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Monthly Archives: November 2016

Extended Stay Hotels

Extended hotels are ideal for people who have to stay away from home at a particular place for long periods of time. The main purpose of an extended stay hotel is to make long term stay at hotels more affordable and provide accommodations that help create a home-like experience. The reasons for long term stay can vary between a business trip, corporate relocation, or a vacation with family. The space that these hotels provide is more, along with the amenities that are designed keeping long term business, leisure, and relocation travelers in mind. The main advantages include a kitchen and a laundry service that run around the clock.

In hotels that provide extended stay facilities, studio suites are available that are usually bigger compared to typical rooms, and are also definitely more economically when compared to corporate apartments. They are also located near metro areas and convenience stores for greater ease. Some hotels also provide additional amenities, including wireless high speed internet or broadband facilities. These hotels are a good choice for travelers who need a place for a week or more. It is also ideal for families that are on vacation on a budget, as the rooms are bigger, and a kitchen is also available that helps save on food.

With the advent of technology, you will not have to look too far for an extended stay hotel. All you need is to type in the location where you would be requiring a hotel on the Internet and you can rest assured that you will get plenty of options to choose from. Some websites provide the facility of a virtual tour and you can actually survey the site and your room on the Internet. You can book and pay online in advance if required. Some chains of hotels also tie up with the company and provide discounts or other promotional offers. It will be a good idea to check up with your organization if they have a tie up with a particular chain of hotels. You could also discuss the same with your colleagues who have stayed in some of the hotels, and pick up a few tips as to what would serve your requirement. If you are looking for a hotel for a vacation, then you could consider an off peak time. This will ensure that you get an additional rebate.

When to Choose Extended Stay Hotels

Extended hotel stays are ideal for people who are:

  • Working on a project that will keep them away from home for an extended period of time.
  • A family on vacation who would like access to a kitchen and laundry facilities.
  • A family is in the process of buying or remodeling their house.
  • A family or an individual is relocating to a new place.
  • A family or an individual visiting relatives at a different location.
  • It is also ideal for people who would like to stay away from their house or families for some time to resolve some emotional or personal issues.

Well, some of the higher end suites at hotels also provide a semi kitchen-like setup. But here are a list of some of the amenities that hotels providing extended stays provide at no charge, while other hotels would charge heavily for the same.

  • All rooms are fully equipped with kitchens and appliances which includes a refrigerator, microwave, coffee maker, dishes, cooking utensils, and a dining table. These are provided at no additional cost.
  • Most of these hotels provide unlimited local phone usage, a computer data port, Wi-Fi coverage, and personalized voicemail facilities.
  • Housekeeping and laundry service is provided around the clock.
  • Some extended stay hotels also provide exercise centers and pools.

Facts about the Burj Al Arab

▸ Burj Al Arab is located on an artificial island, built about 280 meters away from the Jumeirah beach in Dubai. It is connected to the mainland by a gently curving bridge.

▸ It stands as one of the tallest structures in the world. Its height is 321 meters (1,053 feet) above the sea level.

▸ The magnificent structure is home to the highest tennis court in the world. The tennis court is located close to the top of the hotel.

▸ Moreover, on top of the building, at a height of 212 meters above the sea level, there is also a helipad about 24 meters wide. It enables one to arrive or depart from Burj Al Arab by a helicopter and admire the beauty of the whole city from above.

▸ Gold was used to embellish the interior of the structure.

▸ Burj Al Arab has 202 rooms, which are all duplex suites, 18 elevators, 28 double-story floors, and incredible restaurants. The suite houses luxury rooms, panoramic suites, club suites, double suites, presidential and royal suites.

▸ The cost involved in building the hotel was $650 million.

▸ The construction involved several companies and contractors from the UK, USA, and Dubai and over 3000 workmen.

▸ It took three years just to build the foundation as it was constructed in the ocean with massive rocks and concrete. Around 230 concrete pillars were driven into the sand, more than 40 meters deep to hold the foundation. The friction of the sand against the piles helps to sustain the foundation.

▸ A layer of massive rocks was placed on the surface in a honeycomb pattern to protect the foundation from erosion.

▸ Around 70,000 cubic meters of concrete and about 9,000 tons of steel were used in the construction of the building.

▸ The smallest suite of the Burj Al Arab covers an area of 169 square meters while the largest is 780 square meters.

