One of the best things about my company is that they close the office during the Christmas holiday so I had a glorious 10 days to get some wedding tasks crossed of my list and try to reclaim the planning momentum we had at the beginning of the our engagement period.
First on our list: Wedding hotels.
While we have a rather small amount of invited out-of-towners, we wanted to go ahead and book a room block for our guests to help make it easier for them to plan. Not only will this help us avoid the “where should we stay?” questions that always occur, but with as big as the Bay Area is, I’m sure someone will think staying in San Francisco is a totally great idea because it’s so close to everything. Yeeeeeaaaaaah…no.
We toured the hotels in two days – the first was totally unplanned and spontaneous (we were in the area) and the second was more prepared (we had appointments!). In the interest of privacy, I’m not going to identify the hotels we toured right now. The first day we toured the hotel we will be staying at. It’s a smaller boutique hotel that I had been looking at since before we settled on our venue. We were given a very thorough tour of the hotel and grounds and were able to see some guest rooms which were surprisingly large. There are plenty of nooks and crannies to take pictures at and while it definitely caters to an older, calmer crowd, I know this will be the perfect place to rest up the night before the wedding and the wedding night.
We came back a second time to view the suites since they were all occupied when we first stopped by. There were two options: the studio and the one-bedroom suite. The studio suite was spacious and had the bed on a platform which I knew I would just trip over (full disclosure: I almost did during the tour!) and so did the mister. The one-bedroom suite would be perfect for the madhouse that getting ready that morning will turn into. The mister preferred this one because there was a separate area I could go to get away from the crowd that will be in that room. I wasn’t prepared to book the hotel room that day but the coordinator was able to get us an even cheaper rate than what’s quoted online!
Since we won’t be seeing each other before the wedding, I didn’t want the guests to see me either, so we’re having them stay at a different hotel that’s also more affordable than where I’m staying. The first hotel we toured was a regular hotel. The rooms were small and looked like any hotel in Anytown, USA. There was nothing distinct about the hotel; it was simply a place to sleep.
The second hotel we toured was nicer than the first guest hotel. They had two room suites with a living/dining area and three sinks in each room. I say this because the coordinator made a big fuss about there being three sinks in each room. The rooms were nice but I still felt like it was crowded – there is a LOT of furniture going on in those rooms. The hotel has a central atrium and a full-service cafe/restaurant onsite and offer free breakfast to the guests. The mister liked this hotel. I wasn’t so impressed with the atrium; it reminded me of a walled-in motel. Plus, we would be on the hook for at least 80% of the rooms so if we came short of 8 rooms, we’d have to cover the difference. Those were not odds I liked.
The final hotel we toured was my favorite, hands down. It had a hipper vibe and the rooms were spacious and decorated the way I like. I was impressed with the hotel from the moment we stepped into the lobby and continued to become more impressed as we toured the hotel. The coordinator there showed us the King suite they had and for a moment I rethought my plans to stay sequestered prior to the wedding.
While the mister preferred the second hotel, what we both liked about this one was that we wouldn’t be held responsible for any unbooked rooms; they’d simply release what we didn’t book. Perfect.
After some back and forth, we decided to go with the third hotel for our guests. The combination of the guest rooms, amenities, and overall feel it just wasn’t much of a competition. They even offered a discount for guest parking (that was a bummer – ALL of the hotels charged for parking) and are extending the special rate for my future mother-in-law. I would definitely stay at this hotel myself and one I felt comfortable recommending.
Tip: Take the time to visit and tour the potential hotels. It’s a good way to learn more about the hotel that you can’t otherwise figure out from looking at their websites. Also, be sure to call ahead!
Are you reserving a room block for your guests?