Hotel prices in Toronto?

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May 30th, 2003, 06:35 PM
  #1
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Hotel prices in Toronto?

Have any travelers noticed if hotel prices in Toronto are dropping, in light of the economy and SARS? What's a ballpark price I should bid on Priceline for a decent suburban 3-star hotel in the Toronto area?
Thanks!
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May 31st, 2003, 12:54 PM
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Check out www.BetterBidding.com for Priceline prices and hotel info.
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May 31st, 2003, 01:34 PM
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I understand that occupancy is down to 40% but Toronto Hotels are trying to hold the prices.....this won't hold...make an offer!
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May 31st, 2003, 07:32 PM
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BAK
 
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Why do you want a suburban hotel?

But anyway, the Ramada along highway 427, near Bloor Street, was selling rooms for $60 a night a week ago.

People have said that Priceline is selling downtown hotels for about the same money.

Some hotels are hurting worse than others. Harbour Castle Westin is in awful shape. Fairmont Royal York is doing OK but not as well as pre-SARS, Delta Chelsea is seriously down, Strathcona is doing fine, (full of prepaid tourists from far away) and so it goes. Hotels that rely on conventions and conferences, and hotels that reply on tourists from North America, are in the worst shape. Hotels that rely on business travellers are in the best shape, but are still suffer

And, by the way, you have no need to worry about safety, etc.

BAK
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Jun 1st, 2003, 09:31 AM
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Thank you for the detail and names of hotels, I will check their Web sites.
It's terrible that SARS has hit just before the tourist season, but I've read that the only danger is in closed-off hospitals, so I don't want to miss this beautiful city.
I hate to take advantage of this turndown but it sounds as if it's a good time to get a great deal.
And BAK, the reason I asked about suburban hotels is that the downtown ones seem to charge up to $20 a day to park. That adds a lot to the cost of a stay when you're on a budget. Of course, if I can get a downtown room at a great price, it will be worth the expense.
By the way, I've been reading reviews on the biddingfortravel.com web site and there are numerous horrible reviews of the Strathcona. It seems to sell rooms for $30 a night to unsuspecting tourists on Priceline.com. I'm afraid to put in a bid for a 3-star on Priceline for fear of ending up there.
Any suggestions anyone?
Most sincere thanks to everyone for their help. The lovely people on the Fodors forum have made every one of my vacations terrific.
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Jun 1st, 2003, 11:23 AM
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I stayed in Toronto last weekend and found it to be an excellent deal. I'm from Northern Ontario and drive 8 hours to Toronto a couple times a year. I am used to paying about $120-150 dollars a night for a downtown hotel. This time I stayed at the Toronto Hilton for $79.00 a night. Parking was supposed to be $22 a day but it ended up being less, I think about 14 or 15 bucks a day. Remember that for the next few months Ontario taxes on accomodation are being waived for the whole province! That means only 7% federal GST instead of the usual 12% combined rate. The indoor/outdoor pool at the hotel is really nice and so are the restaurants. The hotel's location is great too.
Don't book through priceline or any of those types of sites. They often only post U.S. dollar prices which is wrong. You get a much better deal paying in Canadian dollars. Book through the hotel chain's site. You may also find good deals thru www.canadalovestoronto.com or www.toronto.com but sometimes even calling the hotel is best because they really want your business.
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Jun 1st, 2003, 03:17 PM
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SD-Mom,

Several thoughts.

First, don't worry about taking advantage. We want you here, and the hotels and restaurants offering deals would much rather have you and $70 than not have you, and have $0.If you want to be generous, perhaps tip a little more than normal. Chambermainds, for instance, have been fired in some hotels, leaving those remaining to earn a mediocre, but at least full, wage. Other hotels have cut the hours for everyone, so all employees get a bit of money, but none get enough to live on. So a couple of bucks on the dresser when you check out would be important to them.

About the Strathcona -- For travellers from Europe, or North Americans who have travelled in Europe, this is a good enough place to stay. It's clean, and the staff are friendly, and the television works and the shower works, and they understand the nature of the accomodation.

It's a good place to stay on a limited budget if you don't want fancy.

But Americans have grown used to fancier places, even if a Holiday Inn Express.

