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In Search Of A Hotel

Posted by on 20 July 2008

So you’re finally going to that long-awaited holiday to Paris. You need to book a hotel room. Fast. The problem is, you don’t know where to stay. You don’t have much time to search the internet because you have a lot of work to clear up before you go on leave. Plus, you have a budget to work with. But at the same time, you’d like to be as thorough as possible because it’s not everyday you get to go on a holiday and you’d like to stay in a hotel that will make the most out of your budget.

computerSound familiar? Yup, we’ve all been through that scenario. And the usual solution is to type in the search box “+Paris +hotel”. As soon as you hit [ENTER], you are immediately hit by a barrage of sites that all claim to offer the best deals and the best hotel rates in face of the earth. You wearily plod through each link, write down notes on hotel names, their locations, their rates and the hotel search sites where you found them. The whole process is time-consuming, arduous, and can be very frustrating.

Allow me to make a small simulation of this process.

With Google as my main search engine, on top of the results list is Like most people do, I click on it first because it’s on the top of the list, afterall.

At’s site, I enter the check-in and check-out dates and immediately lists down hotels with available rooms on those dates. I then have the option of sorting the hotes by popularity or by price for single or double room.’s site is pretty decent because it includes guest reviews, as well as maps. My only grouse is that the prices are listed in the currency of your destination (in the case of Paris: the Euro) so I still have to find a way to convert the prices into Malaysian Ringgit.

I find among’s list a small hotel called Hotel de la Vallee. It’s a 1-star affair, you have to pay E2.50 to have a shower (!), but it only costs E62 per night and the location sounds very promising: “5 minutes away from Chatelet-Les Halles metro station, 10 minutes away from Le Musée Du Louvre and 15 minutes away from Notre Dame”. It’s in the 1st arrondissement, afterall — practically in the heart of Paris.

So I double-checked the rates with because they’re having a summer sale until 31st July. They’ve also got the search-by-budget option although they list their prices in US Dollars. Unfortunately, I didn’t like the way their system handled searches. It felt a lot like using Windows’ troubleshooter — they met my search criteria, but could not quite give me what I was looking for. I was expecting a lot from — and ended up sorely disappointed in — Expedia, knowing that it has been featured by Fortune Magazine as the 3rd most admired Internet companies in the United States (after IAC and Google), followed by at 4th place.

Then I found I love the clean, uncluttered look of their site. I also love their tag line: “One Site To Search Them All”. But what I love the most is their concept of searching on your behalf 30+ hotel reservation websites simultaneously and listing down the sites with their respective rates.

When I searched for Hotel de la Vallee on, it churned out the results quickly. And it confirmed that I, indeed, got the best rate through (RM277.22 per night). I could have saved myself a lot of time and hassle if I just used this site in the first place!

Other features I love about the option to change the currency and the option to specify an upper and lower limit for the hotel rates to suit your budget. Their site also comes with the standard brief description, some photos, as well as the possibility of sorting the results by price, location, user rating, etc.

Anyway, back to the hotel issue, I thought of searching for another hotel that can match Hotel de la Vallee’s rate. Naturallement, I used to do the search and, for the dates that I specified (1st-10th August), I got Allstar Residence de la Seine Aparthotel Paris (from RM276.20 per night from But for the same price, I’d much rather go for Hotel de la Vallee, as it’s nearer to public transport and the Louvre!

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