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Everything posted by LoneStar

  1. If you're willing to move, you can often get better opaque deals in London, because some hotels are cheaper on the weekend. Like the well regarded Hilton Islington is often available for $80 (perhaps less with the appreciation of the dollar), but I haven't seen that outside of the Friday-Sunday time period. If you're checking HOTWIRE prices, go beyond the initial screeen to get a full quote from them. Sometimes I've seen them "forget" to charge you the full VAT (priceline never does), which can make hotwire the best deal in England. Even if you buy from PRICELINE, "fiddle around" with your dates on hotwire to see what may be a problem day. If you can stay somewhere else for a night or two, you may find remarkable opaque savings.
  2. I'm sorry I have to say this, but when somebody on a message board alerts you to an internet travel deal that seems "too good to be true," do NOT call the company and ask if it's true! FWIW, I thought the deal was pulled, but it looks like it's still available for some days in January. I don't recommend "just showing up" at the hotel on the "meeting planner's" rate -- trying the priceline price match might be better. But priceline MAY wise up to this as well, so it's not risk free.
  3. A nice x-mas week deal at this very posh resort. $64 was rejected. EDIT: looks like my days and price were cut off in the title 12/29 to 1/1. $65.
  4. I personally would not go above $140 on a 4-star Rome bid -- especially in winter. Plug your dates into these 2 sites: sidestep.com and kayak.com. From there, you will find some excellent deals for winter in Rome from wholesalers like GTA Hotels and venere. You can limit yourself to 4-star or better (and, for tourist purposes, I'd look only in central Rome) and then research the cheapest ones on tripadvisor. Find a good price on a hotel that gets at least 4-stars on tripadvisor and you'll be very happy. Not worth the gamble on priceline above $140 (and might not be worth the risk above $110).
  5. I would think your odds of getting a deal on priceline in Seward for a summer night approaches zero. Of course, you never know, but realistically it's the longest of longshots. That said, don't delay in booking something. That's a busy time there because of their big July 4 events (well known in Alaska). There's a highly regarded and inexpensive b&b in town -- and the owner is REAL helpful -- but you have to share a bath. It's the Ballaine House. For more privacy, I'd recommend the Alaska Saltwater Lodge. Their original lodge is right on the Bay if you want a more back-to-nature experience. They also have nice units in town at their Dairy Hill location. The owner also runs an excellent, but expensive, small boat tour into the National Park.
  6. For future travellers, I believe it's the Grand Targhee Resort, but of course I can't be sure. I've never seen it on Hotwire for less than $89, which about what they charge in summer when booked direct. I did once get this property on priceline for less than $40 in mid-June, but I've never seen a similar deal in July or August. Targhee is fairly incovenient to Jackson and Grand Teton NP, so keep that in mind. Jackson itself has sky-high hotel rates in summer. Hotwire has a 3-star property labelled a resort with biz center, shuttle bus and swimming pool that often lists for $149 to $159 in summer. I've never been willing to take a chance at that price, but my guess is that it might be the mediocre Snow King Resort.
  7. Nice to see a good priceline deal on Maui. It's been quite some time. Those dates are in the slow season, though. It will be interesting to see if there are any deals to be had next winter.
  8. I think the Boscolo could be a good guess. But obviously we don't know. It doesn't appear to be a bad hotel (reviews are good, but not great on tripadvisor) but I don't think "the deal" is quite good enough. I saw it price in the $150s on HOTWIRE. In a thread started by norwegianwife last summer, you can see that there are a bunch of very good small hotels in Venice that have summer promo rates at around 120 Euros. For about the same price, I think the odds of "happiness" are higher with these book-direct deals. I'm thinking of hitting Venice this summer, too, and I may try some 4-star priceline deals. The zones don't bother me because at least they only include the lagoon -- you're not going to get a property in Mestre (on the mainland) if you don't want one. A 4-star in the low $100s -- if that's possible -- might be a deal for those willing to roll the dice. Otherwise, I'll book direct.
