Archive for the ‘hotel price index’ Category

City of the Month: San Francisco, the Most Charming City in the U.S.

Friday, February 14th, 2014

Each city has its own unique personality that shines through just like the characteristics we look for in a soul mate. San Francisco, the seventh most popular domestic destination for Americans according to the Hotels.com Hotel Price Index™ (HPI™), claimed the title of “Most Charming” in a recent Hotels.com survey.  This Valentine’s Day, we are honoring San Francisco as the most charming city to take a valentine, and for the rest of February, we’ll let you in on some of the best hotels, activities and hidden gems in this City of the Month.

How to Spend Valentine’s Day in Charming San Francisco:

Villa Florence, a hotel in the heart of Union Square, oozes 0_BYC59Tcharm.  In contemporary Italian style, it features a breathtaking marble lobby and rooms draped in colors of Tuscany.  The location is ideal, two blocks away from the Theatre district and in the midst of Union Square.  The adjacent restaurant, Kuletos, provides decadent Italian dishes, perfect for a romantic getaway.  Head over to close by Bar Norcini for cocktails in an intimate nightcap to the evening.  The hotel is not far from Fisherman’s Wharf and the Embacadero, where couples can sample delicious local foods, see beautiful sights off the Bay, and even embark on a romantic Valentine’s Day cruise.

To find the latest hotel deals and Valentine’s Day travel ideas, visit Hotels.com and follow @hotelsdotcom on Twitter.

 

About the Survey: Conducted by Google Consumer Surveys between January 25 – 31, 2014. Each question sampled at least 1,200 unique, randomly sampled internet users across the Google Consumer Surveys publisher network.

 
 

 

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A Perfect Weekend Away in Charlotte, NC: TSB City of the Month

Tuesday, December 10th, 2013

If you’re looking too get away for a long weekend and you want to visit a city that is not too bustling, but not too quiet, not too artsy or action-packed, then try Charlotte, NC. It’s just right for a getaway weekend with the perfect combination of everything that makes ‘The Queen City’ a favorite travel spot for friends, couples and families up and down the East Coast.

200177106-001Charlotte is the #2 banking capital outside of Wall Street and gives the city a certain metropolitan buzz that you’d expect in a downtown. One of the things I like most about Charlotte is how pedestrian-friendly it is. You can walk anywhere in the vicinity of Trade and Tryon (the two main streets) and encounter art, music, and great dining options. Downtown is also a great place to sit and people-watch. It was especially prime people watching when Charlotte hosted the Democratic National Convention last year.

And just outside the city are some fantastic, hip neighborhoods beckoning for you to explore them. SouthPark is full of wonderful shops and restaurants. For an inexpensive treat, park at South 21 Curb Service and experience the 1955 drive-in a modern twist. Indulge in thick chocolate milk shakes, hot hush puppies, and crispy onion rings…and a trout sandwich.

Charlotte’s artsy NoDa neighborhood features some of the finest art galleries around. Twice a month there is an art crawl, held on the 1st and 3rd Friday starting at 6pm, and let’s you peruse some of the city’s finest galleries. After you can chill at Dolce Vita, a low-key wine bar and neighborhood gathering spot.

And up the road in Concord, NC, you can get that small-town experience. Concord features three historical districts with many beautifully preserved homes worth driving around and the Memorial Gardens are a botanical delight in the spring and summer months. Union Street in Concord is a fun walk with local shops, restaurants, museums and art galleries.

Later this week, we’ll take a look at where to stay and more suggestions on what to do and areas to explore when visiting Charlotte.

 
 

 

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Hotel Price Index: Family Travel Spotlight

Wednesday, September 18th, 2013

In the latest edition of the Hotel Price Index, the Family Travel Spotlight identifies five key values of family travelers; value-consciousness, making memories, staying healthy and safe, providing activities for kids and adults and staying close to home.

