All posts by XciteGO

LEGO Architecture Imperial Hotel Time Lapse Build

Check out this incredible time lapse build of LEGO Architecture’s Imperial Hotel in Tokyo, Japan. The luxury hotel was created in the late 1880s at the request of the Japanese aristocracy to cater to the increasing number of western visitors to Japan.

The hotel took years to build and this guy’s model takes only minutes!
Enjoy.

Lego Imperial Hotel Time Lapse from grrrg on Vimeo.

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The Craziest Hotel Experiences

We’ve scoured the interwebs for all those stories you hear from friends and family of their craziest hotel experience. From the unusual, to the uncanny, here’s our favorites.

1- We’ll begin with the most recent. When Salford, England’s Amy Jones found a mysterious note in the drawer of her Edinburgh hotel room, she thought she was in the middle of a horror movie!

She followed it up with a picture of the door, captioned: ‘This is the door they are referring to. It faces my bed. Cool.’

2- Next we have a laptop camera videotaping left recording filming a hotel room cleaner rifling through a guest’s belongings. The woman does not appear to take any belongings, though  the cleaner can be seen looking through the guest’s suitcase, playing with a tablet device and even trying to access the very laptop used to film the room.

3- One hotel front desk clerk took to the Internet to discuss tales from the front desk, (anonymously of course). Reddit’s loyal fan base blasted the employee with dozens of questions about life in the front desk . Here’s a little context about the employee:

Screen Grab
Photo: Screen Grab

One commenter (themself a ‘hotel night clerk for two years in college’) admitted to charging a cash-paying guest double price while pocketing the difference!

4- There’s a blog dedicated to crazy hotel workers and their stories! It’s called Crazy Hotel Workers. The passive-aggressive mob known as the Crazy Hotel Workers is always giving useful tips on how to be a significantly-less-annoying hotel guest. Take note of some of these rants and do your part to irritate the staff less, we’ll all probably get better service.

5- Lastly, in case you missed it, a recent Reddit post drew more than 5,500 comments when someone started an online discussion asking hotel staff to reveal their secrets. Tnooz compiled 10 of the best, their #1 favorite:

“I work in a 5-star hotel located in central Hong Kong. Yes, we have to comply with any request if the guest is considered a VIP. Not sure if this is interesting to you guys but we do have contact with locals when prostitution is needed. We simply make a phone call and girls will be delivered faster than pizza. No, I ain’t sh–ting you.”

New Year’s Eve Party Cities, the Best and Worst

New Year’s Eve parties will be happening all over the USA tomorrow night, from the charmingly small and nerdy to the wildly extravagant. But where to party the night away?

fireworksWith so many cities known for their NYE extravagance, how do you choose? Well some are just better than others. In fact, TravelMag.com recently published a survey comparing New Year’s Eve hotel rates for 30 major destinations in the USA as well as a comparison to regular rates.

The prices shown reflect the rates on December 31, 2014 for the cheapest available double room in a centrally-located hotel that is rated at least 3 stars. Regular rates reflect the price for the least expensive double room the week that follows (January 7–8, 2015). Here’s the Top 10

1. New Orleans $359 (+ 302%)           6. Nashville $284 (+ 167%)
2. Atlantic City $350 (+ 586%)            7. Denver $269 (+ 108%)
3. New York City $345 (+ 287%)        8. Las Vegas $249 (+ 117%)
4. Miami Beach $313 (+ 144%)            9. Savannah $223 (+ 153%)
5. Honolulu $284 (+ 162%)                 10. Los Angeles $209 (+ 36%)

Ok, so you can drop the Big Easy from your list…so where can you score that midnight kiss? How about Louisville, Kentucky? What about the Galt House Hotel? It boasts as the most elaborate in town, with three parties in three locations, each offering a variety of packages that range in cost from $50 per person to $375 for two.

How about San Juan, Puerto Rico? With warm temps and plenty of cocktails, San Juan is an excellent destination for winter visits and a party-hopping New Year’s. Even without the coquito—a Puerto Rican version of eggnog popular this time of year—San Juan ranks in the Top 10 for looks, style, and friendliness.

