Sunday, February 24, 2008

Hotel Review: Renaissance St. Louis Airport

I understand that most of the people looking for a hotels are business travelers. Giving this consideration I decided to book a room near the airport. I have tried to do this before but it always seemed a bit steeper than the areas. Well I committed myself and I won the room with a bid of $46 dollars. I think this is a really good rate but I am not entirely sure this will be a winning bid during the week. I would still give it a shot though.

I've driven by this hotel many times and from the outside you can tell it is pretty nice but I wasn't ever really impressed. The hotel lobby wasn't overwhelming either. This is one of the reasons I liked it over so many others. It had a small bar to the left and a nice open restaurant off to the right. A Starbucks bordered the edge of the restaurant as well.

They also have very nice conference room on the ground floor as well the the twelfth floor. The ballroom is up at the top as well. Other amenities include a pool and spa. I thought they had a sauna but they had just remodeled the exercise room and gotten rid of the sauna. Too bad. The exercise room was really nice. It was truly a full gym. You won't have to wait to exercise here or feel rushed there is plenty of equipment. The sit up machine was a back breaker watch out.

The rooms were also especially nice. I really like the decor I may implement some of these ideas in my own home. The room was very nice. It had a grayish theme so the ladies may not like it as much. The bathroom even had a shower head that is actually above your head. I am pretty tall and I hate the fact that most hotels have the shower head at chest level.

The one big complaint I have is that they want to charge for the Internet in the rooms and even in the hotel lobby. This is one thing that really bothers me about these hotels. A hotel charging thirty bucks a night gives free Wifi and these nicer hotel just try to get you every chance they get. It is ridiculous to charge for the Internet. Overall, this is convenient if you are a sales guy and are working near the airport. If not, try to explore the other hotels I have mentioned. Good luck bidding.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Priceline Hotel Etiquette

Well I bring this post to you after hearing some moron discuss how he rips off hotels while I was in a restaurant. He seemed pretty proud of the fact that he stole towels and complained at the front desk so long that he got a free night. According to him,"That clerk had no clue she was in the presence of greatness." I would replace greatness with "an a-hole", but the clerk probably knew that.

When you get a winning bid on Priceline keep in mind that it is not for a handful of free towels. You will be charged for those if the maids notice, the towels cost around fifty dollars a piece according to the idiot I overheard. You can pitch a fit like this guy, but I would encourage hotels to stand firm and charge for every missing towel. Remember when you are at a hotel you are a guest. Do not trash the hotel rooms or be a nuisance.

All the above is obvious but what about some of the other considerations. The first thing that you should do is write a review. Tell others about your experience at the hotel, this is free advertising for the hotel. Even if you had a negative experience leave a review. In this case your review gives the hotel the chance to improve. I actually write the hotel and e-mail or a letter. I have always found that a bad experience is normally just a coincidence and not common practice. It is best to keep bad news private if it is not typical.

A few other things:
  • Try to tip the maids, I give five dollars. More and more frequently I find myself without cash, so if you don't have any leave your room in excellent condition.
  • Always leave the room in good condition.
  • Use the hotels facilities with respect
  • Use the hotel services such as room service or restaurant (It really adds to the night and doesn't cost much more than going out, if any more).
  • Put the shower curtain in the tub when taking a shower.
  • Put all trash in the trash can.
  • Check out on time and give the front desk a call.
  • Do all of the other hundreds of things I haven't mentioned.
  • Definitely don't bring guns, hand gernades or drugs into your room.

Really, hotel etiquette doesn't involve much. It is important. Hotels will not continue to offer these great rates through Priceline if the clients they send are undesirable. Be a desirable customer; especially when booking through Priceline. Remember before Priceline it was just about impossible to get such competitive rates. Don't blow it by taking advantage. Fortunately, I don't think the jerk I mentioned in the beginning was a Priceline customer and he still didn't come out as far ahead as we do.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Priceline Bidding Well

With Priceline bidding you will typically find that you can win the same hotels on a regular basis. The best places to do this are actually in the more competitive areas. I have found that when I am bidding in areas with a more dense population of competitive three star and four star hotels I am able to get cheaper prices.

