Room-Finding Tricks: 2007
The town is packed, you don't have a reservation, and night is quickly approaching. What are your emergency room-finding tricks?
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Room Finding tricks
We've been using this technique every time we return to the same places where we've been before. If you like your hotel room, note the room number for the next time. When you request a reservation the next time you can say that you would like Room XXX or a similiar room. This way they will know that you have stayed there before and you won't be disappointed during your next stay.
San Diego, CA USA Sat 11/24/2007
Hotel le Bayeux, France
We turned up in Bayeux, France on a cold rainy night to find the accommodation we had booked didn't have a room for us and the woman was extremely unhelpful in suggesting an alternative. We wandered the streets with Rick's book in hand only to find most of the town booked out. When we enquired at Hotel le Bayeux the woman could not have been more helpful and rang around for us and finally found a room in an attic around the corner. She even walked us around to the place and introduced us! I think the fact that we were clutching Rick's blue book in our hand may have helped as the the Hotel le Bayeux is listed as a good mid priced alternative. We will fondly remember this kind and helpful woman who then spent time with us planning our time in Bayeux and directing us to a friendly place to eat and then inviting us back for breakfast the next morning.
mission beach, Qld Australia Thu 11/15/2007
Go to the TI or the Hotel Reservation counter at a train station. If they are closed, there may be a hotel reservation phone at a train station. If all that fails, start walking and asking for accommodations in the area! My husband and I travel off-season, without the Internet or a phone, and we've never had a problem.
Torrance, CA USA Tue 11/13/2007
Avoid the Hotel los Tilos, Granada,Spain
We recently stayed at this hotel which is recommended by Rick but were very disappointed. The elevator and the common areas reeked of diesel fuel or heating oil-very unappetizing at breakfast time.Also the afternoon/early evening reception man was the most rude and unhelpful person in his profession that I have encountered yet. He either knew no English or pretended that he didn't- which is a drawback in a hotel which seemed to have mostly English speaking guests including a lot of tour groups. His phone skills were particularly weak. He couldn't seem to put phone calls from the US through to me. A slightly less unpleasant man was on duty in the mornings and he seemed to be the owner or manager. It would have been nice if he could have been a little less sour at checkout time.
Palm Beach, FL USA Tue 11/06/2007
Consider to rent an apartment if you stay in Barcelona
If you plan a trip to Barcelona, a good deal would be to rent an apartment, especially if you come with a group. I rented a huge apartment with some friends with http://www.apartmentsbcn.net and we were really satisfied. The location off the beaten path was excellent if you look for a place not so turistic but also well comunicated. The landlord frederic is very friendly and speaks english, french and spanish.
Niort, France Thu 10/18/2007
We took a chance and arrived in Vernazza by train without a reservation this September '07. Most apartment owners have posted their rooms on a large bulletin board outside the train station and it took less than a half hour to secure a very good apartment for 85 euros. Our apartment is owned by Daria who speaks English and asked me to please tell other travelers that she has 15 rooms available (not 3 as listed in Rick Steves' books). My friend and I are senior women and we traveled in 5 western European countries with a rail pass and no lodging reservations. It was a great trip thanks to Rick's many suggestions on how to be a 'traveler'. Taking public transportation makes it possible to meet other travelers and share experiences. I am ready to go again.
Manzanita , OR USA Sat 10/13/2007
Rooms at RV Parks
When I had trouble finding a room in Croatia I tried autokamps (rv parks) and twice found nice inexpensive rooms, about 35 EU. In Fanaza this included use of 3 pools (unheated) and they had a excellent waterfront resturant a pizzeria, laundry facilites. Did not include breakfast. One in Cres was not quite as nice but comfortable and included breakfast. Had dinner at the hotel Kimmel next door. I tried this once in Lake Bled, Slovenia but it was the weekend and they were full.
Port Ludlow, WA USA Thu 10/11/2007
Caution at Elizabeth House in London
I would caution anyone who is thinking of staying at the Elizabeth House in London. I had to give them my credit card to book a room, my plans changed and 10 days before our check in date I called to ask about their cancellation policy. They said it was a 48-hour cancellation policy, and I had them cancel my reservation. However, upon returning home I discovered that they did charge my credit card for the stay. I've emailed them several times to no avail.
