Post # 1
JUst wanted to get a little advise from those who have traveled to Europe. I want to book our hotels, but am unsure about doing so online.
If I make the reservation, is it the same as booking a hotel in the states, where the card will not be charged until we get there?
If booking it online is would there be the fee that occurs when using my card over there(as my bank does charge for use overseas and I have to look more into that before going)
Any insight or suggestions you all have would be appreciated!!
as well as any suggestions on places you have stayed at in London and Paris that you would recommend!
Post # 3
It really depends on the hotel whether they charge in advance or not.
Most hotels should have a “contact us” type option where you can e-mail and ask these questions. Also, some global hotel chains may be able to charge your card in USD rather than the local currency.
London will be slightly easier than Paris because it is an english speaking city, but to be honest almost everyone in the hotel industry in Paris speaks english as well.
Darling Husband and I recently joined a website called http://www.mrandmrssmith.com it helps your find boutique hotels all over the world and gives you info on local attractions, etc. It helps because they post review of all the hotels as well as lots of pictures of the rooms etc.
You don’t have to join to book/use their website either and they have contact number for US callers as well as international callers and you can view (and pay) for rooms in euros, dollars, or pounds. You pay a small booking fee (which is applied to your bill at the hotel) and then pay the balance at the hotel itself.
We stayed at one of their reccomended hotels in Paris and it was fantastic. It was called Hotel Thoumieux and the photos from their website looked exctly like our room (which isn’t easy to find in hotel websites).
Post # 4
I haven’t been to London but I have stayed in Paris. I will warn you hotels there are considered to be purely for function-a place to sleep and shower. The star rating system is different too.The government issues a standardized rating system so don’t go purely on travel websites. Here’s an excellent website explaining it all.
We’re going to be going to Paris for our honeymoon and i’ve been looking into places. I stumbled upon this website for rentals and I think we may go with them….
Post # 5
Also, in a lot of the hotels, the price is per person. Meaning if they are charging 100 euro a night, it’s really 200 euro to stay there for the two of you. That can add up quickly. Especially, arielle is right, when your room is the size of a closet. I stayed at the Comfort Inn near Kensington when I went to London. It was fine. About 2 blocks from the Tube. It had 2 twin beds that if you want you can push together. You basically have to if you want to put your luggage on the ground and a nice bar downstairs and breakfast in the morning. Unless you’re willing to put down 1000+ a night, don’t expect American luxury hotel rooms tho.
You’ll love London tho. I wish I could live there!
Post # 6
when we went to paris and other in europe we booked online and decided to go with hotel chains that we knew the name of (ex, best western)…the hotels are still in the old parisian buildings, but we just felt more comfortable going with a name the was known around the world. The rooms there are almost always going to be small, since they are in the old buildings that have been there for over 100 years, but being right in the middle of everything walking distance is such a great experience. We stayed at the Best Western Aida Opera Hotel in paris, and it close to everything and a decent price! we just wandered the streets are first night there and ended up at the louvre! it was amazing!
Oh and they didn’t charge our credit card until we checked out……and….from what we saw, they’re king size beds in europe are actually just two twin beds pushed together with king size sheets
anyways, hope that helps, and have a great time!!!
Post # 7
@goldengrlbride: Some hotels in the UK will charge in advance, but they (have to by law) make it clear if you’re paying up front or just reserving. Most of the time those that charge are budget hotels. It will also made clear if you’re paying per person or per room, in the UK it is usually per room. (All of this should be in the small print, or in the Ts&Cs)
I live here, and all my cards are here but you may find some places have a problem if your card isn’t “Chip and PIN”. I doubt there will be a problem in hotels but a friend of mine came to visit and the place we were at wouldn’t let him pay for our meal because they didn’t accept a card he had to sign for. (BTW, I *hate* chip and PIN).
Staying outside of the City will save you a bomb on hotels (outside Zone1) but if you’re not stying long perhaps it is best to bite the bullet so as not to waste time on public transport but generally it is pretty good, frequent and reliable. Unless they’re on strike or someone “goes under a train” (both of which seem to happen a lot). Regarding travel, many buses you have to pay before you board, either by using an Oyster card or paying a fortune in fares. I suggest buying an Oyster card (£5 deposit, and technically you can return it when you leave but I don’t know anyone who has), especially for buses, but be careful on tubes and trains. There are two peak times on an Oyster when travelling by either tube/train/overground/metro/DLR, morning rush hour and evening rush hour, but only one if you buy an “all day travelcard” (ETA which works on buses too) so that may turn out cheaper.
I don’t know what your price range is, but the cost of everything varies greatly, especially hotels.
PS My favourite restaurant is Sophie’s Steakhouse in Covent Garden which is good value for money and caters for a wide range of wallets. PM me if you have any questions (sorry I went off topic a bit).
Post # 8
We went to London and Paris for our honeymoon as well and we booked it through a Travel Agent. It was nice because the TA sent us a bunch of hotels in all different price ranges and we also did independent research.
In London we stayed in the Citadines Trafalgar which was nicely located and was moderately priced.
In Paris we stayed at Secret de Paris (which was expensive but totally worth it in our opinion) – the hotel was beautiful, the staff was super helpful and nice, it was nicely located, within walking distance of the Opera Garnier, The Moulin Rouge and Sacre Coeur.
Also I recommend getting the Paris Pass (you can purchase online, through travel agent or @ the Hard Rock Cafe Paris) if you are going to be in Paris for more than 2 days…it includes almost every musuem (Lourve (includes fast entrance to the Lourve – you don’t have to wait in line to go in), Rodin, D’Orsay, etc) and attractions (Arc de triumphe, Opera House tour, etc), a 2 day double decker bus tour pass which drives around paris and stops at all the main places of interest so you can hop on and off with buses stopping every 10 mins or so and a local bus/train pass which comes in handy when you are tired from walking at the end of the day. The bus passes are necessary b/c it is RIDICULOUSLY HARD to catch a taxi in Paris. One, you have to go to a taxi stand (if you can even find one) b/c you cannot hail a taxi from the side of the street like you can in the US and in London. Also there is a big shortage of taxis in Paris so you could be standing waiting at a taxi stand for a half hour before a taxi even drives by (not kidding – that happened to us the one day). Also the taxis are expensive and have a minimum fare of 6 euro for any trip.
Post # 9
Typically, If you were to book through an American website that shows a price in dollars, you will pay that price and no foreign transaction fee. If price is in euros or pounds, or if the website is not based in the USA, you will generally have a currency conversion and/or foreign transaction fee. Sometimes you can book the same hotel via a few different methods, so it pays to pay attention. For example I booked a room in a Scottish castle turned hotel on hotels.com and avoided fees and they happened to be offering a discount. Booking directly with the hotel was more expensive in that case.
Paying in advance can vary by room rate and hotel…just make sure you undetstand.
Also don’t be surprised if they record your passport number – some countries (I forget which) actually require the hotels to take that information.
I never had an issue paying via internet or live person with my American signature-based credit card, but often vending machines in Paris will not accept them (like to buy metro tickets I have to use the ticket window…unless they have updated the vending machines in the past ~5 years).