  9. Ironic that folks are now getting this hotel for only $60 after the La Quinta cancelled the $40 priceline reservations as an "obvious" mistake 3 weeks after the fact. :) I've noticed that there are many cheap published rates in Palm Springs this summer under $100, so it pays to be careful bidding above that $60 level. I think the La Quinta is one of the better properties, so you did well for yourself (even if you didn't save a ton of money).
  10. You obviously got a good deal compared to published rates, and for one night it doesn't really matter where you stay. That said, I would advise others to wait before paying that price IF you want to try to snag one of the fancy resorts. Just because there are no $70 rates at the Caribe Hilton now doesn't mean they won't load later. Early February is a bit of a slow travel period in the middle of "the season," so deals do pop up. In my mind, there's no reason to lock in a non-refundable priceline stay more than 90 days in advance unless the deal is truly sensational -- which we have seen periodically in Puerto Rico.
  11. There haven't been a lot of successful bids for the Sheraton Maui recently. Indeed, bidding for Maui on priceline and HOTWIRE has gotten pretty unattractive in the past year or so (that could of course change -- there are published reports that occupancy levels in Hawaii are down, due to the higher prices, and unsold rooms are usually good news for opaque bidders). I agree that the Sheraton is the best place to stay on Kaanapali. I highly recommend it. If you don't have SPG miles to burn, I'd recommend reading some previous posts and the Starwood board at Flyertalk to see if you can find a Starwood Vacation Ownership package (which may or may not require a timeshare tour) for your stay. I think you will get much better value that way than trying to bid on priceline. Unfortunately, that's the current "lay of the land" in Hawaii.
  12. A nice rate, given that the property's lowest published rate is well north of $200. Seems to be a business-oriented hotel, so it MIGHT be Sunday only (I've gotten other good deals in San Diego on Sundays). My $48 bid was rejected, so $50 may be the bottom. They annoyingly charge for parking, but I've heard there's some limited free parking available. Hotel gets generally good reviews.
  13. Once again, this property is available direct from Hilton for about $90 or $95 using the 50% off Entertainment Card. So don't bid for it on priceline and pay more (and give priceline an extra fee)! :) If you buy direct, you may also qualify for HiltonHHonors points (they gave them to me on the rate). I'm a little surprised Priceline's rating this only 3 stars. It IS a resort. Mind you, not a grand resort, but a resort. I'd personally rate it 4 stars to differentiate it from the Hawaiian megaresorts (like the Poipu Hyatt). For under $100, it's probably the best hotel deal in all of Hawaii these days. Book it before it's pulled.
  14. This is the Radisson Maingate. For the next several months, GTA Hotels and EasyClickTravel have great rates on the property (well, we'll see what happens now that we've alerted Radisson to it!) that are lower than those on Radisson.com. So using the 25% off best rate guarantee at Radisson.com, you can get the Maingate hotel for between $40 and $50. Read the price match rules carefully and make sure you can live with the restrictions. The Radisson Maingate is a decent 3 star property -- not fantastic, but you probably can't do better on priceline for under $50.
  15. I just looked at HOTWIRE and, for your days, there's a 3 star in Buena Park for $59. Not perfect, but I would think entirely acceptable. So no need to worry about finding a place. Let the deal come to you.
  16. I still think Orange County is, generally, NOT a good market to bid more than a few weeks in advance for. If you read the boards, you can see that MANY people get 3 star properties for $55 or less, but usually just a few weeks out. Whether summer or the extended nature of your stay will prevent you from snagging one of these deals is hard to know, but my strong hunch is that it will all work out for you IF YOU ARE PATIENT. It's possible that you might have to move once, but I think that it would probably be worth it to save the money. Instead of making a backup reservation, I would look at your dates on Hotwire. If there's a 3 or 3 1/2 star property at a rate of $75 or less, you're sitting pretty -- THAT'S your backup (sure, it might go up, but the odds are low). If there are no such properties, you might want to make a conventional reservation as a backup. It does seem like Priceline's inventory is a little better than Hotwire's in Orange County.
