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About Senoreit

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  1. Thanks for following up and sharing your win with the board! Now the Allegro can be moved into the "confirmed" column on the Illinois Hotwire hotel list. :)
  2. I think the #1-#4 rankings that Nunu posted were limited to the hotels that were being mentioned in this thread as a possible backup for you, not an overall top four ranking of Strip hotels. Obviously the Bellagio and Venetian are nicer than those four, and Mandalay Bay is generally cosidered nicer too, but Mandalay Bay is also usually quite expensive so it's not really a viable option as a backup in this case (it wouldn't make sense to reserve a backup that costs more but isn't as nice as the hotel you're targeting). In other words, of the nice hotels that are in a reasonable price range that you are considering as a backup, Nunu thinks that Paris is the best. At least that's how I interpreted it... By the way, am I correct that you will only be staying for one night (1/26)? And if you're in Vegas, I would assume you'll spend at least some of that one night outside the hotel room. Maybe I'm missing something, but I've never seen such extensive research for a backup hotel for a one-night stay. These places are all "nice," I have a feeling that any of them would suffice for one night if you can't get your desired 5*, but maybe your standards are higher than mine. :)
  3. Abe, There are countless sites online on which you can find hotel reviews to determine which hotels are generally considered bether than others. Tripadvisor would be a good start. Just go to Google and search for "Las Vegas hotel reviews" or search for reviews on a specific hotel. As far as whether or not anyone has successfully bid for 5* lately, all of the winning bids for Las Vegas posted by users of this site are listed in this same category you're posting in, Priceline - Nevada. The amount it will take to win a bid for the Venetian usually depends on how high conventional rates are at the time of your bid for the night(s) you want to stay. Right now it appears that rates are quite high for your date, so it might not end up being realistic to get the Venetian for less than $200, so if you're dead set on bidding for 5*, you might have to consider going up that high or higher. Personally I would wait until closer to your check-in date for 5* and hope that rates have come down (of course booking something cancellable as a back-up, as discussed), unless you're absolutely dead-set on 5* and have the budget for it (potentially $200+), in which case you could try now.
  4. Dirk, Here is a link to some graphs showing San Diego's average temperatures and precipitation amounts throughout the year: SAN DIEGO WEATHER. Since I've never been there, I can't really speak with any authority about the best area in San Diego in which to stay, so I hope others chime in on the subject. I do know that when I was doing some preliminary research in hopes of being able to visit there in the upcoming year, it seemed like the Downtown-Harbor Island zone would be most attractive to me. With the exception of the Sheraton which is close to the airport and known to give less desirable rooms to HW/PL guests, all of the hotels in that zone are generally well-reviewed and close to abundant shopping and dining and things to do (zoo, coastal attractions, etc.). Of course if I do go to San Diego, I'll have a rental car so I have easy access to outside of downtown too, but I almost always like to stay downtown when I'm visiting a city on vacation as I feel that's the best way to get a true "experience" and sense of the city. I know some people like to stay in less busy/more secluded areas, so it depends on your individual personality too. Like I said, hopefully others will offer their opinions.
  5. The Hilton Checkers, which is less than half a mile away from the Westin, has a room with two queen beds available for 89 bucks directly from their website. You could probably try Priceline and end up getting a room there or somewhere else (again, to make sure you fully understand Priceline, you wouldn't be bidding for a specific hotel, you'd be picking the minimum star level acceptable to you and bidding for a hotel located anywhere within a certain geographical area) for a little less, but booking the Hilton directly would guarantee you a close location and the two beds you presumably need.