And the location is extraordinary. It is right next door to the Fairmpont Royal York, in the heart of downtown, a block from the subway, five minutes by foot to the entertainment district. But it is plain and utilitarian. Inthe last couple of days i've talked with three couples staying there. One Dutch couple, one couple from mid-England, and yesterday, a couple from Wales. All bought it as part of a package, all think it is not very fancy, all think it meets their needs and gives them extra money for other things.

About staying downtown or in the suburbs.

For several people, at $2.25 a ticket each way on the subway, much of the savings on downtown parking disappear fairly quickly. And the convenience of being able to leave a theatre, or finish a late dinner, or depart from a club where you've been listening to music until midnight, and walking back to the hotel sure beats an hour on the subway and bus.

That said, the easiest, most convenient, etc. suburban hotel transit system package is the Sheraton Four Points, on Lakeshore Blvd., in the Swansea neighborhood at the west end of Toronto.

Rooms face a six-eight lane arterial road (but not the superhighway behind the hotel), and the 50 years of parkland, and then Lake Ontario. Of uypou leave the hotel and walk one block away from the lake, underneath that superhighway in the previous sentence, you get to the Queen ?Street Toronto Transit Commission streetcar route. Cash fare of $2.25, exact fare required, gets you a transfer to the rest of the TTC system, and a very intresting ride on the streetcar rails right into the heart of downtown Toronto.

About half an hour, past the mental hospital, lots of galleries and designer clothing shops, restaurants of many quailty levels, and you'll get a real insight intohow many Torontonians live. New, expensive loft condos in converted factories, poverty hotels with drunks drinking beer on ther sidewalk, and eveything in between.

No danger during the day, -- I took this route the other day as three kids, say 15, 14 and 9, rode downtown by themselves to audition as extras in a movie.

No danger really at night either, but you may meet a few drunks.

Be careful of picking a hotel in Mississauga. Nice enough community, but a different transit system, so you need to pay an extra fare, and you need to make another transfer from one bus, or subway, to another bus.

And if you stay in the suburbs and drive downtown, you'll pay even more for parking. Most of Toronto has half-hour rates, typically $2 or $ per half hour, with a maximum up to 6 p.m. After six, it's either a flat rate, or the by-the-half hour starats again.

Depending on where you park, under the giant bank towers downtown is around $20 to six pm and $5-8 after that. In the entertainment district five blocks away, day rates are $8 -10 excepot on Wednesdays where the theatres have matinees and the parking goes up, and $8-10-15 in the evenings, partly depending on what's on at the convention centre and SkyDome. But if you're parked at the hotel, you just walk.

Stay downtown. It's worth the difference. Room rates are low anyway, and there's stiull a big (30 percent or so) premium on the US dollar.
BAK
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Jun 3rd, 2003, 07:08 PM
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Brian,
Appreciate your vast info on your
city, my favorite place to visit.!
Friends are flying in from Texas to
spend a weekend over Labor Day with
us in Toronto. (We are from PA) I must
not be doing something right on the
hote negotiations, as the best I can come up with is 169.00 at the Hilton, and that is govt rate, plus parking , tax, etc. Everything you said about staying in the right location is so true. We have stayed several places in
Toronto, but for a summer trip, with theatre tickets in hand and some good
Canadian beer waiting-downtown is the only way to go for lodging. I just seem
to be struggling on finding anything much less than that 160.00 range without
going to priceline , interent bookings , etc. Will glady take any
additional advice, suggestions. Thanks!
Sherri
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Jun 3rd, 2003, 07:58 PM
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If you wish to avoid the Strathcona when bidding on Priceline, just stick to 4*'s.

Have you considered Hotwire? I prefer Hotwire to Priceline. The bidding is stressful, and, though I've often received lower rates with Priceline, I've been much more pleased with the Hotwire hotels - and you still can't match those rates through other resources - except once in a while (and you must do your comparison shopping before booking) with Expedia.

My recommendation would be to book a room you can cancel (highly recommend Bond Place, nicely located, comfortable rooms) and keep shopping until just before you leave home.

Both Priceline and Hotwire sell LEFTOVER rooms at ridiculously low rates. Especially closer to your arrival dates.

