This week, we had the great anniversary sale by the Conrad Chicago. In case you missed it, they were giving away basically about 300 rooms over the course of the promo for only $11.
That deal worked out really great for the hotel! They got a ton of media around it, had some fun with it, and even booked up a secondary rate of $111 per night (when the hotel can easily go for over $300 per night).
I think the hotel handled the promo the right way by having customers call in for the $11 rate. That way, there were no issues of server delays and unhappy online customers (which always seems to happen!). Going a bit old-school probably was the best route.
Looking Back: Paying $19.28 for a $1,400 Suite in a Mansion
It did give me the opportunity to remember a similar promo that was run almost 10 years ago that we actually did get in on. It was the 80th anniversary of the Leading Hotels of the World program and they thought they would offer rooms at their various partner hotels for only $19.28 for a night, to commemorate the year 1928 when the LHW was founded.
Maybe some of you went with this promo as well? For me, I thought this deal with Hilton was a nice opportunity to give a look back at a similar deal and how great it worked for us!
The Leading Hotels of the World Promo in 2008
They announced that they would be offering rooms at participating hotels from November 1 – December 15 for $19.28 a room (the year they were established). People could sign-up for a maximum of 2 rooms during the promotion and they would release the rooms at a specific time for people to begin the claiming process.
Check out this Flyertalk thread for a lot of the reaction and to see all the things that happened with this deal
The Promo Mess!
They vastly underestimated the popularity of this promotion and their servers could not handle the onslaught of traffic. The release date ended up being a disaster and they eventually canceled the release and announced they would offer a new method of entering for the rooms in a form of a lottery later in the week.
Trying a Second Time!
When they released the new system, it was definitely more orderly and it actually gave people a decent shot at getting the rooms (early numbers had said that over 100,000 people had attempted to lock in the just a few hundred available rooms).
The new system had people fill out a form and submit it within the short registration window. On the form, you had to select three different participating hotels that you would want to stay at and choose the dates that you would stay at each. Then, based on the time stamp on when they received your submitted form, they went through the forms to assign the rooms to the entrants.
I had submitted for the Hay-Adams hotel in Washington DC (right across the street from the White House!), the James Hotel in Chicago, and the Wheatleigh Hotel in Lenox, MA. I chose the two hotels I was really interested in and used my third pick for a place that I figured would not get that many requests.
It turned out that was the right approach as there was no room in the first two hotels so I received one night at the Wheatleigh Hotel for $19.28 for the night!
The Wheatleigh Hotel
I would not be surprised if you have never heard of this hotel. I had never heard of it before I booked a reservation here but I can tell you that it was the most luxurious hotel that I had stayed in up to that point!
The hotel was built just before 1900 by a rich NY businessman for his daughter who was to marry a Spanish Count. It was built to be there vacation home in the beautiful Berkshire Mountain area. It is situated just outside the little quaint town of Lenox, Massachusetts. To read more about the history, click here.
Our Trip and Experience
The morning of our reservation, we took the 4 hour drive over to Lenox. We arrived there in the early afternoon and found it to be so quiet and beautiful. Someone came out to meet us and insisted on parking our car. We walked in and were met by another employee who took us to our room. Since there are few rooms here (not a traditional hotel – it is a converted mansion), there was no place to “check-in”. The employee just met us and took us up.
We were showed to our room which was beautiful! Since we were staying here at such a ridiculously low price, I had not even looked at the hotel rooms online. Had I looked before our arrival, I would have realized that our room was actually to be quite small (even though it is apparently the most luxuriously small room in the world). The room was 10′ x 12′. They described it as a ship cabin with a bathroom and double bed. 🙂
Instead of that room, though, we were told that they had moved us to one of their larger rooms since they had no other guests. I have received many upgrades at hotels around the world, but this was the first time that I was upgraded three room types! They moved us to one of their Junior Suites that featured:
- a large balcony looking over the Berkshires
- a large bathroom with antique soaking tub (imported from the UK – cost over $10,000)
- high ceilings
- a beautiful fireplace
- a Borg&Olufsen 42″ TV
The cost? Our original room was listed at $675 for the night and the upgraded suite was $1,375 per night! Talk about a nice gesture!
This Junior Suite was absolutely beautiful. Everything in it was very elegantly appointed and decorated. The furniture in this room was very expensive, elegant, and well-built. It felt more like a bed and breakfast than a hotel (though a VERY upscale bed and breakfast).
When we entered the room, we found homemade cookies waiting for us on the bed. The lady who walked us to our room asked if we wanted to use the restaurant that night. While we would have loved to, I told her no but thank you. I did not know what the cost of dinner was, but I had found that it was going to cost me $130 if I wanted them to put some roses in the room! With that price, I figured dinner would be out of my budget. 🙂
Not only that, but it gave us a chance to walk through the very nice town of Lenox. It was early December so they had already started decorating for Christmas time. Very nice area!
All in all, it was a fantastic stay. If I could afford to go back there, I would just because it was that great. However, with the price at almost $1,500 for the room we stayed in for one night, that will not be happening anytime soon. 🙂 One of the best parts about the whole trip was when we went to check out. I received my bill for under $20 for the most luxurious hotel I have stayed at – PRICELESS!
Even though I did not get in on the $11 Conrad Chicago deal, I at least can remember a similar deal that I thoroughly enjoyed and know you will enjoy the Chicago deal as well!
Featured image from the Wheatleigh Hotel