London & Priceline

Aug 2nd, 2004, 09:03 AM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 97
London & Priceline

Looking for advice on hotel areas to choose if I decide to use Priceline. There are choices like Mayfair, Kensington, etc. but there are parts of London included in some that I would prefer not to stay in We are traveling between Xmas and New Years and have backup reservations, but only with 1 room. Ideally, would like 2 rooms for the price of one, so our teenagers won't disturb us. Looked at Bidding for Travel, saw some excellent prices and strategies, but looking for Fodorite's advice. Any help?
lauralue9 is offline  
Aug 2nd, 2004, 11:14 AM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 8,421
If there are parts of London included in some of the Priceline areas, then you must not bid those areas. Likewise if there are specific hotels you wish to avoid.

For best results, go back to www.biddingfortravel.com and really study the hotel FAQ's along with the London Hotels List.

Then, keep an eye on winning bids until some come up for your dates and see which hotels are coming up. It helps to actually plot the hotels on a map.

I've used Priceline all over the USA, but was reluctant to use it for London due to many less than favorable reviews of some of the hotels.

But, when the Hilton Waldorf staring coming up for our approximate dates, I jumped. Even then, there is no assurance that you will get the same hotel. Luckily, I got the Hilton Waldorf (Mayfair/Soho) for $100/night for ten nights last May. We were thrilled with the price and the hotel, especially the central location.

All in all, when using Priceline, you must resolve that, considering the savings, you must not quibble over location or minor hotel deficiencies. Otherwise, you can pay the extra and pick the hotel.

It's probably too soon to start bidding now for the holidays, but it never hurts to try. Often inventory is available way ahead and there's none left if you wait too long. Or, there may be none now but more as your dates get closer.

You may also want to post a bidding assistance form at BFT. Those folks are real pros.
djkbooks is offline  
Aug 2nd, 2004, 02:23 PM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 569
Hello, I justed topped a thread Antiques and Markets in London which gives my exact strategy for bidding for London Priceline (at the very bottom of the thread). Like you, this time I wanted 2 rooms for friend and I. I was delighted with the results. Hope this helps you.

Have a wonderful trip.
ggnga is offline  
Aug 3rd, 2004, 12:12 PM
  #4  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 97
Thanks ggna - I found your thread and copied your suggestions. Before I gather up my nerve to do the Priceline thing, one more question. Did you use the cancellation insurance on this booking? We already have our airfar using FF miles on USAir, but in case they go bankrupt or one of the kids get sick, 7 nights at $150/night for 2 rooms is a lot of money. We have booked and used Priceline many, many times but never so far away from the actual date and never for so much $$$. The cancellation insurance is $5/room/night and would add $70, but may well be worth it if we have to use it. Thoughts anyone?
lauralue9 is offline  
Aug 3rd, 2004, 02:13 PM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 569
Hello, the other times I did not get the insurance but this time my friend and I have about $800 to lose. I decided the $5 per night was worth it so I took the insurance. I had a very bad winter of asthma this year so that prompted me also.
ggnga is offline  
Aug 3rd, 2004, 02:21 PM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 12,176
Be sure to check the terms of Priceline's insurance to make sure it covers the possibilities you have in mind. It's also possible some other third-party insurance might be a better deal.

If concerned about getting a hotel in a perfect location, I would only bid for a 4* hotel in either Mayfair or Kensington. The odds of getting a dud are extremely low, IMO. All of the reported hotels in these zones seem like good choices. I know that Earl's Court is included in Priceline's Kensington zone, but after some research of the hotels there, I don't think Priceline has any "hidden" 4* hotels there.

In Bloomsbury, you might get a hotel that is convenient but considered to be a less "nice" location. Westminster would be fine too, but the Dolphin Square that often comes up might be a little further out than you like.
WillTravel is offline  
Aug 3rd, 2004, 02:28 PM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 8,421
Yes, read the entire Priceline insurance coverage (which you can print and read before continuing on), particularly the Exclusions. I added the insurance because my husband had a heart attack several years ago. You'd want to make sure the Priceline policy covers the airline going bankrupt.
djkbooks is offline  
Aug 3rd, 2004, 02:41 PM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 17,061
You might want to look at something like www.insuremytrip.com to see if general trip cancellation insurance (covering more things than Priceline's, probably) is a better idea.

I used to poo-poo travel insurance. I was "cured" when a relative got sick and I had to cancel a pre-paid vacation. The $200 insurance premium v. the $5000 trip cost (which we recovered) turned out to be a no-brainer.
Gardyloo is online now  
Aug 3rd, 2004, 02:59 PM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 90
I got the Holiday Inn Kensington Forum for only $72 per night plus tax (About $87 total per night). I picked Mayfair and Kensington 4 star.
college_travelers is offline  
Aug 3rd, 2004, 03:06 PM
  #10  
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 1,271
We got the Dolphin Square Hotel through Priceline last December ($97/night.) When we first won the bid, we were a little concerned about the location. But after staying there, it was actually very convenient. No worse than staying in Kensington.

The hotel is very close to the Pimilico tube station - which is only one stop away from Victoria where you can change to Circle or Distric line. And it was only two stops away from Green Park tube (Piccadilly.) We even found it convenient enough to stop back at the room in the middle of the day to drop off packages.