Hotels are changing the amenities and services offered based on changing family vacation needs. Some of the top destinations that are catering towards family vacationers are San Antonio, Texas ($126 USD per night according to the HPI), Punta Cana, Dominican Republic ($267 USD), Chicago, Illinois ($162 USD), Orlando, Florida ($101 USD), and Vail, Colorado ($261 USD).

See the Hotels.com Family Travel Spotlight video below to find out which hotels are stepping up for these ever-changing travelers!

Have been to any of these hotels or know of other kid/family-friendly destinations that are worth a visit? Let us know in the comments below!

 
 

 

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It’s Con-vention Season: Have No Fear, Hotels.com is Here!

Friday, July 19th, 2013

Imagine going to an event where you have the chance of running into Batman, Pikachu, Godzilla, Dexter, and the cast of the Hunger Games all in the same day?

This type of surreal rendezvous is just another day for the thousands of comic book, movie and sci-fi fans that have descending upon Comic-Con International, taking place in San Diego this week.

While it may be too late to attend the world’s largest comic book and popular arts style convention, ‘SuperBooking’ expert Hotels.com has come to the rescue of genre buffs with a list of the five most “geektastic” upcoming conventions.

1)     The Official Star Trek Convention   –  August 8-11, 2013 – Las Vegas
Beam me up, Scotty! Science fiction nerds will feel right at home at this mother ship of all Star Trek celebrations, now welcoming Trekkies for its 12th consecutive year. William Shatner, George Takei, and Nichelle Nichols are only a few of the over 80 Star Trek legends that will be making appearances at the show to sign autographs, participate in photo ops, speak on panels, and more.

Where to Stay: The venue, The Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino, has super-large suites with sweeping floor to ceiling views of the strip that will make guests feel like they’re peering out the window of a spacecraft.

GeekCons Image_not locked up2)     Gen Con Indy  –  August 15-18, 2013 – Indianapolis
Hosting “The Best Four Days in Gaming” since 1968, Gen Con is one of the longest-running shows of its kind. Specializing in tabletop games, such as board, card, roleplaying and strategy games, Gen Con is a unique experience among many other gaming conventions that focus solely on digital games. Gen Con attendees boast some of the best cos-play costumes around and there is even a growing Family Fun Pavilion and Training Grounds section dedicated to gaming for children as young as four.

Where to Stay: The Alexander is a brand new 4-star property a mere 15 minute walk from the Indianapolis Convention Center. It has the ideal set-up of modern décor and furnishing, complimentary Wi-Fi and on-site dining options.

3)     Dragon*Con  –  August 30 – September 2, 2013 – Atlanta
As the sixth largest convention hosted in the city of Atlanta, Dragon*Con attracts over 50,000 entertainment aficionados annually with its over 3,500 hours of multigenre programming around everything “fan-culture” including,  fantasy literature, cartoons, Asian cinema, video games, space science, action films, and more. Attendees can check out panels, seminars, demonstrations, and workshops in over 30 specialized programming tracks specific to their exact wanderlust. Last, but not least, Halloween arrives early in Atlanta when Dragon*Con comes to town, as the event features the largest costume contest in the South.

Where to Stay: Located down the block from the Dragon*Con venue, the Hyatt Regency Atlanta Downtown is the perfect place as it just recently underwent a $65 million renovation in 2011 that included the addition of new restaurants, technology and upgraded amenities.

4)     New York Comic Con (NYCC)  –  October 10-13, 2013 – New York
Despite being one of the newer geek conferences on the scene, New York Comic Con has quickly become one of the largest and most highly anticipated pop culture events of the year.  Achieving an attendance of over 116,000 comic, film, and gaming enthusiasts in only six years, NYCC is now ranked as the second largest event in the city, according to Crain’s New York Business. Attendees will be wishing for the time travel powers of Doctor Who, just so they can fit in all of the geektastic panels, comic writer meet-and-greets, video game demonstrations, and celebrity guest surprises that this show is known and loved for.

