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Following on from my question on last minute accommodation deals in Australia, I ended up booking something about 20 minutes before boarding my flight, which didn't leave a lot of time for research... I spotted a nice sounding 4* place on an opaque hotel booking site for not much more than a shared room in a hostel! The hotel offered a pool and spa, which sounded tempting after 24 hours flying, so I opted for that. The only snag was discovering that they wanted 1/3 of the nightly rate for wifi! Luckily the cafe next door has free wifi, and does very nice coffee :)

Opaque hotel booking sites (also known as "hidden hotels", "secret hotels" etc) can be great, because you can get some stunningly good deals as hotels shift excess rooms (some money is better than no money for an empty room!). However, to avoid undercutting the main hotel's booking, they don't tell you what hotel you'll be booking, just the area it's in (can be very big!), and some headline facilities of the hotel.

Is there any way when booking through an opaque booking site to increase your chances of getting somewhere with free wifi? Or at least cheap wifi? Or is this just a risk you take when using opaque sites (such as the rates almost never including breakfast)?

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As far as I know these paque booking sites usually target better hotels (4* an up), and these usually don't have free wifi, at least in the rooms... –  Grzenio Dec 10 '12 at 10:28
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2 Answers 2

up vote 8 down vote accepted
+100

There's really only 2 ways that you're going to be able to work out if a hotel you're booking via an opaque site has features such as free wifi :

  1. If it's listed in the description. Although opaque sites are generally deliberately short on details on the hotel, free wifi is one of the things that is sometimes listed, although it depends a lot on both the site you're booking on, as well as the individual hotel.

  2. If you can work out which hotel it's referring to! In general this can be fairly difficult, but on some sites it can actually be muh easier than you might expect.

As an example, I just pulled up a secret hotel deal on one website that does opaque deals (I won't name the site, but you should be able to work it out easily enough). For one of their opaque hotels it state that the hotel rooms "overlook the foliage of the rainforest and South China Sea". Plug that exact phrase into Google, and you'll work out exactly which hotel it's referring to - and thus you can easily work out if you'll get free wifi or not.

In most cases it's not going to be quite that easy, but sometimes it doesn't take too much effort to work out that there's only one or two four star hotels in a particular area that include, say, a headed pool - or some other item listed against the mystery hotel.

There are also websites that can help you determine which hotel(s) you might be looking at, such as Bidding for Travel.

Other than that, the best you can probably do is to look at what type of hotels normally offer free wifi in a particular region, and book something in that range. eg, in the US a 3 star hotel will normally include free wifi, whilst a 4 star place will normally require you to pay for it. There's always exceptions to the rule, but there is normally a general rule for each region/country.

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I used Expedia before and you can definitely get a free WiFi for granted if you choose in the amenities "Free WiFi" and for whatever reason you had any trouble getting it they will fix it for you.

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Expedia is not an opaque booking site. –  Ankur Banerjee Dec 24 '12 at 16:10
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It's not dedicated to opaque booking but they do have opaque hotels. Please before down voting verify your reasons! –  Mazen El-Kashef Dec 26 '12 at 5:19
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You are correct, they do have opaque hotels. I don't see anywhere to select "Free Wifi" though (I'm looking under "Filter Preferences" after the search has been performed). Can you clarify your answer? –  Andrew Ferrier Dec 26 '12 at 17:44
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