Friday, March 14, 2008

Booked!

So, it seems that I've been having good luck with major companies recently, what with all the free flowers and whatnot. So when it came to planning our honeymoon, I decided to press my luck.

What happened was, Torsten and I decided, after taking all of your sage advice into account, to go to the Dominican Republic for our honeymoon, and to leave on the Monday after the wedding. I'll just vote by absentee ballot and it'll be fine. So, we did a whole bunch of research on various resorts, ratings, prices, and so on.

And we finally, finally found just one resort that matched all of our criteria. It's all-inclusive. It's adults-only, which is very important to me after a heinous experience involving children jumping and crawling ON US in the HOT TUB at our hotel in Miami in December. It has a variety of restaurants to choose from. It has a private beach and a nice pool. It gets only glowing reviews. All the rooms have a balcony with a hammock. And every room has an oval jacuzzi tub.

The only thing is that the rooms, while they do have nice views, are not directly oceanfront, which Torsten is a bit disappointed about. But he agreed to overlook this small flaw in exchange for me promising to spend lots of time on the balcony with him, as long as I get to be in the hammock.

See, Torsten LOVES balconies. When we were in Miami, he spent half the trip on the balcony, reading and admiring the view, and he was really annoyed because I preferred to lie in the comfy bed in the room instead of sitting in the uncomfortable plastic chair on the balcony. But since this balcony has a hammock, I'm perfectly willing to spend my time out on the balcony instead. I don't think I can adequately express how excited I am about this hammock. I think you need to see for yourselves:


Oh and also, while we're showing pictures, take a look at this room:


See that beige cutout wall behind the bed? That's the tub area. With the jacuzzi tub. And a towel folded into the shape of a swan. Yes, that's right. It's the little things that count.

Anyway, so. As I was saying. The other thing that's great about this hotel is that the price is right. November is still the low season, so we were able to get a great rate from Orbitz. But the thing was that there was an even better rate available from a website that seemed just a tad bit sketchy. It set itself up as though it was the official website of the hotel, but it actually wasn't. And that made me a little worried. And the price was just so low. It was $500 less than the Orbitz price for the whole trip. And the Orbitz price was already great!

So yeah, it seemed good to be true. And you know what they say--if it seems too good to be true, it probably is. But it was so much money we could potentially save if it DID turn out to be legit. So we went back and forth and back and forth about whether or not we should just suck it up and pay the extra money for the Orbitz reservation so that we wouldn't have to worry about showing up at the hotel and being told we didn't have a reservation. We could not decide what to do.

And THEN. I went back on Orbitz and noticed a little graphic next to the rate they quoted. And that graphic read, "Low price guarantee." I looked into it, and the way it works is that if you make a prepaid hotel reservation through Orbitz, on a rate that is labeled as low price guarantee (and you have to be careful because they are not all backed by that guarantee), and then email them within 24 hours with a cheaper rate that you found online somewhere else, with proof (in the form of a screenshot of the website quoting the lower rate and a list of specific information that they request), they will refund you the difference.

Wait, hold on. It's starting to feel like intermission time here. Let's take a quick photo break so we can look at THIS:


Yes, that's the beach RIGHT BY OUR HOTEL. Yes, it really is. Oh, and you want to see the pool, too? You're sure? Fine, TWIST MY ARM.


So! Back to the Orbitz story. We figured there were three possible outcomes:
1) We book through Orbitz, they look into the rate, they discover that cheap website is a scam. In which case Orbitz really does offer the lowest rate and there's no money lost.
2) We book through Orbitz and they somehow find a loophole to avoid issuing us the refund, in which case we pay the $25 cancellation fee and book directly through the cheaper website, assuming we can somehow verify that it's legitimate.
3) We book through Orbitz and then they honor their guarantee and give us the lower rate.

And guess which outcome actually occurred? If you guessed Number 3, you're right! We booked the hotel on Wednesday night, then immediately filed a claim with their Low Price Guarantee Department, and last night we got an email saying that they will be crediting $500 back to our credit card within the next 3-5 business days.

So now we have the cheapest hotel rate EVER for a resort that is verified by hundreds of reviews on TripAdvisor as FABULOUS. A gorgeous room with a gorgeous balcony on a gorgeous beach with a gorgeous pool. Unlimited alcohol, including a swim up bar, and the only kind of hotel minibar that you don't have to worry about consuming from because it's ALL INCLUDED. Our choice of six restaurants every day. Hours and hours on the beach, relaxing and being together. Volleyball, water aerobics, painting classes, tennis, snorkeling, and salsa dance classes. In short, the perfect first trip together as a married couple. PERFECT.

