14 May 2012
Weekly accommodation deals from Ubuntudeal
Unfortunately, most of us cannot afford to stay in luxury hotels regularly, but the clever bargain hunter can track down specials that could upgrade your holiday or give you and a special someone a romantic break in your city. It’s always a good idea to have a look at websites of big hotel groups. They bait traffic to their website with specials and discounts not offered anywhere else, so even if you are find a great deal elsewhere, it’s worth checking on the hotel’s official site just to make sure the hotel themselves aren’t offering a better deal. South Africa has many chain hotels and they offer consistently high quality accommodation and service all over the country.
Take a look at Protea Hotels; Louis Group Hotel specials; African Sun Hotels (African Sun Hotels also operate hotels and resorts in Ghana, Nigeria, Zambia, Botswana, and Zimbabwe); the Don Hotels; the Holiday Inn Group (like many hotels, they offer an Advance Purchase Rate and loyalty programmes, but also have iPhone and Android phone applications for finding the best hotel deals. You can also find their various “sub-group” of hotels, for example Crowne Plaza and Intercontinental Hotels and Resorts, on their website); Southern Sun Group (the group website has many seasonal offers from their numerous hotels and resorts in South Africa. They also have Partner Deals with airlines like 1Time and Mango, car hire through Europcar, or even entertainment packages with Monte Casino for accommodation and theatre tickets); for bush holidays, it’s worth booking directly with the South African National Parks (they often have specials in their various camps nationwide, you can check for availability in real time and their online booking is surprisingly efficient).
Your holiday plans can greatly affect your accommodation costs. It’s always a good idea to plan your trip for low seasons, and/or for midweek stays. If not only to miss the crowds, hotel rooms are less in demand so most hotels will have a low season price. If you phone a hotel directly, always ask for any promotions they may have, discounts for senior citizens or children, loyalty programmes linked with other companies (for example Discovery Vitality members get discounts when they stay at Southern Sun hotels), long stay discounts or weekly rates, and if none of the above is offered, find out if a cheaper room is available… it’s always worth asking!
The best place to look for hotel deals is still online. Many accommodation websites offer large databases of hotels in major cities and these are usually very competitive in price. It’s also worth visiting more than just one of these as not one site will have every hotel listed for your desired destination, and prices can even vary for the same hotels on different websites, so do your homework and double check before you make a booking!
For accommodation websites, have a look at Safari Now (this website offers an extensive list of accommodation options all throughout South Africa, particularly game lodges and camps. You can search for accommodation by area and price; each hotel profile also contains full descriptions of the rooms and rates, plus reviews from previous guests. Hotel specials are highlighted with their “Best Price Promise”); Trip Advisor (this international site gives you a full description of the hotel, including services and previous guests’ reviews); Rates to Go (this website is great for a fast search of hotel specials by city/area. Open up the pages of each advertised hotel and you will find an extensive collection of photographs, information and reviews. Although I did find that a lot of the hotels are missing reviews); Hotels.com (although an international website they do have a fairly large collection of South African hotels, with prices shown in rands; the site is very user-friendly and it is easy to compare prices. Additional information and reviews are also available for most hotels); Booking.com (another international website with real-time availability and prices quoted for your travel dates. They also have many reviews from past guests - the site is efficient and extremely user-friendly).
A lot of budget airlines also offer accommodation and car hire options when you book your flight; they work out a bundle deal with the hotel groups so the offers are quite good, it’s worth taking a look at their prices when you’re on these websites for your flight booking: 1Time; Kulula; Mango. Similar to the airlines, travel agents also get “bulk” rates from hotels so it’s worth looking at their accommodation offerings. Try Rennies Travel; Sure Travel; Club Travel; Harvey World; and Thompsons Holidays.
With all these bargain-hunting options you may have your head spinning already, but just think of all the money you will save and the extra holiday budget leftover to splurge on other luxuries you didn’t think you could afford. So start planning, go track down the best prices, and remember to leave some space in your luggage for the little bottles of shampoo!
For most people, the thought of hotels conjure up pleasant feelings of “holiday”. These good feelings are not diminished by the over-washed linen in gaudy shades, or the hotel collection of art on the walls that nobody ever notices, or even the tiny glasses of juice you get at the breakfast buffets. What is remembered of hotels are sultry summer days by the sea and the cold air-conditioner showering down as you run through the hotel revolving door. Even as an adult, hotels still hold a certain magic: strangers’ foot steps on the thick carpet outside your door, little bottles of soaps and shampoos… but mostly, it’s the change of living quarters, a change in layout and textures, to what your body is used to at home, so your senses are awakened for every action, even for just a simple brushing of teeth.
Hotels offer an array of delights most of us do not have at home: room service a phone call away, hotel lobbies filled with restless activity all day, and a concierge desk with a friendly smile and a contact book full of activities to keep you busy. The guest is king and the hotel staff is at your every beck and call–it’s no wonder president Mandela chose to leave his many residences and stayed in a hotel for months on end to write his “A Long Walk To Freedom”. Hotel living is hassle-free and professionally pleasant, wouldn’t we all like to stay at a hotel more often?