The reason behind this is that they are usually not going to be busy. If you find out about an event way ahead of time that you want to attend. Try bidding in that area far ahead of the event. The hotel may become filled later, but if they are not anticipating the business you have a good chance at booking a cheap rate.

Once, you have found the lowest rate by following the above principles you can often place the same bid again and again to receive a room at the same hotel as before. This is a major benefit for business travelers particularly if you represent a small business. I work for a mid size company and I bet they could save over $300,000 a year by bidding on Priceline. This would include flights and car rentals. The amount spent on travel is astronomical. The sad thing is that my estimate is probably low. I have literally stayed three nights in the same hotel as my coworkers and they have paid more for one night.

Even if your bid is accepted by a hotel you are not anticipating you can still say,"I just decided to check out a different hotel, I always stay at Nice Hotel". I still have a hotel in the St. Louis area that I have not reviewed because the cheap is so low and it is very nice. I will stay in it one more time and give the review. I am not sure how everyone's discovery of this rate will affect the bidding process. Even though I really doubt that I am going to drive up demand at all much less enough to cause a disturbance. Well, for now this is my bidding well. I wish you the best of luck finding your own.

As always send me an e-mail reviewing the hotel you won a bid at and let me know how cheap the stay was. Have fun and happy bidding.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Valentines Day at the Westport Sheraton Using Priceline

Well this is a great idea for those of you out there with a sweet. Sometimes it is just nice to get away. Have a little time alone or away from the norm with your wife or girlfriend. What better way to do that than to book a nice hotel. I did it this Valentine's Day. I booked a room in Westport and the Sheraton accepted my bid of just forty-two dollars.

The person you take will think you put up a lot of money for a romantic evening so you look like a stud. You can order room service or go to the restaurant in the hotel. Either way it doesn't cost any more than a romantic dinner at a local restaurant. You can also find a hot tub or sauna in most hotels as well. I often find that I can book a weekend for less than what most people pay for a single night. It is great.

Depending upon where you book the room you'll often find that the nicer hotels are located in busy areas. There are normally a good amount of activities in the surrounding area, just stay away from airports. When booking through Priceline when you plan to have company it is always smart to call ahead of time and ask for a king/queen size. I prefer doubles still, but most people want the bigger bed when two will be sharing the room. Another big benefit is if you decide to have sex someone else has to wash the sheets.

The most amazing thing about this is that I was able to book a stay over a holiday. This should typically be a busy day for hotels. I actually, hadn't planned this stay in advance. I had booked a room in Westport for forty-two dollars a couple of weeks ago and made a bid for the same amount. It seems like this is a pretty reliable bid for now. Hopefully, this well doesn't run dry.

Remember guys anytime your in the dog house this is a smart and affordable way to get out. If your married get the wife away from the kids for a night. Hire a babysitter and just take some time to yourselves.

Hook up to my other review of the Wesport Sheraton.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Hotel Review: Crowne Plaza Clayton

I checked in on the 8th and checked out on the 10th for a winning bid of $45. The taxes and fees brought the room upto just over $111. For those of you that don't know Clayton is the place to be. This is where all the rich people are and it is like a downtown city. I remember, when I was little it was kind of podunky. It is amazing how things change.

There are buildings as tall as those in downtown St. Louis and they are just as nice. If we ever get a basketball team I hope they put it here. Anyway back to the Crowne Plaza.

The hotel was not all that impressive. Once, you pass the lobby it gets drab in a hurry. The lobby is very nice, but the carpets in the hallways are faded big time. This carries over into the rooms and the walls have a very old fashioned wall paper that is a bit beat up. The niche of this hotel is the sleep experience. They give you a little sleep kit that includes ear plugs, an eye mask, some satin spray for the sheets and a CD (I didn't use the sleep kit). The bed is absolutely great.