Or just around the corner from us in Atlanta, the quaint coastal city of Savannah offers a carefree New Year’s Eve, and is pedestrian-friendly as well as being just plain old friendly. There’s plenty that’s free and easy here on December 31: fireworks at Tybee Pier and a free music festival at City Market. If you’re up for it on January 1, you can also do the annual Polar Bear Plunge into the chilly Atlantic.

Wherever your NYE travel plans take you, book your hotel with XciteGO and be sure to get the best price!

Last-Minute Hotel Cancellation Fees and How to Avoid Them

Beginning next year, some hotels will be changing their cancellation policies, which could translate into extra charges for travelers whose plans may have change unexpectedly.

When it comes to changing hotel reservations, the concept of “last-minute” is about to get a bit longer.

As of Jan. 1, 2015, last-minute will mean by midnight the night before, or a penalty of one night’s stay at Hilton Worldwide and Marriott International, which operate about 8,000 hotels. Previously, many properties offered free cancellation as late as the evening of the reservation.

Credit-cardsThe new cancellation policy could make changes difficult for some business travelers.

Following the Airlines
Some see the cancellation policy change as following airlines that charge varying fees for some services.

If you are thrown off course by bad weather or travel delays, contact the hotel you have reserved and explain the situation. That could lead to a penalty-free cancellation or another resolution so you do not pay for a night’s stay in a room you will not use.

Marriott’s website states: Customers should consult rate rules for each reservation for specific restrictions. Cancellation charges apply if a reservation is changed or cancelled after the deadline identified in the rate rules.

While Starwood’s policy states: To avoid being charged, reservations must be cancelled in accordance with the cancellation policy outlined by the particular hotel.

But XciteGO allows travelers the opportunity name input the data for the hotel they want at the price they want, while hotels shop them.

not another tie! this year give the gift he really wants–travel!

What did you get for your SO last year? What about for dad? Can you recall? Consumers wrap up a lot of presents that are quickly forgotten. Consider a new approach…

So this year, why not give the gift of travel?

The great thing about the gift of travel is you build memories together as a family or a couple. It also gives you something to look forward to and helps break up the monotony of winter. If this winter is anything like the last, we’ll all need a break.

Not an expensive trip to Jamaica, but rather an affordable weekend getaway somewhere to unwind. You can buy packages to ring in the new year somewhere or simply slip away in January or February when many hotels slash their rates. In fact, you can save between 20 to 50 percent off. Places you may have never considered because you thought it was out of your price range may not be if you book now and travel this winter.

A trip to Wales that’s just for women:
Caerphilly_Castle,_Wales
The June 15-26, 2015 departure comes with a early booking bonus of five per cent off, when you book and pay in full by Jan. 31. The trip focuses on experiences and includes a hands-on cooking demonstration at the Bodnant Welsh Food Centre in Conwy Valley, a wine tasting in Nantlle Valley and a Welsh-language lesson.

There’s also a garden tour in Abergwyngregin and a visit to a sheep farm in the Snowdonia Mountains. There’s even a “game of bowls” at a Bowling Club in the village of Penmaenmawr. The group size for the Women Only Wales tour is capped at 22 people and nine of the 10 nights are at Can-Y-Bae hotel in the seaside resort town of Llandudno. The trip is priced at $3,875 per person with a $500 deposit required at time of booking. Airfare is not included. See dhgrouptours.com.

Let It Sonoma
Sonoma California

The upscale Farmhouse Inn in California’s Sonoma County has a new package for holiday travel. Available through Jan. 11, Let It Sonoma includes a two-night stay, mulled wine or spiced cider upon arrival, daily three-course breakfast and wine tastings with local winemakers. The price is $1,395 (U.S.) per couple for two nights. Accommodation is in a king deluxe barn room, which sounds rustic, but, in fact, offers 51 square metres of space, a tub with jets and views of the forest, an indoor-outdoor fireplace and a deck. See the Packages & Specials link at farmhouseinn.com.

Celebration Rate at Delta Toronto
Toronto

Friends and family visiting Toronto have a new hotel choice and a new deal for the holiday season. The Delta Toronto has opened on Lower Simcoe St. The hotel has 567 rooms and suites and is within walking distance of the Air Canada Centre, Rogers Centre, the CN Tower and Ripley’s Aquarium. Introductory rates start at $169 per night for stays Dec. 18, 2014-Jan. 11, 2015, excluding Dec. 31. The deal is subject to availability and a two-night minimum stay applies. See deltahotels.com (promo code HF2).