Fort Collins, CO USA Tue 10/09/2007
for a last minute stay, check out vacation apartment rentals!
I took my family of 4 to Italy in June, while we were there we changed our plans and decided that we wanted to stay in Florence for a week. We couldn't find a reasonably priced hotel to accommodate all of us, so I searched on the internet for apartment rentals. I found a cute 2 bedroom apartment called Casa Spinelli. They just had a cancellation for the week we wanted to stay. I never thought to check the internet for apartment rentals! I don't even know how it popped into my head, but thank god i did! we saved so much money as a family of 4 staying at casa spinelli because we were able to make small meals in the kitchen for our kids, and we had a living room to hang out in. I definitely reccommend looking for last minute apartment rentals in Italy. check out craiglist.org or holiday-rentals.com. Also we reccommend the apartment we stayed in called Casa Spinelli, casaspinelli.com . we were right next to piazza santo spirito and the pitti palace, it only took us 10 minutes to walk to the uffizzi museum.
Chicago, Il USA Mon 10/01/2007
Brussels airport hotels
Pay attention to weekends. The hotel rooms near the airport cost three to four times as much on weekdays as on weekends. A room costing $400 on a Tuesday night would cost $135 on a Friday or Saturday night.
Edmonds, WA USA Thu 09/27/2007
great hotel in Portugal
2 of the 4 hotels were Rick's suggestions in Spain, they were great!! One not mentioned in Portugal that I found through Expedia was Pestana Viking in Armacao da Pera. Friendly, gorgeous sea view, clean, large rooms, and small town off the tacky beach scene in southern Portugal. The beach is great and it's central to most Algarve towns. $$$ but worth every single penny!!
Arlington, VA USA Mon 09/10/2007
Someone just told me about www.hospitalityclub.org. Says he's had 12 travelers stay with him over the past year, some on quite short notice if it worked for him. People post their in home accomodations (reviews of traveler and host are on line) in countries and towns all over the world. Could be worth signing on.
Seattle, WA USA Mon 09/03/2007
Surf the Web with the Previous Hotel's Computer
What if you don't reserve your room before the trip? Most hotels in Europe now have a shared computer in the lobby connected to the 'net.
So, unless you totally wing it, you can surf the web for hotels for your next town, using Rick's book, and find out if, in fact, the hotels really are full up or not (even a few days in advance usually helps a lot). Most answer e-mail promptly (cheap) and you have the phone number too.
Actually, we always reserve our hotels in advance. So easy with Rick's books and the web to find charming places ahead of time.
This is doubly important for a city you've never seen before. Why waste time shopping for a hotel when you can be touring? Especially if you can get the "cash discount by showing this book" in most places.
We learned quickly that two star hotels with even the tiniest in-room bathroom works just fine for us. No need to spend more.
But, if we didn't, surfing in the last city before going to the next one would be my method of choice. Faster than walking and I already know that it works for far-in-advance booking, so why not while in Europe, too?
Rochester, MN USA Wed 08/01/2007
Great London Accomodation
We took Rick's advice about looking into "budget" hotel chains, and recently spent 12 nights at Express by Holiday Inn-Earl's Court. Booked through their website and less than a 10-minute walk from the West Kensington Underground station, the hotel is about two years old, immaculately clean, nicely decorated, and run by a friendly and attentive staff. A free and plentiful continental breakfast (cereal, pastry, fruit, toast, yogurt), comfortable beds, ensuite bath with power shower, and air conditioning (yes, I said air conditioning!) more than make up for the small-ish room size and extra-firm sleeper sofa. No more stays at "charming" converted Edwardian row house hotels with painted-shut windows, trickling showers, decrepit bedding, temperamental (read "nonfunctioning") elevators, and "down-the-hall" toilets the size of a phone booth. Future trips to London will find us at an Express by Holiday Inn location. Book early for their Advance Purchase rate. Thanks, Rick, for the recommendation!
Texas USA Tue 07/31/2007
Hotel Booking Site
I followed another traveler's suggestion and booked most of our hotel rooms in Europe through venere.com. It's an easy site to use and most of the hotels have ratings and comments posted from guests who have stayed there before. We only had one hotel who only had us down for one night when we had reserved two, but when we showed them the print out of our reservation from the website, there was no problem at all - always take the confirmation with you just in case!
