Ed Perkins' Flash Sale Picks: California, Paris, and More

Here's a sampling of some of the more intriguing deals available through flash-sale sites and coupon agencies this week. All prices shown are based on double occupancy before taxes; some hotels add a "resort" fee. A word of caution when you use these agencies: Sometimes, the "regular" prices they quote are inflated over the going rates available to anyone. For that reason, I used comparison figures from Expedia or Hotels.com, not what the flash sale agencies report.

  • Groupon: Benbow Inn, Garberville, CA, voucher for two nights plus one breakfast for two, $189 (Hotel's posted rate, $175 per night, not including breakfast; no rates shown on Hotels.com or Expedia). Buy through March 19, valid many dates through end of year. This property is a historic resort hotel near California's giant redwood country. TripAdvisor score: 4.5, mostly "excellent" and "very good" with very few lower ratings.
  • Jetsetter: Hotel Sezz, Paris, $224-$244 per night, (Booking.com rate $356). Buy through March 20, stay most days through June. TripAdvisor says "trendiest" (whatever that means) winner, in good location. TripAdvisor score: 4.5, mostly "excellent" and "very good" with very few lower ratings.
  • SniqueAway: H10 Roma Citta, Rome, $129 per night (Expedia rate $169). Buy through March 19, stay July 1 through August 31. Another "trendy" hotel, this one in the quiet Trastevere area, which features lots of good budget restaurants. TripAdvisor score: 4.5, almost all "excellent" or "very good."
  • Spire: Gateway Canyons Resort, near Grand Junction Colorado, $141 per night (Expedia rate $199). Buy through March 21, stay most dates through April 28. Looks like a great place to enjoy the high desert country in comfort. TripAdvisor score: 4.5, mostly "excellent" with a few lower ratings.
  • TripAlertz Embassy Suites, Niagara Falls, Ontario, $159 per night including $40 dinner coupon and $150 in casino play (Hotels.com rate $130 with no add-ons). Buy through March 22, valid weeknights March and April. A good example of promotions that are "deals" only if you include the extras that may or may not be worth what the site says they are. Embassy Suites features real two-room suites and buffet breakfast, and this one has a great view of the falls. TripAdvisor score: 4, mostly "excellent" and very good," with very few lower ratings.

As has been par for the course most of this winter, these and other flash-sale agencies have a wide selection of properties in the Caribbean and Mexico.

Some coupon deals provide firm reservations. Others are voucher deals that are typically "subject to availability" and carry other restrictions and blackouts. Many resort deals are limited to weekdays and city-center deals to weekends. Some voucher packages include extras such as meal credits and spa treatments.

I continue to see exaggerated "discount" claims where the "regular" prices cited in the promotions are grossly inflated over the going rates available to anyone. Always compare posted prices with Hotels.com, Expedia, or some other online travel agencies before you commit.

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