Bargain hotel breaks from £1
If you love the comfort of hotels but shy away from the price, find out how you can have a bargain hotel break with just a humble quid.
I love hotels. I adore the comfortable rooms, cool crisp linen and fancy bath products. What I don't like is the price, which is why it's been a long time since I've stayed in one.
But that may be about to change as I've found some offers that could make a night or two in a hotel a bit more affordable.
What can you buy for £1?
On your marks, get set, go! First up is the stylish Hoxton Hotel in Shoreditch, London. With granite bathrooms, luxurious linen and Aveda bath products, this sounds right up my street.
And the price is right, too, for the lucky ones, as it's about to hold its £1 sale.
At noon on Thursday 2 July, 500 bedrooms will become available that can be booked for just £1, with another 500 going for just £29, per night.
You can only book one night's accommodation for £1 which must be between 1 August and 31 October 2009 - any misbehaving and they will cancel all of your bookings.
But it's a great deal and I'll be ready on Thursday to try my luck - and here are some tips so you'll know what to do. Although they do warn that the last time they held the £1 sale in April, 30k people tried to book and the bargain rooms had all gone in 11 minutes - so you'll need to be quick!
Good old Travelodge may not offer swanky facilities, but rooms are clean, bright and functional with all the facilities you need for a simple night away. And the best bit is, they're cheap - particularly as you can currently snap up a room for just £19 in its sale (bookings must be between 1 November 2009 and 31 January 2010).
And if November is too far away, Travelodge offers a number of rooms for £19 all year round - you just need to book at least 21 days in advance (the earlier the better). What's more, rooms can be booked for £29 with just seven days notice.
5* hotels from just £50 per night
Now, as I mentioned before I really love swanky hotels - the fancier the better, but with rack rates of £300+ they can be more of a dream than a reality.
Well that was until our friends at Lastminute.com realised that there could only be so many wealthy people and celebrities staying in hotels at one time, so there must be a fair few empty rooms that aren't doing much.
By partnering with a number of 4* and 5* hotels, Lastminute has set itself up as a reseller - selling rooms with up to 45% off the usual room rate that anyone can book.
Top secret hotels
But there is one drawback - as the rooms are so much cheaper, the hotels don't want their full-paying clientele to find out so they've tagged them as "top secret". So while you'll know where the hotels are, they won't tell you any specific names.
Now this may not bother some people - after all, as long as the hotel is roughly in the area you're interested in and the price is right, knowing the name can be by-the-by.
Do your research
But if you did want to do some detective work before booking, try plugging the key details into search engine, or use a site such as Betterbidding.com where like-minded people have revealed the names of some of the most popular hotels.
And once you know the name, use TripAdvisor to find out what other people thought of it. You can also, importantly check the room rates so you'll know if the deal you've been offered is a good one.
I did a search for double rooms in Paris, and found a "magnificent 4* design hotel located in the heart of the left bank Montparnasse area" for £88 per night.
A quick search revealed that it is probably the swanky, 4* Hotel Pont Royal, which, with standard rates of €230 (£196) per night, means I'd be saving a whopping £108 per night!
This is clearly a great way to have a luxury hotel stay at a fraction of the cost - just make sure you do a little checking first to ensure you're getting a great deal.
And, if you're planning a trip to the States, Hotwire.com offers the same service there.
Top tips for bargain-hunters
Finally, a great way to find bargain hotel rooms is via one of the many travel sites. Expedia, Travelocity and Ebookers are some of the biggest and allow you to search in the vicinity of your choosing. Alternatively, one of my favourite sites is laterooms.com which often offers competitive deals.
Or check directly with the bigger chain websites. Marriott, for example is currently offering 3 nights for the price of 2, and if you book two night's accommodation at a Hilton hotel for trips from now until the end of August, you'll get the second night free. Sign up to their websites and they'll email you directly with special deals in the future, too.
And if you're looking for a cheap hotel break with a group of friends? Then call the hotels you fancy directly - they can often arrange a special deal if there's the chance to fill lots of empty rooms, which should be cheaper than booking even through a discount website.
Right, I'm off to practise how quickly I can follow Hoxton hotel's tips on how to bag a £1 hotel room.
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