Travel Hack: Determining Hotwire.com Anonymous Hotels

If you’ve done any travelling in your life, you’ve likely heard of Hotwire.com. The website sells hotel rooms at an extremely cheap rate, with one condition. The condition is, you won’t know what hotel you’re reserving until after you’ve paid for it.

This is done purposefully, because it allows hotels to dump some of their hotel rooms that otherwise might not fill, without pissing off anyone who purchased a hotel at full price from their personal website and not a third party booking site.

So, purchasing a hotel room when you don’t know what the hotel is, sounds risky right? Well, if you like to live dangerously then it probably sounds like an added piece to the adventure. If you’re like me, and you like a deal but also want to make sure you don’t end up in a shitty hotel, you’re likely going to think ‘there’s got to be away around this’. And you would be right.

Here’s how to figure out what hotel the Hotwire Hotel Deal is for. Please note that this “hack” is only for people who have time to figure this out. If you’re in a hurry, this hack really isn’t for you.

(For the purpose of this post, I’m using some details I recently used for booking accommodations in Denver Colorado for a work event

Go to HOTWIRE.COM and select the location and dates that you’re looking to stay.

Hotwire will display a map of the city to display areas with hotels they have deals for. Select the area of the city you want to be in.

In my case, the work event is downtown Denver. So, I’m going to select that vicinity of the city in hopes that I don’t have to Uber everywhere, and hopefully can just walk.

By selecting the area of the city which I wish to stay in, the list changes to show only hotels in that area.

That $145 per night deal (showing second on the list in the above photo) looks like a good deal. It’s down from $219 per night. Let’s look at that one.

When you open up the $145 deal, there are three things you want to pay attention to: The ‘sample photo’ provided, the general review of the hotel, and the individual categories of which the hotel is reviewed for. It’s worth noting that all reviews on Hotwire.com are from Expedia. As Hotwire sells anonymously, they cannot accept reviews on their own site, or that would give away the anonymity. ALL REVIEWS come from Expedia. Pay attention to what I’ve highlighted with green boxes.

Overall hotel rating of 4.3/5 – Rating from Expedia as noted in Green Box.
Individual categorized ratings for Condition, quality, comfort and cleanliness. Also noted to be coming from Expedia.ca.

Now that you’ve seen these reviews on Hotwire, it’s time to go to Expedia! Select the same dates and locations to ensure you’ll get the same results.

Expedia will give you a long list of hotels in the vicinity with their nightly rates (not the Hotwire rate) and every hotel shows the overall hotel score. In the case of the example I showed, it was ranked 4.3/5. So, I know I’m looking for a hotel with the same general ranking. I highlighted the 4.3/5 in green in the following photo.

Now, if I pull up the Hampton Inn & Suites Downtown Denver, I see this:

The rooms have the same headboard as seen in the ‘sample photo’ from Hotwire.com. It also says, on Expedia, that rooms are sold out for the dates I’m looking for, which would make logical sense as to how it wound up on Hotwire, because hotels are known to dump their remaining rooms on Hotwire to try and fill their rooms at cheaper rates, rather than having empty rooms.

Hotwire says this hotel is 1 mile from Coors friend in Denver. Expedia says the Hampton Inn and Suites in Downtown Denver is 1 mile from Coors field.

Here’s the individual guest ratings from Hotwire

Here’s the individual guest ratings from Expedia

Condition of Hotel: Both say 4:4/5
Quality of Service: Both say 4.4/5
Room Cleanliness: Expedia says 4.6/5, Hotwire says 4.5/5

At this point, I’m pretty certain that I’m looking at Hampton Inn & Suites Downtown Denver.

I ask my Colleagues if they’re good with this hotel for the work trip. They do a quick search on google and they said sure!

I purchased this hotel, and sure enough, it is!

I cannot show you my hotel reservation because it’s containing corporate information, as well as the dates of when my coworkers will be there. I don’t want creepy people to catch the attention.

Anyways, that’s how I booked $210+ dollar hotel rooms for my colleagues for $145.

Which, in the grand scheme of things, doesn’t seem like a huge difference as a one off. But, my coworkers are staying for seven days and there’s four of them going. So, saving $260 per night (four coworkers) for seven nights, I just saved $1,820 for the hotel bookings.

This margin of prices widens when you start looking at luxury hotels. As I was writing this post, I looked up some luxury hotels in downtown Vancouver and there are some hotel rooms marked down from $550 to just $220.

If you have time, and you can do the research, it does pay to use Expedia to figure out what hotel is the deal on Hotwire.

