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Non-refundable hotel reservations

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I finally finished making my hotel reservations for eastern Germany--Berlin, Dresden, Leipzig, Weimar, Wernigerode, and Frankfurt. All but Berlin and the Motel One in Frankfurt (where I wanted to stay near the airport) were non-refundable.

I could have made refundable reservations, but they would have cost considerably more--like $40 per night more--$280 for my 7 day stay in Dresden, and probably $1000 more for my long-ish trip.

I checked out various hotels, including some suggested by Fodorites, and I tried to make a reservation at the Hotel Martha, but it was no go. I just didn't see anything I liked more than the Hilton.

Same for the Westin in Leipzig. Usually I like to stay in homier places--like the Bregenz in Berlin, but I didn't see very much that I liked.

I am wondering if this non-refundable thing is common anywhere else. I have never encountered it before.

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