Holiday Travel Tips

Why Hotel Coupons Are Not a Good Deal

Home in the Historic District of Savannah, GA

Our latest botanical journey was a short drive up to coastal Georgia. We went there to take photographs for the landscaping section I am in the process of adding to the website.

The weather was cool and it was nice to escape the Florida heat. We were planning to visit Brunswick, Savannah and a couple of the barrier islands.

We made a rest stop at the Georgia Visitor's Center. It was there that our lovely little trip took a left turn.

The Visitor's Center is a wonderful place to stop if you are visiting Georgia. It's full of all kinds of free brochures and magazines describing every town and attraction you might like to see. There is even an information desk where you can ask questions or get directions.

Among the offerings were several hotel coupon books. You know the ones I mean. They're strategically positioned at every rest stop across the country; waiting to waylay the unsuspecting.

We've all seen them. I have never paid them any mind but with all the talk about double dip recessions in the air, I decided to pick one up.

It looked innocent enough. Just a bunch of hotels trying to drum up extra business by offering sweet deals, or so I thought.

I flipped through looking for my usual hang outs. They were not listed. This should have tipped me off but I was in bargain hunting mode. I flipped through again. This time, just looking for a quality brand.

The name Wyndham leaped out at me.

The Wingate by Wyndam Port Wentworth was offering a double room for $57 per night. This price included breakfast.

What a bargain! We made a beeline for the place.

It wasn't in the greatest area. It looked safe enough but it lacked beauty. It was more of an industrial area but who cares about that when you're saving money?

The hotel itself looked fine from the outside. It looked even better once we entered the lobby.

I stepped up the the front desk and placed my torn out coupon on it. The clerk gave me a look.

This should have been my 2nd tip-off but, you know, bargain hunter mode.

We checked in. The guestroom was actually pretty nice. The bedding was fairly new and very comfy.

The bathroom was tiny but clean. The microwave and fridge had not been cleaned since the previous tenant had checked out but, all-in-all, we thought we had hit the jackpot.

Until we tried to use the shower.

There was nothing wrong with the shower itself. There was plenty of hot water which sprayed out at sufficient pressure. We just had a devil of a time trying to keep it inside the tub.

They had improperly installed this heavy, bowed shower curtain rod that needed to be tight against the wall in order hold the curtain in place.

Some moron had screwed this thing directly into the drywall and neglected to use anchors. The screws loosened, the rod sagged and, no matter how you tried to arrange the curtain, it kept sliding toward the lowest part of the rod which was the center.

We were basically showering without a curtain.

If we were bath people, this would not have been a problem.

We are not bath people.

We are shower people.

Tiny called the front desk and reported the problem thinking they would send maintenance in to fix it while we were out the next day.

This did not happen.

We spent our stay there trying to wash with 1 hand while holding the curtain in place with the other so as not to have to spend the rest of the evening with a soggy bathroom.

At check out time, Tiny mentioned the problem again (to a different clerk). She informed us that this is a property-wide problem that they are in the process of fixing and apologized for any inconvenience this may have caused us.

Now, you will never see me say this on the site. I don't publish negative reviews because I don't like getting mean letters from legal firms.

If I discover something in my travels that I think you should be warned about, I will tell you in one of these letters.

Wyndham has a good reputation. (As far as I know.) But this is the first and last Wyndham hotel I will be staying in.

I am assuming that we were placed in a substandard room because we used that coupon. I cannot imagine that these people routinely put guests, who are not getting a discount, into rooms with this type of known issue.

I'm sorry, but this is unacceptable. This is an easy problem to fix and it does not take long to do it. Why are they renting out rooms where you can't close the shower curtain?

Just to complete the review, the breakfast here was nothing special as free hotel breakfasts usually aren't.

For us, this was a business trip so no harm done. But I would hate to see someone book a getaway here.

We spent the whole time wishing we had just booked a room at our favorite Savannah hotel, the Courtyard by Marriott.

If you ever visit the area, this is where we suggest you book a room. It's midtown location will save you money over anything in the historic district. Parking is free and plentiful and you will have a wonderful, hassle-free stay.

Avoid those coupon books, whatever you do.

My final holiday travel tip is this: Avoid staying in a hotel on the day of the holiday. If you can, travel just before or just after the holiday and spend the actual holiday at home.

You will have a much easier time booking your stay and you will pay much less. You will also escape being stuck in a hotel room without much to do because most of the local businesses are closed.

Now that I've put you thorough all of that, here's a sneak peek at what you can expect to see when our newest hub is built:

This is just 1 of the pretty coastal landscapes we photographed on the Isle of Hope.

Favorite Foods

We revisited some of our favorite Savannah eateries on this trip. The food at The Lady and Sons restaurant was as delicious as ever and, surprise of surprises, chef Paula Deen was there!

Apparently they were filming something there that day. There was still 1 cameraman inside when we were seated so don't be surprised if you see 2 people you recognize on a commercial or something.

Miss Deen had already left the building by this time but she stopped and waved to all of us diners through the window.

We also found 2 more cupcake stores on this trip. Of course, we had a taste in each place. We kind of had our own Cupcake Wars.

The Cupcake Emporium won hands down. I won't even bother telling you about the others. We bought a dozen to eat during our stay and another dozen to take back to Florida.

Holiday Baking

I do more baking at this time of year than at any other. November is sweet potato pie month at our house. So far, I've made 4. All using my mother-in-law's recipe.

This pie is so good, I just had to share it with you.

I could not decide which was better: my mom's sweet potato pie recipe or my mother-in-law's sweet potato pie recipe so I'm giving you both. You decide. Maybe you'll stage a sweet potato pie war.

Let me know who wins.

Happy Thanksgiving. Your Plant Guide,

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