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Travel Advice - ThereArePlaces staff  experience with online hotel booking

At the end of a recent business trip to Italy, one of our editors decided to seize the opportunity, spend the weekend in Milan, and started a search comparing hotels listed by online booking services.  The story continues:

On one booking site, I found a three star hotel, near the tourist center of Milan (but not as close as I would have liked) that sounded acceptable  but was close to the Central Train station. I am always reluctant to book near train stations in Europe, as they are often surrounded by seedy neighborhoods that are rife with drug use. So, I searched a few travel sites that allow travelers to post opinions and found information suggesting that the hotel was not the place for me to stay. I hit the search trail again.

Using another service, I found a great sounding hotel offering a special deal that included an upgrade to a swankier room and  a free daily breakfast buffet. To top it off the hotel was very close to the Duomo and tourist Milan. Now I was scared: the deal was too good to be true.   I researched the hotel on the Internet and found several sites that provided tourist comments about the hotel and all indicated that it was a pleasant place and a good value.

When I arrived at the Hotel (the Starhotel Rosa), I found it a great value (nicely appointed, pleasant staff, conveniently located, excellent breakfast buffet) and a wonderful place to stay. Note: I found this incredible deal on a well-known booking service. The same hotel was available from another of the major services but the offer was for a lower quality room, which was $135 more expensive per night!

Be sure to comparison shop.

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