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I have just booked a four-star hotel at a bargain rate through LateRooms. This was my experience:
The site is fairly straightforward and easy to use. There is a choice of languages on the homepage with links which take you straight to the LateRooms site of your choice in your own language. This would be a pretty useful feature for non-English speakers, who are generally catered pretty poorly for on the internet. Clicking on the UK/Eire link brought me to the UK/Eire site, where I was presented with a form to enter the town or select the region I wanted from the dropdown, and the dates and duration of my stay. Having filled this in and clicked the search button, I was very quickly brought to a results page. The whole site seems quite speedy -- there are no fancy Flash videos or complicated graphics to slow things down.
LateRooms only deal with dates up to two weeks in the future. Last-minute bargains only!
My search, for two days from now, brought up a lot of results. The hotels listed don't seem to be in any particular order, and I didn't see any way of sorting them, which could be a bit annoying if you wanted to see if a particular hotel was listed. The hotel's location, star rating, and prices for each date you entered are listed along with a link for further details on each one. Clicking on the Details link shows you the exact room types that are being offered, the standard rate, and the LateRooms rate for each night. As an example, the Swallow Royal Scot hotel in Edinburgh is listed as having a standard rate of £145 for a double room with breakfast, but the LateRooms rate varies between £49.95 and £99 for the days of the week around the dates I chose. (The whole week is shown rather than just the specific dates that you are looking for).
Rooms can't be booked online. This is always a bit of a stumbling block for me because I'm not supposed to make outgoing calls from work, but I had found a fantastic deal and couldn't resist booking it. So, I followed the Hotel Booking Details link, which gives you the phone number of the hotel and the reference number to quote to get your LateRooms deal. Unfortunately, this is where things went downhill a bit. The first hotel that I called informed me that they were fully booked for the nights in question. So, LateRooms is not necessarily bang up to date, which could be very annoying if you are counting on getting that bargain you found.
Having said that, the second hotel that I looked at had an equally brilliant deal (£80 rather than the rack rate of £193 a night) and they were able to book me in with no problem. All booking is done directly with the hotel in question, not through LateRooms.
As I mentioned in the previous paragraph, the savings are pretty impressive. Less than half price for a four-star hotel is okay by me! I'll happily use LateRooms again, if I am planning a trip away from home. Just be careful not to get too excited about a rate before confirming it with the hotel.