Get ’em while the getting’s good!
Luxury hotels are absolutely the best lodgings for travelers with pain. Accustomed to catering to the wildest of whims, luxury hotel staff can accommodate pain-based problems with ease. Elevators always work. Bell staff carry the bags, and some elite resorts offer lobby-to-guest-room-door service via golf cart, whilst the valets whisk your car off to a covered parking garage.
Beds awash in designer linens and down comforters nearly drown visitors in comfort. Bathrooms often feature deep soaking tubs, easy walk-in showers, and aromatherapy toiletries. Because luxury travelers value their sleep, many elite hotels feature rooms that are both quiet and dark at night. (That’s tougher in big-city hotels sometimes.) Even requests for hypoallergenics in guest rooms can often be accommodated.
And of course, luxury hotels almost always have on-site spas and fabulous restaurants that can pull together a room-service meal in a heartbeat.
So here’s the deal: Now is the time to grab a luxury hotel room for a deep discount. It’s great that the elite resort hotels are starting to see more bookings. But it means that as of now, the super-fabulous deals are living on borrowed time. I expect that at this time next year, prices will be normalizing and good deals will be thinner on the ground.
To get the best deal while requesting disability accommodations, skip the Internet deals and pick up the phone. Seriously. I prefer the Web to the phone in almost all instances, but when I’m trying to scam…er…I mean request the best room discounts I always call. Talking to an actual human being means that I’ve got a chance of eliciting sympathy. Sympathy can rate up to 20% off the rack rate. (Note that you don’t need chronic pain or a disability to hitch up to the sympathy gravy train. A friend of mine with two kids got a fab deal in Vegas last month by chatting up a room booker who had kids of her own.)
Important safety tip: be realistic. None of us will be scoring a suite at the Four Seasons for $50 per night over Memorial Day weekend. For a top-tier hotel like a Fairmont or a Starwood, expect $300 per night. (Yes, that is the discount rate.) For the deepest of cut rates, travel in the middle of the week (hey, this is a vacation, right?) and try to hit your destination during its off-season. That doesn’t always mean traveling in February–in Las Vegas, off-season is July, August, and September. Resort destinations often have great deals in September and October–right after school starts. Winter sports havens offer their shiniest discounts in midsummer. (Except for Lake Tahoe, which has a thriving summer sports industry.)
Another way to get good discounts is to look at hotels that are just one level beneath “elite” or those that sit just a little distance from the main attractions of a region. Want an elegant room in Vegas? Pick one of the hotels that’s not on the Strip. In San Francisco, the Mandarin Oriental’s rarified rooms might be beyond the reach of mere mortals, but the Hotel Monaco’s bright colors and cute purple velvet-clad staff might be within reach.