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Direct Reservation with Hotels versus Hotel travel sites? recommendations?

Direct Reservation with Hotels versus Hotel travel sites? recommendations?

Nov 19th, 2009, 09:48 AM
  #1  
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Direct Reservation with Hotels versus Hotel travel sites? recommendations?

This is a follow up to my question before. Which is better and safer, to reserve directly with individual hotels or to use the various hotel travel sites? I'm planning to go to Italy May or September 2010. Which month is better to travel and can you recommend any moderately priced hotels in Rome, Florence and Venice? Our budget is $130 - $200/night. My husband and I would like to stay close to the train station for ease of travel between these cities so we don't have to take too many taxis. When do I book the hotels and Airfare to get the best price? Thanks for your help.
SIgnacio80 is offline  
Nov 19th, 2009, 09:55 AM
  #2  
 
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All of the major hotel reservatin sites are perfectly safe - but you ned to read CAREFULLY all of the specifics - so you understand the rules (sometimes the best prices are par in advance and no cancelleation possible). And sometimes the hotels themselves have prices just as goo. You need to just do a lot of work and search.

I think May is better - longer days and the locals haven;t been through a long hot summer of tourists yet.

sorry I can;thelp with hotels - that is not our price ppint - but if you search below there are tons of options. But, I wouldn;t stay near a train station (often not the most pleasant area) just to save a few $ on a taxi. The hotel amenities and location versus sights is more important IMHO.
nytraveler is offline  
Nov 19th, 2009, 10:11 AM
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I think it's better to reserve directly with the hotel. They might value you more if they don't have to pay a fee to a site. And you can be sure any special requests get through to them.

Have you discovered www.tripadvisor.com? Lots of reviews there to help you evaluate hotels.

And, yes, go for May. Having longer days really helps. The only negative would be if you want to swim in the sea; it's still kinda cold in May.

As for staying near the train station, that isn't always the best part of town. But you don't have to take taxis; there are buses. In fact, in Venice if you don't take the vaporetto (the waterbus) down the Grand Canal, you're missing one of the signature experiences of that beautiful city.

If you stay in the historic center of Florence, it's all pretty close in. If you arrive at Santa Maria Novella, you could walk to an hotel, not necessarily right by the station. Rome is another place I wouldn't stay near the station. Parts of that area are a little unsalubrious. Check out the area between the Spanish Steps, the Piazza Navona, and the Campo dei Fiori. (But if you take the bus from the Stazione Termini, watch out for pickpockets.)

I have recently learned to appreciate taxis. They're not always that expensive, and, sometimes, can be very convenient.
Mimar is offline  
Nov 19th, 2009, 10:55 AM
  #4  
 
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If you have a lot of hotels to book or go frequently, you may prefer the convenience of a single, reputable reservation site. I have come to like Booking.com. Though the have rooms and rates which are noncancellable, they tell you clearly which ones those are. If you book a "flexible" stay, you can usually cancel up to the day or 3 days before. I try not to do that kind of thing (and hate to see people speak of having 3 or 4 simultaneous reservations that they're debating between--a practice which will eventually make us all have to book non-cancellable reservations) but when it becomes necessary and I've booked a flexible stay with Booking.com, it's a simple matter of pushing a few buttons and my reservation is cancelled, no muss, no fuss, no bother. No explanation even called for if I choose not to give one.
JulieVikmanis is offline  
Nov 19th, 2009, 12:33 PM
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I like to do my research on the internet, then call the hotel directly to see if I can get a better rate. I almost always seem to, especially when I speak the local language (maybe that has something to do with it, I don't know). Then I ask them to email or fax me confirmation so I can show up with it in hand.

