Melbourne holiday planning part 1

It’s been a little while in the making, but we’re planning a trip to the eastern states with the kids!  So far, we’ve organised the flights (using Frequent Flyer points) and some shows to see.   We know our itinerary of Sydney then Melbourne, but we haven’t booked any accomodation yet.

So, I started up my favourite sites Tripadvisor and Wotif.

Map of search results on Trip Advisor
Map of search results on Trip Advisor

Tripadvisor is an internet community site dedicated to travel reviews.  There are literally thousands of reviews of holidays, locations, hotels, attractions, etc on there by fellow travellers.  You still need to do a bit of research and different people have different experiences, but it’s better than nothing.  I find it a great resource to see what the general feel of the hotel is like.   A few bad reviews doesn’t necessarily mean it’s bad – it could be that the traveller expected a much more classy standard when it catered for a cheaper market.   But a large number of negative reviews usually means it’s a place to be careful of.

Map of search results on Wotif
Map of search results on Wotif

Wotif is a last minute accomodation booking site.   I think more and more people are hearing about these types of sites.   I’m not exactly sure how their business model works, but it provides an avenue for hotels to sell off unoccupied rooms at a discounted price.   But I’ve also had an experience where a hotel has said that Wotif actually bought a set number of rooms from the hotel at “warehouse prices” and sells these on, often undercutting the hotel’s cheapest consumer rate itself.  I’d love someone with an insight into this to explain more!

The most frustrating thing I’ve found when looking for rooms is that many hotels and apartments only allow 2 adults and a maximum of 1 child in a single room.   Hello?   We have a family of four – and I’m sure we’re not alone – where are the hotels that allow more?   I know there are some, but how do you find them easily?

It seems that knowing how different sites let you search may help.

Check-in.com.au doesn’t even have a search by number of guests, but it does give detailed information about children/extra guests for the selected hotel.  Wotif.com at least lets you search by type of room, but still not by number of guests.

Tripadvisor.com is not really a discount hotel search engine, but it lets you search for hotels by number of adults.  It’s a start, but you then need to go into each hotel to read the fine print about children.

Lastminute.com.au is one engine that does let you search by number of adults and children and provides good clear information on the bedding configuration.  Expedia also lets you search by adults and kids’ ages too which is good.   Hotels.com unfortunately doesn’t seem to provide detailed information on the bedding configuration.

Another tip is to compare the prices on the discount sites with the actual hotel websites themselves.  For example, it seems that the cheapest rate on the Marriott site is $209 for a room for up to 4 guests (for 7 day advance bookings), but this rate doesn’t seem to show up on any of the discount sites.

Oh well, we’ve now booked the Sydney accomodation, but Melbourne is still to be decided.  Should we stay a bit further out like in St Kilda, and perhaps hire a car, or stay in the CBD?

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4 thoughts on “Melbourne holiday planning part 1”

  1. I’ve had the same frustruations with hotels and the number of guests allowed.
    When booking our trip to Phuket earlier this year with our two oldest kids, we found that many hotels advertising as being “family friendly” actually only allow two adults and one child!

  2. Bizarre! In Sydney we’ve settled for the Marriott next to Hyde Park. A corporate type hotel, but not too far from the CBD for the kiddies to walk (although I’ll have to see what happens at night – I’m not looking forward to walking with 2 tired children through Hyde Park at night – may have to find another way there or go via main streets).

    The online booking form allows us to request 1 king, 1 queen or 2 doubles AND a sofabed !?!? I’ve put in our bedding request but I’m looking forward to see what we get when we arrive.

  3. My husband and 5 year old recently stayed for two nights at the Victoria Hotel on Little Collins St.

    The price was not ridiculous and we saved a heap on transport costs because it is within walking distance of everything in the city.

    Also children under a certain age were free which was a bonus I forget the age limit but our 5 year old was not charged for her accomodation.

    I booked it straight from their website after consulting wotif.com first to see if I could get a better deal.

    Probably a bit late and all but that is my 2 cents. 🙂

  4. I think last minute websites like wotif can negotiate cheaper rates from the hotels because they sell their unallocated rooms at the last minute – the hotels would rather sell the room for a cheap price then not at all…

    I recently came across this Aussie built hotel price comparison website, HotelsCombined.com. It searches and compares across a whole heap of websites – probably everyone ive heard of. Except not Wotif, at least right now… Still, i find cheaper rates through them normally.

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