Tag Archives | hotel

A Room with a View

We need your help.  So we were fighting the other day.  You have no idea how many times we have said that!  But then again you are on this site.  We were having a “discussion” on which of our fave hotels had the very best views?  Hotel rooms are just that to us, rooms.  What is important to us is what you can see from the room.  Great views are travel porn.  One of Luci’s all time fave shows is “A Room with a View”.   In this “chic” flick, the heroine Lucy Honeychurch and bumbling chaperone Charlotte Bartlett find themselves in Florence with rooms without a view.  In the end, she gets the man, and they get a room, oh and it has a view.  As a result of this show, as we travel one of key requirements is an amazing view.

Our four contenders are:  Conrad-Istanbul, Hiton-Nice, Cavalieri-Rome,  and the Fairmont Zimbali Lodge-South Africa

Conrad-Istanbul

This is an amazing property!  It lands overlooking the mighty Bosporus.  (click on the pic below to get a better feel of the immense view)  You can see two continents (Europe and Asia) with this view! How many hotels can claim that?    The unique shape of the hotel makes for views of some amazing land and seascapes. What makes this hotel’s view special is your are treated to views with two senses: sight and sound.  Every morn and night you are greated with haunting renditons of the call to prayer for nearby mosques.

Please click on photo to get the entire view!

 

Hilton, Nice, France

What is better than a view of the French Rivera?  Nice offers some ob the best water and beach front  on the globe.  We understand the hotel sold to another chain.  Can anyone confirm that?  Regardelss the view of the swaying palms, the fine eye candy on the beaches and of course the azure water are not to be missed.  You are literally a hop, skip and a jump to world class beaches.

 

 

Cavalieri-Rome

Ok we weren’t going to reveal which is favored by who to let you the reviewer an unbiased opinion.  But this is Mike’s fave hotel in the world.  The mighty Cavalieri is one of the ugliest hotels on the outside.  It is about as glamorous as a cement box.  But what it lack in outward appearance, the inside and of course the views more than makes up for.  Located on a perch overlooking all of Rome and especially the Vatican, the view is breathtaking.   As luck would have, as we opened the siding door to our patio, there was a rainbow over the city!   The hotel is located in a 50 acre parklike setting.  We understanding that during conclave, rooms go for astronomical prices.  You could see the white smoke from your room!

 

 

 

Fairmont Zimbali Lodge-South Africa

Lastly, but certainly not least is the the Zimbali.   While our room offered a jungle obstructed viewof the Indian Ocean, a few steps down the path to the pool affords one of the most impressive ocean front views!  We visited the Zimbali at the end of our safari trip trough South Africa.  The resort lodge is an oasis for the soul.  The hotel has a number of freshwater pools right on the edge of the ocean.  We timed our visit on the shoulder season and had the entire pool area to ourselves.  Beat that view?  I dont think so!

There are some many great locations out there: an African Lodge, a Mediterian escape or even take in Kensington apartments for that matter!  Regardless if they are hotels, hostels, or even serviced apartments treat yourself to a great view!

Now is your chance to weigh in with your opinion.  Which is the best view?  Just leave a post below.

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Avoiding the “Spa” Fight

 

Çemberlitas Bath-Istanbul, Turkey

Spa. Ah. Just the word makes you feel better. 1000fights likes spas. Let me clarify-the female half of 1000fights likes spas. The male half likes golf. So why not do both? Because we are both incredibly anal about money and equality, 1000fights has a rule. Equal money on vacation. That means whatever is spent on golf, is spent on the spa and vice versa. This policy of equality came after a fight in South Africa. We were staying at the Zimbali Lodge outside of Durban. Mike golfed. Luci enjoyed the pool. But Luci also started feeling very resentful because while Mike was spending fistful of South African Rands, Luci wasn’t. When she tried to book a treatment at the resort, there weren’t any openings. Lesson learned. Here’s a couple tips for the non-golfing ladies and spa attending guys to make sure you aren’t getting shafted on vacation.

Plan ahead. Don’t expect to be able to walk into the spa and get an appointment. If you don’t plan ahead for an appointment, you’ll be disappointed and mad.