Best buy of the week
Cruise Lines

South America and Panama Canal cruises onboard NCL’s Norwegian Pearl and Norwegian Sun are on sale. A new promotion entitled “Buy One, Get One Half Off” (BOGOHO) means two passengers travelling together get their second cruise fare half-off. Bookings must be made by Dec. 14. See ncl.com.

‘Tis the Season for Houseguests, but Not if You Live in Portland…

House GuestsIs your guest room (and likely your couch) already full? Here’s a few Portland hotels that are ready to take some of that burden off your hands and give you some much-needed R&R this season.

The Ace Hotel offers a deal on holiday shopping with its Stick It to the Man package, which gets you 10% off accommodations (excluding shared bathroom guest rooms) and wares from local retailers, artists, and designers. Book and stay by January 31. 1022 SW Stark St

Hotel deLuxe’s Romance Holiday package offers a night of snuggling, while watching Roman Holiday, sipping local Pinot Noir, and munching on Portlandia popcorn and chocolates. 729 SW 15th Ave

The Benson Hotel gives the gift of shopping with a Holiday Shopper packages, which includes deluxe accommodations, a $25 Macy’s gift card, shopping tote, %10 savings pass, and a free photo coupon for Macy’s SantaLand. Valid through December 30. 309 SW Broadway

Play Santa with St. Lucia’s holiday deal, which includes discounts on local boutiques and a gift bag full of goods from Steven Smith Teamaker, Bee Local Honey, Jacobsen Salt, and Oregon Olive Mill olive oil.Valid through January 1. 400 SW Broadway (P.S. sister hotel The Sentinel offers the same holiday package at 614 SW 11th Ave)

Save this winter at the Hotel Rose with 15-20% discounts on one- or two-night stays, pineapple cupcakes included. Book by January 19, valid through February 28. 50 SW Morrison St

Hotel Monaco’s Sleep with Hazel deal celebrates one’s of Oregon’s locally grown specialties—hazelnuts! Stay and share your hotel room with native hazelnut tree seedling, hazelnut amenities, and a hazelnut Christmas ornament. Available all December. 506 SW Washington St

Spend New Year’s at The Nines, where special holiday offerings include accommodations for two, parking, and breakfast at discount rates. 525 SW Morrison

Book the Paramount Hotel’s Season’s Giving package and donate a toy at check-in to KGW Great Toy Drive to receive a $25 gift card to Powell’s City of Books and valet parking during your stay. Available until December 14. 808 SW Taylor St

Counteract your shopping coma and book a relaxing stay in the Columbia River Gorge at Skamania Lodge. Choose from three holiday packages, which feature cozy rooms, dinner with credit at $100 for two, a $50 gift card, and a collectible ornament. 1131 SW Skamania Lodge Way, Stevenson, WA

The SEC Championship is coming to ATL! Here’s the best places to stay in town.

SEC LogosThe 2014 SEC Championship Game will be played this Saturday, December 6, 2014, at Atlanta’s very own Georgia Dome. The game will determine the 2014 football champion of the Southeastern Conference (SEC) and will be played between Alabama and Missouri.

And of course, the game is drawing quite a crowd to downtown ATL with many hotels already booked up. Some still have space and are hoping to attract those procrastinators with a little love…

The Artmore Hotel has rates starting at $189, including free wifi and 2 drink coupons. They are also conveniently located across the street from MARTA’s Arts Center station giving you direct access to the GA Dome. Their relaxing courtyard features a fire pit, for a pre and post game cocktail. But the offer is only available by phone! Call now to take advantage 404.876.6100.

Two more comfortable hotels on call for SEC weekend are Homewood Suites by Hilton Atlanta Midtown and Hilton Garden Inn Atlanta Midtown, right down the street from the Georgia Dome, so you don’t have to worry about traffic on game day. And of course, what’s game day without food?! Atlanta has several amazing restaurants that will fill you up and keep you full through the game. We’re looking forward to seeing the top two teams at the SEC Championship Game!