If you're concerned about hotel parking fees (and most are quite reasonable, and you'll more than overcome same with the Priceline/Hotwire rates), you can always drop off the luggage and check in, then drive around a bit for a more favorable overnight rate.

It is ever so much better to wake up in Toronto and head out for the day than "commute" from any suburban location.

You may want to disregard your "3-star" endeavor. With Priceline and Hotwire, you really can book a 4 or 5* hotel at 2 or 3* prices, if you know what you're doing.
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Jun 4th, 2003, 07:33 AM
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I just read in our daily paper that
Lion King would be closing in Sept.
Is it because attendance has dropped,or
the run is over?
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Jun 4th, 2003, 09:57 AM
  #11
BAK
 
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Sherri, several thoughts.

$169 in whose money? If that's Canadian dollars, it's a genuine bargain in one of the great cities of the world, on a major holiday weekend, in one of the best hotels in the city.

And if it is in American dollars, compare it to New York or LA or London or Paris. Still a bargain, for an excellent hotel in an excellent location, in a high-level city, on a popular holiday.

But ...

That's a long time from now. Whether the tourism business will recover over the summer, and whether the hotel will be hungry on Labour Day is still unknown. There may be better prices waiting for you closer to the date.

Now, about The Lion King (and the Dixie Chicks, for that matter)

Theatre ticket sales right now are weird, and the Dixie Chicks have postponed a summer concert. I'm not inside that organization, but my theory is that they are waiting for out-of-towners to get more comfortable about coming to Toronto, assuming SARS-worries will die down, so to speak, and people from hundreds of miles around -- Buffalo, Cleveland, Rochester, etc.-- plus closer, will feel comnfortable about coming to Toronto.

Regarding The Lion King. This has run for three and a half years, so lots of people have had a chance to see it. With SARS, ticket sales dropped and there were cancellations, so the Mirvishes, who produce the show, got into several deals with highly discoutned prices, to keep the seats filled. These deals worked, and the shows continued to sell out (the deal? Lion King, a BLue Jays game, a good meal in a good restaurant, all for less than a normal Lion King ticket) but most of the audience were locals.

So now many, many local people have seen the show, plus all the 3.5 year folks.

Ed and David Mirvish have, I'm sure, done formal calculations plus used their instinct, and decided that the cost of running the show is more than ticket sales in the usually slower post-September season, when locals, rather than tourists, fill the seats. So visitors -- summer-folk -- get a couple more months to enjoy the show, and if tourist numbers are down in July and August, locals can go, too.

And, it's been a long run. Time to get something new just for the fun of it. I do know the Mirvishes, and they are smart folks who know how to manage traffic flow.

BAK
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Jun 4th, 2003, 10:34 AM
  #12
 
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Brian,
Thanks for all the valuable info.
Interesting to read from someone who
is actually there AND knowledgable too.
The 169.00 is CDN so I'm happy about that, but I'm always 'shopping' for
bargains. I will stick with that and
continue to monitor over the summer. If the prices drop, great. If the prices don't drop, we will still know we have
good rates and I will be going to my
favorite city and showing it off to our
friends from Texas who will be first time visitors to Ontario.
Thanks again,
Sherri
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Jun 4th, 2003, 04:26 PM
  #13
 
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Yes, by all means bid on Priceline for your Toronto hotel. But first, I strongly advise checking the hotel FAQs, bidding strategies and the posted winning bids for Ontario hotels at www.biddingfortravel.com (BFT). A couple of weeks ago, I bid $25 a day (US dollars) for 5 nights in August at a 3* Priceline hotel in its Toronto-Don Valley. This bid was accepted by the Crowne Plaza, where I have stayed previously on a Priceline bid. My net cost per night, including the PL processing fee, will be about $31 (US). The CP has free parking, and is close to the Eglinton Ave. bus line which runs at about 8 minute intervals and connects with the subway. Again, check the BFT website; its a huge resource for Priceline bidders.
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Jun 4th, 2003, 06:41 PM
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I have never used or booked with Priceline or anything comparable. Don't they require full payment at time of booking, non refundable, AND you don't really know what hotel until they respond back to you? If that is the case, it could be kind of risky . We have the other couple flying in from Texas for that weekend. Anything could happen between now and then with illness, change of jobs, family issues, etc....
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