Thursday, October 14, 2010

Hotel Block

I've been developing a list of possible room block hotels for weeks (okay, two months) now. I've poured through trip advisor reviews. I've discovered that most hotels in Los Angeles charge far too much for parking ($22 per night? Um, no.) I've researched normal, non-room block rates to find places that are generally in the $150/night range, to keep things affordable for our guests. (Yes. $150/night is affordable in Los Angeles. And no, we haven't found much that's on the Westside, has relatively positive reviews, and doesn't charge $22 for parking.) We even stopped in one of the possible hotels last weekend, as we checked off one of the items on our Marina Del Rey photo scavenger hunt. In other words, we're at the point where have a genuine list of hotel options. Sure, the list is four hotels long, but it's a list.

But have I picked up the phone and actually call to research room block rates? No, I can't seem to do that. Because that would feel like work, whereas I have a weird love of hotel research (seriously, hotels and maps remind me of travel adventures) that makes hotel research tolerable. But phone calls feel tedious. So instead of doing something useful like calling the hotels' sales departments, I spend my wedding planning time fretting about wedsite headers. No, wedsite headers aren't fun. And wedsite headers aren't remotely important. But I'm okay pretending they're worth my time by suddenly convincing myself that every aspect of our wedding absolutely needs to perfectly express the tone and design concept behind our wedding*... because it's a smidgeon more fun than actual work.

I think I've finally figured out why we all obsess about the pretties. Because they're (marginally) fun, and the rest of this wedding planning stuff is just hard without respite. It's a second job. And playing with photoshop is slightly less tedious than facing up to the fact that I have a second job, and the design also feels tangentially useful. Unfortunately, it's not. But it's the somewhat justifiable distraction I've been craving from the tediousness of actual wedding work.

However, after genuinely distracting ourselves with a date-day full of a scavenger hunt and a nice dinner out (thanks to Groupon for the discount help), I think I'm ready to really tackle hotel options. This weekend. Or maybe next week. After we finish the save the date.



*Hmm. I think I just identified my next empty-task procrastination justification: setting a tone and design concept for our wedding. And maybe even a "brand." Gag.

23 comments:

  1. My friend who got hitched in LA last year had a good experience with the Custom Hotel, although that's by LAX...

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  2. I totally feel the same way--what is it about picking up the phone to find out the last details that makes it Work and not Fun?

    I think there's definitely something to your theory that we obsess over the pretty details because it can be easier and more fun than the other, more vital stuff. For me there's definitely also a bit of IF I JUST GET THIS DETAIL RIGHT THEN EVERYONE WILL BE HAPPY THEY'LL LOVE EVERYTHING WE'LL SAVE SO MUCH MONEY AND OUR MARRIAGE WILL LAST FOR EONS bit of crazy thinking going on too.

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  3. Yeah, I can relate.

    About hotels: S was in charge of calling about the group rate with the hotel we decided would be best, so I just had to work on fun research stuff. :) We ended up getting a block with that one hotel (the rate and location were good and it looked pretty nice), and then we also listing about 7 other options on our website for anyone that might want to stay in a cuter area of town or in a nicer/more expensive B and B. Most people stayed in the block because it was convenient and the best price (and was probably the least amount of work for t he guests), but at least one family stayed elsewhere.

    But yeah....I hear you on only feeling motivated to work on the "fun" projects and using those to procrastinate on the not-fun things that need to be done. I am struggling with that myself....

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  4. Hotel people tend to be pretty awesome about returning emails quickly...for some reason, I can send 134587623 emails in the time it takes me to make one solid phone call. And there's no nervous stuttering involved.

    And hey, if it makes you feel any better the hotel where we have a block charges $46 EFFING DOLLARS to park. Insane. We just put on our info cards in the invites that we "recommend you do not park there and find an outside lot or take PT instead."

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  5. @Mouse - oh good. The Custom Hotel is on my list of four. Even if it's by LAX, the hotel looks really cool and affordable. And I love the Joie de Vivre hotel chain.

    @KWu - I think that "if it's perfect everything will be perfect" factor can certainly be true for a lot of people. But for me, it's more the "eww work" issue mixed with secret underlying shame that "if I DON'T have this, people will think my cheap wedding isn't good enough." Which is silly. And I'm working on it. Secret emotional me is still catching up to rational "eff this" me.

    @Kerry - We saw those $45/night hotels too. And they weren't anywhere near other parking options. Extortion and utter ridiculousness. Bah.

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  6. I've stayed at the Marina International before and thought it was pretty nice. There's even some street parking on Washington nearby.

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  7. The branded water bottle? Just one of those things I TOTALLY wanted to do, but never got to. Yes, I said TOTALLY!

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  8. Have you looked into the Angeleno? It's also Joie de Vivre! We had a great experience putting family up there during the holidays. They have a free shuttle that takes guests anywhere within 3 miles, so maybe fewer of your guests would have to worry about cars.

