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Friday, March 26, 2010

Freebie Friday: Win hotel accommodation worth AU$200

Everybody loves a holiday.

The worst part? All the organising!

Whilst the internet has made research so much easier, it's also made looking for the best deal a stressful and information-overloaded affair. HotelsCombined.com is a free and easy-to-use search engine that allows you to save time and money.

Instead of wasting hours clicking through multiple web pages, HotelsCombined.com searches and compares all of the major travel websites at once. Search results can then be filtered by price, popularity, name, star rating or distance. Clicking on an individual hotel will bring up the full range of prices offered by individual booking sites. You will also find summaries of hotel facilities, reader reviews, access to location maps and more.

Free and easy planning for your next food adventure? That's more like it!


AU$200 worth of accommodation booked through HotelsCombined.com or HotelsCombined.com.au.

Accommodation can be booked anywhere in the world.

Entry is open internationally.

The winner has 12 months in which to redeem their prize.


All you have to do is fulfil the requirements below:
  1. Leave a comment on this post and tell us: your most entertaining hotel experience, whether it be good, bad, or ugly.

  2. And then send an email to grabyourforkfreebiefriday@yahoo.com.au with the subject heading "Hotel" and include your full name and a copy of your published comment from this post.

The winning entry will be decided on honesty, creativity or entertainment value. Don't be shy! You gotta be in it to win it! Readers may submit one entry per day as long as each answer is different. The winner will be chosen by HotelsCombined.com.

The Hotels Combined competition closes on Friday 16 April 2010 at 5.00pm AEST. The winner will be announced on Grab Your Fork on Monday 19 April 2010.

EDIT: This competition has now closed. Congratulations to the winner announced here.


>> More Grab Your Fork competitions to enter:

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27 comments - Add some comment love

posted by Helen (Grab Your Fork) on 3/26/2010 12:53:00 am


  • At 3/26/2010 1:23 am, Blogger Simon Leong said…

    that's a pretty amazing website i'll have to keep in mind although it doesn't seem to include wotif??? and what's it got to do with food? but thanks for sharing. my most entertaining experience was staying in the Radisson Edwardian Marlborough Hotel (supposed to be 4 stars) in London 2 years ago which was really bad. upon arriving the outside was going through renovations — great, NOT!. covered in scaffolding. arriving at reception there was a couple complaining about their room loudly — noice! lifts constantly were breaking down so had to carry heavy luggage up stairs a few flights — ahhhh! soap dispenser fitting broke off at one point. workers working outside the window. the swimming pool advertised was located across the road in another hotel. it was going from bad to worst. in the end managed to negotiate a reduced stay rate and was offered a free meal in the hotel restaurant. it was like fawlty towers. i'm sure it's very nice now but i doubt i'd be going back there again. i wish websites also reviewed the construction and renovation factor of hotels in the world which impacts on noise and ambience. :-)

  • At 3/26/2010 1:29 am, Blogger Karen | Citrus and Candy said…

    I was at Hotel Capitol in Kuala Lumpur and we had the privilege of hearing a married couple fight it out in the adjoining room next to us. We couldn't understand what they were saying as they were screaming in their language.

    There were lots of yelling and the woman was crying and I was actually thinking that he might hit her. Later in the evening there were, um, 'other' noises coming out of their room, which would suggest that they made up. Thank goodness that was our last night there!

  • At 3/26/2010 6:17 am, Blogger Unknown said…

    I rarely get to see my sister so when she was in town I went to meet her at her hotel, The Intercontinental. Instead of going out to dinner we had room service and it was absolutely delicious. The best part was being able to catch up with my sis and the luxury of eating yummy food in a great hotel room.

  • At 3/26/2010 10:01 am, Anonymous Audz said…

    my most memorable hotel experience would have been in Amsterdam. My very first tour/trip to Europe in the dead of winter. After a big night out my friend and I were settling in to what we thought would be a warm room. Turns out the hotel staff had turned on the air conditioner and not the heater. So not only were we walking around in minus weather earlier that evening we were sleeping in minus weather in just our 'summer' pjs.
    The only reason we knew something was wrong was through talking to other people on our tour where noone had a problem with their room temperature.

    Ah, the memories...

  • At 3/26/2010 10:48 am, Blogger Eyes Bigger Than Belly said…

    My worst hotel experience was when Qantas lost the presentation I needed - so when I checked in, I asked if I could buy some of their Flip Chart paper.