I probably got my best nights sleep at this hotel. I think they skimped on the renovations to put great beds into the rooms. I woke in the same position I fell asleep in and my limbs didn't go numb. Go figure, they got the sleep experience down.

I also, checked out some of the other stuff in the hotel. They have a great exercise room, a sauna and a free game room. The games are old and actually attracted a lot of adults. They've got Donkey Kong and Ms. Pac-man.

What really makes this hotel is the location. Clayton is a happening place. It is surrounded by restraunts, bars, clubs and any other activity you may want. The Loop (Delmar Blvd) is also nearby. If you can make it down there check out the Thai Pizza Co. It is currently my favorite restraunt, but there are actually five Thai places and all but one of them is oned by the same guy. It is strange that they are all so close to each other. By the way The Pageant is on the loop and Blueberry Hill two St. Louis landmarks.

If you get this rate it is worth it but remember you are paying for the location. I might actually down grade the room to a two star if I had stayed in one. Leave me a comment if you want me to check out what prices I can get on lower star level rooms. Remember e-mail me your hotel review and winning bid. Let the Priceline community know about the great deals.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Priceline Bidding Strategy

The obvious goal is to bid and get a room for the cheapest rate possible. I typically, approach this by using the timing strategy discussed in a previous post (Priceline Timing Strategy). The key is to increase your bids in small increment daily. The more time you have the lower you the bid you will be able to propose. I almost always fail to get acceptance on my first two bids.

If you have multiple credit cards and computers you can use these to your advantage. Simply switch computers and try again or just switch your connection if you have a dsl modem. Then you can bid again. You can also add locations to try to bid at the same price. I personally always bid at the highest star level. I may considering going down to lower rated hotels to see how much cheaper it gets a few times. For now I think I will hope someone submits their winning bid.

Another strategy I have used is to bid at an amount I know it won't get accepted and see how much priceline requests I increase my bid in order to bid again. In St. Louis I personally never bid over forty-five dollars. I have been trying to win a bid at the Airport but I have been unsuccessful at that amount. Currently, there maybe some extra bookings to Mardi Gras but I would think that would be over. By the way try to get to St. Louis next year. Bid on a room downtown and that will put you right next to all of the Mardis Gras fun. Believe it or not but I live here and I have never gone to check it out. I hear it is great.

Well I have definitely made this post longer than necessary. My strategy is simply bid on the highest star level and gradual increase your increments. If you need a room in a hurry bid low and check out the requested increase. I have never had a bad stay using the bid now feature but three stars is the lowest selection I have made bids. Really you can't go wrong. I have always found the cheapest rates using this method.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Hotel Review: Millennium Hotel St. Louis

I won this bid about three weeks ago for two nights which were on Friday and Saturday. I made the mistake of booking one night and then adding another. I was able to stay in the same room but I did have to check in twice. Apparently, the maids didn't get the memo and threw away my toiletries. I won the room for $40 dollars per night and parking is an additional $16 dollars per night.

I have to say if you want to book a stay for multiple nights make sure to fill in the information properly when you bid. I was very disappointed in how the offer to add nights using priceline's bid now feature worked. If you do need to add a night it is still worth your while. Especially, if you get a really good rate.

Well the room was more unique than most. It had a modern and appealing design. The room was shaped like a trapezoid, which was also weird. The bed could have been more comfortable. The view however was absolutely stunning. My room sat right above the St. Louis Arch and the cathedral. The view in of itself made the room worth every penny. The lobby is large and very nice. There is a lot of night life nearby. The landing is a good walk from the hotel or a short cab ride. Soulard is also close but I don't like going to Soulard. I've had a bad experiences there the only time I have gone.

If you do visit the landing, I suggest checking out the Big Bang (piano bar) or Morgan Street Brewery (Restaurant, Sports Bar, Patio, Night Club, Neighborhood Bar, All-in-one). I don't think I really need to mention that the romantic setting here. It is too obvious given the location. If you are into gambling you can go up to the Lumiere, which I am not a fan or the President's. If you get real adventurous catch the Metro to Illinois and go to the Casino Queen. This hotel is best suited for an adult stay. There isn't a whole lot for kids to do that I know. There is Busch Stadium.