▸ The design of the structure features a steel skeleton enclosed within a concrete tower. There are two wings to form a mast, and the area between the wings is covered with a Teflon-coated woven glass fiber screen. The coating of the fabric protects the building from harsh heat and dirt. The fabric also allows a white milky light to penetrate inside the building during the daytime. At night, the fabric is lit by lights of varying colors.

▸ Al Muntaha, one of the restaurants inside the hotel, offers a view of Dubai.

▸ Another restaurant, the Al Mahara, features a large sea water aquarium, holding more than one million liters of water.

▸ The hotel is also home to the Al Iwan Royal Dining Hall, Junsui Asian restaurant, Bab Al Yam restaurant, Majlis Al Bahar restaurant, Sahn Eddar restaurant, Skyview Bar, Al Falak Ballroom, Marina Garden, Marina Garden, Assawan Amphitheater and Diwania Library.

▸ There is also an open-air swimming pool at the ground level, a private beach located on the mainland, and the Wild Wadi Water Park.

▸ The interior of the hotel was designed by Khuan Chew, Design Principal of KCA International. The interior features an atrium with a beautiful central fountain and a cascading waterfall.

▸ There are more than 28,000 light fixtures in Burj Al Arab.

▸ Statuario marble was used to make the walls and flooring. Around 43,000 square meters of it was used to embellish the interiors.

▸ Burj Al Arab is supervised by Jumeirah Group, the global hospitality company and a member of Dubai Holding.

How to Get Great Hotel Deals

No matter where you plan to go for a holiday or how long your trip is, the desire to get a good accommodation deal with tidy rooms and an at-home service is universal. Here are a few things that you can do, in order to pay less and save more.

Compare Prices on Different Websites

This can really help you get some of the cheapest hotel deals available. Look through different websites, such as Expedia, Travelocity, and Quikbook, and compare the prices. Believe it or not, you will find huge differences. It is also a good idea to visit the hotel’s own website. You can then choose whichever price suits you the best.

Call the Hotel Personally

Internet is always helpful, but it is advisable not to rely on it completely. It should be noted that websites don’t always mention the add-on expenses, which might be included in your final bill, while checking out. Therefore, even if you think that you have found the best deal online, it is still advisable to call the hotel personally and ask about the additional/hidden costs. Also, note that not all hotels have an online presence. So, do not hesitate to look for cheaper options elsewhere.

Be Flexible

It is always good to be flexible about your travel dates. Different date options may help find some of the best bargains. Moreover, you may also be able to crack some last-minute deals, wherein hotels may be eager to fill up their rooms. In such cases, they might offer you a lower price. On the other hand, if you have a fixed travel schedule, you might not be in a position to negotiate, as there would be lesser options.

Check Room Types

If you have been quoted a room rate on the phone, and you are still looking for a lower price, you can always ask if the hotel has any other kind of room, cheaper than the one quoted. Asking for a least expensive room helps to a great extent to save some more money. Moreover, it needs to be noted that the hotel will give you their standard rate, and will not even mention about the lower rates, unless you inquire. So, do not hesitate to ask for the lowest rates.

Negotiate

It is possible to bargain, even in reputed business hotels. Especially, if a hotel has a lot of empty rooms, they will be desperate to fill them up. In such cases, you will be in a better position to negotiate your deal, and ask for facilities such as free parking, free Internet, etc. Hotels would prefer to give out a room at a cheaper price, rather than leave it empty altogether.

Look for Package Deals

Package deals are, by far, considered to be the best bargains. These deals offer numerous additional facilities, apart from just accommodation, and at good prices. Most hotels have a lot of packages to offer all year round, and these are particularly popular as people always like to have something extra, over what they are paying for. Moreover, the package rates are often so competitive that even if you don’t need all the facilities offered, they still tend to be good deals.

Join a Loyalty Program

Many hotels have their own loyalty programs, which entitle their customers for numerous freebies and benefits. If you have a favorite hotel, where you love to stay each time you travel, joining their loyalty program can reap you a lot of benefits. You may get a number of perks, including discounts on your stay and a lot of free facilities to use, every time you visit the place.

Make Use of the Hotel Credit Card

It is a very good idea to use your hotel credit card, owing to the various perks that it may offer. Most of them offer benefits such as free nights, free breakfasts, etc., which can indeed save you a substantial amount of money. Plus, these cards can also entitle you to free upgrades, whenever you use them.

