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Everything posted by KathyWdrf

  1. Title says "USW" but thread says "USE." So, which zone is it? Union Square WEST or Union Square EAST? :)
  2. So, if this is for Los Angeles and vicinity, what is it doing in the "Hotwire -- all other cities" forum instead of the "Hotwire -- Los Angeles" forum? And, since it's evidently in the wrong forum, why wasn't it moved to the correct one?
  3. I know this is off-topic, but in response to your request for discount theater tickets, sign up at http://www.playbill.com . They have a lot of special offers that can be booked (usually) online, by phone, or in person at the theater. I hate standing in line and therefore prefer this method of getting discounts over the TKTS booth or waiting in line at the theater for cancellations. (By the way, there are other similar websites, but the Playbill one seems pretty comprehensive and I've had very good luck getting decent seats at good prices with them.)
  4. The above review was originally in the thread about my purchase on Hotwire. Since the administrator moved the post here, I'd like to add the following information for the sake of completeness: Hotwire 3.5* Los Angeles (Pasadena) Sheraton, 12/24-12/26/2003 $49 Amenities: Restaurant, Pool, Fitness Center, Business Center, Tennis, Self-service Laundry Price per night $49 x 2 nights + $20.95 taxes and booking fees = $118.95 total. Purchased on 12/16/2003. Kathy
  5. Had a fine stay, as I expected. After my two nights at $49 on Hotwire, I had three nights here at $66/night + tax. This was a special "three nights for the price of two" limited-availability deal offered on http://www.spg.com that required booking/payment using a MasterCard. (I had tried to book all five nights at a similar special rate but there was no availability, so I went with the three weekend nights @ $66, then took my chances on the other two nights with Hotwire; got lucky and got the same hotel, so didn't have to move!) I kept the same room througout the five nights. I had a king-bed room on the fifth floor. Note that the shape of this hotel (which is five stories high) tapers, and thus the higher-floor rooms are smaller than those on the lower floors. The second-floor rooms have step-out balconies as well. The stay was uneventful, EXCEPT for a small fire in one of the other fifth-floor rooms! I've experienced many fire alarms (in hotels and other places), and this was the first time it turned out NOT to be a false alarm. Luckily, my room was far from the affected room and therefore suffered no damage (no squishy carpeting from the firefighting water or foam, nor any smoke damage). The hotel was busily repairing the damage, removing furniture and stripping wallpaper, carpet, etc., in an effort to prepare the room for the busiest, highest-occupancy time of year, the New Year/Rose Bowl/Rose Parade. The fire MAY have been caused by a faulty heater. I NEVER left my heater on while out of the room or asleep. (The comforter on the bed is thick and warm, so a slightly chilly room was no problem.) I suggest you follow suit if you stay here!!! Kathy
  6. This was a poor bargain at $50 a night. I would classify Inns of America as more of a 1 star rather than a 2 star. But Priceline's rating categories are so vague that it would be difficult to "prove" that this motel is misrated. On the plus side: convenient location (for my purposes), fridge & microwave in room, and continental breakfast (pastry, juice, coffee, mini-bagels & cream cheese, cereal & milk) included. On the minus side: cheap, low-quality construction, furnishings, and bedding; next to freeway (I-5), so some noise from that (though not unbearable). I noticed that roomsaver.com offers coupons for a midweek stay at $49.90 per night, so I could have saved at least a few dollars (the Priceline fee), maybe more. Overall, pretty much a disappointment as far as value for money. I would have been happy to pay about $20 per night plus taxes and fees for this, maybe even $25. The only times I have been disappointed in Priceline have been the times when I bid on 2 stars. Maybe I should just avoid doing this, since the chance of getting a 1 star instead seems high. The times I have bid on 2.5 or 3 stars I have gotten very good deals. Overall, I just haven't had much luck with Priceline lately. Kathy
  7. Yes, I realize that Priceline is better for 3* and 4* hotels than lower-rated ones. There's pretty slim pickings for Priceline in Carlsbad, however, and I thought I MIGHT get the Fairfield Inn (which happens to be only a short distance from Inns of America, so location-wise, I'm fine with my result). And yes, big cities are where you seem to get the bargains on Priceline. Kathy P.S.: I'll certainly report on my experience with the hotel after my stay!