Budget. Know what you want to spend. Often times hotel spas are overpriced and under deliver. You’ll spend three times as much on a massage at the hotel versus one at an independent business down the street.

Ask Your Hotel. I know this seems counter intuitive and often times the hotel will pimp their spa, but if you ask for a list of local spas, the concierge will oblige.

Get in on the social networking. Once you find a spa you want to visit both on vacation and at home, “like” them on Facebook and follow them on Twitter. You’ll end up getting special deals.

Surf the group coupon. Living Social, Groupon, Amazon Local usually have a spa deal very two to three weeks. If you know you are going to visit a city, sign up for their deals. Purchasing group coupons means you get more for your money and twice the treatments.

 

Go web shopping.  There are some really great Spa holiday links out there. These specialized websites drive deals just for Spa breaks UK and international spas. You’ll get better deals here than just approaching the property directly. You’ll also have the benefit of discovering several properties at once without having to look up each property individually. The best site I’ve seen is http://www.spabreaks.com. It makes me want to go to a spa now!

 

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Shhhh….Our Secrets to Discount VIP Travel

John and Yoko suite ams hilton

Image by 1000fights via Flickr

We thought we would let you in on a few of our VIP travel secrets…

Ask for the Moon

Have you ever asked for the Honeymoon Suite? It never hurts to ask.  Most hotel managers will tell you the premium suites are vacant most of the time. During shoulder seasons especially– just asking often opens the door to some really nice rooms. High inventory cities are also prone to willingness to upgrade you if it is an “off” weekend, or better yet a weekday.  “Large inventory” areas like Las Vegas, Atlantic City, Miami, Paris, ect are an easy target.

Getting an upgrade at a discounted rate can be cheaper than a standard room due to the amenities that come with. Upgraded rooms often have access to free: wifi, bottled water, hospitality rooms, ect.  Don’t ever expect to get upgraded…Grandma’s rules apply: a little bit a honey goes a long way.

Another place to ask for the upgrade is at the rental car desk. We have friends that always book economy and play the upgrade game at the desk. This approach can be risky if the desk is swamped, they are out of cars, or if you find “Mr. NO!” behind the counter. Always ask about your options.  Negotiate a price.  Most rental car companies put a ton of miles on the economy and mid-size cars. They need to put some miles on those Cadillacs and Audis.  For those that are a little fearful to ask: just say…”what else do you have?”

Trust me, those counter agents get asked all the time.

Book Early or Late

If you are catching the train to the airport then you might be able to afford to go first class if you book yourself a ticket early enough. Train and air lines often have early bird deals on their website, it might take a little bit more planning as they often require you to book your ticket some time in advance but it can be worth it if you get a first class ticket for negligible extra cost.

An old Chinese Proverb goes: Empty seats make no money.  Again, during certain times of the year the best seats on trains and planes go empty.  There is a load of websites out there that offer great bargains on last minute travel.  This is certainly not for the faint at heart.  For crazy planners like Luci and I, this option would never work.  The fact remains there are deals to be had on last minute travel.  Give it a try.

Airline Perks

The three words that strike fear and loathing to avid travelers: LONG LAY OVER.   They are the bane of our exsisitence.  How can you travel VIP if you have to sit in an airport lounge for hours on end?  Enter the airline club rooms.  Worth every penny for long layovers.  Food?  Yep.  Newspaper and popular mags?  Yep.  Comfy chairs?  Yep.  A little privacy?  Yep.

Back to rule one, why not just ask the desk, tell them that you have a long layover and do they ever offer discounted entry?  If you happen to be female, entry barriers seem to be lessened if you find a bored gate attendant.  They are often eager to help (wink).

Valet Airport Parking

We have found the way you start and end your trip make all the difference.  If you are driving to the airport then you have a think about  Airport Parking the options that are open to you.  If you don’t want the bog standard park and ride service then you might be able to find a good deal on valet parking or even treat yourself to the most VIP option which is a chauffeur service.  Valet parking can really add a touch of class to your journey as your own driver will meet you at the airport when you arrive, all you need to do is hand over your vehicle and your keys and they will take your car to a secure place for the duration of your stay.

On your return they will meet you when your flight arrives and have your car waiting for you right outside departures.  It truly is how the other half travels.  Prices are surprisingly affordable.

