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About lizamead

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  1. Amenities at initial screen - I forgot to write them down, but they definitely included free parking/internet, pool, and all suites, and golf nearby. I think it might have included laundry also but am not sure. It also had a 90% recommended rating. Given all that, plus the absence of free breakfast, I was about 99% sure it would be the Candlewood Suites, and I'd googled for other all-suites hotels in the area and would have been okay with them instead although with a strong preference for the Candlewood Suites since I was attending an event right there. So I was pleased when it was indeed Candlewood Suites. Total paid was about $81, vs about $125 all in ($112 posted rate) otherwise. Amenities at final screen: Suite Free parking Free Internet Smoke-free rooms Fitness center Pool(s) Self-service laundry Internet access Golf nearby Kitchenette
  2. Started bidding for 4* downtown at $45, increasing in $5 increments with free rebids up to $60, then up to $63, with no luck. Started again with 3* downtown at $48. Rejected, but with a message that if I increased to $55 I could bid again right away. Added free rebid and increased to $50, got the 3.5* Hilton. Pretty happy with this, considering my options. Not all that pleased with wifi charges and high parking rates, but all in all, pretty happy. (And the lowest direct rate, with AAA, was $170.)
  3. Brookfield/Waukesha/Pewaukee area 3.5* hotel, with first-page amenities of indoor pool and free internet (which are the filters I used) plus airport shuttle and smoke-free rooms; full amenities are Amenities See description Indoor pool(s) Airport Shuttle Smoke Free Rooms Fitness Center Pool(s) Restaurant(s) Business Center Laundry Facilities (self-service) High-Speed Internet Access Accessible for the blind Accessible for the deaf Free Parking Free Internet Accessible path of travel In-room accessibility Wheelchair accessible Accessible bathroom Handicapped parking Roll-in shower Also listed as recommended by 95% of hotwire users. Was pretty certain from lists here that this would be the Sheraton, which it was. Lowest direct rate (AAA) was $135/nt plus tax. Mine came to $67.75 all in. I probably could have gotten a less expensive room from priceline, but there are too many places that don't have pools so this was better for me.
  4. The amenities listed on the confirmation are: Smoke Free Rooms Airport Shuttle Complimentary Breakfast Fitness Center Pool(s) Restaurant(s) Laundry Facilities (self-service) High-Speed Internet Access Golf Nearby Children's Activity Program I just wasn't sure that those were all the same ones listed originally so didn't want to assume - I didn't remember seeing "children's activity" ahead of time, although I might just not have paid attention. Sorry.
  5. Amenities included shuttle, breakfast, restaurant, pool, fitness, laundry, internet and possibly one or two others that I didn't think to write down before purchasing. It completely matched the Country Inn and Suites listing, and came close to matching Best Western (which also has free breakfast according to their website, although not on amenities listed on BB), so I felt reasonably confident it was CI&S, and was pleased that it was given the great reviews on Trip Advisor. Hotwire also listed it as having 100% customer recommendations. Best direct rate was $115 (AAA) all-inclusive; hotwire rate came to $75.46 total. Thanks, BB.
  6. Try one: Bid on 3* East Lansing $35, rejected. Added Lansing, $38, then added 2.5* and got rejected at $43. Next day: Bid $44 for 3* East Lansing, then added 2.5* for $45, then added Lansing at $47 and got the Springhill Suites, Lansing West for a total of $60.55 (inc taxes/fees). A bit further west than I'd have preferred, but otherwise looks great - pool, breakfast, suite with kitchenette. Cheapest direct price was $79 ($90 inc tax). It's also the same as or slightly cheaper than any of the 1*s (Red Roof, Super 8, etc) would have been directly.
  7. Started bidding yesterday 2* East Lansing $30, rejected. Left it at that. Today, started with 2.5* East Lansing $35/nt, rejected. Added Lansing, raised to $40/nt, rejected. Added 2* and raised to $45/nt, accepted by the 3* Courtyard by Marriott, for $109.92 total. I'm pretty pleased with this. I know sometimes the upgrades to 3*s are a hassle (there's no free breakfast here, while most 2.5 *s have that), but it seems like a great hotel, I'm thrilled to have the pool, and with the savings (the lowest rate from their website was $116/nt with AAA, $129/nt without) I'm happy to pay for breakfast in their bistro restaurant.
