DLTK's Blog
Choosing a Hotel Room
DL minus TK travel series.

by Leanne Guenther

When we travelled with the kids we tended to spend a bit more on hotel rooms.

Family suites were a favourite choice. Or something with a little balcony that we could sit out on after we settled the girls in bed. Or an RV.

RV Trip in 2004

Now that we’re travelling as just the two of us, we’ve been pleasantly surprised by how much cheaper it is! Half the air travel costs, half the food, smaller rental cars and more basic hotel rooms have all really helped us keep our vacations and staycations on budget!

We miss a few of the perks of the larger rooms and suites, but we’ve been thrilled at the number of times we’ve booked and paid for a standard room and found a welcoming bottle of wine, a lovely upgraded view or a voucher for a complimentary breakfast.

Breakfast at The Everyly in Hollywood.

We are members of the Marriott, Accor and IHG chains but we aren’t overly frequent travellers. I would consider us to be “basic members”. Mostly, we signed up because it makes online check in and wifi setup easier!

I’m not knocking the booking websites like Expedia, but we have noticed for ourselves that booking directly (online) through hotels has given us comparable rates with better cancellation policies, unexpected upgrades and little perks. Upgrades and perks seem to us to be much more common, though by no means assured, when booking direct.

We stayed at the Pullman in Sydney. Great location!

We do have a HomeTrust Visa which doesn’t charge extra fees for foreign currency transactions and offers decent exchange rates (this is one of the few options Canadians have for this type of card. I believe Americans have a few more). That card makes it easy to pay in whatever currency the hotel uses which makes direct bookings simpler.

Anyways, we’ve had a lot of luck booking the least fancy room directly through the hotel. Our biggest “win” to date was getting upgraded to the Mt. Otemanu view overwater bungalow (plus complimentary buffet breakfasts) at The St Regis Bora Bora. Of course, it rained nearly our entire stay so I think in part this was done to compensate for the lousy weather. It was still nice of them though!

Overwater bungalows at St. Regis Bora Bora

I know… you’re thinking, “this just happens because you’re writing about them”.

I swear, no one ever knows. I’m just some random sun burned, middle aged Canadian lady grinning ear to ear as the weather and the ocean conspire to soak her clothes through to the skin...husband chuckling as he watches her twirl happily in the rain.

Our greeter asked in her lovely French accent if we were celebrating anything special. Darren shrugged his shoulders, laughing, “Being married to her.”

Maybe we got upgraded because we just seemed so weird and happy? Or maybe it’s simply because it’s the room that was closest to being clean and ready for a new guest?

Overwater bungalows at St. Regis Bora Bora

Disclaimer: As always, my opinions are my own. Hotels and resorts don’t provide free upgrades for them. No one involved is ever even aware I’m doing it.

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Leanne's byline photoAbout Leanne:

Wife, mom and the woman behind the scenes of the DLTK's Crafts for Kids websites.  The websites are a terrific hobby -- run by (me) Leanne, a mom with two girls as my official craft testers and my husband as my technical support.  DLTK are the first initials of each of the people in my family (I'm the L!).  Whenever we send out little cards or whatnot, we sign 'love DLTK' ... when I started the website I used the initials.  Had I known the website would get actual strangers visiting it, I would have picked a less mysterious name but we're all stuck with it now!

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