Priceline Hotel: 2.5* San Diego (Downtown-Harbor Island) Holiday Inn Harbor View

GM Mike
By GM Mike,

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Going to be in San Diego for the nights of 1/3 and 1/4. Here's the itinerary:

Arrive by car around 4pm 1/3/06. As the GF loves the ocean, I'd like to aim for a strategy that gets us a nice hotel near the ocean, in a neighborhood that also has some inexpensive nightlife (tavern/pub style), for the night of 1/3/06. If you can think of some other way to incorporate the ocean into the day, and know of a neighborhood with better night life, that's also an option. She's also mentioned wanting to go to Sea World.

The next night, 1/4/06, the priority is to be near the airport, preferably with a hotel shuttle, as we will no longer have the car.

Price is rather important. We were targeting $60/night including parking. I'd be willing to go up to perhaps $75 for the first night, if it got us something really nice.

I'm looking for advice on two levels: What areas (mapped to priceline zones) should I be looking at, and then probably some help with a bidding strategy to get the best bang for the buck.


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I'm not especially good at Priceline bidding strategies, but I am a San Diego local, and I can advise on locations.

San Diego, unlike most resort towns, doesn't have a pleothra of hotels on the ocean.

Carlsbad-Encinitas-Cardiff: These hotels are located 20-30 miles north of San Diego (and Sea World), but are likely to be close to the ocean. The comunities are sleepy, but homey, and very friendly. There will be little (if any) nightlife. Lots of emphasis on "lay back and relax". There is a train that runs down the coast that will drop you at downtown, and have access to busses to airport, seaworld, downtown, etc.

Coronado: Both known hotels are on the bay, but very nice. (Read my "bay vs ocean" diatribe, below.) There is a ferry that goes across the bay, from which you can access busses to the airport or seaworld. Downtown is ripe with nightlife, and Coronado will have coffee shops and bars open until 2am.

Del Mar: Virtually the same as Carlsbad-Encinitas-Cardiff, but not as far away.

Downtown San Diego & Harbor Island: My personal preference, with loads of nightlife and all hotels in prime spots. Bus or train to anywhere in town. Plenty to see and do. This is where I'd stay. Most hotels aren't on the bay, but are within walking distance.

Escondido - Vista: Inland, far from anywhere (for your needs).

Miramar - Rancho Penasquitos: Ditto

Mission Valley: Centrally located, locally called "Hotel Circle", a central location for folks with a car, but virtually unreachable by bus.

Point Loma - Shelter Island - Old Town

Rancho Bernardo: Inland, far from anywhere (for your needs).

San Diego Coastal: Farther north, but I believe there are actually a few hotels with ocean views / walk to ocean. Many hotels on Mission Bay. Our transit system in San Diego is horrible, but it could probably be arranged to get a bus or something to the airport, or to Sea World. (Sea World is close to many hotels on Mission Bay, but not close enough to walk. Perhaps a $10 taxi ride, each way.)

Sorrento Mesa: Of limited use for your needs.

Obviously, I reccomend downtown. The caveat is that it is Bay-side, not ocean-side. The bay looks like a lake. No crashing waves, no sandy beaches... mostly shipping ports and big buildings. Still beautiful, don't get me wrong, but my Mom is into the ocean, and the bay just won't substitute. F'rinstance, you can't lay on the sand and read a book on the bay. It's mostly parks and concrete. :-)

For prices, I usually take the hotwire price, subtract 30%, and start there.

Hope this was in some way useful. I'm happy to answer any more questions that you may have. I apologize for spelling mistakes, I can't find a spellcheck in here, and I'm just too lazy to put it all in OpenOffice. :-)

Best of luck.

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Let's use this thread for your stay on 1/3/06... please start a NEW THREAD for your stay of 1/4/06.

To get a feel for the zones you may also want to check out our Priceline San Diego Map (can be found among the list of all avaialble PRICELINE HOTEL MAPS.

Once you decide which zones are acceptable to you, based upon the information above as well as whatever else you can find, let us know and we'll suggest a bidding strategy to help. If beachfront/bayfront if a "must", you may want to consider Hotwire as that will ensure you get a waterfront prpoerty (based upon the amenity icons).

Please use this HOTWIRE and these PRICELINE LINKS: HOTELS, CAR RENTALS, and AIRFARE to begin your travel purchases

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I think the costal zone would be a good place for one night if you can target the Hyatt Islandia on Hotwire. The hotel is on the bay and only a few blocks from the ocean. Theres a bunch of cool bars and places to party by the ocean.

I aways stay downtown SD by the water front but the night clubs in DT are not cheap. The problem with bidding the DT area is that the Sheraton harbor Island is coming up a lot and is about a $12-$15 cab ride to the Gaslamp (Clubs) area. The downtown area is great if you can avoid the Sheraton.