I would definitely be excited if I were to win another bid at the Millennium, but I haven't had a chance to set this up for another go. I would really like to try dining at the Restaurant on the top level of the hotel. I will definitely hit that up next time and provide a review. Oh yeah, don't expect a view of fireworks every night you stay at the Millennium. I just liked the picture. As always I hope you too can find some great deals. Keep me informed by sending an e-mail to

Monday, February 4, 2008

Hotel Review: Sheraton Westport Chalet

I checked in on the 25th and checked out on the 27th. This was a weekend stay that was won for a bid of $42 per night. The total cost was just over $100. I researched this and a stay at the hotel runs around $160 per night so I feel like I got a really good deal. This was also the absolute cheapest price. It took me three days to find this price. I was bidding for rooms near the Airport and in Westport.

Westport is a real thriving area. It has a great night life. There are several bars and clubs in a business village setting. There are also several fine dining establishments to enjoy such as the Drunken Fish. The Funny Bone and all of the other available entertainment in within walking distance. The hotel also rests on a scenic lake with a fountain.

At check-in I had the choice of doubles or a king size. The drawback was that the doubles where only available in smoking. I unfortunately chose the doubles in smoking. The smoking rooms are definitely used by smokers. They smell was very apparent. Imagine, when I was a smoker I didn't notice. My fault. The room was still very nice. The furniture was very comfortable and so were the beds. The room came equipped with a desk and plenty of drawer space, which I don't really use. Hence, the second bed.

The soaps at the hotel are made by Bliss, which is an English company. I didn't find them special only because I am not into that stuff. I brought them back for my girlfriend and she loved them. It is amazing that these small thing I bring her always make her really happy. That is okay with me; it saves me on jewelery and chocolates. They also had some type of coffee, but I don't drink coffee so good luck with your morning. I was impressed by the bathrooms for the only reason that they were really well organized.

The room has dark wood furniture and the beds are very comfortable. There was a back door to my room and I was able to walk right out to the lake. Convenient for a romantic walk. I also, used the exercise equipment. Avoid the stair thing at all costs, it almost killed me. There are two treadmills, two ellipticals, a standing back, a reclined back and a weight station. I'll have to start bringing a swimsuit, because I never use the pool.

I recommend taking this deal if you can score a winning bid at the Sheraton. I definitely had a positive experience. Another plus was that parking was free and I think the Internet connection was free as well. The free WiFi in the lobby was kind of slow with five users that I saw, but it is more than made up for by an extensive business room.
no one deals like we do!

Again, thank you for visiting and I hope you save a lot of money using my tips and have a good stay at the hotels I have reviewed.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Review: Hyatt Regency Union Station St. Louis

Well I won this bid on priceline for a stay September 27, 2007 for $50, a great price. Well the bad news is that parking is $16 per night, but I'd stay here for $78 dollars including taxes and fees over a $45 dollar stay at the Days Inn.

There wasn't any exercising on this trip. There was a mall attached to the hotel and that took up all my time. The downside is that it splits the hotel in half, you have to walk through the mall to get to different areas in the hotel and this calls for continuous use of your key card. The good news is that it allows for a lot of fun. The hotel is located in St. Louis's famed Union Station, which is a hop skip and a jump from the Arch and all of the St. Louis attractions. You won't get to many of them, because Union Station will most likely dominate your night and why not? You don't have to drink then find your way back to the hotel and the area is very romantic. You can shop, get dinner, buy your sweetie some FRESHLY handmade chocolates, feed the fish, ride the paddle boats and check out a movie. If you don't have a sweetie you can always go to HOOTERS.

