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Book Now Or Wait???

Indiana
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121 posts
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Book Now Or Wait???

I will be spending 5 nights in/near Cape Town in June 2014. I realize this is their slow season and better rates are available. I have been researching and inquiring, and am confused. Some places are offering me their current specials of stay 4 nights and pay for 3. Some are offering me their 2013 rates by booking early. One even offered me a steal if I "book and pay now." And because I like to have a plan - I was all ready to book a place (as soon as I choose which one) to ensure I get the room of my choice. But now I wonder....

AtlanticView offered me a steal on the room I wanted if I booked and paid by April 2013. I wasn't ready to do that at the time. I just inquired about something different yesterday, and his rate has already gone up $50USD....in a month. Perhaps he is punishing me for not taking his deal, or perhaps there was a reason he could offer that deal at that time and not now. But I feel pressured to make a quick reservation if I want to stay there - in a certain room. (because it is small)

Cape Royale Hotel & Spa is currently advertising a winter special of R1450 per night. However, they quoted me full rate of R3500/night for next winter for this exact same time. I inquired about a winter special, and they pretty much said no. So if I book now, I do not get any specials.

12 Apostles, Ellerman House, One and Only Cape Grace, and Blackheath Lodge all pretty much are quoting me what their websites are showing as their current winter specials. So I am wondering --would it be better wait until perhaps next May - right before we leave - to reserve our Cape Town portion of our trip? Or do you think there is a chance I may not get a room I want (if I prefer a certain view) - or do you think availability could be an issue? I realize currency exhange rate can change, and all. I need some advice. I don't mind paying more if it's worth it to guarantee something good. But I would prefer to save $$ if it means waiting. And if I wait - when would you recommend I start looking to book?

And if I should book now - which hotel would you stay? They are each unique for different reasons and I can't decide which factor is most important. I love them all for different reasons. We won't have a car and are fine with paying for a taxi or using a hotel shuttle. We plan to book private tours during the day, so we will only need evening transportation anyway...unless the hotel offers dinner, then we may not venture out every night. We do like to socialize with others, so a lounge / bar is perfect for us. We are into going out clubbing. The most important thing for us though is that even though we like a fine, luxury accomodations - we don't want a stuffy atmosphere where we will be out of place if we just want to wear jeans. I am not saying we won't dress for dinner - but I don't want to have to be real formal. I prefer to be casual in a bar. So even though 12 Apostles is high on my list, I worry about the atmosphere there (and in the other places as well). I appreciate any input you can give me. Thanks!!

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Indiana
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121 posts
53 reviews
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1. Re: Book Now Or Wait???

**We are NOT into clubbing** is what I meant. Sorry.

Tempe, Arizona
Destination Expert
for South Africa, Sabi Sand Game Reserve
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2. Re: Book Now Or Wait???

You are edging dangerously close to the 'overthinking' trap. Can't criticize you for that, though.. I'm not much better. But, I can tell you that the Newmark properties - www.newmarkhotels.com - employ a dynamic pricing concept that does lower (and raise) rates based on certain availability and booking criteria. Having said that, your dates are so far away, that system will not be showing any reduced rates right now. Cape Grace has a version of it, too. I see no good reason to pay for lodging a year from now - this early. I would wait.

Edited: 12 June 2013, 01:15
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Cape Grace
Cape Grace
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Cape Town Central, South Africa
San Jose, California
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3. Re: Book Now Or Wait???

I agree with Dave. I think you can wait on Cape Town bookings.

We are going to Cape Town this July, I only booked hotel for Cape Town in mid May. And I just booked Garden Route hotel last week. I think you can wait to book them 2 months before your trip.

These hotels (at least the ones I booked) required full payment. So, don't book and pay too early. What if you have changes.

However, if you are going to Kruger, book those lodges as early as possible. This is true both for the private lodge and Kruger rest camps.

I booked private lodge in Feb, but I had to move my dates a bit just to book at the lodge that I wanted. Also, I couldn't book one night at the Lower Sabie Rest camp, because it was already full.

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Cape Town
Cape Town
Western Cape, South Africa
cape town
Destination Expert
for Cape Town
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4. Re: Book Now Or Wait???

I sent you a response to your private message and answered all your questions.

Cape Town Central...
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5. Re: Book Now Or Wait???

I agree with Happy Traveller, not to book things now. Wait for about 60-30days before your arrival and then start looking for accommodation and also pay while you find what you are looking for.

Hank - Owner - Ulungele Tours

Indiana
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121 posts
53 reviews
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6. Re: Book Now Or Wait???

Bwanadave- I'm not edging close. I have fallen so far down into the deep pit of over thinking - it's astonishing really :) But the good news is - my over thinking and over planning usually pays off. I love the research. It truly makes my trip more rewarding. I appreciate everyone's advice. Lodging is so very subjective. And many times one is not necessarily better than another - just different. Those differences are ok. I'm trying to weed out the ones who really are lower on the totem pole. Thanks again!!!

Fordingbridge...
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7. Re: Book Now Or Wait???

I would strongly recommend that you forget the hotels & research the B&Bs. They are of an extremely high standard in SA & offer a much more relaxing & personal experience than does a hotel. The tourism industry isn't exactly flourishing in high season, let alone during the depths of the winter slump.

Haggle, & haggle hard. I readily obtained 25-30% discounts for my March 2014 vacation so you should easily exceed that for June. If not, try elsewhere. You may be expected to pay a not unreasonable 20% deposit.

Gros Morne National...
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for Newfoundland and Labrador
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8. Re: Book Now Or Wait???

I second the "search out guest houses" suggestion. These aren't like B&B's in North America, they are like mini hotels, both in facilities and services.

If you aren't getting a great deal I would wait, we have booked a year in advance for a number of years now but that is because we want mulitple rooms in specific guest houses in January (which can be peak season). Certian game lodges will also need to be booked a year in advance.

The only thing I found odd in booking places in South Africa is the 50% deposit required at the time of booking. Another reason not to book a year in advance unless it is to your benefit.

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Indiana
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121 posts
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9. Re: Book Now Or Wait???

I must be doing something wrong. I asked for a discount. I asked for their current winter special for next year. Some flat out said no :-/

So on the B&B - that was where my head was originally. I found a perfect one for me. He quoted me a deal compared to the published prices. But I couldn't book in April (as his terms were book and pay in April for this rate). It was over a year away and I haven't even secured airline tickets. So I had to wait. Now I'm closer to ready - tickets can be bought soon. And he said deal is off the table. Now it's $50 more. While still a good price - it's odd. To charge me more for the same thing - a month later? Left a weird feeling for me.

So I guess I need tips on how to haggle. I am obviously doing it wrong as my prices are going up :-/

Edited: 12 June 2013, 21:49
San Jose, California
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10. Re: Book Now Or Wait???

I have also attempted at haggling the rates, and have failed.

I have seen many posters mentioning haggle rates here, and have come to the conclusion that the vendors are willing to haggle with returning visitors, or people who visit South Africa often. They seemed less willing to haggle with "once in a life time" visitors.

One vendor actually told me this in an email, that they only negotiate with returning visitors, and persisted in quoting me their rack rates.

So, I work with a travel agent based in South Africa. She got me better rates that what I can get on my own. I pay her a deposit at the time of booking, with the balance due 60 days prior to arrival.

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