Sunday, December 03, 2006

Relatively cheap hotel room in New York City for New Year's Eve weekend

After numerous attempts I was finally successful at using Priceline.com's Name Your Own Price feature to get a relatively cheap and decent hotel room in New York City for Saturday and Sunday nights of New Year's Eve Weekend on my two-week trip to New York City at the end of the year. I tried bidding on five different days for a total of 37 bids and was finally successful on that 37th bid at the 3-star Holiday Inn Wall Street District on Gold Street for $220 per night. With all of the taxes and Priceline service fee, that added up to $522.27 or $261.14 per night. That's not bad at all for a decent hotel on a high-demand weekend.

These were the toughest two nights of my trip, so I wanted to get them nailed down since they would be the priciest and then I can adjust my budget, and then do the remaining nights after my next credit card statement date (December 10) so that I won't have to pay until February. I know that at least one of the hotels that wanted more than $400 for New Years Eve had a rate of $199 for other nearby nights, so I should be able to get room nights in the $100 to $150 range. I'll stay some of the nights in fancier hotels and then some in much less fancy digs to make my budget work.

I probably could have gotten the hotel with a lot fewer bids, but I also would have probably paid more. I needed 37 bids because I inched my way up from $110 to find the lowest price so that I would leave as little money as possible on the table. My budget was for $300, so if I was only going to make only six bids, I probably would have tried $200 and then $250.

Travelocity.com offered to sell me the same hotel room for $484 per night, plus taxes, so I got the room for more than 50% off. Priceline's public "Special Rate" was $484 as well.

I might have gotten a better deal if I had bid closer to my stay dates, but it could have gone the other way as well given the special nature of these nights in this city.

I would have preferred a midtown hotel, but downtown isn't bad considering that there are plenty of good restaurants in SoHo and Tribeca, a short walk (for me) from the financial district. I would typically wander through this area (stopping at the nearby South Street Seaport and Pier 17 area) on my typical New York Saturday walk all around lower Manhattan anyway. Usually I would walk back up to Midtown and not have the energy to travel back downtown again in the same day, but this hotel arrangement will make dining in the area my default choice, at least on Saturday. I might actually eat dinner uptown and then walk downtown after midnight to get a fuller view of the "cultural experience" called New Year's Eve in New York City. Who knows, maybe I'll skip a fancy dinner and eat some fastfood and then go hang out in the massive crowd north of Times Square. Maybe it will simply depend on the weather.

Finally, here's a great unanswered philosophical question: Is it New Years Eve or New Year's Eve (the apostrophe)? I think the latter is the "proper" form, but the former seems to be commonly accepted these days. You could argue the former in the sense that it is a plural across all years. The Merriam-Webbster dictionary has New Year's Day, so I'll start using the apostrophe: New Year's Eve.

I'm just glad to have this reservation out of the way since it was really taking a lot of effort. Now to adjust my hotel budget. On December 11 I'll bid for one night to see how good a rate I can get for a "normal" New York night. I'll try to get a 3-star for $85 and a 1-star for $55. I probably won't get either of these very low-ball bids, but it costs nothing to try and then I'll know for sure that the cheapest price is higher.

-- Jack Krupansky

2 Comments:

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