Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: St. Louis
I always sing the praises of Hotwire, since I think it's the best way to get outstanding values. With Hotwire, you pre-pay for the hotel, but don't know the hotel's name before you pay.
HOWEVER - you do know:
-the approximate area it's in (their map that defines each area is pretty clear, and the areas can be very small, so you know pretty well where you'll end up)
-the quality level in # of stars
-ALL of the amenities (like free parking or airport shuttle or free breakfast)
-the approximate "regular price"
-the "recommendation" % of previous people from hotwire that have stayed at the property (usually a 'recommendation' of 75% or higher is a good sign)
Your dates will impact the price, but using Thursday March 18-Saturday March 20 as the stay dates, I can get the following deals at 30%-50%+ off:
$136/night South Beach/Ocean Drive South, 2 1/2 stars, recommended by 70% of Hotwire people, FREE breakfast, near beach ("near beach" is defined by "easy walking distance")
$145/night Downtown Miami, 3 stars, recommended by 75% of Hotwire people
$153/night Bay Harbor Islands/North Bay Village, 3 stars, recommended by 75% of Hotwire people, FREE parking, FREE breakfast, Airport shuttle
$165/nigh Downtown Miami, 3 stars, rated 4 out of 5 stars on TripAdvisor. It's a boutique hotel (meaning it's not a chain). They also charge $9.99/day "resort fee"
$171/night South Beach/Collins area, 3 stars, recommended by 75% of Hotwire people. FREE breakfast, "near beach", boutique hotel.
Bay Harbor Islands/North Bay Village, 3 1/2 stars, recommended by 80% of Hotwire people, FREE breakfast, boutique hotel.
All rates are BEFORE taxes.
2 1/2 stars = similar to Clarion, Best Western, Hampton Inn
3 stars = similar to Holiday Inn, Radisson, Doubletree, Hilton, Embassy Suites
3 1/2 stars = similar to Crowne Plaza, Sheraton, Hilton, Double Tree (yes, those 2 appear again, just depends on specific hotel property)
Many hotels in Hotwire are chains. If it's an independent, stand-alone hotel, it'll usually be called a "boutique" hotel in the "amenity" listing. Some boutiques inflate their star rating by 1/2 or 1 star, while others are reasonably accurate. I typically pay closer attention to what others have rated boutique hotels for this reason, but as long as it's recommended by 75% or better by previous Hotwire stays, I'll give it a chance if the price is right...but if another chain is the same price in the same area, I'll usually go with a "non-boutique" hotel.
Airport shuttle MAY be something you pay for, but usually it's free. You'll have to verify with the hotel after you pay for it. It's kind of a gamble, but it's a risk I'm willing to take. Also, the "free breakfast" could vary - it could be some cereal with hard boiled eggs, or it could be really nice with hot eggs, sausage, etc. Typically 3 stars and higher will give you a really nice hot breakfast, while the 2 1/2 stars and 2 stars are a roll of the dice (some 2 and 2 1/2 star properties give you a nice hot breakfast too)
Dryer sheets Schmyer sheets