We hope these tips and tricks are helpful.  Do you have any secrets to getting the VIP experience?  Leave a comment below.

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Stay at the Airport?

     VS.    

I’m sure when asked, you would find more than one way to improve your holiday.  Now I know of lots of ways to improve your holiday, from finding an excellent Mojito bar to bungee jumping, but my tips are simpler and will make your whole holiday better.  First, book a stay in an airport hotel before you fly.  I’ve started doing it recently and it’s made all my trips fantastic.  Why?  I hear you ask.  Well it’s simple; it makes the worst part of any holiday almost enjoyable.

The worst part of any holiday is always departure day.  Take-away the excitement about the holiday to come and all you’re left with is stress, panic and irritable people.  Everybody’s in a hurry, they’re all worried about catching flights and checking in and most haven’t had enough sleep the night before.  This isn’t a good mix and it can make the start of your holiday less than pleasant.  This is where a night in an airport hotel swoops in and fixes everything.

Wherever you fly from there are airport hotels available and they’re usually really good.  I’ve stayed in Dublin airport hotels and Stansted airport hotels, and also recently enjoyed a Gatwick airport hotel and parking package, which have all been brilliant.  Not only are they high quality (a personal highlight was the massage room in one of them) but they are all really convenient.  By staying in one of these airport hotels you get a great night’s sleep after a really nice evening of wining and dining.  The effect this has on you makes it the best route to a better holiday.

You’ll wake up rested and refreshed already in a much better mood than you would have been.  Then, over a big tasty breakfast you remember that you’re in one of the discount Manchester airport hotels (or wherever you may be) just minutes from the terminal.

There’s no stressful journey to the airport, no worrying about being late, just a relaxing morning to enjoy before popping over to the terminal and checking in.  What is normally a bit of nightmare has been transformed in to a bit of a treat and the whole process until take-off will seem much simpler because you’re rested, calm and have nothing to worry about.  It makes your holiday that bit more special and all it takes is a few clicks on a website like holidayextras.co.uk.

 

1000Fights: We want to share this guest post from Nick with www.holidayextras.co.uk.  He makes such a great point and it is something that we really believe in.  Getting a hotel near the airport at the beginning or end of your trip takes much of the undue stress away.  Take for instance our recent trip to Venice.  Getting from the islands back to the mainland is more involved than you might think.  On top of just getting back across the bay, add in the time it takes to return rental car, go through security, and get rid of the left over euros that your have accumulated…this takes time!  Great advice Nick.  One less thing to fight about…(darn!)

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Our review of HotelCalculator.com

Recently 1000fights was asked to review an innovative hotel search engine:  www.hotel calculator.com.

Hotel Calculator is truly a helpful tool amide the sea of hotel search sites.  Unlike their competitors..they have avoided becoming all things to all people with searches for Hotels, rental cars, flights, coffee, and the perfect cucumber.  Hotels are all that they do.  And they do it well.
They have even recently added an IPhone Ap.  So you can search for the right property on the go!

One stop shop
There are a ton of really good hotel booking sites out there.  Hotel Calculator collect them all and offers you the best deal on a silver platter.   Some of our fav booking sites are Venere (great for Europe), Expedia (Great for the states), Hotel Chart (another really good Europe site), and Late rooms( great for last minute booking deals) .  Hotel Calculator pulls rates from these and another 25+ sites!

HotelCalculator.com allows you to select multiple hotels to a “Short list”.  You can then compare and contrast to pick the best hotel for your needs.  They feature not just hotels..but apartments, bed & breakfasts, residences, hostels, motels, guesthouses and more.

Reviews and Maps
One of the most helpful functions on the site is the PI (Popularity Index).  This is a super secret code that Hotel Calculator uses based on actual reviews, location amenities and hotel popularity.  It is a built in tool to find the best match for your needs.  Another helpful tool built into the search is the mapping function.  Each hotel is linked to a handy Google maps locator.

Locations
While some hotel search engines specialize in a certain geographic area, Hotel Calculator is a hotel search engine.  You get the best deals from across the globe!  You can search from 100,000 different locations!


Hotel Calculator is surely a handy tool for pro and novice traveler!  Give them a  try.


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