How to Find Online Discount Hotel Deals – Tips From Travel Experts

Everybody knows that these days it’s cheaper to book their hotel rooms online for the best discounted room rates. So everyone usually heads straight to the many popular Internet travel agencies that we see so much on television and in magazines advertisements. But wouldn’t it be great to know where people working in the travel industry find their special hotel deals?

There are many reputable online travel agencies to choose from today. Most are not so well known because they are not as heavily advertised on television. Though they are popular amongst travel experts and seasoned travelers. When you do research on hotel deals you will find their names coming up first on search results.

But travel industry insiders know that in order to get the best hotel rates possible they primarily use the services of hotel reservation agencies based in the country or region they are traveling too.

For instance if I wanted to find an affordable 3 star hotel in New York City I would use US based online hotel agencies such as CheapOstay.com or HotelClub.com. Both companies have a solid reputation for reliable services and for offering discount hotel rates in the United States, though they are not as well known as Expedia.com or Priceline.com, even though CheapOstay.com and HotelClub.com offers better hotel room rates and more hotel choices.

The reason for that is Expedia and Priceline or another similar all in one travel service provider does not specialize in the hotel market.

Travel experts know that online hotel agencies are able to provide travelers with unique hotel discounts and promotions. They know these specialized agencies focus on the hotel niche so they are much more knowledgeable about traveler’s needs and demands for the best hotel room prices.

Regional online hotel agencies work closer with the hotels they are partnered with so whenever there is a special deal or upcoming exclusive promotions they are the first to receive them so that in turn they are made available to travelers. Hotels know to take advantage of the huge Internet presence that online hotel agencies possess and it increases the likely hood of a traveler coming across their hotel property.  

Since these discounts are exclusive you will only find them on these agencies’ websites that wouldn’t be offered by the hotels directly.  

Apartments in Edinburgh – A Cheaper Alternative to Hotel Accommodation?

Edinburgh is one of the most visited cities in Europe, a mix of fantastic architecture, friendly locals and fascinating history make it a unique place to visit. The price of accommodation in the city is in keeping with the high demand for Rooms in Edinburgh, this is especially true during the festival season of August.

On average hotels in Edinburgh have rooms for £100 per night during the peak season, this can be quite expensive if you are planning to stay a few nights in the city or if you are traveling in a group and require more than one room.

There are cheaper options such as hostels and bed and breakfasts which are situated throughout the city centre and surrounding area but not everyone is comfortable with these types of accommodation.

An alternative the many people do not think of is to book a self catering apartment in the city. The price range of these does vary but you can get a one bedroom apartment from around £80 and 2 bedrooms or not much over £100 per night.

The standard apartment will have a lounge area, full kitchen and at least one bathroom. This give you both more space and more flexibility than a hotel room, for example you can cook your own meals which can save money. It also becomes more cost effective when you are traveling in a group of 5 or 6 people, to book a hotel may involve booking up to 3 rooms. Alternatively you can simply book a 3 bedroom apartment and save anywhere from 25% – 50% on the cost of a hotel room.

The location of the apartments are also quite flexible, many are in the city centre ideal for those traveling on a vacation or a business trip with easy access to local transport links.

So now the disadvantages of self catering accommodation, well sometimes there can be a minimum night stay of 2 nights or more, so if you are traveling just for a day this could be a problem. Also in a hotel you often have access to a wide range of facilities such as a swimming pool and gym. There are not available in most apartments (although there are some that do offer leisure facilities).

Also some people like to be pampered on vacation, get breakfast prepared for them in the morning, spa treatments and room service. These are only available in hotel accommodation, apartments are more self service.

So which is better? Well they both have advantages and disadvantages and at the end of the day it depends on what you are looking for in accommodation. Apartments offer flexibility and can be cheaper for long stays and big groups, hotels offer a range of amenities and staff to assist you.

Whatever you decide there is an excellent range of apartments in Edinburgh and hotels in Edinburgh available at Rooms in Edinburgh.

How to Choose a Five Star Hotel

Choosing to stay in a luxurious five star hotel, enables you to have a holiday or business travel with ease, convenience, comfort and style. Whether you are planning your honeymoon and are looking for something special or you just want to know you will get the best service from the establishment during your stay, the hotel you choose should be determined by a number of factors.

The first thing you will find is that there are so many options in each location when it comes to five star hotels. These hotels are often chain hotels, with excellent reputations throughout the world, along with outstanding facilities. There are independently owned options which have also worked hard behind the scenes to secure their five star status. Don’t only go for one option, have a look at the variety available so you can make the best decision to ensure your holiday goes according to plan.

Consider the type of experience you are hoping for. Do you want a city break, where you can view some of the top sights in capital cities, or do you want to spend a relaxing week by the ocean or skiing on snowy peaks? Maybe you’re travelling for business and want to be close to the business hub with ease access to public transport, making it easier for you to get from one appointment to the next in a busy and bustling city.