Where to Stay: Being that this massive convention takes place in the most expensive city in the U.S. according to the Hotels.com Hotel Price Index™ (HPI®), NYCC attendees will have to anticipate higher-than-usual prices. However, there are still nearby properties, like the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel New York, that can offer a great value.

5)     PAX East  –  April 11-13, 2014 – Boston
PAX East is the Northeastern spin-off of the wildly successful (and sold out) PAX Prime, which takes place in Seattle at the end of August this year. Developed by the founders of the webcomic Penny Arcade, the PAX conferences are completely dedicated to all things gaming, from consoles, to handhelds, to PCs and even traditional tabletop games. This completely fan-operated show also has a heavy live music element that makes it well worth a trip. Catering to the niche, “nerdcore” genre, PAX puts on a one-of-a-kind concert that blends the heavy beats of rap with the subcultural geek references that every PAX-goer will appreciate. Tickets for PAX East will likely go on sale in October of this year – grab them quick, because PAX Prime sold out in less than six hours!

Where to Stay: PAX participants don’t have to miss a minute of the action when they choose to stay at The Westin Boston Waterfront, which is connected directly to the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center.

Are you planning on attending any other Geek Conventions? Let us know in the comments below!

 
 

 

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How to Babymoon Like a Celebrity

Thursday, June 20th, 2013

With the recent birth of “Baby Kimye” and the anticipated arrival of the “Royal Baby,” Kim and Kate have been setting mommy trends on everything from maternity fashion to babymoons. Parents-to-be looking to plan their own babymoons can recreate and emulate these celebrity travel styles, without the hefty price tags.

BabymoonKimye “City Chic” Babymoon
Kim and Kanye prepped for their new arrival by shopping at high-end boutiques and nesting in the luxury hotels of chic metropolitan capitals Paris and Rio de Janeiro. Expectant parents looking to take one last stroller-less stroll through a city street can steal a page from Kimye’s “city chic” babymoon style by checking out Montréal, Canada or San Diego, Calif.

Montréal, much like Paris, is full of gorgeous architecture and stained glass churches. Shopping is also abundant, whether splurging on some designer duds on rue Sherbrooke or taking a few days to explore the subterranean metropolis of the famous Underground City. A number of hotels connect to the Underground City and are within walking distance of the breath-taking Mont-Royal Park and famous Notre-Dame Basilica, like the 4-star Le Westin Montréal (currently starting at only $200 a night).

Couples looking to get a taste of the laid-back beach lifestyle that Kim and Kanye experienced on their Rio babymoon, need not look any further than sunny, surfs-up San Diego. Rising in popularity over the last few years according to the Hotel Price Index, San Diego will provide the same blend of casual beach-side relaxation and exciting nighttime adventure as Rio, but for a fraction of the price. The Sheraton San Diego Hotel and Marina is a great choice, featuring panoramic views of the bay, this property is approximately two miles from the active city center and less than five miles from the fun-filled Mission Beach.

Royal Island Babymoon
Couples can take a different approach, like William and Kate, who went to the ultra-exclusive Caribbean island of Mustique, located in the West Indies. While William and Kate’s $25,000-a-week getaway consisted of a five-bedroom villa complete with an infinity pool, several private verandahs and a six-person staff, the Caribbean region offers comparable luxuries for far less at destinations such as Vieques, Puerto Rico and Samara, Costa Rica.

According to the latest HPI, rates in Vieques are down a whopping 21% from $407 per night in 2011 to $323 in 2012. Winning numerous industry accolades in recent years for its quiet, virtually untouched beaches, Vieques exudes a certain exclusivity that is akin to the elite island of Mustique. Most of its land is undeveloped due to the presence of the U.S. Navy for over 60 years, so its beaches are pristine masterpieces, surrounded by nature, not commercial development. The island is also home to the largest national refuge in the Caribbean, making for excellent snorkeling. A stay at the W Retreat & Spa might be just what expectant parents need to feel like royalty with its tranquil décor, world class cuisine, and rejuvenating spa – and yes, they offer a prenatal massage.

