[12/8/2003 - Update: As of the morning of December 8th, it appears as though the US$67 rooms are no longer being listed. They may come back, of course, but there are no guarantees. There is, however, a 4-star room for US$109 in Union Square East available, and weive found this to yield rooms at the Westin St. Francis, which is about half a block closer than the Grand Hyatt. Please post in the comments below if you try any of these others and let others know what you got. - Editor]
As you all may remember, we here at The Mac Observer try to get great hotel rooms at great prices when we travel to Macworld Expo each time around. Last year, we found great rooms through Priceline. This year, unfortunately, Priceline has changed its mapping for the city of San Francisco and, as such, itis not possible to specify the area (Union Square and/or Convention Center) that weill all need to be in for the Expo. As such, we turned our attention elsewhere, this time finding a great deal through Hotwire. For just US$67 per day (plus fees and city taxes, of course), we found ourselves rooms at the Grand Hyatt Union Square. Itis just a few blocks north of Market street, straight up from the Moscone. Weive stayed there in years past, and itis a great location, both for the Expo, and for evening activities thereafter. Hereis how we did it:
A word of warning: We must state that Hotwireis policy is such that you must purchase your room before they tell you what hotel youill be staying at. You get to pick the area of the city, the price, the nights, and the star/quality rating of the hotel, but you DO NOT get to pick the hotel itself. We have done this at least 4 times and gotten the Grand Hyatt every time, but thereis no guarantee that you will get the same results (though we expect that you would, based on our experiences). That said, as long as youire in the right area and paying the price you want for a 4-star hotel room, who cares where you wind up, right?
- Go to Hotwire.com
- Click on Hotels at the top of the screen
- Type in "San Francisco, CA" for the City
- Set your Check-in/out dates as well as the number of rooms youid like, and click "Start"
- Choose "Union Square East" as the City Area, and click "Continue"
- When Hotwire comes back, look for the listing labeled "Union Square East (Downtown)" for US$67. Itis usually listed as a "Customer Favorite" with a red Thumbs Up icon to its left. Click "Continue" on that listing.
- At this point, Hotwire will ask you to login or create an account. Youill need to complete this process in order to continue.
- Once youire logged in, Hotwire will present you with a summary of your stay options and proposed charges. Confirm that this is right, and then fill out the Guest and Billing information appropriately.
- You should get one more confirmation screen at this point, after which Hotwire will charge your credit card and let you know the details of your purchase, including which hotel youill be staying at.
That should do it for you! Hotwire, Priceline, and the rest of their ilk can really delivery splendidly when it comes to hotel rooms. Over the past 3 years I have used one of these services to book my lodging almost every time Iive traveled, be it on business or with my family, and itis worked out very well. While they do require that you be flexible with exactly which hotel you get, by being able to pick the price, specific location, and star level, thereis really no gamble involved at all. Check it out for yourself, and let us know how you did with your comments below!