Take the accommodation options into consideration. Do you prefer the idea of a comfortable and spacious en-suite room or do you need a suite, where you have separate living areas to make your stay that extra special? Ensure that any five star hotels you choose provide the type of accommodation you are looking for, so you know your stay will be comfortable and tick the boxes that are important to you when staying at any hotel at any time.

With all this taken into consideration, you will now want to take a closer look at the facilities and services offered by the five star hotel. Do they offer access to a fitness centre? Do they have a wellness centre offering a host of treatments? What about a restaurant, lounge, bar? Do they provide meeting areas and rooms, so you can hold a meeting at your hotel with ease? Ensure the facilities on offer are ones that will make your stay enjoyable.

The location of the hotel is exceptionally important. You can find five star hotels throughout the world in city locations and seaside locations, but if you are looking for a place which gives you easy access to public transport, somewhere where you can visit the local sights and attractions with ease or it is set in a place where you can get to meetings without having to struggle and get frustrated before your day even starts.

When choosing a five star hotel, even though you know they provide luxury and comfort along with all the modern conveniences, you still want to check to ensure that they have a good reputation with visitors from around the world. The only way to do this is to make use of the internet. Type the hotel name into your search box and go through the results. Look for independent review sites, such as Trip Advisor, where you can read honest feedback from past guests, helping you ensure you will receive the best quality service and accommodation when staying at the hotel you are thinking of booking.

The Ahwahnee Hotel in Yosemite Valley: A Great American’s Dream

The story of the celebrated Ahwahnee Hotel in Yosemite Valley is particularly noteworthy because of its status in US National Park history, but also because its very existence is a tribute to one man who had an ambitious dream for America. He wanted to build a National Park System that would be the envy of the world, and the Ahwahnee Hotel helped him do it – here is how.

The first director of the US National Park Service

A wealthy Stephen T. Mather agreed to lead the Park Service in 1915, at a time when there were just 16 national parks and the public was indifferent to the concept. Today there are 58 magnificent parks, and through the years, much of the success of the National Park program was due to the careful planning and inspiration of Mr. Mather.

All are welcome

Mather envisioned the national parks to be places of beauty and relaxation and accessible to all. In Yosemite, he directed the creation of three distinct levels of comfort to cater to the full spectrum of national park visitors.

The highest level of accommodation would be a first-class hotel that provided all the amenities necessary to attract and satisfy the wealthy and influential. A second level of accommodation would provide year round tents with a central area for services such as a restaurant and toilet facilities. He also set aside space for frugal visitors who preferred to camp with their own tents and camping equipment. Today, the national park system pretty much follows Mather’s plan.

How Mather grew the park system

Mather thought that if he built a truly great hotel in his favorite national park in Yosemite Valley it would be of interest to rich and powerful people. They would come to enjoy the many amenities, and in return provide support for his plan to grow the National Park System and the public trust wilderness in the United States.

Concurrent with Stephen Mather’s appointment, the automobile was revolutionizing tourism and travel all across the nation. By 1926, an all-weather highway opened Yosemite Valley to year round access. Because of both, Mather’s plan succeeded beyond his wildest dreams.

History of the Ahwahnee site

Millions of years of glacier grinding smoothed the lofty granite walls of Yosemite Valley into the breathtaking majestic monuments we know today.

Thirty thousand years ago, there was a great lake on the location of the Ahwahnee Hotel. The water left a fertile plain that was subsequently inhabited by Native Americans.

The Miwoks lived in Yosemite for thousands of years before it was discovered by the white man in the mid-19th century.

Reminders of the first people

The Ahwahneechee tribe lived on the land where the Ahwahnee Hotel stands today. Their diet included a staple porridge made from acorns. Hotel visitors can explore the large granite formations and the pockets made in the rock by the Indian workers who ground the acorns into meal.The rock formations are easy to find and are situated immediately adjacent to the hotel parking lot. Any hotel employee will be happy to show you the location.

Kennyville

After the white man discovered Yosemite, it was not long before the word got out about the marvelous wilderness with its 3,000-foot granite walls and cascading waterfalls.

In the 1850s, the first tourists entered Yosemite on horseback. A small town, Kennyville was quickly established to provide visitors with livery services and minimum creature comforts during their stay in the valley.

With the advent of the automobile in the early twentieth century, Kennyville’s usefulness declined rapidly and the land seemed a perfect candidate for repurposing. Mather wanted the beautiful site with abundant trees and views of Yosemite Falls, Half Dome, and Glacier Point for his hotel. He got his wish.

The building begins

In 1925, the Yosemite and Curry Company (YP&CC) was commissioned by the Park Service to build the great Yosemite hotel. Gilbert S. Underwood was chosen as architect. His task was to be one of his greatest career challenges and accomplishments.

A fireproof hotel

Fire is always of great concern in the wilderness, and many park hotels have fallen victim to natural woodland fires. Mather wanted a fireproof hotel. To that end, the Ahwahnee is a true masterpiece of design genius.

The Ahwahnee Hotel structure looks to be made of rock and timber, but in reality the primitive looking exterior siding, balconies, and beams that appear to be timber are actually constructed from cement castings superbly stained to match the surrounding redwoods and pines. We have visited the Ahwahnee Hotel many times over the years, but until we did the research for this article, we had no idea the exterior walls were made of cement.

