part of town. I'm not sure if it ever comes up on PL, though.
  8. This is one area where I would really want to choose the property and not rely on the throw of a dice. The cheapest 1 or 2 star properties on Hotwire are $71-$72...ouch! In Pismo Beach, I've stayed at the Oxford Suites. It was quite charming, and I particularly remember the freshly made salsa as one of the free breakfast offerings. Rate for your date is $99.
  9. A while back I had a similar discussion with an Alamo agent in Phoenix, and although he accepted my word, I have since begun carrying copies of the insurance documents provided by the CC companies everytime I travel. In all reality, the agents know full well that most gold or platinum CC's carry car rental insurance. They're just goaded into selling a very profitable product by their station managers.
  10. I have never seen a pre-paid rate offered by a hotel that came anywhere near being a 50% discount. Perhaps I'm not dealing with the right chains. I'd love to see some anecdotal evidence.
  11. There's currently a $9.99 weekend deal at Enterprise good until Friday, June 24. I now know that you must rent the car for a 3 day weekend beginning on Fridays. I've found availability in every city I've tried, San Francisco, Miami, Chicago ... even Newark, NJ (Union St. location).
  12. Thrifty and Dollar have the Walmart reference included in their contract template due to the discount Walmart credit card holders are supposed to receive. They must have at least $600 credit available in order to rent a car.
  13. Enterprise often has $9.99 per day weekend rates. You've got to rent the car beginning on a Friday, and I'm not quite sure if you are obligated to keep it until Monday. In any case, it's a bargain at $29.97 for 3 days. It's usually available at most off-airport locations (there are quite a number of them) and they offer a free pick up service. I was able to get this deal just last month (May 2005) in Waikiki. There are a couple of caveats, however. Usually 100 mile cap per day. Extra fee for airport drop-off. Usually not available at airport locations. $9.99 deal is seasonal, and not available throughout the year.
  14. That inflexability is the whole philosophy behind PL's business model and how they are able to offer such bargains. You must remember that PL is an auction house, and like any other auction, all accepted winning bids are final. Contrary to your opinion of their imminent failure, they are actually on healthier financial footing than ever. PL recently reported a jump in first-quarter bookings double that of the online industry's average. PL is not as attractive for airfare or car rentals. The airlines and car rental companies themselves are the best sources for bargains. As far as hotel stays, nobody can touch PL. However, if flexibility is important to you, then PL is not a sales venue you should be considering.
  15. I have a watertight plastic container especially designed for swimming that has a cord you attach around your neck. It's quite small and unobtrusive...about the size of a cigarette pack. I bought it in Puerto Rico for a couple of dollars at a K-Mart (or similar discounter), so I'm sure it's widely available. Other than that, you can safety pin the upper portion of a small ziploc bag containing your key card to the inside of your swimming trunk pocket.
  16. From my personal experience when using PL, I have found that if you ask for an upgraded room when checking in, front desk staff are usually programmed to request an additional charge. They are, however, empowered to grant a better room when inventory or circumstances permit. Just prior to my last PL stay, I was able to determine that all regular rooms were sold out on my date of arrival and for a couple of days afterward. When I arrived, around 6 PM, an upgraded room had already been pre-blocked for the duration of my stay, yet after a little keyboard pecking the room assignment changed and I was further upgraded into a higher floor suite with a view. I didn't request an upgrade during check-in, but upon checking out on a previous stay at the same property, I asked if my upcoming PL stay could be on a high floor with a slightly better view, and that I would appreciate anything they could do. I've had other requests (bedding, non-smoking, quiet room, high floor, etc.) frequently honoured by contacting the hotel beforehand. They usually mention the standard PL proviso, but upon arrival, my requests are almost always accomodated. I also think that being polite and middle-aged works in my favour, as front desk staff assume there will be little chance of my wife or I trashing the room or throwing a beer bash.
  17. Actually, Hyatt does still provide elite benefits on PL (and all other opaque or third party) stays. No points (except incidentals) or stay credits, though.
