This mini-series explores stellar properties available through Priceline’s opaque bidding process.
Part 1: The Carolina Inn, Chapel Hill, North Carolina
Part 2: Little America -Salt Lake City, Utah
Part 3: Destination Resort Overlooking the Hudson River, Tarrytown, NY
There are no guarantees in life, and certainly no guarantees on Priceline, but if you do your research you can often land a very good deal at a top-rated luxury property.
The Little America Hotel in downtown Salt Lake City is one such gem that frequently pops up on Priceline for the lowly price of $53 per night.
This is probably the classiest hotel I have ever stayed in.
The corridor walls are covered in brocade fabric. There is a large fireplace in the wood-paneled central lobby and there are several elegant shops.
The rooms are enormous and comfortable, with real wood furniture, real wool carpets, and beautiful draperies and upholstery. There is a dressing table and an enormous tiled bathroom with a large tub and a separate shower. Rooms with king sized beds have a separate living room area. It is just a very classy place.
The hotel is a cross between sixties architecture on the outside and European elegance on the inside.
The Little America is a Salt Lake City institution. Between the high-rise section and the motel like rooms, the hotel takes up an entire city block.
The trolley stops right outside. The grounds are impeccably landscaped. Garage and outdoor parking is free.
The hotel coffee shop is packed for Sunday lunch and dinner. The coffee shop is well known for its all American comfort food — homemade mushroom soup, roast turkey, or mac and cheese. There are huge fresh fruit and cobb salads. The daily specials are always a steal and the portions are enormous. For dessert, I recommend the ice cream or pie a la mode.
If you just want to grab a quick espresso coffee and a Danish pastry, there is a Petite Cafe in the lobby.
The recreational facilities are impressive. There is a seasonal outdoor pool in the courtyard.
On the second floor, you will find a large health club. The pool deck chairs are fitted with white terry cloth slipcovers. The locker room has wood paneling and offers plush towels. There is a sauna and a whirlpool. The indoor pool has a swim through curtain that leads outside into an open-air heated pool on the deck with beautiful city views.
Priceline Bidding Strategy: It might be hard to get a room here on Thanksgiving or with a big convention in town, but with 850 rooms to fill, you could be lucky — particularly on a weekend evening.
I always check Hotwire first to assess general availability on my preferred travel date. I also check availability on the hotel website. I always check the bidding forums to see what recent winning bids have been reported by other Priceline fiends. My favorite forum to check is HotelDealsRevealed.com.
Then I turn to Priceline to book a room.
For some reason unbenownst to me, Priceline has classified this hotel as 3.5 stars. In my experience, it is the only 3.5 star hotel in the downtown zone in Salt Lake City. There are several zones in the Salt Lake City area that do have not 3.5 or above star hotels. These zones can be considered free rebid zones — if your first bid is rejected, you can add in rebid zones and raise your bid, without risk that you will be placed in these zones. Priceline reserves the right to place you in a higher star property in your selected zone, such as a 4 star hotel.
The hotel puts Priceline guests in the motel like rooms, not the “tower.”
Some reviewers on TripAdvisor may disagree, but in my opinion this is a very, very, nice hotel. And did I mention — $53 per night.
UPDATE 6/24/13: Someone on www.BiddingforTravel.com has reported another 3.5 star hotel in downtown Salt Lake City — the Radisson Salt Lake City downtown. This development decreases your chances of winning the Little America when bidding with Name Your Own Price on Priceline. Also note that the Radisson Hotel has a parking charge of $12 per night.
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