Building the Ahwahnee Hotel was a monumental undertaking

It was the largest such task for the burgeoning young American trucking industry of the 1920s. Trucks ran on dusty roads day and night, seven days a week for over a year to bring materials to the Ahwahnee worksite.

All building materials for the six-story hotel were imported from outside the park. That meant hauling nearly 700 tons of steel I beams along with 5,000 tons of building stones, and 30,000 feet of lumber and logs with early model trucks along bumpy dirt roads. Add to that the many tons of hotel furnishings, and the kitchen and maintenance equipment necessary to run a luxury hotel. It was a huge undertaking for more than 250 drivers, workers, and artisans to create the timeless lodging masterpiece that we now so revere.

Stephen T. Mather did himself, and America proud.

The hotel had its grand opening on July 14, 1927.

If you go

There are several entrances to Yosemite Park and you can choose your route from the park website.

As you drive through the park watch for signs to the Ahwahnee Hotel. A natural stone gatehouse at the entrance to the hotel gives the visitor an exhilarating sense of arrival. The leafy tree-lined drive beyond the gateway increases the anticipation, and the Sequoia lined parking area provides a warm welcome to all visitors.

You are privileged to be about to enter one of the grandest park rustic hotels in the world.

Happy travels.

We will write more about the grand Ahwahnee Hotel in the very near future. If you liked this story, don’t miss the sequel. We will explore the Ahwahnee’s remarkable interior, and the role that Ansel Adams and the Navy played in the hotel’s history.

We want to thank Lisa Cesaro, of the DNC Parks and Resorts at Yosemite, and Tami von Isakovics of Ellipses Public Relations for assisting us with information about the Ahwahnee Hotel and Yosemite Valley.

If you would like to read more details about the Ahwahnee Hotel there are two short and excellent books on the subject. The Ahwahnee – Yosemite’s Grand Hotel, by Keith Walklet and The Ahwahnee – Yosemite’s Classic Hotel, by Shirley Sargent. Both books are available on Amazon.com.

Luxurious Hotel Accommodation in Perth-Western Australia

1. Hyatt Regency Perth

Overlooking the Swan River, the Hyatt Regency Perth is widely regarded as the city’s premier hotel in terms of luxurious accommodations, excellent service and the so-called intangibles. It provides a spectacular bird’s eye view of South Perth and the surrounding areas. There are 367 rooms in all as well as a large ballroom for 1,200 guests, four function rooms and an elegant boardroom. In addition, the hotel has gained the reputation of being an excellent and well-equipped business venue for corporate conferences and meetings. It also boasts of three award-winning in-house restaurants. The Hyatt Regency Perth offers a bar and minibar, parking, television, restaurant, bureau de change, sauna, whirlpool, fitness center, swimming pool, safe deposit, business facilities, internet access, childcare facilities, car-hire facilities, 24-hour room service and air conditioning. Home to three highly awarded restaurants.

2. The Chifley on The Terrace

Located at the heart of the city, The Chifley on The Terrace is the newest luxury hotel in Perth. It is a short walk to the business district and the main entertainment and shopping area and a brief drive to the Swan River. There are 85 rooms in all as well as one conference room good for business conferences of up to 120 guests and stocked with the latest audio visual equipment. The in-house bar and restaurant are quite popular in the area. The Chifley on The Terrace offers a bar and minibar, television, restaurant, safe deposit, whirlpool, business facilities, internet access, 24-hour room service and air conditioning.

3. Broadwater Pagoda Hotel

The Broadwater Pagoda Hotel reeks of luxury and is one of several hotels that overlook the picturesque Swan River in Como. This one is a short walk to the Perth Zoo and to a wide array of South Perth’s eating, entertainment and shopping options. There are 101 rooms, a conference room for 300 people (theatre style) and a host of audio visual equipment. The hotel provides a shuttle bus service to Perth. The Broadwater Pagoda Hotel offers a bar, parking, television, restaurant, bureau de change, sauna, whirlpool, swimming pool, safe deposit, business facilities, computer facilities, disabled access, childcare facilities and air conditioning.

4. Burswood Entertainment Complex

The Burswood Entertainment Complex is widely regarded as the premier resort in Perth. It gives the term “self contained” a whole new meaning as the complex boasts of every facility a travelling tourist could ever want or imagine. It has its own casino, 18-hole golf course and stadium, the Burswood Dome, as well as six bars, nine restaurants and a convention center. Burswood provides a wide range of catering options for small intimate dinners as well as for corporate exhibitions and trade fairs. There are 413 rooms and comprehensive conference facilities that include function rooms, a ballroom and theatre. The Burswood Entertainment Complex offers a bar and minibar, parking, television, restaurant, bureau de change, safe deposit, sauna, whirlpool, fitness club, swimming pool, business facilities, computer facilities, internet access, disabled access, childcare facilities, hairdresser, car-hire facilities, 24-hour room service and air conditioning.