Samara, Costa Rica is another outstanding choice for soon-to-be-parents taking a cue from the Royal Couple. It is a small, local favorite, rich with Costa Rican culture and well-known for its down-to-earth and friendly atmosphere. Like, Vieques, prices in Samara are also down significantly; a babymoon in this coral reef paradise will cost couples on average 19% less than it did just a year ago. For those who truly want to live it up prince and princess style, private villas like  the Villa de Sol are available starting as low as $143 a night and offer everything from full kitchens and spa tubs to pillow top bedding, private balconies, and more.

Even better, all of the highlighted properties qualify for Welcome Rewards, the loyalty program where members can earn one free night for every 10 nights stayed.

Where would you plan to take your babymoon?

 
 

 

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The Hotels.com Club Sandwich Index

Wednesday, June 12th, 2013

Last year, Hotels.com launched the Club Sandwich Index (CSI), which reports on real prices paid by travelers for a Club Sandwich in major tourist destinations worldwide. The CSI, much like the Hotel Price Index from Hotels.com, is a helpful resource for travelers looking to gauge the price of everyday items like food and drink in an unfamiliar city they plan to visit.

By monitoring prices year over year, travelers can become more aware of factors that can affect their travel spend, such as changes in the local price of food or currency fluctuations.

This year, Paris was bumped from its top spot as most expensive Club Sandwich by Geneva. In the States, California Clubs showed the highest price increases over last year. Check out how each city compares below!

hotel_clubsandwichindex_art_US2013

 
 

 

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Affordable Vacation Recommendations for Spring and Summer

Monday, March 18th, 2013

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I spent the weekend skiing with the family in Keystone, CO.  I have to give the resort major props for it’s “something for everyone” village.  We spent two nights in the River Run Condominiums located right at the base of the mountain, mere steps from the Gondola.  It wasn’t our first visit and it certainly won’t be our last.  What keeps us coming back for more? From the ski lessons for my three year old niece, to the ice skating, parades complete with apple cider, dancing and smiles, leprechauns (it was St. Patrick’s Day) and more…Keystone resort makes it easy for visitors to have a great vacation.

Whenever I am on one trip, regardless of its length, I always find myself planning the next one. Where can we go? What will we do? Who can come with us?  Of course, as I was riding the ski lift this weekend, I was already pondering what we will do for upcoming trips during Spring Break, Memorial Day Weekend, and our summer vacation.

Late March through early June is an ideal time to travel if you can swing it.  Travel prices for hotels, car rentals and airfare are generally lower than the peak prices of summer for many destinations.

Hotels.com recently ranked San Diego, California, San Antonio, Texas, Portland, Maine and Charleston, South Carolina as top affordable picks for spring and early summer travel.   The rankings were based on the Hotel Price Index™ (HPI®), which tracked real prices paid per room by Hotels.com customers during 2012.  I couldn’t agree more. Additional benefits:  temperatures will be mild, and crowds will be smaller.

Consider these destinations, too, when planning Spring Break and early summer vacations:

Biloxi, Mississippi

Biloxi happily entertains its guests (for less) in the spring. That is, if you don’t gamble your savings at the casinos. Stay at the Beau Rivage Resort & Casino where you definitely stay and play. Rates from $79/night can’t be beat.

Phoenix, Arizona

Spring break is good timing for dude ranches in Arizona, which typically shut down during the heat of summer months.  You’ll want to saddle up for a stay at the Rancho de los Caballeros.

For a little spa and golf getaway, check into the Arizona Grand Resort has a convenient location just 15 minutes from the Phoenix airport and a full-fledged water park with waterslides, wave pool, river float, and kiddie pool. Golf is a highlight too with a golf course right at the resort and a high-tech learning center. Guests can also do beautiful hikes or mountain biking in the adjacent 16,500 acre South Mountain Park/Preserve.