The stay at the Hyatt is not conclusive there is a charge for the internet and it is four bucks for a bottle of water. They also dropped the ball on the room. The room was very nice but there were several glaring problems. A majority of the lamps had bulbs that had gone out but in fairness they were using the weird looking bulbs that are supposed to last ten years or something. Then there was the lamp next to the bed. The previous tenant had broken it and the lamp shade. The maids had not picked up on the damage. The shade had fallen onto the bulb and it had almost caugth fire when I entered the room . If I had only turned on the lights put my luggage away and left half of the Hyatt and Union Station would be missing.

That is a detrimental mistake on the part of the Hyatt, but I doubt it is typical. The Hyatt wouldn't be standing if it were. Overall, the lobby is immaculate and almost intimidating if you are not used to the atmosphere. I really recommend staying at the Hyatt just try a bid at fifty dollars and hope for the best. I might even risk a little less if I were you. I think I could have booked the room at $45 dollars. The room at the Hyatt really afforde me a great night at a reasonable price. It is cheaper than a cab and a lot more luxurious. Remember never drink and drive.
no one deals like we do!

Make your bid and be sure to email me at GEORGEBURKEMOVIES@GMAIL.COM to let me know were you stayed, what you paid and what you thought.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Priceline Timing Strategy

This may seem obvious but it I want to start this out with a bit of easy. I like staying in hotels not being over worked. Well the longer you have the better your chance to win a cheap bid. I like to start finding a room upto three weeks in advance. I basically, check my bids by going really low for the highest star ranked room. Like I said I do this to enjoy life a little. I will typically check a bid at thirty-five dollars for a three star.

At that price you're typically going to find a red box that says you don't have much of a chance at winnig the bid. Move up in increments of five dollars until the box goes a way, and then try a dollar less until you have a reasonable bid. I've personally never won a bid when that box states I don't stand a chance. Once. you bid at that amound you stand a good chance of making a winning bid. From there move up in increments of a dollar or two using a different computer and credit card or bid the next day. That is how you'll find the minimum price on a room.

Keep in mind three star rooms are very nice, this is the minimum star level I 've bid. I do plan on trying to bid on a few two star rooms in safer neighborhoods. Remember I typically want to stay in rooms around St. Louis.

If you are staying for leisure or you travel to a particular place frequently you will find you can tap the well at that price over and over again getting the same hotel. My next post might be on a room I stay at more frequently. I might want to stay there a few more time before you guys drive the price through the roof.

I also find that I have more luck bidding on rooms on weekdays. By starting early and bidding on weekdays I have found that I have been able to get the best rates. I stayed at the hotel, pictured above, as mentioned in my previous post for at a forty-eight dollar bid. The bad news is that fees and parking cost me a little less than thirty more dollars. Still a lot less than what everyone else paid. While, I was there I heard the girl at the front desk charge some lady one hundred eighty dollars for the night. Well I guess we know not to book a room at the last minute.

From my experience, I have not found that booking differs on whether it is a weekend or weeknight. It is however very difficult to book using bid now over the holidays.Priceline Flights, Hotels, Rental Cars & More!Please, get to priceline using the above banner the clicks you make keep this blog going.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Priceline Blog Introduction

The aim of this blog is to help you get the cheapest rates at hotels. I am a frequent user of priceline and I think I get really great roomrates. For instance I stayed at the St. Louis Hyatt located in Union Station for a winning bid of fifty dollars. The sad part is that I think I could have get the room at a cheaper rate, it still eats at me.

To get cheap rates I use the bid now feature offers. It really works out for the better when you are trying to save on a feature. Most of my stays are in St. Louis. I get a hotel every once in a while just to escape my situation, and no I am not married. Enough, about my personal life.

This blog will provide you two things the purchase rate and date of my room and a review of the hotel. I am going to post some information about past rates and reviews to get the blog going. I encourage any other priceline junkies to send me information about the great deals they have received not just on rooms. Send me your flight rates and rental car rates as well. Make sure you describe the quality of your flight, car and your expereince with the service. Well, hopefully I really get going tomorrow.