What is a mystery deal? (Please note, not a mystery trip, we offer mystery trips on this page) – Mystery travel deal usually refers to a hotel room, resort, flight, car rental and other particular services. In this article I would like to introduce you mystery hotel deals. They are also called secret hotel deals or hidden hotel deals.
Note: If you do not want to read the article and just want to find the best secret hotel deals – contact us. We compare the best suppliers and their prices and will be happy to offer you great resorts at a lower price.
The whole purpose of a vacation package that includes a secret hotel – surprise. You pay for a hotel and all you know is its destination and stars but you do not know its name. Sounds like fun? Well, it may sound like a perfect option for those, who feel lucky or like to risk, but the reality – it is for those, who is not very picky.
Originally the idea is about to fill the hotel rooms that were not sold at any price. Better to sell it for cheaper than not to sell at all, right? Deal seeker draws a picture in his mind how the best 5 star luxury hotel in Turks and Caicos is trying to fill unsold spaces. Unfortunately, it is far from reality.
The reality is – lets say you buy a 5 star mystery hotel deal. And you are hoping for the best. Unfortunately, there are a lot of 5 star hotels that are actually far from 5 stars by quality. This is the main concern of hidden hotel deals purchases. According to travelers reviews, very often the hotel does not really look like a 5 star hotel.
Why would anybody buy those mystery deals then? Well, first of all, hotels and their rooms are not that bad. Travel suppliers do not want people to give up on using this type of service/products. They still offer decent hotels/resorts. Second – prices for a mystery hotel deals are obviously cheaper as compare to other hotels in the same star category. So in general, tourists are pretty happy with what they get and understand, that for the money they paid – it is worth it.
How to get the most of it?
Now, when you know how it works, you are not that excited any more. This is good. You won’t be disappointed if you purchase a mystery deal. You will go on vacation, have fun and remember, that you actually got a good deal.
1. Look only for guaranteed 4 and 5 star hotels/resorts. Preferably all-inclusive, if it is a vacation package. If it is a secret hotel deals NYC, then pick only Manhattan deals. When it comes to mystery, hotels and deals quality depends on destination a lot. This is another reason to contact a travel agency like us, to get the better idea of what you are paying for.
2. Do not try to guess which hotel you get to. Your mind will always hope for the best and as a result you may get disappointed later, do not feel lucky and so on. There is no luck in mystery hotel deals, there is a travel supplier that tries to fill empty hotel rooms, remember? If still, you want to guess, here are a few tips on how to do it:
- Google hotel description in advanced search. It often matches
- Google hidden hotel deals reviews for that destination/city
- Google hotels for some uncommon feature, like a graffiti walls in rooms
- Check the information like distances to sightseeings, airports
- Compare number of reviews on Tripadvisor, if available
Interesting thing – it is easier to identify the hotel if the price between normal room rates and surprise rates is low. And difficult to guess when the price is amazingly low.
3. Check the travel supplier. There are online hotel search engines (hotwire, priceline, travelocity, lastminute, betterbidding) that offer secret hot rates and there are travel operators/suppliers who offer vacation packages. Buying a vacation package makes sense, as when you buy a bundle – flight+hotel+transfer, it is also cheaper, but depending on the supplier, your travel experience can be worse. If you pick a travel supplier, read its reviews first.
4. Remember, that cancellation policy for hidden hotel deals is pretty bad. That is why, purchasing a mystery deal in advance does not make much sense. It is better to use this option as a last minute travel. No matter, if you are looking for a holiday/vacation or a business trip and need a hotel in a city center, last minute bookings are the best for it.
5. Main clues for the best hotel: Consider the following clues when trying to guess how good the hotel is – location, stars, beachfront, customer ratings, all-inclusiveness and restaurants, pools, spa availability, gym, parking, wi-fi, adults only or kids friendly, pets friendly.
6. Another thing to consider – days to spend. If you are looking for a 2 weeks family vacation, secret hotel deals are not for you. If you are looking for 1,2,3 city stays or 7 days on a beach resort – risk it!
7. Do not confuse real hotel stars with custom websites and travel suppliers ratings. Hotel stars are given to the hotel according to its level. Custom ratings can differ a lot, or depend on reviews, like on Tripadvisor.
8. If you travel with the family, or need 2 separate beds in one room, I recommend to make sure you will get the required sleep places. Relying on luck in this case would be a big mistake. Remember, the hotel wants to get rid of unsold rooms. The most popular rooms are probably sold out long ago. The best client for a mystery hotel deal is a married couple. There are always enough queen size beds in hotels. In the worst case you can just move 2 single beds to each other.
9. Remember about resorts fees. Usually, you are warned by a website or a travel supplier, that resort fees are payed separate, upon arrival. Unfortunately, you can not know exactly how much the resort fee is, as different hotels have different fees and you do not know, to which one you are going.
10. Travel suppliers/tour operators allow to find out the hotel name before the trip. This allows you to make a phone call to the hotel, to find out details, resort fees, beds and so on. You can use that option, but if you want to enjoy the mystery, do not do it 🙂
11. Room categories. Another thing to know, that every hotel has different room categories. In a city, it is from a smallest room with a construction view to a suite with a kitchen. On a beach resort it is from a furthest room to the beach to a garden view, pool view, sea view, family rooms and so on. Be realistic. The hotel gives the best rooms and upgrades to their most loyal customers and the worst rooms are those, that remain unsold till last minute. Good news, you still will be able to use all the amenities, like others. If you use a hotel room just for sleeping, then the worst room should not upset you that much. Also, you can complain about your room upon arrival and you have a chance to get a better one, if the hotel has or interested to keep you as a client in future.
12. Compare prices with other hotels. When it comes to bookings for 1-2 nights in a city, turns out that the price difference sometimes is really small. Like about 10 dollars. It is simply not worth it. Unless you are a real fan of surprises. But when it comes to vacation packages and Caribbean resorts, price difference can be up to 1000 dollars! Then you should definitely try it.
13. What is the worst thing that can happen? Believe it or not, but it happens, when you buy a mystery vacation deal and turns out that the hotel runs his own discount codes for rates that are cheaper than your deal. Ooops. Calling customer service and trying to at least lower the price to the one that hotel offers usually does not help. What to do in this case. I understand, how disappointing it can be. But, first of all – it usually happens on online deals search websites. Second of all – unfortunately, price jumps are all around. It is the same as you buy a flight ticket and in 2 months you see that the price dropped twice! There are always people on one plane, who fly for the minimum price and maximum price and they sit near each other. Same with the hotels. As a reminder – use top secret hotel deals only as a last minute option. And still there is no guaranteed cheapest price.
Ok, let’s be realistic. There is no way, best hotel brands will give away their luxury rooms for a half price like some websites/travel agencies claim. I am a travel agent and I hate providing false information to my clients just to make more sales. Yes, offers are good, hotels are good too. But think of it as Good. Not like a 1 million dollar win or a deal of your life. If you are still interested in mystery/secret/hidden hotel deals and vacation packages, contact us, and we will do our best.
If you have any experience of booking (and guessing) a mystery deal (good or bad) share it with our readers in comments or send your story to our e-mail.