  8. Stayed here on a $42/nt priceline bid, and was very happy with the hotel. I'd read a few trip advisor reviews upon getting the priceline acceptance, and was a bit worried abt cleanliness from some of those, and so I think I was primed to notice problems. My room did seem a bit musty and not quite as dehumidified as I'd like at times, but I'm not sure I'd have noticed it had I not been primed to, and even so, it wasn't something that was huge, or constant. In general, I thought both my room and the hotel overall were well maintained. The front desk staff was great - very helpful and friendly - when I asked about nearby restaurants beyond those I saw out the window, they gave other options and also noted that they had discount coupons for several (and also pointed out to me that the room keys had an ad for 15% discount at the TGI Fridays across the street). They also helped me with directions, giving me a better map than I'd had initially. The "suites" are really more like regularly sized rooms that have a partial room divider between the bed area and a sofa/table area. The TV was in a cabinet in front of the sofa (which also served as the dresser and stored the fridge and microwave) , but could be brought forward and angled to be seen readily from the bed and desk (in front of the bed). The pool was lovely, and the fitness room (located away from the pool, on the 2nd floor, and not open to children) included some weight equipment as well as the treadmill, bike, stairclimber. Coffee was available all day in the lobby, as were real newspapers, not stupid USA Todays. Breakfast was pretty tasty, including basic continental stuff, make-your-own-waffles, and also eggs, sausages, and spiced potatoes. Location was excellent - right off the highway (90/94), abt a 15 or so minute drive to downtown Madison.
  9. Bid $42 on Madison East, accepted first time, at East Towne Suites. I was a bit bummed that I possibly could have gotten it for less, since it was accepted on the first try, but I was bidding the day before check-in and so didn't do a whole long series of bids to ensure rock-bottom pricing, and I'm pretty sure at most I overbid by four dollars or so, so I'm okay with that. (The comparable hotwire rates were in the high 40s and 50s, and the best online rate for this hotel was $80/nt, direct and through the open priceline page.) It was a great stay and I'm very happy with the win. Review to come.
  10. Stay was 8/4-8/7/09 on a $44/nt priceline win. Got there in late evening (around 8 or 9) and was very happy my reception - front desk staff was very friendly and helpful - I asked for a nonsmoking room and was moved to one (I think - she had been about to give me a room # and when I asked for nonsmoking, went back to her computer for a moment...) no problem. Staff did mention my booking was through priceline (which I'm fine with but I know some others object to), matter-of-factly, though, not with any negativity at all, just noting it was pre-paid. Offered lots of help with planning, with info abt hotel, fitness room keys, etc, and gave me envelopes the next day when I realized I had none. Hotel was convenient to the highway, clean and quiet, and had a fridge in the room, which I find very useful. Wireless worked great, pool was good, fitness room was tiny (treadmill, bike, stairclimber) but fine. Breakfast was a bit disappointing - two kinds of cereal, waffle station, bagels, hard boiled eggs, but no fruit the first day (although there was the second) and not much selection relative to other hotel breakfasts I thought. Also, it closes at 9, and I prefer a later breakfast, but oh well- it was my only complaint and not even a complaint as much as an observation, and all in all, I was very happy at this hotel, and especially with the friendly and helpful staff.
  11. Started bidding on 3* Oconomowoc for 8/4-8/6 at $38, adding free rebids in $1 increments up to $43. (Hotwire had a 2.5* for $48, so that was my comparison since I didn't care as much abt star level.) Started a new bid for 2.5* at $32, increasing up to $38, no luck. Did similar bids for the next few days, increasing slightly until I got up to $48 with still no luck, so started over at 2* Oconomowoc at $40, rejected, then added Delafield (I was fine with either of those two towns, and used the other choices only as free rebids - lots of those for 3* and 2.5* and some for 2* as well) at $44 and hit. I should have used the free rebids and not increased the four dollar increment that time, so I might have overpaid by a few dollars, but by then I was tired of waiting, and still got a good deal with La Quinta compared with both hotwire and direct options. Ended up extending a night with "add-a-night" for the same $44, although with the added service fee of course, so not as good a deal as if I'd done it all together, but still a good deal. Stay was also very positive - review to follow.