    I went up to my room, threw my bag on the bed - and because I was alone, went to the bathroom and left the door open.

    Big Mistake. Mid-stream I hear my door being opened, 2 younger Porters come in with my paper (unannounced, no knock) and as they are putting it on the bed - HEAR me. I was unable to stop.

    In their race to get out the door again - there I was - like a deer in the spot light - we met eyes and I'm honestly not sure who was more traumatised by the whole experience.

    But I can tell you for a fact that I ALWAYS double lock Hotel Room Doors now. :)

  • At 3/26/2010 11:09 am, Anonymous Lucy said…

    When reading the comments, I had to share a shocking story of when I was a corporate traveller booking into a 5 star Melbourne hotel. I was given the room key and advised of the room number so off I go to my room. I swiped myself into the room only to be greeted by a very angry women who seemed to be half dressed. Yep, I had been issued a room which already had an occupant in it. I am a female and was berated and shoved by this woman for coming into her room - imagine if I was a male? I think we were both shocked and completely taken aback. When I went downstairs to reception they were not appropriately apologetic for the situation they created and tried to appease me with a drink voucher which I turned down - I just wanted an unoccupied room and a suitable apology. Another good case for locking your room from the inside.

  • At 3/26/2010 6:37 pm, Blogger V said…

    I was at a hotel in Osaka, Japan and while my sister and I knew that instead of having private showers the hotel only had a Japanese style shower room we forgot to tell my fiance who was travelling wiht us.

    A Japanese style shower room means that at certain times during the night women were allowed to use the shower room and at other times men were allowed. Also, there's no cubicles, it's one big room with several showers and a bath.

    Needless to say, my fiance was quite shocked from the whole experience! Perhaps we should have warned him beforehand?

  • At 3/26/2010 9:28 pm, Blogger SoRMuiJAi said…

    I arrived in Istanbul after about 24hrs, 6:30am where I meet a friend at the airport. For some reason, the driver who was taking us to the hotel insisted that he should take me to a museum at 7:30am!! After mini tantrum, he drops us off at the hotel and I check in. The first thing I want to do is unpack and have a shower. I opened my suitcase to find my ENTIRE BOTTLE of shower gel had leaked over EVERYTHING. And I mean EVERYTHING.

    So instead of my relaxing shower, I spent 2 hours trying to hand wash and dry my entire suitcase of clothes. During which we had a black out, and when it electricity came back on, the air conditioning broke down. I'm pretty sure I went out and had 3 cups of coffee and then proceeded to drink most of the day away.

    Which was a good thing as the alcohol helped me sleep and drown out the sounds of the couple next door. It sounded a bit like 2 people chasing each other around the room, some flesh slapping noise and lots of giggling and moaning.....

  • At 3/26/2010 10:08 pm, Anonymous stanzi said…

    My sister and were staying in an old Scottish castle that had been converted into a youth hostel. It was suitably Gothic looking and we commented how authentic it would look as a haunted castle in a spooky movie.

    We headed off to the ladies showers where my sister said the water pressure was poor so she was going to use the upstairs shower room.

    Minutes later I found she was right and went upstairs in search of her.

    I entered the shower room, whispering her name a few times.

    She must have been engrossed in her shower as suddenly she shrieked in fright. Talking about haunted castles and spooky movies must have made her jumpy.

    I couldn't stop laughing for several minutes and I still tease her about that night.

    I couldn't stop laughing

  • At 3/29/2010 10:38 pm, Blogger Karina L said…

    The best unique hotel experience was in Kyoto where we paid to sleep on the floor, eat on the floor and sit on the floor. We were waited on hand and foot by the lovely staff, and we got to book out the hot spa all to ourselves. Best ever.

  • At 3/30/2010 2:23 am, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Hubby and I stayed at a hotel in Dublin - someone got it really wrong when they designed the showers. No matter how hard I tried I couldn't get in without scraping my nipples on the edge of the sliding door. Don't get me wrong - I'm not fat, and if I'd weighed 500g more I doubt if I could have fitted into the shower through the opening! Inviting? - not!

  • At 3/30/2010 1:11 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    It was the holiday of accidents a couple of years ago in Metung, VIC! My best friend sat down on a glass table and smashed it, I fell over in the shower and took the curtains with me, and my little sister was running through our hotel at high speed and managed to put a lovely big hole in the wall! The staff weren't too sad to see us go...