San Luis Obispo, California

Halfway between San Francisco and Los Angeles, San Luis Obispo has low-cost attractions plus free fun at beaches with tide pools, or piers, or sand dunes. From wine-tasting, to biking, hiking, and even antiquing, you’ll enjoy this California central coast destination.  It’s a great spot for day trips to other pricier CA cities.

Already planning your next vacation? Where will you go? Share it here on Travel Smart Blog!

 
 

 

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Slice of the Good Life – The Scoop on Luxury Travel

Friday, March 15th, 2013

While chartering a private jet or yacht may not be even remotely in reach for your average traveler, there are still many other unique vacation options that are trending among affluent jetsetters that everyday vacationers can gain inspiration from.

You don’t have to be a billionaire to take a cue from the world’s “High Net Worth Individuals” whose ultimate vacation goals have been identified in the below infographic from Going Global TV as being focused on family and multi-generational trips, as well as distinctive experiences like those delivered by luxury cruises and adventure/expedition packages.

Planning for a once-in-a-lifetime experience doesn’t necessarily mean saving up for your own private island. Meaningful travel experiences and experiential offerings at hotels are becoming increasingly mainstream in 2013 as more standard travelers rediscover the emotional and physical benefits of a quality vacation.

What’s more, you don’t have to spend beyond your means just to enable your whole family to  participate in the fun either. Affordable luxury options exist worldwide you just have to be aware of them and know the right tools to help you find them. For example, The Hotel Price Index from Hotels.com has an entire chapter on best 5-star room rates around the world and best star-rated values (i.e. 5 and 4-star rooms for $125 and under!).

So, tell us, if you were a “High Net Worth Individual” where would you plan your next vacation and what would you do? Leave a comment below!

 

 
 

 

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Hotel Price Index Fun Facts

Tuesday, March 5th, 2013

What are the latest travel trends for 2013? What are some of the must-see, up-and-coming destinations travelers should check out this year? Today the latest edition of the Hotels.com® Hotel Price Index™ (HPI®) was released, providing all of this great insight and more.

The HPI tracks real prices paid per room by Hotels.com customers at approximately 200,000 properties within the Hotels.com network in major destinations around the world. This year’s report looks at the full 2012 year and reveals lots of interesting facts to aid globetrotters around the world in their travel decisions and to make the planning process a little bit more fun.

Here are a few of the most fun facts we found this time around:

  • Big Sur made its debut on The World’s Most Expensive Cities list – most likely tied to its desirable location, extremely expensive land and the cost of building and various posh, luxury properties.
  • Eight of the 10 most expensive cities are located on islands
  • Texas is growing in popularity among U.S. travelers, as San Antonio and Austin both moved up on the list of Americans’ most preferred domestic cities.
  • Internationally, Tokyo continues to rebound and see more American travelers, while Istanbul has been rapidly growing as a popular destination
  • Warsaw and Marrakech both offer travelers the highest star rating under $125. Five-star hotels in Warsaw average at only $125 a night, and four-star hotels in Marrakech offer rooms at $104 a night.
  • Top Domestic Destinations for Americans were Las Vegas, NYC, Orlando, LA, Chicago
  • Foreign travelers from Japan, South Africa and Norway spent the most on U.S. accommodations
  • Top International Cities for Americans were London, Paris, Rome, Toronto, Vancouver
  • More and more hoteliers are making Wi-Fi available at no cost throughout the hotel, or at least in the public areas of the property as they are beginning to realize that it is a number one priority among customers. Travelers can even anticipate the ability to log-on while en route to their destinations as select limos and airlines are also jumping on the Wi-Fi bandwagon.
To view more of the Hotel Price Index, visit us at www.Hotel-Price-Index.com - Happy travels!


 
 

 

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