Thursday, December 11, 2014

Sydney - The New Perth

Over the last few years, Perth has been the busiest hotel market where accommodation is regularly hard to find and rates are through the roof. Perth was busy again during peak season this year but nowhere near as bad as it was in previous years. Sydney however was as busy as I've seen it for a number of years.

Sydney virtually sold out for four straight weeks starting from the second week of November. It started with the Rolling Stones concert, then there were conferences, sporting events and more concerts. Week after week, it became virtually impossible to find rooms for under $500/night. Yes, the hotels saw what was happening and rates went through the roof.

The two busiest times of the year for Sydney hotels are February/March and November. On the back of a huge November for them I can only imagine what hotel's rate expectations will be for Feb/March 2015. If you travel to Sydney regularly, book early.

Friday, December 5, 2014

The event that stopped Melbourne

And no, its not The Melbourne Cup.

Back in October saw the busiest week that the Melbourne hotels experienced all year. Bigger than The Melbourne Cup, bigger than the AFL Grand Final, bigger even than the F1 Grand Prix.

What was it I hear you ask? The Jehovah's Witnesses Convention! Yes, you read that correctly. October 15 - 19 thousands and thousands of Jehovah's Witnesses descended on Melbourne and the hotels were full for most of the week. The Saturday night was also the Caulfield Cup which created a melt-down as availability was virtually non-existent and rates were through the roof. 

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Concert season

The end of the year tends to be when a lot of the big name artists tour Australia. This year is no exception with names such as Kanye West, Justin Timberlake, Robbie Williams, Katy Perry and The Rolling Stones over the next few months.

Not surprisingly, these concert tours bring a lot of people to the host cities and therefore accommodation can be extremely limited. If need a hotel room, make sure you book early. To find out where and when the concerts are, check out our peak travel dates page. 

Friday, August 15, 2014

Out of office - Friday August 15

Important note: The office will be closed from 11:30am today and will re-open as usual at 8:30am on Monday morning.  

During this time please feel free to e-mail me or leave a voicemail message and we'll get back to you first thing on Monday.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Free wifi now at Rydges, QT and Atura hotels

I found this story this morning and its great to see from one of the Australian hotel chains. I'm not sure why more hotels have yet to take this step.

Free wifi now at Rydges, QT and Atura hotels

By David Flynn   

All Rydges, QT and Atura hotels throughout Australia are now serving up free Internet for all guests.
It's a welcome step forward towards the day when all hotels will set the WiFi free, with business travellers increasing relying on their smartphones or 4G mobile broadband modems to defeat the often outrageous costs of in-room Internet.

The Rydges group is also undergoing a rebranding which includes a healthy new 'Rise Breakfast' concept, which the hotel chain says "takes a nod from nutritionist recommendations around a healthful breakfast being the most important meal of the day."

While still buffet-style in nature, the Rise Breakfast includes freshly-squeezed juice shots, made to order smoothies & juice blends, super healthy cereals and fresh fruit as well as a great range of hot options including eggs cooked to individual preference.

There's also an expanded wine list showcasing "a broader range of Australian and international varietals will cater to more discerning tastebuds." 

"The Rydges brand served our iconic Australasian hotel chain well for many years, but as we embarked on a project to expand the hotel offering, we felt the brand needed refreshing also to suitably reflect the significantly improved guest experience" explains David Seargeant, Group Managing Director of Rydges parent company Amalgamated Holdings Limited.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Magical Malindi - Montville

Two of my best friends got married at Montville on the weekend and myself and friends stayed at Magical Malindi. The house and the view are spectacular so rather than try and put it in to words, check out some of the photos I took (just using my phone). For more details and better pictures, check out their facebook page

Its the first time I've been to the Sunshine Coast hinterland (Montville, Maleny, etc) in many years which is such a shame considering what a great winter getaway spot it is.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Brisbane State of Origin accommodation

If you need accommodation in Brisbane during the week of the first State of Origin (May 28), you've come to the right place!

Looking online or direct with hotels, prices start around the $400 mark. We grabbed an allotment of rooms more than a month ago so we now have by far the best available rates.

Here is what we have up our sleeve:
  • 4 star hotel rooms from $250/night
  • 4.5 star apartments from $250/night
  • 5 star hotel rooms for under $500/night
Priority will be given to requests for multiple night stays (prices are much cheaper either side of the 28th) but we do have rooms available just for the night of the 28th at around $300.

Go the Maroons!

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Melbourne's best boutique hotels

My friend Sally from Alluxia has just released her best boutique hotels in Melbourne list. We too LOVE Melbourne but don't know as much about their boutique properties, so here's some of what she had to say.