  8. Doesn't look like I can edit my original post any more, so wanted to add this: It looks like online rates at the Inns of America Carlsbad on nights near the ones I booked are around $69.00 + 10% tax per night or $75.90 total per night. So it looks like I'm only saving about $16-$17 per night. NOT very impressive savings, especially when you consider the non-refundability and lack of choice involved in using opaque booking sites. Kathy
  9. Carlsbad Inns of America (2*) 12/29-12/31/2003 $50/night x 2 + $18.40 taxes and fees= $118.40 total. Purchased on 12/18/03. I bid on 2* because I thought I might get the Fairfield Inn Carlsbad (which has an AAA rate of about $85 for those nights). It's apparently participated with Priceline in the past (and may still, for all I know). However, I got Inns of America. We'll see how this turns out. Looks OK on their website ( http://www.innsofamerica.com/San-Diego-Poinsettia.html ). No availability shown for the nights I won, but on other nights near those dates, rate is about $85. Anyhow, the San Diego area has 11 zones on Priceline. Only one of those zones, Coronado, lacks any 2* hotels. So I used that as a "free rebid" zone. (Of course, if I had ended up winning a 3* or 4* in Coronado -- unlikely -- that would have been OK too!) I had bid earlier in the month, amounts like $25, $30, then later $33, $39, with no success. This time around, I bid $45 for a 2* in Carlsbad-Encinitas-Cardiff (one zone), got a counteroffer to raise the bid by $13, and declined it. Added Coronado (free rebid) and raised to $50. Won it. In my limited Priceline experience, when you get a counteroffer, that means you're close and you'll likely succeed if you raise your bid by a few dollars. Of course, if you have exhausted your preferred bidding opportunities (no more "free rebid" zones, no possible date changes, etc.), it might be best to take the counteroffer. I looked at Hotwire as well. The only thing they had that was close in price, $49, listed as its amenities Restaurant, Pool, Breakfast, Laundry. It had a Hotwire rating of 2*. I don't think this is the same hotel, as the Inns of America does not have a restaurant. (Unless the Restaurant amenity on Hotwire includes nearby restaurants in addition to actual hotel restaurants -- possible.) Kathy
  10. Amenities: Restaurant, Pool, Fitness Center, Business Center, Tennis, Self-service Laundry Note: Hotwire now rates the Pasadena Sheraton as 3.5 stars though the list on BetterBidding has it as 3 stars. Price per night $49 x 2 nights + $20.95 taxes and booking fees = $118.95 total. Purchased on 12/16/2003. I've stayed in this hotel before at Christmas time (NOT on Hotwire or Priceline) and it is fine. Noisy heating/air-conditioning units, though, and an extra charge for parking (but that's normal for Pasadena -- I believe it was about $7 per day). There is an interesting history here. I had tried bidding Pasadena a few times in the last couple of weeks on Priceline. This hotel is (probably) 3 stars on Priceline. There are limited "free rebid" opportunities in this area, as there are only four Priceline "zones" and all of them have 3 stars, etc. I only wanted the Pasadena area, not the other zones. So I tried bids like 3* at $45, then add 2.5* and bid $50. Unlikely I would get the 2.5* as it is probably the Courtyard by Marriott, which has much HIGHER rates for those dates than the Sheraton or Hilton, etc. (Sheraton and Hilton had rates of $99, Westin somewhat higher, Courtyard had $169. Probably because the Courtyard is closer to Old Pasadena. Of course, if perchance I DID get the Courtyard that would be fine!) Didn't have any luck with Priceline. Didn't want to go higher than $50, as I already had a "backup reservation" booked (in Arcadia) at a pretty good rate (and I would get points, free breakfast, free parking, etc. on this regular reservation in Arcadia). I had also checked Hotwire a couple of times but wasn't impressed with their offerings. But when I checked them again yesterday, there was this 3.5* star offering at $49! I suspected it was the Sheraton based on the amenities listed. But I thought I would try Priceline one more time, just for the heck of it -- well, not just for the heck of it, but because it would yield "interesting data" -- for me as well as all of you!!! Tried 3* at $45, then 2.5* at $49. No dice. So I returned to Hotwire and purchased the $49 deal, and unsurprisingly, it turned out to be the Sheraton. Somewhat surprised that Hotwire offered a better deal than Priceline, but I guess that happens sometimes -- perhaps more and more often now??? Kathy
  11. Am I missing something here? I don't see any DATES for this reservation. That is really vital information and should never be omitted! Kathy