Stillwater, OK USA Mon 07/30/2007
I use www.smoothhound.co.uk. It's easy to use, just click on the area of the UK or Ireland that you want to stay in. Although it does help if you have some knowledge of the country, and distances you need to travel. I have used the site for my last 6 or 7 trips and have never been disappointed in our choice of where to stay. The site shows the room rate and ratings by VisitBritain and the Automobile Assoc.
San Lorenzo, CA USA Sun 07/29/2007
I've used hotwire.com and found it to be fairly reliable. The last time I went to London, I got the Hilton Wardorf for $100 (dollars, not pounds) a night!
USA Tue 07/17/2007
Euro places to stay
I have used Ryanair's websight to book a room. They have serval choices and you can book online too. You can shop around on their sight and it's user friendly. This is what I do 1 Rick Steves 2. Ryanair 3. Etap/accor web sight( a french company that owns Motel 6) Compare my options online according on what I need like close to an airport or the sights ect. Happy travels
Mölenbach, He USA Fri 07/13/2007
Use the Internet (or other sources) to identify hotels. Then contact them directly by email and make reservations (as many months ahead as possible). Confirm you reservations one to four days ahead by email. Works like a charm. Didn't have any problems for a month of traveling (a dozen different hotels).
Vallejo, CA USA Thu 07/12/2007
2 B&B web sites
Two web sites that I found helpful for the UK and France were farmstays.co.uk
Enumclaw, WA USA Sun 07/08/2007
Cheap hotel chain
The desk clerk at a fully booked hotel in Germany sent us to the E-Tap. Rooms sleep 3, double bed with single bunk above, TV, and small private bathroom with shower (think motorhome size). Not deluxe, no charm, but clean. 40-50 Euros per night, including a decent breakfast buffet. Most larger German cities have locations (other countries too). http://www.etaphotel.com/gb/discovering-etap-hotel/index.shtml
Fargo, ND USA Wed 06/27/2007
I recently stayed as a single female traveller on my first European trip to Rome! My sister was concerned about the safety and hygiene of a hostel, and I stumbled on a charming Bed and Breakfast called Morpheus B and B. It's located ina 200-year old building with its original elevator. It's only 70 Euros a night, walking distance to the Colisseum, the Roman Forum and close to the Roma Termini and bus stations where you can go to other places. It is in a very safe place even to come home at night for a lone female not touristy like the Spanish Steps area. There was substantial breakfast: one "pane", a honey roll, with nutella spread, espresso or capuccino plus juice, it was good to start my day. The bathrooms were all private and the very clean and renovated. I think it was a pretty good deal for an international city and safe and convenient. It's not five star but the basics, location, breakfast, value and bathroom cannot be beat!!! Great value for your money and you don't have that generic feel of chain hotels. The staff were very nice and helpful.
New York City, NY USA Mon 06/11/2007
Cinque Terre Accommodation
Claudio's (www.acasa5terre.it) accommodations service in Cinque Terre is easy to use and the prices are good. Claudio speaks English which is most helpful! After departing Cinque Terre I discovered I'd left my favorite eye mask which I travel with just in case I need it. Claudio kindly returned it to me.
Ashland, OR USA Thu 05/31/2007
Online Booking Service for Hotels & B&Bs
Venere.com is an excellent service for booking hotels! I highly recommend them.
La Bavaria Hotel in Florence is an incredible value, very comfortable and in an excellent location! It is in part of an old remodeled palace and the Director, Lenny, and a couple of his staff (week-end) speak English, are remarkably friendly and helpful. The continental breakfast was substantial!
In Rome La Canova was an excellent value, very comfortable; in an excellent location near the Coliseum and Metro, and the continental breakfast was extensive, lots of choices. The hotel staff spoke no English, but were helpful.
Ashland, OR USA Thu 05/31/2007
Ask passers-by if they know of a nearby hotel or B&B. Often they will invite you to stay at their place instead.