  12. Started bidding on Novi 3* at $30, adding Livonia and then Farmington, and going up to $36, I think, with no luck. Started new bid on Novi 2.5* for $35, got counteroffer for $9 more (ignored it), added Livonia and upped to $36, then added Farmington and upped to $38, and success: Courtyard by Marriott, Novi. I'm very happy - I love Courtyards, and Novi is where I wanted to be in the first place. Total came to $49.62; on Marriott website, the best rate I could have gotten (AAA) was $80, or $87.60 with tax. Cheapest Hotwire rates for that night were $38 for a 2*, or $57 for a 3*, or $60 for a 2.5*.
  13. As already posted, I got the 2* StudioPlus Suites for $35 for one night (so $45 total cost). I already knew the location, but was unfamiliar with the hotel (or its chain). In general, it was fine. My four-year-old LOVED the full kitchen, and kept exclaiming, "Mama! Look - there's a microwave!! And a toaster!!" You'd think the kid had never seen a kitchen before.. Anyway, it's not like we used it much, but I liked having the full fridge and the freezer, and if we'd stayed longer I could see that being useful. The room itself was large and clean, and the hotel in general seemed a bit run-down, but also clean. The fitness room was tiny - a treadmill, plus two exercise bikes (one regular, one recumbant) that didn't have electrical cords so couldn't be plugged in - you could pedal them but not program resistance or anything. We had fun with the treadmill though. So in general, I was happy. Two things made me less happy though. First, in the middle of the night, some idiot was in the parking lot right outside my (second floor) window yelling and honking his horn. And because it's an extended-stay hotel, their guest guide says that there's no one in the main office except for emergencies (through a number to call), so I didn't even try to have someone go out there. I really didn't like not have access to a front desk person for stuff like that. More annoying was that as we were trying to leave, I got locked out!! It took two trips to bring all our stuff downstairs, so we brought the first batch down, and then I went up for the last few things and my key didn't work! Fully aggravated, I went back downstairs, where the clock read seven minutes before 11, and the clerk said the key stopped working because it was now checkout time. I pointed to the clock and noted that there were still seven minutes before checkout time, even if they DID think cancelling out the keys at CO time itself made sense. He said the clock was slow. I was just incensed, and pointed out that a) both my room clock and his office clock indicated I still had a few minutes, and :) more importantly, even if it WERE actually 11 on the nose, why on earth would they cut off keys right at that moment, KNOWING the guest was not yet checked out??? Yes, he didn't do it himself, but I thought the system itself just sucked, and I told him that I found it incredible that their hotel would want the very last interaction guests had with the hotel to be annoyance at having to get rekeyed in the midst of checking out. He apologized, but obviously it's the hotel's policy to cancel out keys at checkout time automatically, and I was so peeved at that that I would absolutely not stay there again, and will also not be bidding on 2*s in this area again just to avoid StudioPlus. Which is a shame, because I've in general had SUCH positive experiences with my priceline hotels, and have deliberately stayed at the same hotels directly because of that, and also because I've stayed at both Hampton Inns (also 2*s in Ann Arbor) and liked them. But this was way too annoying. I'd rather spend a bit more for a nicer place and a better attitude toward guests.
  14. What sucked about the bed?? The location is definitely great - I stayed at the Hampton Inn right near there last time. And the kitchen will make it easier for me to bring milk and to make lots of bags of ice for my traditional Trader Joes run - usually I have to go back and forth to ice machines. So I'm hoping this will all be just fine. And like you, it's just for one night... If I were bidding in A2 again though, I'd probably stick with a 2.5*.
  15. Well, in general I'm a pretty experienced priceline user, and so try not to take up people's time when I can come up with my own bidding strategies. In this case, I simply went too fast due to being much too busy at work and wanting to cross things off my to-do list. Live and learn. Thanks for the suggestion though.
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