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Miami 2/16-2/20. Four Seasons (w/no breakfast) for $350 vs Royal Palms Crown Plaza ON beach for $275 W/ Breakfast? + Sanibel hotel question!

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We've stayed at the Royal Palm Crown Plaza the last 2 years when visiting my sister in Miami. We liked it alot for it's great location and crisp, clean style. It's fairly new, still pristine, and right on South Beach. We liked the Loews Hotel more the year before (for $129 a night during Thanksgiving weekend!), but it's priced itself WAY out of the market for us(over $400). We loved what we saw of the new Ritz Carlton on South Beach but it's also well over $400 a night, as is the Mandarin Oriental Hotel. We don't want to stay at an older hotel (ala The Delano or "The Hotel") like some listed in the Art Deco area as we love NEWish hotels with nice bathrooms and beds. We've seen pics of The Tides, Shore Club, National, etc, but they are WAY too much $'s for what you get- for us. We wanted to try the Four Seasons Miami as it's SO new, though I know it's not on the beach. We could always drive to the beach, right? Our friend that works for FS (for 20 years) says they've imported tons of expensive, beautiful woods for this place and it's awesome with an incredible pool.

We found a "deal" through the FS 1-800# for a city view, cheapest room category available for $350 a night, but no breakfast included. :o(

We also called the Royal Palms Crown Plaza and they are $279 a night($30 more than last year per night) but it includes continental breakfast buffet in their "great rate". This rate comes with a $25 cancellation fee regardless of when you cancel! Arggghhhh.

I like trying new hotels, ya know? Staying at the Crowne Plaza fits our budget better but it's like - same old, been there, done that, twice already, what hotel's next? The thing is... I wonder if we'd miss being on the beach if we stayed at the FS? Or would it be so exciting to try this FS Miami property that it wouldn't matter that we're not on the beach? This will only be the 2nd FS hotel we've ever stayed at (the 1st being Philly this New Years Eve coming up).

What would you do?

Problem part 2: The 4 nights before this we're considering staying in or around Sanibel Island area somewhere. The Sanibel Holiday Inn's room rate goes from $145 a night in January to $245 a night in February when we want to stay there! Kind of a rip off. The day it changes from $145 to $245 is Feb 11. :o( We'd be staying in Sanibel from 2/12-2/16/04. We might have to stay at the Hampton Inn NEAR Sanibel for only $98 a night. It's in the Fort Myer's Beach area, 5 miles from Sanibel. The price is sure right at this place! My sister stayed here once to save money when they went to Sanibel and said it was fine... This would make it easier to palate the $350 a night at the FS in Miami...

Thoughts?

Steve
Silver Spring MD

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