Detroit, MI USA Tue 05/22/2007
Good area guides
I used this website (holiday apartments)to get more clued up on where i wanted to stay in Barcelona. www.way2stay.com. It is quite useful and has a district map of each city so you get the overview. Usually when we stay for up to a week I'll only book accomodation for the first few days in case we meet great likeminded people with some better option e.g. festival that we didnt know about.
Belfast, N.Ireland Mon 04/23/2007
Cinque Terre room rental
I was in Cinque Terre with super room rental service, they also arrange exciting events and excursion besides accomodations, www.cinqueterreholiday.ch I mean, the service is so reliable like a Swiss watch.
Shanghai, Putong, SH China Wed 03/28/2007
Cinque Terre rooms
I have a reccomendation for a new service/website to find rooms in Cinque Terre called 'A Casa' (www.acasa5terre.it). I have been there several times and this march we got in a bit of a jam and by total chance I met the owner on the street. Thanks Claudio! our angel that saved us from overpriced hotels in manarola. He's well organized and you don't pay commission so prices are pretty low for Cinque Terre standards.
Hartford, CT USA Sat 03/17/2007
FREE TRAVEL ACCOMMADATIONS
Hi, I just want to share a website. They sent me a couple of free travel certificates that are for free room nights all over the US. Great way to save a buck. Here is their website www.increasebusinesssales.com
Sedona, AZ USA Sat 02/24/2007
Prepare... and use the Web
Know generally where you want to go and keep a list of websites for hotels,apts,B&Bs etc. or a list of places themselves w contact info. Internet cafes are great for scoping out upcoming accomodations and making reservations.
Paul n Sara
USA Thu 02/22/2007
Easter weekend reservation in Brussels
Rick's book explains that hotels in Brussels are desperate to sell their rooms on weekends when all of the business travellers are away. Does anyone know whether the same is likely to apply on the Easter weekend? I have no problem showing up at the TI and booking a room the day of on a normal weekend, but I'm not sure whether a holiday weekend would work the same. Any thoughts?
New York, NY USA Sun 02/18/2007
When traveling on a budget I always plan, plan, plan. I like to send for tourism information - regional to local - where all the B+B rooms are listed. I really love recieving the information in the mail and taking my time choosing a place that's within my budget. You can really waste alot of money traveling by not being careful about reserving a place to stay. Out of desparation you end up in an overpriced room, just because you didn't take the time to plan. Incidently, I LOVE smaller B+B places, especially in Germany, where I feel right at home. If they don't have an email address to make reservations, most likely they will have at least a fax and they welcome reservations made in advance.
chicago, il USA Tue 02/13/2007
ROME & FLORENCE PLACES TO STAY
The best place to book your rooms is http://www.cross-pollinate.com/ In Rome, I stayed in a small apartment on ground level w/ a small sleeping loft for 2, bathroom and sitting area 1/3 mile from the Colloseum. It is off the main road, safe, clean, and quiet. There are tons of places to eat w/in 2-3 minute walk, and I walked everywhere. I would recommend this over renting a room in an apartment. I also used this website in Florence. They met me when they said they would, I had no billing or reservation problems. This is the BEST!
Reno, NV USA Thu 01/25/2007
When doing room rate comparison it is not always apparent if breakfast is included breakfast in London can be $20 each or more CHECK !!
USA Fri 01/19/2007
Rome Hotel - reply
I stayed at the following hotel in May of 2005 and at the time it was in your price range, it might be worth a phone call. It's located within minutes of the ruins and the rooms even had A/C. Here's the info Albergo Smeraldo Rome 011 39 06 6875929
USA Mon 01/15/2007
The problems cited below re: a booking with venere.com seems like a problem with the hotel, not the website. It's simply a clearinghouse for hotel rooms in Italy and the rest of europe. It's unfortunate, but an isolated experience.
I have used venere.com for about five years and have NEVER had a problem whatsoever. Even rooms that seem too good to be true ended up being exactly the same price, size, quality, etc. as quoted on the website. But it goes without saying that you should always read the customer reviews before booking.
Berlin, Germany Wed 01/10/2007
Can someone recomment a clean, quiet hotel close to the Ancient Rome Sites in the price range of 100-160 Euro? Thank you for your help. Sherry
Poulsbo, Wash USA Sun 01/07/2007