We wouldn't hesitate to stay there again. Nice hotel, nice quiet neighborhood. And the really nice thing about the Dolphin Square is that it's an all-suites hotel. So we got a 1 BR apartment with a kitchen, living room and dining area as a bonus!
Kayb95 is offline  
Aug 3rd, 2004, 04:10 PM
  #11  
alg
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 315
I bid "Mayfair, 4 star" for last March and won the Millenium Mayfair for $90 a night: big room, nice bathroom, great location.
alg is offline  
Aug 3rd, 2004, 04:33 PM
  #12  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 569
I've used Priceline for London many times. All rooms under $100. Have stayed in their Mayfair/Soho at Berners hotel, in Kensington at Tara Copthorne, in Bloomsbury at Great Russell. All fine. I love having the extra money for the things I really want to do.

Have you checked for British Air's holiday packages? probably too soon, but they are another good deal. I got r/t plus room for five nights for $600 per person - but not as good a hotel as I get from Priceline.

You probably know this but: I would not go below 4* on Priceline for London. A crummy hotel in London is really a crummy place I think, and my travel book writer friend concurs.

ALso -- Priceline deals never include breakfast. I alsways ask concierge for name of a cheap place nearby and always find something fine run by Italians often with the rare REAL COFFEE.

Elizabeth is offline  
Aug 3rd, 2004, 04:43 PM
  #13  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 569
I read ggna's advice on the thread she kindly topped up for you. I'd reiterate what someone else said, if you're bidding for a 4* place in London you have a "free bid" in adding Southwark - after you've run out of other zones to add in order to be allowed to raise your bid, raise it and add Southwark as there are no 4*s there so you're still bidding up on whatever you really want (Mayfair or Kensington).

Elizabeth is offline  
Aug 4th, 2004, 04:41 AM
  #14  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 97
Thanks to all the Fodorites for the suggestions. Wanted to report we got the Holiday Inn Kensington Forum for all 7 nights at $75/room/night. With taxes, fees and insurance it came to about $1,325 for two rooms which is quite a bit less than our original reservation for only one room. The location is across the street from where we were going to stay. According to TripAdvisor, there are many satisfied reports. Truthfully, I got this on the first bid. I put in $50/room for a 4* just to see if anything would bite and Priceline came back with $75/night. Considering this is the week between Xmas and New Years and I know most London hotels are full, we were thrilled. I wasn't really expecting to be able to spend all 7 nights in the same hotel. I did buy the travel insurance. I called our airline because we are using FF miles awards and USAir told us they just had a strong quarter and more than likely, if something were to happen, we would be re-routed onto another partner (United??)or other airline. Now all I have to do is decide EasyJet vs. Eurostar to get from Paris to London. This is great site and I appreciate all the advice.
lauralue9 is offline  
Aug 4th, 2004, 04:50 AM
  #15  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 16,714
Congratulations! Hope you enjoy.
mclaurie is offline  
Aug 4th, 2004, 04:54 AM
  #16  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 569
So glad it worked for you. Another suggestion, check British Airways and BMI for London/Paris also. They have the cheap flights also and it is much easier to depart/return to Heathrow than far out airport. This Oct. we are flying BA for about $110 round trip and I have done BMI numerous times for that or less.
ggnga is offline  
Aug 4th, 2004, 05:38 AM
  #17  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 2,129
I?m going to be in London next May with my Mom for 4 nights and may use priceline. I?ve used them for the US a couple of times and have been satisfied.

My one comment/question in response to ?I would only bid for a 4* hotel in either Mayfair or Kensington? is that Mom and I will be taking a cruise out of Dover and we need to take a taxi from our hotel to Victoria Coach Station so we can take the ship?s transfer bus to Dover (another option is using Nationalexpress.com, but I?m not sure where they depart). I understand that London is very expensive, including a taxi ride. We don?t want to use the tube while carrying our luggage ? I can handle it but not my Mom. So, my question is, does anyone know the approximate cost of a taxi ride from the Mayfair or Kensington area to VCS so I can bid a certain area?

I haven?t done much hotel research yet since the trip is next May. This will be our first visit to London. I need to do my research on biddingfortravel to see what 4* hotels are available. Is there an area near VCS that I could bid or should I just stick with Mayfair or Kensington?

Thanks!

Monica
monicapileggi is offline  
Aug 4th, 2004, 06:54 AM
  #18  
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 12,176
The Westminster zone (I think maybe I called it Victoria earlier) would work pretty well if arriving at Gatwick. The poster Kay said that the Dolphin Square worked out very well for her, and that's the least convenient hotel you could get in Westminster.

I have to say that I wouldn't recommend that anyone bid for less than a 4* hotel in Mayfair or Kensington, but I did get a very comfortaable 2* last year in South Bank-Vauxhall. It all depends on your level of comfort with risk. I don't know what a taxi would be to these various hotels, but I would guess the distance is four miles at the very most.
WillTravel is offline  
Aug 4th, 2004, 08:13 AM
  #19  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 7,435
Monica, we paid £10 last fall for a mini-cab (i.e., not a "black" cab) from the Kensington Palace Hotel to Victoria Station. We didn't tip the driver because he didn't help at all with the bags or the doors.

I prefer the black cabs and think we paid one of their drivers £6, and had his help, on the run from VS to the hotel. It was the hotel personnel who called the mini-cab.

carolyn is offline  
Aug 4th, 2004, 08:55 AM
  #20  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 2,129
Thanks for the taxi information. I can handle that price! What?s the difference between a Black cab and mini-cab? We?ll probably use the Nationalexpress.com web site to book a ride from Heathrow to the hotel. But I?ll take other recommendations if there is something better out there.

Thanks!

Monica


monicapileggi is offline  

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy -

FODOR'S VIDEO

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 09:55 AM.