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  9. @ahdn - we looked into it, but I read a lot of bad reviews about the freeway noise. But I could easily add it to the "call and check it out list." Thanks!

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  10. We used busrates.com to make hotel blocks. It's free to use - the site gets a small kickback from the hotel that you choose should you choose one. What you do is you make a request - select the area you want, number of stars (range), maximum per room, etc. You can note if you don't want to be responsible for unbooked rooms in the block, parking, meals, etc. Hotels can then see your request and make a bid. If you decline it for a reason like cost, they can rebid a lower rate, too. This helped us weed out hotels with restrictive renting rates, but also got us a really great deal for our guests - $100/night (Canadian) in a perfect location for our Toronto wedding.

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  11. I tell my clients all the time "I do the logistical heavy lifting so you have the time to make bunting and banners" Win/win!

    So intrigued that you have a "brand"!

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  12. We are having a destination wedding in Costa Rica and a lot of our friends love to travel but are certainly living on a budget so I've been stressing like crazy trying to figure out what to do about hotels. After months of debate we decided that our friends presence was really important to us so we ended up getting a huge villa and subsidizing the entire bridal party. (They will each be paying about $50 a night for the four day weekend) and then we got SUPER LUCKY when Living Social(http://livingsocial.com/deals/9180-50-off-luxury-hotel?ref=NYCMDeal100110_3email) was having a deal on Luxury Villas so we bought a whole bunch and for every 3 we got a free one! So we have enough for ALL our guest to get a luxury experience for less than $100 a night...

    Now how do I get them to pay us back so I can afford the wedding part of the wedding :(

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  13. @Amber - oh, we're not having a "brand." That sort of thing drives me batty. I do branding for corporate events all the time, but a WEDDING? Bah. What are you trying to sell/create a positive impression of?! Themes, however, I'm 100% onboard with because it helps limit the design options. Nothing too theme-y for us, but design concepts help with editing. Ours is SoCal Fiesta, and it happened accidentally when we realized we were planning a SoCal fiesta, tacos and pinata inclusive.

    @Ms JD - paypal is your friend. If you're getting that many payments, you may need a pro account (don't take my word on that - it's been a while since I used it). Either that, or options like SmartyPig allow you to open an online, FDIC-insured bank account that OTHER people can donate too. No fees. It's meant for people to define savings goals that others can support too (like a down payment, etc.)

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  14. Thanks I'll def check out SmartyPig!

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  15. If I tried to brand my wedding, my brothers would (justifiably, in my mind) make fun of me for the entire week, and then my kids would pick on me because they idolize their obnoxious (totally lovable) uncles.

    We're asking almost all of our guests to travel and NOT providing room blocks, which may be not nice of me but if they decide to go somewhere else and we don't rent enough rooms, we lose the deposit. Yuck. I love them, but they're on their own.

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  16. Oh, and stop effing around. You'd surprised how quickly rooms book up.

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  17. My husband and I (OMG, first time to type that!) LOVE Maison140 in Beverly Hills, which is funky like the Ace hotels (Portland, Seattle) and as cheap as $150/night. Still charge $25 to park, but everything about the place is awesome. Not sure if the location is right, but highly recommended.

    http://www.maison140beverlyhills.com

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  18. you know, i never thought of it that way - we stress on the pretties b/c it's much more fun than stuff like hotel rates. very true.

    i asked josh to do the block rate. i was not into making phone calls or hunting people down. i think i found our hotel through a google review left by someone who used the hotel for a high school reunion. hope you find the right hotel for you! it's definitely on the bottom of fun wedding planning things to do, but one of the more important ones.

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  19. we did the room blocking and noone used it.

    and also. email. i hate calling sales departments. email is lovely.

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  20. oh man this was such a pain when we were planning our wedding
    we actually ran out of rooms. so make sure you block enough.
    and you should definitely charm them into some hook-ups, they are usually willing to oblige! ;-)

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  21. I put off booking the hotel forever for some reason. once its done, you'll feel better and then you can focus on the pretties without distraction!

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  22. The Embassy Suites North LAX can give you pretty good rates, you just have to haggle with them. For events (from work) in the past we were able to get $109 w/ free parking. The hotel also gives guests a free hot breakfast and cocktail hour everyday. And honestly - you can barely hear the planes. And it has access to the Big Blue Bus and Culver City Buses.

    Custom will give you good rates - and it has walkable food options for guests.

    Honestly, hotels have been severely hurting for business - so don't be afraid to haggle a bit, prices have come wayy down from even 2 years ago. I would also not be afraid to throw your weight as a blogger around - you have some street cred.

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  23. My "!" was supposed to be a "?" in a one eyebrow raised kind of way. Instead, it came off as a "OMGEEEE! Squeee!!!" kind of way. Oh, punctuation, you can change a whole sentence.

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