Melbourne's Best Boutique Hotels

Posted on in Travel Tips
Melbourne is the ideal weekend getaway. This vibrant city boasts a wealth of things to see and do and has an unrivalled food scene. Whether you’re seeking high-end shopping, watch a sporting event, attend a foodie festivals or stroll art galleries, Melbourne offers it all.

For the ultimate getaway, we’ve handpicked Melbourne’s best boutique hotels. It’s all about luxury at these top establishments.

To read the whole article and see which hotels made her list, click here

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Want points for your hotel stay? Avoid third-party booking websites

A good article I came across this morning about why third-party booking sites are losing some of their luster for regular travellers.I particularly like this quote from Starwood:
A senior representative of Starwood highlighted that Starpoints can be earned on "'eligible' rate plans" for bookings made "directly with the hotels or your preferred travel agency".

We come under their classification of "preferred travel agency" and look after bookings for several of their Platinum SPG members.

Want points for your hotel stay? Avoid third-party booking websites

By Chris Chamberlin
Want to earn your full serve of points with your favourite hotel rewards scheme? Avoid 'third party' booking sites and make your reservation directly with the hotel or its parent company.

Unlike frequent flyer programs – which let you earn points regardless of who you booked your ticket with – many hotel loyalty programs won't provide any per-night points or per-stay credits on bookings made through the likes of Expedia, Wotif and

To read the rest of the article, click here

Monday, March 31, 2014

Four Points by Sheraton Brisbane

Last week Adam and I went and visited the new Four Points by Sheraton Brisbane which opened earlier in March.

My career in the hotel industry started at Sheraton Mirage Port Douglas and then continued at Sheraton Brisbane so I have a soft spot for the Starwood Hotels brand. Since losing the Sheraton (now the Sofitel) a number of years ago, Starwood have been working hard to get back in to the Brisbane hotel market and word on the street is that it won't be long before we have a Westin as well.

The Four Points is on Mary Street, just a couple of blocks from the Queen Street Mall (centre of the CBD) so its a very central location. Not surprisingly, the hotel rooms are very modern and look fresh (see picture below). One side overlooks the city/other buildings but the other has partial views of the Story Bridge and the river which is a nice surprise considering how central it is.

The hotel has some really good opening specials currently available so now is a great time to check it out while it still has that "new car" smell!


Tuesday, March 11, 2014

100 Amazing Hotels

I came across this article on facebook this morning. If you like staying in unique hotels, definitely check out this list:

# 3 would be my pick ...

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Eminem concert tour

Eminem tried to tour Australia a couple of years ago but due to his explicit lyrics, drug use, etc he wasn't allowed in the country.

He's been creating havoc on this current tour but now how you'd expect. With the Australian leg of his tour only visiting Melbourne, Brisbane and Sydney his concerts have been filling hotels for every city he goes to.

First stop was Melbourne last night and availability started disappearing late last week. I think we got our first call late on Friday but by Monday there was virtually nothing left.

Brisbane is tonight and we were ready for it and it too has completely sold out the city. We started getting calls late last week and were through our rooms by Monday. For the last day or so it has been virtually impossible to find a room with only the rare one popping up costing over $500.

Eminem, please come back any time!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Las Vegas hotels take luxury to new heights — and prices


A 10,000-square-foot suite that includes a basketball court at the Palms will set you back $25,000 a night. At MGM Grand’s Skylofts, you will find a bathtub that fizzes with Champagne-like massage bubbles and airport pickup in a $400,000 car.

If you’re scared off by the price tag, these luxuries aren’t for you. But Las Vegas has always specialized in providing an over-the-top experience for those with an unlimited budget.

Celebrities and athletes have spent thousands on suites with massage and film-screening rooms, 24-hour butler service, private elevators and chefs, even showers that are in the middle of the suite.
And what’s a weekend in Vegas without an airport greeting and pickup in a Maybach 62. At the Bellagio, guests who shell out $6,000 a night for the Chairman Suite can enjoy a solarium and whirlpool tubs with views of the city.

The Palms, however, has taken it to another level with its Two Story Sky Villa. The former Hugh Hefner Sky Villa will set you back $40,000 a night.

The most expensive hotel room in Nevada has its own glass elevator to the second floor and an infinity pool that seats 12 and cantilevers off the balcony. The 9,000-square-foot luxury playground houses three bedrooms, a fitness center, dry sauna, outdoor terrace and media room with revolving bed.

According to the Palms, “It’s the perfect place to entertain up to 250 of your closest friends.”

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Brisbane to have free wifi

A good initiative announced today by Brisbane Marketing. Although its not the entire CBD, having the Mall and South Bank with free wifi certainly helps bring the city up to speed with the rest of the world. Now ... if only all the Brisbane hotels followed the lead and offered free wifi!

Free wifi for Australia’s new world city

A new integrated wi-fi system will provide free internet in South Bank and the Queen Street Mall in time for the G20.  

