Reserving a hotel block

Wednesday, February 24, 2010 | by Newlywed | Labels: , , |

We didn't think we needed to reserve a block of hotels. What's the point? We're getting married locally. I thought it was just an added expense we couldn't afford. But when I put together the mailing list for our Save the Dates and saw all the addresses to Hawaii, Utah, Vancouver, San Francisco and even China...I realized, quite a few people will be coming from afar, and yes, they might need a place to stay. I knew reserving a block of hotels would allow discounts for each room, but I thought there might be a catch. Do we pay for the percentage discount? Do we foot the bill for unreserved rooms?

While hotels each have their own requirements, some hotels allow you to reserve a block at no cost. You may have to put a credit card number down to reserve the rooms, but you won't be charged. The guests are responsible for reserving and paying for their own rooms, and whatever rooms don't get filled by the cut-off date, the hotel releases them back to the public, again at no cost to the couple. Sweet! Be sure to read the contract carefully, though!

We looked at various hotel options by going through this hotel bidding site, which allows hotels that fit your requirements to bid for your services (there's even a cash rebate option after you've stayed at any of the hotels). After looking at costs, quality and location factors, we decided to reserve 15 rooms at Marriott Springhill Suites in Arcadia, CA.

A queen-sized two-bed suite at Mariott Springhill Suites

We liked Marriott Springhill because it's affordable, comfortable, spacious, clean and has good amenities (refrigerator, microwave, wireless Internet, pull out sofa, gym and continental breakfast). It's about 9 miles to our venues in Pasadena and at $85/night, that's not bad (especially for the area).

Not only will your guests appreciate the discount, you can too! The fiance and I already knew we wanted rooms for the bridesmaids and groomsmen to get ready in the morning of the wedding, which would mean reserving at least 2 rooms for the night before. So the hotel block discount comes in handy!

We decided to add another option for our guests, just in case they wanted to stay closer to the city center, rather than drive from Arcadia. We booked another block at the Pasadena Sheraton, a 3 1/2-star hotel right in downtown. It's pricier than Springhill Suites at $99/night (as well as additional fees for parking), but I know some folks would rather spend a little extra cash to be closer to the action.

A standard room at the Sheraton

For our honeymoon suite, we wanted to stay somewhere a bit nicer to for our first night as husband and wife. We looked longingly at the swank and luxurious Langham Hotel. But, at $300 a night (not including taxes, fees or even meals) for just a standard room, that was bit out of our price range. Luckily, reserving a block at the Sheraton allowed us to book the hotel's club suite as our honeymoon suite at a good discount. The suite comes with room service, unlimited appetizers and drinks from the bar, and meals. Yes, we're accounting for meals on our first night and the following morning. We're certainly not going to starve ourselves to save money! With taxes, fees and parking, we'll pay about $250.   

Are you making any lodging arrangements for your wedding? How did you find the best deals?

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