I had been tracking Hotel Tonight for days–it’s always a good indicator of availability and pricing. And I knew every single hotel room near SFO was sold out. I knew because even the Hyatt 800 reservation line which handles all their other lesser brands, said they were sold out for a 30-mile radius.
Dreamforce attendees took over the area. I was there on business having nothing to do with Saleforce and I am somewhat of a hotel snob. I won’t stay in a ‘basic’ hotel, I prefer ‘luxe’ whenever possible. But I had my sights set on the Hyatt in Burlingame. Unlike Hilton which will put their name on anything (have you seen the Hilton Oakland Airport? It is a total dump.), Hyatt has preserved standards for their brand.
Having recently read, “Heads in Beds” by Jacob Tomsky, I felt empowered to win at the hotel game. I walked into the lobby, tipped the bellman $20 and asked, “Who is my best friend at the fronts desk?” He pointed.
I walk up to, let’s call her ‘Glenda’ to protect the innocent, and ask for a $100 bill for my 5 $20s. When she handed me the $100 bill I told her it’s was for her, but I needed a room. She felt guilty telling me they were sold out, oversold in fact. But went to the ‘back of the house’ and returned with two options: a smoking room (I later found out they keep 5 of them…stupid) or a parlor suite — the kind you get for a reception at a convention that is attached to your real room. I chose the parlor. The downside: it came with a sleeper couch, no bed. That’s what I chose.
Final score: Hyatt Burlingame, $349 for the night + $100 tip = $449 (vs. $750 a night and a $65 Uber ride into the San Francisco for the very nice, but much more expensive Four Seasons).