Our Priceline Date Night

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Last Christmas my parents gave my husband a “coupon” for a night out on the town and offered to take our girls for a sleepover at their house, which we redeemed this past Saturday night.  As a sort of spontaneous decision, we decided to try www.priceline.com to see if we could get a good deal to stay at a local hotel for the night.

Has anyone done Priceline before? I have to say it was pretty exciting going through the bidding and seeing where we ended up!  My husband did all the bidding – check out his tips below if you ever want to try it!

We ended up getting a room at the Hyatt Regency Newport Beach, which was a great location for a one-night getaway.

The weather was gorgeous, so we arrived around lunchtime on Saturday dressed pool-ready and checked our bags with the bellman.

We spent the afternoon reading, snoozing and enjoying the Jacuzzi (the small batch of homemade margaritas we snuck in made it extra fun. Yes, we were rebels sneaking in some booze – living it up on our big night away! Woo hoo!)

Later in the evening we walked over to the Newport Dunes and had a great dinner at the Back Bay Bistro. There happened to be a great live band that night (Tom Solis) playing my favorite kind of mellow music. By the way, if you go there for dinner, the Kobe beef sliders were out of this world. Didn’t see them on the menu, so they might have been a special, but ask for them!

The next morning we slept in and I read a People magazine in bed with a Starbucks coffee. My version of Heaven. For breakfast, we walked from the hotel over to Balboa Island and ate at Wilma’s Patio (the BEST.)

We headed home around noon relaxed, happy, and ready to see the kids. 24-hours to be a couple and it was amazing.

Now, admittedly, we are VERY lucky to have local and willing grandparents to help us out. But if you don’t, maybe you could recruit a family to do a trade off sleepover with each other’s kids so you can get a night away every once in a blue moon?

And with Priceline.com can score you a steal of a deal! Our accepted hotel bid was $78 (+ tax + $20 parking it ended up being around $120 total.) If you didn’t eat out at pricey places, it could be a very reasonable getaway! Heck, you could grab take-out burritos and head back to the hotel to eat at the pool. Main point being, for not a whole lot of money, a date like this can be  priceless.

Here are my husband’s tips on how to bid using Priceline:

1. Learn which hotels are in the area you chose – for example, if you select 4 star hotels in Newport Beach/Huntington Beach, first look on Priceline/Hotwire to see what # star hotels show up in that area.  This will give you a good idea of what hotel you might get if you make a Priceline offer.

2. If you want 4 stars – have an idea of how much a 4 start hotel room is going for on the night(s) you chose.  You can do this on Priceline/Hotwire.

3. Make an offer – remember your offer excludes tax. Also, remember that some hotels charge resort fees, parking, etc. so that you know exactly how much to expect to spend.

4. If your bid is not accepted you have a few options:

a. Wait 24 hours and submit a new bid for the same area and hotel rating.
b. Immediately bid again by adding in a new area and/or hotel rating.

Tip: If you find areas that do not have hotels matching the hotel rating you chose, you can bid again before waiting 24 hours. For example, I wanted to stay in a 4 star hotel in Newport Beach/Huntington Beach and my initial bid was rejected. I then had the option to bid again by adding a new area into your search.  I looked through nearby areas and noticed that Santa Ana and Laguna Beach did not offer 4 star Priceline hotels.  So for my next bid I increased my offer and I added Santa Ana knowing that my bid would only be accepted in Newport Beach/Huntington Beach.  If my second bid was not accepted I could then increase my offer and add Laguna Beach.  You can keep adding new areas and keep rebidding, just be sure to do your research so you know you are only adding areas that do not offer 4 star Priceline hotels.  The hotel mix changes frequently, so be sure to check before you bid.

5. After your bid is accepted and you know the hotel, call to hotel directly to see if you can request a room type (i.e. King, two doubles, etc.) The hotel will not be able to guaranteed bed or room type, so you have to be open minded and go with the flow on whatever you get.  We were lucky the hotel was able to get us into a King bed room.  We also had the option to upgrade our view for an additional charge upon check-in.

That’s it! This would be really fun to do as a spontaneous family get away for the night!

So it’s Friday!  Anyone have a fun date night planned this weekend?

Hope you all have a great one! XOXO

[Photo credit: Hyatt.]


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  1. 1
    Caroline Iverson says:

    That’s awesome bc I just booked a room for $99 and found out that it’s actually $20 more bc Hyatt charges a mandatory $20 add’l “resort fee” to everyone at their Monterey property even if you will not be using any resort features. I called Priceline customer service and was dispassionately read the contract and was told there was nothing they could do…except give me $10 off my next Priceline stay. Except I won’t ever use Priceline again. If I go to a hotel order room service and have my suit dry cleaned, I get that I’m going to be charged extra for that. But to say it’s a $99 room and then find out only from yelp (and then confirmed on the phone with the hotel) that it’s actually a $119 room bc of the $20 mandatory “resort” fee, I feel misled and upset. Priceline has other hotels in the same city that don’t do a bait and switch but Priceline insists that I must get ripped off by the Hyatt. Very disappointing that Priceline values their relationship with the Hyatt over their relationship with their own customers. I will not use Priceline ever again. I can’t trust Priceline, sadly.

    • 2
      jen says:

      I am totally bugged by resort fees too. I don’t understand why hotels don’t just charge whatever they have to charge up front instead of tacking it on in this way.

      Totally get it.

      In my husband’s point #3 above, it is one of the things you have to take into account when placing your bids. He researched the hotels in the area based on the stars and knew ahead of time that some would charge a resort fee, so he factored that into his bid.

      But if you didn’t know this up front, I can see how it would be upsetting.

      Thanks for your comment and I am sorry for your bad experience.

      Even given the $20 parking fee we had to pay in addition to the accepted bid, we felt like it was a great price for this property and had a great time.

  2. 3
    Sarah says:

    These are great tips, thank you. My husband and I want to do an overnight this weekend. I have a question, When you did your NB/HB search, a 4 star by the airport comes up (the Fairmont) along with the Hyatt and Marriott by Fashion Island. The ones by the mall are our first choice and I would be bummed if we ended up getting the Fairmont. Any tips for that? Was that one of the options when you did your bidding. Do you just take the chance that you could get the less than stellar location?

    • 4
      Jen says:

      Yes, we thought we might end up at the Fairmont, that was a definite possibility. I was good with it, because I had been there and it is really a beautiful hotel.

      There is no way around this since it is one of the properties with that amount of stars.

      Biggest tip is keep an open mind 🙂 and no matter where you end up, you are bound to have fun!

  3. 5
    Bradly says:

    First off I want to say wonderful blog! I had a quick question that I’d like to ask if you do not mind. I was interested to find out how you center yourself and clear your mind prior to writing. I have had difficulty clearing my thoughts in getting my thoughts out there. I truly do take pleasure in writing however it just seems like the first 10 to 15 minutes tend to be lost just trying to figure out how to begin. Any ideas or tips? Cheers!

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