Friday, October 16, 2009

Hotel, Motel, NOT a Holiday Inn!

Another thing we really struggled with was finding a good hotel to be our "home base" for the wedding weekend. Since about half our guest list was from out of town, we needed something cost effective, big enough for everyone, close to activities and entertainment, and some place nice, classy, but not too cheap and not too expensive.

We were already screwed by our venue location, it's basically at the top of a mountain, with no hotels anywhere close by (except for "flea-bag" super questionable ones). So I started looking around the area for hotels that would meet our criteria.

Here is a screen shot from Google Maps of the area for your reference, the big purple dot is our ceremony location, green dots are potential hotel locations.

As you can see, there are some potential locations closer to our venue, and one up further north, with nothing much in between.
After a quick look at each of the hotel's websites, I learned that the two acceptable ones closest to our location were just way too expensive. They're located right near Stanford University, so I'm guessing that's why.

The third closest hotel, near highway 101 had a decent price for a Four Seasons, but it wasn't close enough to shopping and restaurants for what we needed, and plus, East Palo Alto is right across the freeway overpass, and it's a pretty rundown, questionable neighborhood. Not somewhere I'd want our guests to be walking around in at night.

So that left the much further north San Mateo Marriott as our only good option. And it's a good thing it happened to have everything we were looking for. On site Starbucks, bar and resta
urant. Nice pool. Tons of rooms and several room options. Long walk or short cab to downtown San Mateo, with its cute shops, restaurants and pubs. And best of all, a free shuttle to the airport!

After about 14 back and forth e-mails with Eva, their sales manager, I got a great rate: $99 a night for a standard room and $109 a night for an executive suite. Plus, we get one of their awesome loft suites for our bridal suite, which are regularly $299 a night for only $109. Score! And, after pointing out that we're bringing them a ton of guaranteed business, she waived the $2 per room fee for handing out the OOT bags! That wasn't put in our contract, but I have it in writing in e-mail that I plan to take with me when I drop the bags off. I still can't believe how many hotels charge for this service, but I'm super glad we won't have to pay for it.
Don't hesitate to bargain for getting this free, ladies!

Now, I'll leave you with some pictures of our hotel, all taken from the San Mateo Marriott's website:

How did you end up selecting the hotel for your guests?


  1. Seriously, what is up with hotels trying to impose a cost per room on the OOT bags? Way to negotiate! I am dreading the process of booking a hotel block - we are going to have a ton of out of town guests on my fiance's side. We may have to reserve an entire hotel!

  2. Lol, love the song reference!!

  3. I had no idea that hotels charge you for that! Wow! Just came cross your blog and looking forward to following along on your wedding planning adventures!

  4. You go girl! I didn't negotiate nearly enough for ours but we were in downtown Austin, so if someone didn't like our choice, it was easy to find something else. Our reception site also had a hotel, but it was pricey so many didn't stay there.

  5. Looks like you really scored!! We have yet to book ours but Carmel is bursting with cute little Inns, as long as our guests book early they will be fine. Plus Monterey is much more affordable and only 15 minutes away. I think most people will figure it out for themselves but we are doing a room block for our immediate family and our bridal party at the hotel we're staying at (which is also our reception site.)