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orangetravelcat Jul 12th, 2009 11:49 AM

Winning bid on for Valentines Resort Harbour Island, Bahamas
This is my first winning bid on

Hopefully, getting the hotel booked will be an easy task.

beachdreams3 Jul 12th, 2009 01:59 PM

Hi, I have used SkyAuction several times for hotel only auctions, and I hope your experience goes well. Personally, I have had mixed experiences, but some of it is probably my own fault for not knowing what to expect and/or not making arrangements in a timely manner or in the proper sequence. I'll offer a few general tips, but feel free to ask if you have more specific questions.

My feedback and suggestions are:

1) My recommended strategy for coordinating accommodations and airfare is different, depending on whether your dates are fixed or flexible and whether you have a backup hotel. There have been trips I have plannned where getting accommodations through SkyAuction and getting a good airfare (or being able to use frequent flyer tickets) were both prerequisites to allow the trip to fit my budget. Obviously, this is the most difficult situation to be in, because of the dependencies and timing issues.

a) If your dates are flexible but you want to get good airfare prices, I think it is best to do things in this order: 1) have a general idea of air availability/prices for the dates you want to travel, 2) request dates and confirm your hotel through SkyAuction, and 3) book airfare after you get confirmation of your dates through SkyAuction. If you are traveling on an airline where you can hold reservations, that may help. I also recommend checking availability for the room category offered through SkyAuction on the resort's website and other third party websites before requesting dates with SA. Once you request your dates on SA, if they confirm availability, you are charged then, and the arrangements are considered non-refundable.

b) If your dates are set and/or you book airfare first, it is probably good to have a backup hotel where you can hold a reservation in case SA does not confirm your dates (in this case, you don't have any financial obligation to SA).

2) In my experience (planning trips for at least a couple of months away), SkyAuction is pretty slow in confirming arrangements. If you are booking for next week, I'm sure they deal with those requests first. My first time using SA, it was about a week to get confirmation. The second time was even longer. I emailed their Customer Service after a week, and they blamed the supplier, but it still took several more days (and emails and phone calls) to get the reservation confirmed.

3) Do not delay too long in making your plans through SkyAuction. For one of my trips, I waited awhile before requesting dates because I had some issues around dates I could travel and flight availability, and by the time I submitted the request, something had happened between Sky Auction and the supplier, and they rejected my request.

4) Consider trip insurance. I usually buy trip insurance anyway when I have significant non-refundable travel costs.

Good luck with your trip planning!

Anyway, I didn't realize that Valentines (or anywhere on Harbour Island was on Sk

beachdreams3 Jul 12th, 2009 02:08 PM

Oops, I didn't finish that last paragraph. I was going to say I didn't realize that Valentines or other HI resorts were offered on SkyAuction. I'll definitely have to keep that in mind in the future, since HI is on my list of places to go at some point, and it is an expensive island. Even though my experiences with SA have been mixed, it can be a great way to save money on accommodations.

orangetravelcat Jul 12th, 2009 02:22 PM

Thanks for your suggestions, beachdreams.
I already requested my dates for May 2010 with skyauction. I checked the hotel's websites and the dates I want are available. I'll keep checking on airfare periodically until I find an acceptable fare and then book the tickets.

We're going to Abaco in Feb, and if all works out, HI in May, so it looks like 2010 will be the year of the Bahamas for us.

FYI - there is another (hotel only) Valentine's Resort package offered right now on skyauction.

travelbuff Jul 12th, 2009 03:09 PM

Valentine's is quite nice and recently went through a complete rennovation. There is a lovely waterside bar/restaurant and marina complex which is where all the large boats dock coming to the island.

There are several restaurants closeby, The Landing and Rock House, just down the road. Valentine's also has a restaurant which is good.

Valentine's is on the leewardside of the island so there is no beach, you can walk to the other side of the island/beach within 10 minutes or so (the island is only 1/2 mile wide, so it doesn't take long to get anywhere).

Golf carts are the local transportation you can rent to get around the island for about $50 a day.

