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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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Sep 1st, 2004, 08:46 PM
  #1
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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!

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. (

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. ( 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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Sep 1st, 2004, 09:03 PM
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In Miami, where the hotel product tends to vary greatly, and where the prices vary with no rhyme or reason...I like to stick with known quantities. I.E., I'm suggesting you stick with Royal Palm Crowne Plaza.

I've stayed at The Hotel and The National. I like The National the best, because you've got a beautiful pool and beach at your displosal. If you're used to that, I think you'll regret not having it!

The poolside/beachside thing is SO great to have in Miami. I can't imagine NOT having both of those available at a hotel. I mean, when you have that, South Beach is so much more accessible, and when you don't want the salt water you walk a few steps over to the pool water!

Frankly, if I'm going to pay through
the nose, I do The National. The pool/beach combo is really unbeatable. And I think it's the only place that still does the old deco charm well. They don't tart it up with modern stuff...it's restored and classic yet doesn't show its age as much.

But I have visited Royal Palm Crowne Plaza, and thought, ok, this is probably a little better value than The National, I'll admit that! But without the old charm. But you know what? Sometimes the old charm ain't worth it. Cleanliness and quietness can be an issue in those old deco hotels.

Anyway, I digress. I vote for Royal Palm. It's clean and modern and the pool and beach combo is unbeatable. The location is hard to rival as well. I don't think you'll get all that with the Four Seasons. Do Four Seasons in another location where it's known for its great location and service.

Sorry I can't help you with #2!

-Darvy, the travel gal
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Sep 1st, 2004, 09:08 PM
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I've read this twice and can't quite figure out what it is you're looking for in answers.

The Hampton Inn nowhere near Sanibel Island itself is a fraction of the cost of a place on the island? Sure! And calling it a rip-off because a hotel raises its rates according to supply and demand in the height of season seems to indicate you don't know how it all works.

We stayed at the Loews in South Beach about four years ago and the rooms were $ 400 then. It hasn't priced itself out of the market, it just depends on when you go and what kind of special deal you get -- which is generally true of most hotels. What they charge in November and what they charge in February are hardly even related!

I think you are looking for someone to say that your cheaper alternatives are just as nice. No they aren't. You need to decide what you can afford or be willing to pay and go for it. But don't expect someone to honestly say, "hey, staying at the Hampton Inn in the middle of nowhere is just as nice as staying right on the beach."

No one can tell you whether you'll be unhappy if you give up the beach. Was that what you liked before? If so, then yes, you'll probably be kicking yourself for taking "the cheap way out".
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Sep 1st, 2004, 09:48 PM
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Darvy: Thanks for the advice. I guess we'd probably be better off on the beach as you suggest. When my wife just found out the FS isn't on the beach, she said forget it anyway! I showed her the pics last night of it but she didn't realize it wasn't ON South Beach. The deal at the Crowne Plaza is hard to beat...

Patrick: Great points. I didn't mean to suggest that the Loews has priced itself out of the market, just OUR market. We can't afford $450+ for a hotel stay. I guess we'll just stick with the Crown Plaza.

Right again about the Hampton Inn Ft Myers (NOT on the beach) vs the Holiday Inn in Sanibel ON the beach. I misstated when I said $100 more a night is a ripoff for February rates. It's not a ripoff, it's just business and our unfortunate loss. I wish there was a decent hotel in Sanibel for about $150 a night. $245 a night is too much for us there. I guess we might be stuck at that Hampton Inn 5 miles away. Still thinking about it. Wish Priceline served this area.

Thanks alot.

Steve
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Sep 2nd, 2004, 01:39 PM
  #5
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Steve, go ahead and book that rate at the Loews right now. The weekend you will be in Miami is the week of the Miami International Boat Show. It is a citywide event and one of the largest boat shows in the world.

Every hotel for a 150 mile radius will sell out.
 
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Sep 2nd, 2004, 07:46 PM
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Thanks for the tip about the boat show! We might change our dates or maybe just book the Royal Palms at the $279 rate NOW!

We looked into the Hyatt Regency Coconut Point in Bonita Springs for the first 4 nights of the trip instead of Sanibel and hope to get it on Priceline cheaper than the $309 they want for a room with AAA. It looks really nice, though not on the beach or really near a beach - just a neat place to stay.

Steve
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