  6. As best I can tell from the searching I've done, your current options for 3*+ hotels in the city for $75 are slim...but you already knew that. :) There's the 3* property in the Loop on Hotwire which thereuare thinks might be the Holiday Inn, and the 4* for $94 on Hotwire in the "South and West of Loop" that I strongly assume is the Hyatt Regency McCormick Place. As I said, you might be able to get the HRMP on Priceline for cheaper than the $94, I'm not positive you could get it for $75 or less though. I also searched the conventional sites but didn't find anything for $75 or less in the areas you're looking for. Again, I'm sure you already knew that. If it's absolutely crucial that you attend this convention, I see your options being the following, in no particular order: 1) If the Hyatt Regency McCormick Place is acceptable to you, try bidding up to $75 for 4* in Greater Chicago on Priceline. I would first look up reviews for this hotel and also be mindful of public transportation options to take you to other parts of the city. There is a METRA ELECTRIC stop at McCormick Place which will take you up into the Loop, but to get any further north than that you'd have to get off and ride the subway. I haven't looked into train schedules on the Metra Electric, and I can't vouch for the clientele late at night (I really have no insight one way or the other), but it is an option. I would also assume that there are bus stops nearby, but I really don't know much of anything about the bus system in Chicago. If worse comes to worst, there are always cabs. Of coure I'm assuming you won't have a rental car. 2) Up your potential spending limit and/or downgrade your star rating requirements and book a cancellable backup reservation now. There is still hope that rates could come down in the future so that you might be able to snag something cheaper on Priceline or Hotwire closer to the time of your stay. If not, at least you'll have protection against rates going up and/or hotels selling out. 3) Up your spending limit right now and try to get something on Priceline in the Loop/NMA (most likely the Loop). 4) Go ahead and roll the dice on the 3* in the Loop on Hotwire. After all, a hotel in a non-ideal location is better than no hotel or something that dramatically exceeds your budget. Again, I'm probably not telling you anything you don't already know, and I know these aren't the greatest of options, but at this point I don't have any bright ideas. I know you have a maximum price limit in mind, but if you hold firm to it and aren't able to find anything in that range, your options might end up being even less attractive: staying in a roach motel in the city, staying in the suburbs or close to O'Hare airport and taking the train into the city, or not going to the convention at all. Keep us posted and good luck...
  7. Well, there are a few ways you could go about this. First of all, if proximity to McCormick Place is your number one priority, then you shouldn't be targeting the Loop zone. The Hyatt Regency McCormick Place is actually connected to McCormick Place via enclosed walkways, and that hotel is located in Hotwire's "South and West of Loop" zone and is rated 4* according to their vacation package listings. I'm not aware of any other hotels in that zone that could conceivably be considered 4*, so as long as you stick to that star level, you don't have much of a risk of ending up somewhere in the western part of the zone, away from McCormick Place. Of course there are never any guarantees with Hotwire or Priceline. :) However, if you want to try to target the Hyatt Regency McCormick Place, I would actually recommend that you try bidding on Priceline. Priceline has a Chicago zone called "Greater Chicago," and similarly to Hotwire, the Hyatt is the only 4* hotel known to be located in this zone. Usually hotels will go for a bit cheaper on Priceline than they will on Hotwire, that's why I say if you want to target this property I would try Priceline first. Conventional rates for the Hyatt are very high for your dates, but Hotwire shows the 4* that I would strongly assume is the Hyatt for $92/night, so you'd probably be able to get it on Priceline for a bit cheaper than that. The downside to staying in that area/zone is that apart from McCormick Place itself, it doesn't have much to offer. Especially at night, the area would be dead and not pleasant to walk around in. To get to anywhere you might want to visit or eat, you'd probably have to take a fairly long cab ride. If having to commute to McCormick Place every day wouldn't be an issue for you, then I would refer to my previous comments on the Loop, NMA, and Mag. Mile-Wacker Dr. zones and recommend that you stay in whichever one sounds best to you or whichever one you could get cheapest, depending on your priorities. If you haven't discovered them already, there are lists of all the hotels that users have won in various Chicago zones on Hotwire and Priceline HERE. They may help you decide which zone would be best for you, and if you decide to use Hotwire the list may help you determine the identity of some of the mystery properties that are displayed for your dates. If you decide to use Priceline, you can post back and someone should help you formulate a bidding strategy, but first you'll want to make sure you're familiar with Priceline by reading through their "Terms and Conditions" and by reading THIS POST. As far as whether or not hotel rates will come down for that time frame, I really don't know. Perhaps someone else has an opinion on that.