And it's BOOKED. It's all set. My only question is, how are we going to survive SEVEN AND A HALF WHOLE MONTHS before we get to go? Because it's going to be TWO WEEKS OF PARADISE. And I cannot wait.

63 comments:

  1. Oooh! Way to work the system. I'm always so worried that they'll loophole their way out of it, so I'm glad to hear that Orbitz didn't.

    You guys will have a BLAST!

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  2. Oh my God - that's an awesome deal! I'm so glad it worked out for you guys and that the low price guarantee thing didn't fall through. The place looks gorgeous. So much pretty than these gray Velcro-like walls that I think may swallow me at any time! Hope the next months go by fast and the trip goes by slow!

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  3. Wow. That looks positively divine.

    Can I come?

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  4. Holy crapface. I am officially jealous. And way to go with the low price guarantee. Smart consumerism!

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  5. I am so jealous. You guys are going to have so much fun. Yay!

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  6. OMG I AM SO JEALOUS/EXCITED FOR YOU!!!!!!! That is sick you are going to have so so so much fun and time is going to fly! AHHH So awesome!

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  7. Your trip sounds really amazing and fantastic and well, you have me second guessing plans for my honeymoon. Thankfully, we haven't yet booked, so we have time to investigate.

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  8. Looks fantastic. Hope you will enjoy it.

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  9. That sounds AWESOME!!!! So glad you were able to book this from now and figured everything out!! And you are just so cute and funny! Great post Jess! You are going to have a really nice time there. :) By the way, just out of curiosity, how long did it take you to do all the research on this (i.e. after knowing you wanted to go to DR, how long did it take to find the right place, right price, etc.)?

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  10. Hooray! It's so nice to have an actual destination to look forward to, isn't it? Instead of a hovering sense of "I should really do that." It looks awesome!

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  11. Awesome! $500 less? That's amazing. Way to work it!

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  12. Yay for your awesome honeymoon. It looks gorgeous. And 2 weeks in paradise, so jealous!

    I feel like such a slacker since my wedding is in 5 months, and we haven't even decided what we want to do for our trip. Well, we've decided on some places, we're just not sure it's feasible. Le sigh...

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  13. Oh my god, this is going to be SO AWESOME. I have to LOOK AWAY from those photos in jealousy! YAY!

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  14. holy cow! that place looks wonderful. i am so stinking jealous i can't even write anymore. ;)

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  15. That place looks awesome! So beautiful. & if having your very own hammock doesn't make the best honeymoon, I don't know what will.

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  16. Two weeks? Wow. I have never been on a vacation that long. It looks beautiful. Congrats on the refund - I love stuff like that (who wouldn't?). The balcony is great. On our cruise, the towels were folded into a different shape every night. It was so cute!

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  17. Nice one! I love saving money! I love booking online! I have never vacationed anywhere warm (the furthest south I have ever been is Texas)... and that place looks divine.

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  18. GAH. That is so freaking awesome, and I am so freaking jealous! Yay for you two!

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  19. Wow. An amazing resort and an amazing deal. You really couldn't have asked for anything better. That room looks incredible!

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  20. WOW!! AMAZING!

    So, so jealous. But, yet, so so HAPPY for you!!

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  21. See what happens when I leave town for a few days? You go and do something so cool... No, I'm not going anywhere for a while. Sorry.

    Anyway, congrats on the marvelous honeymoon site. That place looks like a dream, and getting a super-low price? Like a dream with chocolate sauce.

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  22. can I come?

    or at least can you help me plan all my future vacations?

    puh-weeze!

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  23. Woo hoo on the deal.

    I am green with jealousy about your trip -- it looks positively amazing.

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  24. Hammocks, the beach, and jacuzzi tubs- three of my FAVORITE things.

    Looks fantastic. I want to go on vacation!

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  25. That sounds amazing! Would you mind if I tagged along too? I promise to stay out of the bedroom! ;)

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  26. OMFG, so jealous! And way to be a smart shopper!

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  27. I am insanely, wildly jealous. I need to book a tropical trip ASAP, even if I am not getting married. Be on the lookout for me in the Dominican!

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  28. what a deal! way to go getting that one! and i agree though, if it sounds too good to be true- yeahhh it usually is!

    the pics look amazing! you guys will have so much fun!

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  29. Sounds like an AWESOME Honeymoon! I'm SO jealous! And it's a great deal!