  12. To recap: 2.5* Philadelphia downtown: Courtyard by Marriott on Saturday, June 21 for $40 + taxes and service fees of $11.31 = $51.31 total for one night. Cheapest rate I saw available for this night on the marriott.com website was a special "heritage package" rate of $109 + 14% tax, about $124 total. (The package included some museum passes.) I had a very good stay my one night. I have been to Philly numerous times on business trips, but this visit was a pleasure trip (and on my own nickel!). The hotel is in a historic building called the City Hall Annex. It is right in the center of Philly, across the street from City Hall, and close to shopping, entertainment, and dining. The Reading Terminal Market (which I ate my way through on Saturday afternoon) is one block away. The public spaces of the hotel are very grand, with high, decorated ceilings and nice furniture. On the ground floor is a quiet, spacious bar with lots of plush sofas to sit on. Only downside is that it closes early -- around midnight on a Saturday night! All I needed or expected was a basic room with one bed. To my surprise, I was given a large corner room with huge windows, two queen beds, a sofabed, and two armchairs. The room furnishings and decor, though not luxurious, were new and quite decent. I did give my Marriott Rewards number at the desk, not expecting any stay credit, but hoping that the incidentals I charged (a 75-cent local phone call and a bar bill) will earn me a few points. (I do not have elite status with Marriott and did not expect any elite "perks.") I really have no complaints about the stay. The only disappointment was that I was unable to get a late checkout (normal checkout time is noon), but, that's life. Kathy
  13. Maybe it depends on how far in advance you booked your room on PL. If you booked it just a few days before the stay, or on the same day, it would be understandable that PL would not have paid the hotel yet. But how about if you booked the room two months in advance of the stay, for example? (Not that I've ever done that on Priceline; the non-refundability factor causes me to wait until only a few weeks, or even only days, in advance.) I can see that Priceline would want to make use of the float as much as it possibly can to improve the bottom line. Kathy
  14. 2.5* Philadelphia downtown: Courtyard by Marriott on Saturday, June 21 for $40 + taxes and service fees of $11.31 = $51.31 total for one night. I've been trying for a 3 star in the last few days. Finally decided to go for a 2.5 star (which of course includes the possibility of an "upgrade" to higher categories). There is only one "free rebid" zone for 2.5 stars -- i.e., with NO hotels above the 2 star level: Veterans Stadium. Based on previous failure to get a 3 star for a top bid of $35 for this date, I started my 2.5 star bid at $36. (Maybe I should've started lower; but on Priceline, 2.5 stars in downtown Philly supposedly often costs as much as or more than 3 stars!) I received a "counteroffer" to add $10 to my bid for a guaranteed win. However, based on advice and past experience, I ignored this offer and instead added the one free rebid zone, Veterans Stadium, and upped my bid to $40. Success. The cheapest online rate I found for this night at this hotel is a special "CUE" rate (on the marriott.com website) of $109 + 14% tax = $124.26. Kathy P.S.: I think it would be really helpful if people would include ALL data in their posts, i.e., taxes, service fees and total, rather than just the "raw" winning bid. Many of the titles are incomplete also -- lacking the winning bid, for example.
  15. Why ON EARTH didn't you use the "free rebid" zones for three-star hotels for Philadelphia??? :) There are currently three Philly zones that have NO hotels of three or four stars: Deptford-Runnemede, Trevose-Bensalem, and Veterans Stadium. (This is easily ascertained on the Priceline website by clicking the box next to ONE zone and then clicking "next" to see a display of the star levels available for that zone; then using the Back button and repeating the process for each individual zone.) You could have bid for three stars a total of four times, starting in the zone you want, then making small bid increments and adding one of the "free rebid" zones each time. This strategy helps save money! EDIT by 'thereuare': an excellent explanation of how to determine re-bid zones, but if you're bidding this area, make certain that the zones listed above are still indeed re-bid zones, as they do change when hotels are added/removed. There is more info about re-bidding here: Bidding Again Before 72 hours
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