  18. Actually they expire on the 1st of November.
  19. Once again I needed a bed for a one night layover enroute to Asia. I had a bit more time, so I decided to try bidding Waikiki instead of the Airport zone. I began my bidding somewhat optimistically at $36 for a 2* in the Waikiki North zone. Rejected. I added Waikiki South and upped my bid to $39. Rejected. Added Ihilani and upped the bid to $42. Nada. Added the Airport zone and bid $45. No go. I began the bidding process over again, having my wife bid, and decided to try for a 3* in Waikiki South at $52. Bingo! Congratulations, you got your price of $52 for a 3-star hotel room... Park Shore Waikiki Hotel Your Offer Price: $52.00 Number of Rooms: 1 Number of Nights: 1 Subtotal: $52.00 Taxes & Service Fees: $13.69 Total Charges: $65.69 At least I get to stay at a 3* property near the beach instead of paying more for a 2* near the airport. I'll use the savings to buy some boxes of macadamia chocolates for the folks back home. Thank you to thereuare. Used the s-b link.
  20. Knowing that the Park Shore was once again a 3* and that I'd be PO'd if I got it for the same $58 that the superior Radisson goes for, I began bidding at $52. Got accepted on the first go, but not before an unusually long cycle of searching. Congratulations, you got your price of $52 for a 3-star hotel room... Park Shore Waikiki Hotel Number of Rooms: 1 Number of Nights: 4 Subtotal: $208.00 Taxes and Service Fees: $34.71 Total Charges: $242.71 I had a PL stay here a few years ago and found it adequate, especially in view of my then $22 winning bid (in the days of the AMEX bonus). I enjoyed the sundeck around the pool area with its unobstructed views of the beach and Kapiolani Park. I'm sure it's no worse for wear, now that its renovations are complete. As usual, hats off to thereuare, and I didn't overlook the s-b link.
  21. $9 ($20 AMEX bonus) for the Sheraton San Marcos resort in Chandler AZ. As an SPG Platinum member, my wife and I received a huge cheese/cracker plate as our amenity...they must have had leftovers from catering. Our second $9 stay got us a bottle of wine and a fruit plate. The rooms at the property were nothing to write home about, but for $9 (+$20 from AMEX) I'm sure they still lost money on us.
  22. I've found some very attractive rates using Priceline SG's "Choose Your Own Hotel" option. For example, the NW Renaissance is available on your dates for SG$155 (all in). The booking agent PL uses is Octopus Travel, but at rates lower than on their own website. This is a practical way to choose a particular hotel if you don't want to risk getting another.
  23. I had an unusual result when trying to use them to book a hotel in Singapore earlier this week. They didn't have instant booking available for this particular property, so after supplying all my c/c details and waiting 24 hours, I received an e-mail informing me that the hotel was completely booked for my dates and re-directed me to one of their sister websites. That site, purporting to specialize in last minute hotel deals had far fewer hotels listed and prices were actually higher than on other hotel booking sites I generally use. I eventually tried booking my original choice with AsiaVoyage. and had a room confirmed 24 hours later. Subsequent searches on other websites showed plenty of availability. The only reason I can see Hotel Club not wanting to honour the reservation is the fact that they offer a rebate that can be used for future bookings. Perhaps their margins were too low for the property in question, or perhaps it's just a case of bait and switch. Either way, this is the first time in my many, many years of travel that an agency has done this.
  24. Perhaps the fact that you were rejected when you accepted a counter-offer is a sign from above that you shouldn't be staying anywhere near the airport on Sunday night. Maybe you should try bidding for the Radisson Prince Kuhio at $58. I would have done the same had I more transit time. BTW, if you have the time and $2, TheBus, Oahu's great public bus system has service (buses # 19 and # 20) running well past midnight leaving the airport for Waikiki and passing right by the Radisson on Kuhio Blvd. Luggage has never been an issue when boarding, although the trip will take about an hour.
  25. I hate to be a wet blanket, but AsiaRooms has this property for $53 USD (single occ) or $59 (dbl occ) including all taxes, s/c's and breakfast. Your average cost per night is $51.04 USD, so breakfast is the deal breaker here. This just reinforces my belief that PL is not great in Asia for 2*, 3* and sometimes even 4* properties, where consolidators rule. PL, however, just blows away the competition for 5*'s.
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