Remember to Sign Up for Email Notifications

If you are a regular customer of a certain hotel and/or a member of their loyalty program, it is a good idea to sign up for their email notifications. More often than not, the discounts that the hotels offer are not announced publicly. Most hotels prefer to first inform their dedicated pool of customers. So, such emails can help you learn about the latest discounts being offered by your favorite hotel.

Inquire About Special Discounts

Many hotels offer a number of special discounts to various groups of people. If you happen to fall in such a category, you might be entitled to good discounted rates. For instance, numerous hotels in the US offer special discounted rates for military personnel. Moreover, corporate discounts are always available. Check with the hotel about such discounts, and you might just land up paying lesser than you had expected.

Aim for a Business Hotel

This is one of the tricks that you can use, especially when your travel dates are flexible. Business hotels keep busy throughout the week; however, over the weekend, many of their rooms become vacant, which are then offered at highly discounted rates. So, if you choose to travel on a weekend, why go for cheap hotels when business hotel rooms will be available to you at virtually the same rates? You can also enjoy all the business class facilities.

Look for a Newly Opened Hotel

Newly opened hotels are eager to gain a good reputation and attract more and more customers. Owing to this, they also have a lot of promotions, wherein they offer accommodation and services at heavily discounted rates. If you come across such hotels during your quest, know that it is just the right place for you to get the best facilities at really cheap rates. Plus, the hospitality they will show will be unparalleled.

Use Your Club Memberships

There are certain clubs, which have their own chain of resorts and hotels at different locations. If you are a member of such a club, you can avail the discounts offered by them. This is another good way of saving money on hotel stays.

Choose Hotels on the Outskirts

If you are planning to go to a big, expensive city such as London for your vacation, it is needless to say that the hotels there are bound to be extremely costly, irrespective of whether or not you get discounts. Owing to this, it is actually better to look for hotels on the outskirts of these cities. These will not only be cheaper than those located within the city limits, but will also have state-of-the-art amenities.

Ask for Serviced Apartments in Three-star Hotels

If you are looking for a lavish holiday, and are aiming for a three-star hotel or even better, see to it that you specifically ask for serviced apartments. These are particularly designed for business travelers and have numerous hidden benefits and bargains. For instance, you might be able to avail free services, such as access to gym, free laundry, etc.

Don’t Go for Rooms with Grand Views

Remember that all you need is a safe place to stay, with good basic facilities. Numerous hotels have rooms which offer grand and majestic views. Though these may be attractive and pleasing, such rooms are expensive. So, it is advisable not to go for such rooms and save a little more bucks.

Opt for the Bed and Breakfast Option

Opting for B&B accommodations can really save you a lot of money. If you are going to a big and an expensive city, this is the best choice to opt for. You will get a comfortable bed and a hearty breakfast, and then you can be out all day.

How to Choose the Right Bed and Breakfast

Check if their rooms have en-suite bathrooms

In the traditional sense, B&Bs were just a bunch of spare rooms in a family’s house which were let out to guests. Many of these, even today, do not have en-suite facilities. In case you can’t conceive the idea of sharing a bathroom with strangers, do clear up this aspect before you book.

Check if they allow pets

Pet owners mostly tend to find favor with like-minded B&B owners who don’t mind the guests bringing their pets along. This generosity is hard to find in most hotels, and in the rare event that you do, keeping a pet at the hotel ferociously escalates the cost. Pet-friendly B&Bs are a dream come true for animal lovers, so if you are one yourself, it’ll be easy to find the perfect accommodation.

Check if they allow children

Yes, you read that right. There are quite a few B&Bs that aren’t too keen on having young guests below the age of 12 on their property. So, if you plan to travel with young kids, take extra caution with your research.

Check if they provide ‘modern’ amenities

As these are small scale establishments, you may not find some amenities that you’d otherwise take for granted. These include Wi-Fi, televisions, hair dryers, and even room service. Swimming pools, gyms, and coffee shops may also be beyond a mention. There could be some establishments that do not allow smoking on their premises. If you simply can’t live without modern comforts such as these, ensure that the place of your choice provides them.

Check if they have heating/cooling systems

Most B&Bs are set up in heritage structures, and may not have modernized central heating or cooling. This may especially be true of inns in remote, rural areas. Therefore, it would be prudent to make inquiries about the same beforehand.