I wouldn't stay near the train stations, either, just to save a few euros on taxis. All of those cities have decent public transportation, too, so taxis aren't a necessity.
StCirq is offline  
Nov 19th, 2009, 01:56 PM
  #6  
 
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I usually get a better rate by e-mailing the hotel.
kybourbon is offline  
Nov 19th, 2009, 02:29 PM
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hi signacio,

if you go to Trip Advisor, you have the option of comparing the prices of the hotel via each of the booking web-sites. having established the "mean", you can then contact the hotel and try to do a deal.

sometimes one booking site will have a much better offer than the others - but do check the type of room and the conditions re cancellation.

having booked, it can be worthwhile checking the rates again a week or two before you go. I did this, and found out that the rate offered by the hotel itself had dropped considerably. so I cancelled the website booking, and re-booked with the hotel.

as with houses, so with hotels - location, location, location.
annhig is offline  
Nov 19th, 2009, 02:43 PM
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I'm with StCirq and kybourbon. I do a lot of research on the internet, comparing rates on travel sites vs. the individual hotels and I usually book directly with the hotels. I do think they value direct bookings. For European hotels I often look at venere.com, and I use Expedia and Trip Advisor as well for their reviews.

I agree with posters who advise not to stay near the train stations. Use the public transportation which usually isn't too expensive. Happy planning!
ellencmog is offline  
Nov 20th, 2009, 07:29 AM
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Hi!

I suggest you Hotel Borromeo in Rome. http://www.hotelborromeo.com/ It's a nice 3 star hotel really near the Termini train station (the central train station in Rome) and a lot of monuments (Colosseum, Trevi's Fountain, ...).
If you want to know if it's better and safer to reserve directly with individual hotels, read this page http://www.hotelborromeo.com/best_price.htm
awfulrealalie is offline  
Nov 20th, 2009, 07:54 AM
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Like most of the above posters, I do my web research and then either e-mail or phone the hotel to see if they want to beat the price.

Always be careful to establish whether breakfast is included, what taxes are extra etc. I find that a friendly, chatty e-mail, telling them how much I'd like to stay in their hotel, will most times get me a better rate than a hotels booking site.
Lifeman is offline  
Nov 20th, 2009, 08:01 AM
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I do my web research and then either e-mail or phone the hotel, not so much for rate discounts but to get the exact type of room I prefer. I have noticed that some of the discount sites have a limited number of bedding options or room types so I prefer to get what I want confirmed ahead of arrival.
kfusto is offline  
Nov 20th, 2009, 11:29 AM
  #12  
 
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Signacio80,

www.venere.com is a good web site to help with your research. You can sort by stars, price, or location. One thing you will find is that they don't post room availability very far in advance. When I'm planning a trip, I start looking at lodging up to a year in advance and I usually get a "no availability" result for the dates that far ahead.

Go ahead and contact the hotel directly once you use the various sites to narrow things down and see what you find. I have booked through venere.com and also initaly.com. both are fine for cancelling within policy too.

Buon viaggio!

PS - I'm a budget solo traveler and was very happy at Hotel Giardino Rome**. Cosy, friendly, clean and great location.
Dayle is offline  
Nov 20th, 2009, 11:35 AM
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I agree about NOT staying near the train station in Rome.
This summer I booked hotels in Dresden and Berlin through Exp. - the rate was better than on the hotel web page.
I did book very early though!
danon is offline  
Nov 20th, 2009, 06:29 PM
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Usually you can strike a deal calling places directly, but in high season rates are almost always the same regardless, and all those places like Venere are taking a percentage anyway. Paying in cash usually helps. Have you thought about apartment rentals? www.leisureinrome.com has some great deals and speak English wonderfully.
Dobermina is offline  
Nov 22nd, 2009, 09:29 AM
  #15  
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Thank you so much for all your help. It helps me a great deal with all your suggestions. This is a wonderful forum for first time travelers. I'll come back again if I have more questions. Hope you won't get tired of me. Have a nice day everybody!
SIgnacio80 is offline  
Nov 24th, 2009, 05:54 AM
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Hi SIgnacio80,

I suggest you to book directly from the hotel official site so you don't have any intermediation costs.

Hotel Kette in Venice http://www.hotelkette.com/ is really a nice 4 star hotel with 16th century marble, paintings and Murano glasses. The hotel isn't near the train station but it's really near St. Mark's Square, La Fenice Theatre and the main museums and monuments so, you will spend a little more time to reach the hotel but then you will be in the heart of Venice. The hotel is well connected with the train station by the pubblic transport or, if you prefer, you can take a water taxi and arrive directly to the hotel's water entrance.
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