  17. I'm sure there are others with more experience in SoCal bidding, but the experience I do have suggests that the best window to bid in is under a month. In particular, San Diego and Orange County seem to have much better deals if you wait. LAX seems more random -- "if at first you don't succeed . . ." -- and I've actually had great luck advance planning in the San Fernando valley). If you want a 3 star in Orange County, I would stick to bidding $55 or less. You WILL ultimately find a good deal, if you're patient. My only hesitation in your case is that you want a lot of nights, and California schools seem to re-start later than most places (so late August might be busier than elsewhere in the country). But no reason to hurry. There are zillions of places to stay in the area, and you're almost certain to get a great deal if you sit back and let the deals come to you.
  18. Enjoy. The Hyatt is the nicest resort on Kauai. I personally don't think it's worth that when you can stay at the Hilton Kauai Beach Resort for $90 with the Entertainment Card, but the Hyatt is nicer.
  19. Whoops! I wonder if it got cut off in the title. May 23 thru May 25.
  20. It would be good to know, but I wouldn't rush into a $250+ opaque deal at Wailea. Sure, Maui hotel prices are crazy these days, but you should be able to find something conventionally at or below this price.
  21. Was rejected at $75, so this is probably the bottom. Previous effort to snag 4 star hotel in DC up to $85 failed. Three star always seems a bit of a gamble in big city downtowns (you often get a "dubious" 3 star, which is why I was initially bidding for 4 stars), but this looks like the jackpot. The hotel generally gets excellent reviews and the location at Metro Center is primo. Lowest rate on Marriott.com for these nights is $399 (insane, right?), so this is one of my best percentage-off deals. Hard to predict what you'll get in Washington on priceline, though.
  22. Boutique, Fitness Center, Business Center, High-speed Internet Access, Golf Nearby, Tennis Nearby. May 23-25, $107. Any ideas? Any other tips about opaque bidding in DC? This is the only interesting thing popping up on Hotwire for these dates. Is Hotwire inventory a good predictor of Priceline inventory in DC (like it is elsewhere)? Are there any good discount alternatives to priceline and hotwire in DC? Thanks.
  23. I'm unfamiliar with the history of St. John on priceline, but it sure seems like you're bidding a lot for summer travel -- as confirmed by the fact that there are non-opaque deals that seem to be near your bidding range. I would immediately suspend priceline bidding and take a good look at what hotels you might want to stay at, and what deals you can get from conventional sources. Seems like choosing your own hotel might be the best idea, and also the least expensive one. You can always low-ball bid again in a month or two.
  24. The people who want to minimize their chances of getting the Sheraton have never stayed at the Maui Sheraton -- it's a great hotel in a great location. A rival to the Hyatt as the best place to stay in Kaanapali. WAY above average for a Hawaiian resort. There are few opaque deals on Maui these days. My recollection is that there's a new promo at the Sheraton (I think travelzoo might have had it) for $199, and my recollection is that it MIGHT go through early May. Unless you got EXTREMELY lucky, you're not going to get the Hyatt for anywhere near that price. And by buying non-opaque, you're likely to get a better room and can use Starwood Preferred Guest benefits. On this site, you'll also find reference to a 5-night $749 package you can book with referral from a Starwood Vacation Ownership member (more details at flyertalk), and that could be another good option. The SVO plan allows stays at the Sheraton or the Westin (if available), and I would definitely choose the Sheraton.
  25. Thanks. Yeah, that's the thread I came across. Sounds like the same strategy should work for Chinese nationals -- assuming they have an appropriate credit card, and assuming the system recognizes Chinese cards. I'll let everyone know what happens. Right now they seem interested in bidding, but they'll have to get comfortable with the process (not so easy when it's something very foreign to your experience).
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