  8. I have no further insight as to the identity of the mystery hotel, as I'm sure thereuare has researched it as thoroughly as I could, but I just want to expand on his comments about location and make sure that you would be okay with potentially ending up in a hotel in the far southwest corner of the Loop as defined by Hotwire's map. The only thing that I would consider to be in convenient walking distance of the Holiday Inn would be the Sears Tower, and while I wouldn't consider it to be an unsafe walk during the day, I also wouldn't consider it to be a pleasant one. The only thing the Holiday Inn has going for it location-wise is its proximity to a blue line subway stop so you can get away from that area, in which there's nothing to do. However, I will say that other than the southwest portion of the Loop, I don't think it's a bad area to stay in. In fact, the hotels that would be most convenient to such things as Millennium Park, Grant Park, the Art Institute, the Theater District, Buckingham Fountain, and several large stores on State Street (Marshall Field, Sears, Old Navy, etc.), are located in the Loop zone. North Michigan Avenue or Mag. Mile-Wacker Drive would be better choices to be close to Navy Pier, even more shopping (and more upscale stores than can be found in the Loop), and more and better restaurants, to name a few things. Also, it could probably be said that the hotels there are generally nicer than thier equally-rated counterparts in the Loop. Regarding special events, the Taste of Chicago (which is quite well-attended) will take place in Grant Park from June 24th to July 4th. I've never tried to book a hotel in the area during the Taste, so I don't know if rates tend to be significantly higher than usual. Well, if you have any more questions, post back and I'm sure we'll do our best to help. Good luck!
  9. If you do a Google search for the text from the OTR description that you quoted in your post, the first three results that come back are sites related to a hotel called "The Shelburne Murray Hill Hotel," so I'd say there's a pretty good chance that this is the property in question. Try it yourself, you'll see. The Tripadvisor reviews for this property are very favorable. As I mentioned in another thread, many of the descriptions for "Off the Record" properties on EasyClickTravel seem to be copied verbatim from descriptions on other sites.
  10. In almost all major metro areas, you would have at least one re-bid zone when bidding for a 3*, but unfortunately that's not the case in L.A. I guess this is the one time when the existance of too many nice (3*+) hotels is a bad thing. :)
  11. I must say, their opaque product is the strangest thing I've ever seen. I did a search for Chicago and the identities all of the "Off the Record" properties that I checked out were blatantly obvious. Some of the listings contained names of hotel restaurants, which is a giveaway. One "Off the Record" listing, under "room type," listed a "Fairmont Room." Gee, I wonder if it could be the Fairmont! :) Another "Off the Record" listing actually contained the brand name of the hotel, I kid you not: "Then the sound of falling water leads you to the W Living Room. A mahogany-lined grotto designed to soothe your mind and stir your imagination, this is where the W experience really begins." Some of the descriptions, at least parts of them, seem to be taken verbatim from descriptions that can be found on non-opaque sites. Now, being able to easily identify the properties is good for the consumer, of course, but from what I understand, hotels that participate in these opaque services at least like for it to be remotely challenging for people to be able to identify their listings or target their property. So I wonder if any changes will be made...
  12. Yes, I want to add my thanks for posting this too! I just signed up for Skymiles and earned my 10,000 miles from this game, and I also successfully applied for a Skymiles Gold American Express Card which gives 10,000 free Skymiles with the first purchase and the $85 annual fee is waived for the first year. Once I get my Amex card and make a purchase, and once the miles from the game post to my account, I should have 20,000 Skymiles with virtually no effort. As an aside, I wonder what the origin of that link is. I went to Delta's home page, clicked on "Travel" and then "Special Offers," but couldn't find a reference to the "Dash to the Gate" game anywhere. Oh well, I suppose all that matters is that it works! :)
  13. Congratulations "Dad" and best of luck with everything!!! :)
  14. YOU CAN FIND PHOTOS OF THIS HOTEL AND UNION STATION ON REALHOTELPHOTOS.COM BY CLICKING THE FOLLOWING LINK: Hyatt Regency St. Louis and Union Station Photos Obviously the defining characteristic of this hotel is its location within Union Station. It's hard to put into words how great of a job I think they did with the renovation of this building, which in the early 1980s was abandoned and within a year or two of decaying to the point of being totally irreparable according to a documentary that runs continuously on one of the TV channels in the rooms. It is now one of the most popular destinations in downtown St. Louis, and all of the modernities blend beautifully with the history and magnificent architecture of the station. As the previous review mentions, in addition to the hotel, the renovated station houses a shopping mall, which puts a lot at the fingertips of anyone staying here. Due to the nature of the existing infrastructure, there are no huge department-type stores, but there are a few nationwide chain stores as well as independent stores, and, perhaps most relevant to travelers, many restaurants on site. There is also a small grocery store on the lower level of the mall, right next to the hotel elevators, which carries only the very basics like cold drinks, snacks, and a few pharmaceuticals and toiletries. Our room was nice; not what I would consider luxurious but with no glaring inadequacies. It was perhaps a touch larger than average and seemed to be clean and in good shape. The bed was firm but comfortable, although I didn
  15. Will do, thereuare. Hope you and everyone else has a nice holiday.
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