After a lot of posts from our camping adventure, it's time to talk about the other side of our travel equation - sleeping outside of a tent.
We love us a great travel deal. Maximizing value on the road is key for us, especially when searching for a hotel. We like to get our hands on incredible deals at decent places. When we can't, we book a budget accommodation and are perfectly content.
Here's a round up of our experiences putting Expedia, Priceline, Travelticker and Voyage Prive to the test over the last several month. The links will take you to our Snapshots of each property.
When we were planning our lengthy visit to the Palm Springs area, we couldn't decide which part of the expansive area to stay in. In the end, we decided to check out hotels in three different communities.
We started out in Indian Wells. This area, about 20 miles east of Palm Springs proper, is upscale and beautiful. Although the bonanza of gated communities is a bit off-putting, it's hard to resist the charm of this spacious and scenic area. We used Expedia to score a decent deal at Hyatt Grand Champions. The setting was ideal for relaxing - scenic and breathtaking. At $85/night, Expedia had a better rate than any other site (many offered discounted rates well over $200/night).
We're sad to report, though, that – since this time – Expedia isn't as golden as we thought. There's nothing like showing up to a sold out hotel to find that your reservation doesn't exist. What's worse? The way that Expedia handled it. Watch for details in a separate post.
Remember our mindful mileage run? At the end of that travel madness, in Boston, we secured The Sheraton via Priceline. We had a great stay. Our $95/night bid was accepted, and we paid less than half what we would have paid via other sites.
The best part is that we were upgraded to a mini-suite. Yep… with a Priceline rate. Thus, our (mostly) love / (some) hate relationship continues with that tempting Priceline Negotiator.
Early in the year, when we went to SanFrancisco, we spotted a nice deal for Hotel Diva on Travelticker. We secured our room for approximately $80/night – about half of the lowest price we found anywhere else.
Travelticker has had some ups and downs over the last couple of years, but we still include the site as a starting point for hunting down deals. After all, it's nice to find a deal and to – unlike Priceline – know what in the hell you're booking.
OK… Are you going to say it or should I. What's up with that name? Now that that's off my chest…
Back to our mileage run. Only in Prague, where we stayed at two hotels, did we break Priceline's hold on us. We booked our first hotel, Moods, via the relatively new Voyage Prive, which promises dream travel within reach. We had never used the site before and were impressed with the deal we found. We paid just over $100/night. As part of the deal, we also received a free upgrade, a bottle of champagne and a Thai massage.
This was a heck of a value for an impressive hotel. We couldn't find any other offer that touched this. Voyage Prive is on our "must check out" list, despite the name!
As you can see, all-in-all we had positive experiences with all four companies.