Let me know if you have any other questions.

beachdreams3 Jul 12th, 2009 03:17 PM


Thanks, I saw that they are offering it again, but I'm not sure when I would go. I usually go to the Caribbean between December and April/May, and because of how far north the Bahamas are, I would probably want to go there in late April or May to make sure it is warm enough, but I already have tentative fall vacation plans (staying in the US for a change of pace) and booked airfare (using a frequent flyer ticket) to Turks & Caicos for late April/early May 2010. I think you are picking the perfect time for your trip and hope it works out for you.

orangetravelcat Jul 12th, 2009 03:17 PM

My winning bid was $93, plus $49 per night in taxes and service charges. Hope I am getting a good deal.

orangetravelcat Jul 22nd, 2009 03:48 PM

I still havent heard from skyauction. I won on July 12, submitted my travel dates immediately, and have sent two emails so far asking them what's the status, and havent even received any kind of response. Since we dont want to go till May, I have plenty of time,but so far, not overly impressed, customer service wise.

beachdreams3 Jul 22nd, 2009 07:54 PM

Dealing with SkyAuction requires a combination of patience and persistance. If you decide to call them (you probably will get voice mail and won't necessarily get a call back from anyone), but it may prompt them to at least respond to your emails if you reference them. In the past, I have called a couple of days after not getting any email response from them, and in at least some cases, I then have received an email back in the next day or so. I googled SkyAuction phone numbers about a year ago and found two numbers: 212-486-1250 and 800-929-9929. I don't have any of my notes available, though, so I don't know if either of these is a good number.

Ironically, I have experienced the good and bad with SkyAuction since your original post. Around the same time of your post, I submitted my travel dates for an auction I won a couple of months ago (not following my own advice of acting quickly), and got a quick rejection from SA (i.e., "Due to circumstances beyond our control, the auction you won is not available at this time or for the foreseeable future."), only to win a different auction for the same hotel last weekend, submit the same travel dates right away, and received a confirmation on the next business day.

Good luck!

orangetravelcat Jul 23rd, 2009 03:20 PM

Thanks for the phone numbers. I called the 800 number. Of course, I didn't get to speak to a real person but I left a message stating I hadn't received any responses to my emails. Later, I got an email saying they would resend my request to Valentines. So allegedly, getting a response from Valentines is the hold up.

orangetravelcat Jul 29th, 2009 04:23 PM

I still haven't heard anything, although I emailed skyauction again, and once again, they said they would recontact the supllier. Frankly, I am getting to the point where I would like them to just cancel my "win" as this is becoming too much of a hassle.

orangetravelcat Jul 30th, 2009 04:54 PM reservation is confirmed. I only know because I went on the skyauction website and looked at "my vacations" and saw that the status had changed from pending to confirmed. Also, checked my cc and it had been charged.
Not too happy with skyauction's customer service. They didn't even send me an email letting me know they'd finally received confirmation. Oh well, time to let it go and just focus on the fact that I will be going to Harbour Island in May!

travelbuff Jul 30th, 2009 08:24 PM

If you have any questions on Harbour Island, please let me know.

beachdreams3 Jul 31st, 2009 03:53 AM

I'm glad it finally worked out for you. FYI, at some point, SkyAuction may send you an email about an attachment (part of your reservation reocrd) they call a voucher, that you are supposed to print and present at the hotel. If you do not receive one, you may want to ask SkyAuction about it at some point (if I were you, I'd wait since your trip is so far away). I always make sure to communicate directly with the hotel well before arrival to make sure that they have a record of my reservation (I do this for all third party reservations, not just SA). It can sometimes be difficult to confirm, because SkyAuction (and other third party) reservations often are bulk reservations, and the property does not have your name far in advance, and the confirmation # you received from SA may not be recognizable to the hotel. Anyway, given SA's limited Customer Service, there is no way I would want to show up at a hotel without having confirmed my reservation with the hotel directly.

Have a great trip!

ValentinesResort Oct 21st, 2009 06:43 AM

OrangeTravelCat, Super Congratulations with your winning bid with our limited promotional offering on Skyauction. We look forward to your stay with us at the newest Luxury Resort and recent hosts to the Mrs. Universe Pageant. We are proud to have been voted “Best Caribbean Island” and dubbed “The New St.Barths by Travel & Leisure Magazine and we strive to assure you experience the same. Your selected travel time in May is a wonderful time of the year to travel the Bahamas and Harbour Island. New & selected travel offerings can be found on our site at & inquiries can be directed to [email protected].

Best Wishes
Management & Staff @ ValentinesResort

orangetravelcat Oct 29th, 2009 10:55 AM

ValentinesResort - if you're checking back on this thread, I emailed you this morning to see about changing my dates to February. Hope you can accomodate me so that I can tell everyone on Fodor's how wonderful you are!

orangetravelcat Nov 1st, 2009 07:59 AM

Valentines is working with me on changing our reservation to February. Since they haven't received anything from Skyauction yet, there's a lot of emailing back and forth but it looks like we'll be able to move our dates to February.

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