I just arrived in London this morning! Yes! I’m ridiculously excited. And the best part? I am not here for work! I am here for FUN. So I can just hang out all the time while I am here and wear big sunglasses all the time. Awesome.
For this trip, I experimented with something that I’ve always wanted to play around with: Hotwire. More specifically, I wanted to play with the “Secret Hot Rate Hotels” functionality. This is where you commit to an unnamed hotel during the booking process. You get a great rate in comparison to the hotel’s advertised rates, but you could honestly end up staying in Timbuktu and you need to be fine with that. You can read more about “secret hot rate hotels” over here on the Hotwire site.
Because I know London pretty well, I figured I had a better chance of this “unnamed hotel” thing working for me. I knew I wanted to stay somewhere in between Marble Arch and Shoreditch, and I knew my budget and was being pretty strict about it. So off I went. To be clear, for this first booking, I booked through Expedia, which uses Hotwire for its “unpublished rate” hotels.
- I focused on five-star hotels, just to be “safe.” There are too many definitions of what constitutes a four-star, whereas a 5-star is clearer.
- Then, I looked at areas and selected my favorite areas to stay in London: Mayfair/Piccadilly/Soho and then Hackney/Islington/Shoreditch/Whitechapel.
- Lastly, because I was wary this wasn’t going to work out, I limited myself to a 3-night stay so I wasn’t stuck somewhere terrible for days and days and days.
Boom. Expedia/Hotwire suggests a five-star property in Hackney/Islington/Shoreditch/Whitechapel. Expedia/Hotwire only wants $214.92 USD a night, including taxes and fees. I went ahead and jumped on it and immediately received an e-mail confirmation with the hotel’s name. I then went to the hotel site and checked the price there. If I had booked through the hotel directly, I would have paid $321.22 a night, including taxes and fees. So I saved one-third by using Expedia’s Hotwire service! Score.
Fast-forward to this morning when I checked into the hotel around 12:30 pm. The front desk tells me that my room is not available yet. I am a little bummed because I am tired and I really would like a shower. I make a comment about how beautiful the hotel is and how much I’ve always wanted to stay here. I take a few photos while she sorts out my room. Before I know it, I’ve been upgraded to a massive suite! I just checked the hotel’s site and these rooms are going for $393.84, making what I paid a 45.4% discount!
So this is all working out…for now. More to come when I talk about my second Hotwire booking, where things may not have worked out so well…but for now…for now, I am very happy. Happy to be in my 45% off hotel room after a great lunch at Song Que and a visit to the Oasis Exhibition and a general stroll around Shoreditch, and most of all, happy to be IN LONDON.