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Thank you photomikey, thereuare, and bbbb for advice so far. I've been learning about these areas and hotels for hours now. Here's my thinking:

If we bid Coastal, the Islandia looks like a good pick. Their views look to be a $20 upgrade, so it could work for the right price. The problem is, I'm seeing what is likely the Islandia on hotwire for $128 right now. That's not going to work. It's also not been coming up lately on priceline, according to the bids posted. The other hotels reported aren't nearly as interesting. From pictures on their websites and on tripadvisor, the views don't look very interesting and some are quite far from downtown.

Then I looked at the Downtown hotels. SOME have interesting views. Some don't. Some are in the middle of the action in downtown, some are by the airport. It's a very mixed bag.

At this point, I'm thinking no matter what option we take, we'll be paying for ground transportation. Either into downtown from the coastal area, or to the beach and/or sea world from downtown, or to downtown from an airport hotel.

I think, overall, I'd rather bid Downtown for BOTH nights on one bid. If I get the Sheraton, that's not a terrible thing. There's a chance of a decent view, right? And we could do something like airport shuttle then bus into downtown at least in one direction, if we decide to go downtown. The rooms have balconies, which I love. The other hotel choices look good from EITHER a view OR downtown location perspective, tho generally not both. And there's a big bonus to us staying in the same hotel for both nights, based on the timing of when we'll get in and when we'll leave. It just seems easier to "make the best of" the transportation situation using a property in the downtown zone. There is also a chance we may arrive on the 2nd and have 3 nights in San Diego. If so, then I still have the option of bidding one Coastal night, and if it's a dud, we have 2 potentially good nights downtown.

The next issue is, Downtown bidding probably doesn't fit within our price range. I was aiming for $60/night including parking. Now that I know more about lodging in San Diego, there's no way that's going to work. But I'd still like to aim for a bid price no higher than $70. That would put us at about $90 since I've seen an average of about $20 for parking in the downtown hotels. That tends to indicate 4* is out, unless we get a free upgrade from priceline.

So given that long winded explanation... I'm thinking of a bidding strategy along the lines of:

Bid both nights together:

Pick Downtown/Harbor Island zone at $60 for 4* and free rebid $65, just to rule out the possibility.

Then bid Downtown/Harbor Island 3* at $60 and $65. Then go back and free rebid on 4* to $70, again to rule out the possibility, then use the last free rebid on 3* to $70.

I need to wait until at least next week to make sure this trip is really happening, but I should have time to do a second cycle after 72 hours.

Failing all of that, as a backup plan, develop a bidding strategy on a 2.5 star. I could live with that, I suppose, if I had to.

What are you opinions?

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Theres a chance you might get a 4* DT for $60-$70 but I don't think so. I think if you bid $50-$60 DT for 3* you have a good chance of getting the Holiday Inn on the bay. It sits right across the street from the bay. Theres also a good chance you will get the Hilton harbor island at the airport. I think the hiltons rate is high enough that it won't come up but theres always that chance. I also think after checking the Radissons rates that it could come up if you bid this.

Then theres the almost sure thing. Buy the 3* ocean front on Hotwire for $77 that has a great chance to be the Holiday Inn on the bay. If it were me and close to the water is important,I would go with Hotwire. The Holiday Inn also has a airport shuttle.

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Hmmmm..... bbbb, you make some really good points. That Holiday Inn looks decent, as does the Hilton you mentioned, but the Radisson.... gah.

And there's the almost sure thing, but it's just outside what I want to spend.

Hrm. Ok, let's pause here. I can't bid until later in the week/next week anyway, until we know the trip is for sure. I'll update again before I bid.

THANKS for all the help, guys!

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Here's an update:

For the first night, I ended up not using PL/HW and instead booked into the Surfer Beach Hotel at $80. It has mostly good reviews on Tripadvisor, guestrooms were renovated this year, is directly on the beach with balconies, and it delightfully kitchy, which will appeal to the GF. Definitely roughing it a little (no air conditioning???) but it's something she'd really like.

Now aiming for 2.5* downtown. Must keep the price of the second night down. Just bid $38 and $40 on 2.5* Downtown + free rebid and didn't get it, so I'll wait 72 hours and try again.

Thanks again for all your help everyone!

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Let's give some closure to this thread!

Signed on just now, first bid of $42 accepted for 2.5* Downtown:

Holiday Inn Harbor View

Downtown San Diego & Harbor Island

1617 First Avenue

San Diego, California 92101


Check-In Date: Wed, Jan 4, 2006

Check-In Time: After 03:00 PM

Check-Out Date: Thu, Jan 5, 2006

Check-Out Time: 12:00 PM

Your Offer Price: $42.00

Number of Rooms: 1

Number of Nights: 1

Subtotal: $42.00

Taxes & Service Fees: $12.01

Total Charges: $54.01

This makes us happy, if only becaue of the free airport shuttle. :)

Thanks again for all your help, everyone!

thereuare, would you please change the title of this thread? :)

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