This year Melbourne welcomed the fourth annual White Night festival; a twelve hour event that spans from 7:00pm on a Saturday night in the month of February until the early hours of 7:00am on the following Sunday morning. The event attracts thousands of people into the city centre and it was estimated that the 2016 event attracted more than 580,000 people.
The main focal point of White Night is the building illuminations that usually tell a story on the city’s famous landmarks. In previous years Flinders Street Station was all lit up along with the Melbourne Town Hall. This year the strategy was the spread the crowd out further with the National Gallery of Victoria lit up at one end of the city and the Royal Exhibition Building lit up at the opposite end of the city.
Venturing into the city late at night and walking around for hours on end with a large crowds is quite a tiring task, so I decided this year to take it upon myself to test out this website’s new accommodation partner lastminute.com.au and their secret hotels. The secret hotels concept works when you enter the area you want to stay in ,like you normally would when searching for accommodation, as well as also punching in the dates that you would like to stay from.
The difference is that lastminute.com.au won’t tell you the name of the hotel until after you have paid for your booking. Information you are provided with is the star rating, the general location of the hotel, including a map showing the area the hotel falls within and the price. The benefit of booking a secret hotel is that hotels are looking to fill up rooms that would otherwise stay empty, to encourage people to come and stay they will heavily discount the price of the room making it cheaper than what you would normally pay. This works best when you are trying to book a hotel at the last minute a couple of days before hand or even the night of your hotel stay to get the best price.
What I wanted to find out was after I booked the hotel and it was revealed to me, does the secret hotel really save you money and is it a reputable hotel and not just someone’s dodgy garden shed out the back of a building. Setting my sights high I went all out and booked what was described as a 5 star hotel in the Paris End District that would cost $296.30. The Paris end of Melbourne is at the east end of the CBD near Parliament House which is an ideal location to be close to the beating hub of White Night.
Once I hit the book button I’m told where I’ll be spending my one night in the city centre; the Stamford Plaza on Little Collins Street is the mystery hotel, and I couldn’t be more pleased. Before booking I was trying to see if I could guess what it would be, I was thinking it might be the Hotel Windsor which is an establishment I would like to give a shot one day, however the Stamford Plaza looks promising.
Now that I have booked my room the real test begins, I know where I’ll be staying so now I can see if lastminute.com.au delivers when they say you will save money when booking a secret hotel by comparing the price of the Stamford Plaza for the same night on two popular booking comparison websites.
Looking at the above it shows that if I didn’t book the secret hotel deal with lastminute.com.au I would have paid significantly more for even the entry level room. Not only does booking a secret hotel at lastminute.com.au save you money but it is also kind of fun not knowing where you will stay and getting a surprise at the end. You won’t be booking a hotel in the dark either, you will have some idea of the area you will be staying in so there is no danger of ending up in a hotel on the opposite side of a city you are wanting to be in.
The room I was allocated in the Stamford Plaza was a King Studio Suite on the 9th floor. It was a basic room that meet all my needs for the stay with a king sized bed, bathroom and even a small living area and kitchen which you don’t usually get in rooms of this type.
The room also had a bit of a view looking out into the bustling Melbourne CBD, with the hotel located in Little Collins Street the area wan’t noisy at all even with the festivities of White Night going on outside. The Stamford Plaza boast two towers, the east tower where I was staying also has a pool, spa, sauna and gym on the sixteenth floor, the top floor of the tower and also has its own restaurant on the ground floor where you are provided with discounts for dining there on arrival.
If you’re looking for a last minute hotel deal and don’t have a specific hotel to stay at in mind, give the lastminute.com.au secret hotels a shot, not only will you save yourself a significant amount of money but you can have a little fun while booking your hotel and perhaps stay at a hotel you wouldn’t have otherwise considered staying at.