Breaking up with your bad hotel

Book with the hotel…

So you can cut & run if you need to.

Here’s what I mean. We booked a modestly priced hotel, with excellent Trip Advisor ratings, in Honolulu. (No… not the cheapest hotel out there. Not by a long shot. Don’t think I’m using “modest” as a polite way of saying cheap!) Everything about Honolulu is quite expensive, so we wanted to get as much value as we could from our accommodations. It was an honest mistake.

Here were the deciding factors in the reviews that made us book.

Free breakfast: people said things like “more than just a continental breakfast.” “Fresh eggs and waffles.”

Off the beach, but close: “just 3 blocks to Waikiki Beach, but half the beach hotel price!” “Hotel offers free towel & chair rentals for the beach.”

View of the city and the canal. “Great views and they give you free ear plugs for the noise if it bothers you.”

Here were the deciding factors that made us leave:

Wow. That noise was ridiculous. Nothing like the view of a 4 lane highway to enhance your “beach vacation.” We actually heard (from the 10th floor) a screeching near accident, which resulted in 8 seconds of car horn and another 20 seconds of angry screaming profanity. We could do nothing but laugh. And BTW, we had the window closed at the time.

3 blocks from the beach? Are you kidding? It’s more like 2 kilometres!! And you want me to carry a free (folding metal) beach chair…. like the ones from grandma’s house in the 80’s? Pass.

Now, think about that 2km walk from the beach with a tired, hot, cranky child who’s hungry. Or think about being 2 hot cranky kilometres from a life saving cocktail.  #momlife  You’ll agree saving $30 a night is NOT worth the walk.

There was a pool. A cess pool. The size of a big hot tub. Hard pass on that. I’d rather eat the stale, sticky Fruit Loops off the floor in the breakfast room.

That’s how our 7 night booking turned into a 1 night “experience.”

How did I get out of it, without losing all my money? I had booked directly with the hotel. Not Hotwire, not a discounted or non-refundable offer. Booking with the hotel is exactly what got me out of the hotel without a massive financial kick in the face. All we did was ask to change the check out date.

How did I get out of it gracefully at the front desk? Standard breakup conversation. “It’s not you, it’s me. You’re amazing. I’m just not right for you. It’s me, I should leave.”

In this case…. I literally said, “I’m just overwhelmed by the big city & tall building. It’s all making me so anxious, I need to find someplace quiet. You have a beautiful hotel, I just can’t handle the city life. I have to move on, ASAP.”

They moved my checkout date to the next morning & politely processed the bill.

We headed 2kms, or “3 blocks” towards the beach and checked into the Hilton. Re-started the vacation. Chain hotels are like ex-boyfriends. They might not be new or exciting, but they are consistent, comfortable and quite willing to take you in when you call sounding lost and desperate.

So, I blame the rosy people of Trip Advisor for failing to hook me up with a great hotel. I also blame myself thinking I could compromise location for price, because of the extra benefits. Smarten up Cathie! You KNOW location is key!

I’m also proud of myself for quickly shifting to Plan B and salvaging 6 days of precious vacation time. (I’ll make up the $30 by skipping souvenirs and lattes.)

Like life, each day on vacation counts. Be happy or move on.

Better view. Ahhh

Westjet Roundtrip $192

Where to for this bargain?

Winnipeg to Hamilton! Lots of dates available. This sample is February 2nd to 5th. Paired with a hotel, through Expedia.ca you could have flight and hotel under $400 per person (2).

Screenshot at Westjet.com, January 2nd.

Or what about Edmonton at Spring Break?  Fly out March 26th and back on the 30th. You can’t even drive there that cheap. $177 tax in, and with Westjet, from Winnipeg.

What about renting a car or grabbing the train and making this a ski vacation in Jasper? Remember, Canada’s National Parks are FREE to see in 2017.

Screenshot, Westjet.com January 2nd. Prices subject to change without notice. For holidays and popular dates, it pays to book early!

Flight Deals from Winnipeg

Two reasons to book your flight and hotel separately. There are some hot bargains on flights and hot bargains on hotels for Black Friday. Get the best of both.

Marriott Hotels offering rates as low as $79.  Booking Nov 25th to 28th only.

Are you interested in Abbotsford or Edmonton? Flight prices around the $200 mark, return and taxes included with Westjet. Even dates over Spring Break 2017.  For example:  $187 to Edmonton March 26-30th.

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Or what about Nashville, Tennessee? Flights from Winnipeg are on sale for $314 taxes included, with Air Canada. March 1st to 7th. OR, if you’d like to catch a Winnipeg Jets hockey game, (13th of March) fly from the 9th to 16th for $356 and make a holiday of it.

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Other flights and dates available. Aircanada.com

 

$65 Hotel for Black Friday

Planning to do any Black Friday shopping in Minot, ND this year? Time to think and act if you want the best deals. If you are a Hyatt (loyalty club) member you can book at $65 per night for November 24th and 25th.

If you are a CAA member, there are offers for you as well, $70 per night.

I have personally stayed at this hotel in 2016 and have nothing but compliments for the hotel. A hot breakfast buffet is included in your stay, with omelettes made to order.

A mere 7 or so minutes from the Minot airport and on the north west side of the city, you are conveniently located to shopping and amenities as long as you have a car.

Book directly off their website for most flexibility. Important in our winter weather.  Hyatt House Minot

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Hotwire: Saskatoon

Roadtrip is not my first choice for travel adventure, but this time, I have personal reasons for making the trek.

Our first stop would be Saskatoon Saskatchewan. It’s my first time in the city and I won’t have time to explore. It’s simply a bed, breakfast and gas stop.

I was very surprised to learn that on a Tuesday night, the going rate for hotels was $170. Whether I checked Expedia.ca, Trivago.ca or the hotel sites themselves…. nothing for under $170. Best Western, Mainstay, 4Points, Courtyard, Holiday Inn… I checked them all.

So, we waited to the last minute to book something. And went with Hotwire.ca

We chose a 2.5star hotel, in the north side of Saskatoon, at $106 per night. Included free parking, free breakfast, WIFI and had guest laundry. As per Hotwire, it had a 95% approval rating. So, that was good enough for me.

We got the Country Inn and Suites. It’s right next to the Sandman Hotel and has a Denny’s restaurant adjacent.

Check-in was smooth, free coffee in the lobby. Rooms were big, the bedroom was separate from the sitting room which boasted a pullout couch, wet bar and microwave. Though the decor was dated, and the room bothered my allergies (probably the carpet) it was absolutely fine. Actually, for $106, it was great!

We went next door to Denny’s for dinner. It was as anticipated, mediocre. Factory prepared food, assembled and microwaved on location. But, I will say that the server, Jenn, was really great. She did her job well and we left her a large grat.

The breakfast at the Country Inn & Suites was actually fabulous! Cereal, 4 types of juice, bagels, muffins, waffles, Canadian bacon, omelettes and more. I was surprised and very impressed with the actual fruit (looked like thawed frozen berry mix) and the actual dairy whipped cream for the waffles. I’m really fussy and won’t ever eat cool-whip or the like. Two thumbs up for the top quality food and selection at the breakfast room.

So, a good day. Decent pit stop. My son would give the hotel/Denny’s a slightly higher rating though… as he found 4 different Pokemon characters in the parking lots here and two more in the lobby of the Country Inn.  That made him very happy.