From April, visitors to the Queen Street Mall, Victoria Bridge and South Bank will be able to jump online to check email or surf the web using Brisbane City Council’s wi-fi.

In 2013 nearly one million users took advantage of council’s free wi-fi hotspots to stay connected around the city. Connecting the Queen Street Mall and South Bank is the next step in creating a digital Brisbane.

About 17,000 people a day travel over Victoria Bridge to get between South Bank and the Queen Street Mall, and the free wi-fi will allow them to stay connected on the go.

Brisbane Marketing and the council are putting Brisbane on the “digital map” ahead of G20 in November to demonstrate to G20 visitors that we are indeed Australia’s new world city.
Any one of the 4000 officials and 3000 media representatives visiting Brisbane will be able to access our state-of-the-art public wi-fi.

Wi-fi access is already available in 22 outdoor locations across the city including Brisbane Botanic Gardens, King George Square and New Farm Park. Additionally, each of council’s 33 libraries and the entire CityCat fleet also offer free wi-fi.

Local cafes, restaurants and hotels are also encouraged to be part of a broader “Digital Brisbane” by providing free wi-fi to patrons.

Monday, February 3, 2014

A new low in hotel branding

There are many examples of poor, uncreative hotel branding in Australia but today I found the new low, a hotel in Canberra called "Hotel Hotel". And fitting, their tagline is "A place for people people".

That must've been quite the branding meeting in the early days of the hotel ...

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Australasian Oil & Gas Exhibition 2014

The Australasian Oil & Gas Exhibition in Perth is one of the biggest weeks of the year for hotel accommodation and its only just around the corner now, starting on February 19 until the 21st.

Despite getting in relatively early, there were only so many rooms we could get our hands on at a "reasonable" rate. If you ring around hotels now or look online you'll struggle to find anything under $400/night. Within a week or two, that availability will disappear and the prices will all be above $500. That may come as a surprise for anyone that doesn't know the Perth hotel market, but that's what happens when the city gets busy.

This is where we can help out tho, we currently have the following available:
  • 4 star apartments for under $300/night (based on a 3 night minimum stay)
  • 3.5 and 4 star hotel rooms from under $350/night (based on a 2 night minimum stay)
Obviously, if you can avoid travelling to Perth this week I'd highly recommend it. If you can't, call or e-mail us and we'll let you know what we still have available. 

Friday, January 10, 2014

Lonely Planet names Brisbane the nation's coolest city

News out earlier in the week ...

Lonely Planet names Brisbane the nation's coolest city

IT'S enough to make us choke on our lattes. 
The latest Australian edition of travel bible Lonely Planet has named Brisbane the country's coolest city.

That's right, the once-boring business centre home to XXXX beer, Broncos and bland office towers is now cooler than Melbourne and Sydney, according top the writers from The Lonely Planet.

The new edition, released just before Christmas, describes Brisbane as Australia's "hippest city" and a star on the rise.

"Booming Brisbane is an energetic river town on the way up with an edgy arts scene, pumping nightlife and great coffee and restaurants," the guidebook says.

"Brisbane is Australia's most underrated city.

"Sub-culture undercurrents run deep here with cool bookshops, globally-inspired restaurants and cafes, bars and band rooms aplenty."

The generous praise might mystify Melburnians and stun Sydneysiders, but the praise comes as no surprise to locals in the know.

Emily Nunes, 33, who co-owns newly opened bar and restaurant Papa Jack's with her husband Marco, said Brisbane has "come into its own".

"There are new bars constantly opening," she said.

"I do think that people are really striving for high-quality and quirky offerings.

"We have a really good coffee culture, some of the best bartenders in the country, and we've got a fabulous climate."

Bardon hipster Hannah Rowe, 27, said Brisbane was picking up its act.

"I've definitely noticed that in the last year or two there have been so many new bars, restaurants and cool little venues popping up," she said.

"The culture aspect of Brisbane has really come along."

Bar and restaurant owner Adrian Mezzina said it was an exciting time for the river city.

"There's been a lot happen over the last few years," he said.

"It was this big, sleepy town maybe 10 years ago, but you couldn't say that any more.

"Even friends of mine who visit from down south are kind of blown away with what Brisbane has to offer these days, whether it's restaurants, or bars or clubs."

Queensland Tourism Industry Council CEO Daniel Gschwind said Lonely Planet's verdict reaffirmed what Brisbanites already knew.

"When you have a great place to live, people will want to come and visit you," he said.

"The word is spreading and people are starting to appreciate the different textures and vibes to Brisbane."


* Pumping night-life
* Edgy arts scene
* Cool book shops
* Globally-inspired restaurants
* Great cafes
* Abundance of live music and band venues