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  30. I'm so jealous right now, you have no idea!

    I'll have to watch for that orbitz sign... and what was the website that didn't seem legit? (just in case it offers a lower-price for somewhere I want to go!!!)

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  31. I'm so jealous of you right now - it looks amazing. A-may-zing.

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  32. That is SO GREAT!!!! The price AND the place.

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  33. That sounds like it is going to be the best two weeks EVER!

    Also, way to rock the Orbitz Low Price guarantee!

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  34. Rock on with your bad self, yo! That is awesome. And the place looks positively incredible.

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  35. Can you rub some of that good luck on me? Pleeeaaaassseee....

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  36. It looks gorgeous. Any space in the suitcase for me?

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  37. In 398 years when I can actually afford to go on vacation, I'm totally having you book everything for me. BECAUSE YOU ROCK. GO YOU.

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  38. OMG, that place looks amazing...

    Can I come with?

    I'm small, you can hide me in a suitcase! And I'll sleep outside in the hammock!! You know, when you're not in it...

    C'mon... whaddaya say? ;)

    No? Oh well... enjoy it! It looks amazing!

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  39. That looks absolutely lovely, Jess. I think the two of you will have an amazing time.

    Also. Might I call on you in the future to help me find good deals? You might have a side business going. :)

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  40. Holy moly! Isn't it awesome when a "good deal" is actually a good deal?

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  41. Wow, that sounds (and looks) like heaven. SO JEALOUS.

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  42. CONGRATULATIONS! It looks so beautiful, I'm jealous!

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  43. OMG. I want to go. I am so jealous that I can't even comment on the awesome price.

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  44. OMG it does look fabulous. You guys are going to have a great time. OOh I'm so jealous!

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  45. I'd pretty much give anything to be at one of those places right now instead of my desk!

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  46. Yay, two weeks! Dude, you are so smart. It's the best idea to take two weeks for your honeymoon, because YOU NEVER WILL AGAIN. And I wish that wasn't true, but it is.

    It's gorgeous, Jess!

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  47. That's so great... it looks beautiful. Congrats.

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  48. Looks beautiful! You will be so happy about that weather in November, too. Good thinking, to have a honeymoon in winter.

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  49. Good Lord, woman. You are amazing! The next time I book a trip, I'm hiring you to book it for me.

    Congratulations on scoring another win. It's nice to know we common folk get good deals!

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  50. This is amazing! You would want to book a trip for me now would you? ;)

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  51. 1. Those pictures are all kinds of gorgeous and I'm insanely jealous.

    Deep breath.

    2. This post gave me faith in Orbitz again. I've had some annoying Orbitz related situations, but this made me feel a LOT better.

    3. Did I mention the jealousy?

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  52. TWO WEEKS???? Oh, I am sooo envious.

    Those pictures are sooo pretty.

    P.S. What was the other site? I am curious.

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  53. That sounds fabulous!!!! You really are having great luck with large companies! For some reason the idea of the mini bar in the room being included made me very excited for you!

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  54. how utterly FABULOUS does that look?! And how awesome are you guys for getting a great deal on it. I'm so glad its taken care of and you have one less thing to worry about :)

    Oh and if there happens to be room in your suitcase, mind if i come along? :) You won't know i'm there at all, i promise!

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  55. Sounds awesome! I'll have to remember the low price guarantee when I book my vacay!

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  56. O.K. We are sitting here drooling...two childless weeks of all-inclusive paradise. You and your good deals lately....LUCKY!
    Now, let's just hope the weather is as perfect as everything else!

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  57. AAAAAH SO BEAUTIFUL!!! I'm so jealous!!! you're going ot have so much fun ah!! I want to mentally beam myself there right now, in the hammock, on that balcony wish sandy beach hair. sigh.

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  58. Wow! Breathtaking! I'm sure you guys are going to have and awesome time. Lucky girl!

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  59. LOVE. LOVE LOVE LOVE. that is so awesome. hooray DR! hooray cheaper prices! hooray guaranteed reviews! and HOORAY JACUZZI AND HAMMOCK, my goodness. i'm so jealous! :-)

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  60. Congratulations! What could be better than a fabulous resort AND a great deal! I hear fantastic things about Dominican Republic. You two are going to have an amazing time.

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  61. Awesome...way to go. So many travelers don't realize that if you take the time to research and really hunt out the deals and the catches, you can net yourself some pretty cheap travel all in all. I hope you guys enjoy yourselves to no end!

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