What $83 a night gets you in Calgary, Alberta.

I recently found myself in Calgary, Alberta for some job interviews and a need for somewhere to stay. Over the years, I’ve stayed in a few dozen hotels in Calgary and never been fully satisfied with the stay that I’ve had, so, knowing that I was going to need to book a hotel room, I decided to try something different.

Though my job interviews were right downtown, I decided to look outwards. In all honesty, the hotels in downtown Calgary seem to all be heavily overpriced for what you get.

Within just a two minute drive of the Calgary International Airport is a group of hotels, really nice hotels, with really reasonable prices per night. After doing my research on Expedia (always read hotel reviews before booking!), I settled on the Park Inn by Radisson, Calgary Airport North.

*FYI – All photos were taking with my Iphone. The mismatch of quality between photos does not escape me.

Cost: $83 per night.

Amenities: Indoor gym for guests, laundry room, kitchenette in each room (with dishes included for your use), a ‘Pantry’ stocked with any foods you could possibly need for a hotel stay at VERY reasonable prices, a beautiful lobby with plenty of couch space to meet/interact with people, a computer station for guests (for if you don’t have a computer or need to print anything off) and a full kitchenette in every room.

The Hotel Gym. (You can see in the mirror reflection on the right that there is cardio equipment just out of view. As far as hotel gym’s go, I was impressed with this one)

I was impressed with the fact that everything was so readily available and so well thought out. I really didn’t need to even leave the hotel if I didn’t want to. This provided a great sense of relief as all I wanted to do was ‘hold-up’ in my hotel room and prep for my job interviews.

Having the gym just down the hall was appreciated. I found I was more inclined to get up in the morning and hit the treadmill knowing it was just a few steps away from me.

The hotel’s ‘Pantry’ cupboard, stocked with junk food as well as food that could be cooked in your room’s kitchenette.

The room itself was perfect. Upon walking into mine, I was pleased to see that the photos online provided an accurate representation of what each room is actually like.

My room’s kitchenette (which included a dishwasher).

Each room has a kitchenette included, making it convenient for travellers who might be staying for longer than a few days. There were dishes in the cupboards and cleaning supplies under the sink. The appliances included: a toaster, a coffee maker, a dishwasher, a microwave, a fridge and a stove-top. Shy of being able to roast a turkey, anything you could possibly need to make could be cooked in this kitchen.

Ample closet space for any storage you might need.

The room was equipped with a massive closet that I could actually walk into. Something that I really appreciated about this hotel was that the small details were thought of, including the providing of guests with a laundry hamper for storing dirty clothes. Small details like that make me appreciate a hotel just a little bit more because I know they’ve thought of how they can most help their guests.

Ample desk space with built-in storage.

My room, being a very accurate representation of the photos the hotel shows online, had a ton of desk spaces so that I could lay out all of my work, set up my computer and still have plenty of space for making a mess. Honestly, a desk like this is something I could only dream of having in my own home. And, the TV was conveniently located up in the corner of the desk so that it was out of the way, but still in view from both the bed and the bathtub.

A clean, pristine, all white bathroom with plenty of storage that I quickly cluttered with all of my things! lol

As mentioned in the last paragraph, something that I really appreciated was the fact that I could lay in a bubble bath and watch tv while doing so. When it comes to staying in a hotel, it’s really the small details that seem to make all the difference. Being able to watch Frasier from the tub felt like one of life’s simple luxuries.

Clearly, making the bed is not my strong suit!

I booked a room with a single queen bed. Room’s are available with two queen beds for just $87 per night (a five dollar increase) or one king bed for $95 per night (a twelve dollar increase). The bed was exceptionally comfortable. The pillows were dreamy to sleep on, and I bet if he could attest to it, Knight would agree with me.

The room also came equipped with a lazy-boy style chair next to the bed, which was probably the only downside. It was not a comfortable chair. I’d probably rather sit on a slab of cement than that chair. That being said, that is the only negative I found to the room.

Worth noting: Though it was next to the airport, I did not hear one single plane landing or departing during my stay. The hotel was completely sound-proof. Noise is not a factor you need to worry about when staying near the airport if you choose this hotel.

Verdict: If you’re ever in Calgary, Alberta, I highly recommend the Park Inn by Radisson, Calgary Airport North. Whether you’re flying in, flying out, or not using the airport at all, staying next to the airport can provide you all of the amenities you need with an impeccable price tag. The staff were friendly, the convenience was appreciated and the reviews online were 100% an accurate representation of the hotel and the staff who run it.

I’ll definitely be back there the next time I’m in Calgary.