  • At 4/01/2010 11:52 am, Anonymous fluffy said…

    My best hotel experience was when I stayed for a night in this hot spring traditional style hotel in Hakone, Japan. I spent my whole duration of stay trying out the hotel facilities, since they are so good! The hotel has 2 communal baths, swapped between male and female after dinner, and also a couple of beautiful outdoor private baths. It was such a unique experience stripping down to nothing and taking a dip with my friends and some other guests. The best thing was that the other Japanese guests simply did that as if it was nothing! So you might attract their attention instead if you are being all shy and still trying to cover something up while walking. Anyhow, the hotel is located inside this national park with its own private cable car from the nearest station, so all the water of the baths are from the natural sources. Taking a dip in the Japanese hot spring is what I would call "heaven on earth". After going from one bath to another (since the decors were unique in every bath), we had foot bath and massage too! And then right before the dinner time, the hotel staff converted our room into a traditional Japanese dining room. The dinner was such a feast with kaiseki style, the food came endlessly and the variety, quality, and presentation were simply mindblowing. After being full to the brim, we had to go to another hot spring session before heading off to bed. In the morning, we had another amazing feast for the breakfast. The best breakfast I've ever had. And oh, of course another dip in the hot spring before checking out from the hotel. Throughout our stay, the service was Japanese standard, ie. unpretentious, warm, welcoming, treating the customer like a king. All those in a price tag of A$300 including the massive kaiseki style dinner and breakfast. I would stay in this place rather than 5 star hotel anytime.

  • At 4/02/2010 1:43 pm, Blogger Neil said…

    We were at a resort in Fiji, wondering how we could get out of the sterile place and experience the "real" Fiji, when we got talking to one of the cleaners; a local named Rosie.

    She seemed lovely and as a result, each morning at breakfast we would stop for a chat. On our third day Rosie pulled me aside and quietly asked if my friends and I would like to come to her house for dinner! We couldn't believe our luck and accepted immediately.

    She arranged for a friend of hers to pick us up from the resort, so at the allotted time we all piled into the back of a ute and took off to a tiny village outside Nandi.

    When we arrived at Rosie's modest home, her husband Sai and 12-year old son Elias welcomed us in and gave us cushions to sit on. Rosie was in the corner making naan bread on a camping stove. As far as we could see, the cushions and stove were all the furniture they had but then Elias pulled a curtain aside to reveal a MEGA home entertainment system through which he proceeded to blast us with DVDs of Billy Ray Cyrus!

    When Billy Ray was eventually turned off, we had a great time drinking kava, telling stories and eating an amazing feast of Fijian traditional food. The family actually sat back and watched us eat - apparently a local custom.

    We couldn't believe their kindness and were sad to leave when the night was over. To this day they are the nicest people I have ever met in my life and we still write to them now, four years later.

    So I guess it's not exactly a hotel story but it did begin in a hotel... Hope I'm still eligible for the competition!


  • At 4/05/2010 1:19 pm, Blogger Cubie said…

    I was in a hostel in Siem Reap with my sister. After a long day of visiting the magnificent Angkor Wat, we looked forward to have a good shower. My sis went in for a shower, halfway through, she shouted out to me... as there was no water coming out from the shower head. I went out to check with the reception, appears that after a certain time everyday, they would shut the water supply for the day. Luckily they are willing to re-open the water supply while my sister was standing in the bathroom with shampoo on her head :P

  • At 4/09/2010 9:50 am, Blogger Chont said…

    Had a really bad experience on our last trip. Kids were sleeping in tri bunks, autistic son decides to climb to the top & throw himself off the top- smamshing head first into the wall & almost putting a hole in it. Don't know how he didn't brake any of his own bones. That night we waited 45 mins for a gourmet pizza to be made, leaving us all starving by 8pm. Woofing down our dinner & dog tired, we weren't told that the pepperoni was spicy & my ulcer went haywire. Couldn't feed the kids any of the pizza as there were chili flakes left from the peppeoni on the base after I pulled it off. So we go to KFC & toddler still wearing his 4 piece WHITE suit from the earlier function, has a poo explosion on the highchair. I spend all night in agony & on the toilet from my ulcer, which results in my son weeing on hotel floor as I couldn't get out of the bathroom. Tried to wash putrid toddler's suit but the machine only let it go to drip dry setting & was wringing wet. Can't out those delicates in dryer. Cost $4 to use washing machine. Was fuming as son had toilet accident after this & I had to wash the towels used to mop up his mess, costing me another $4.00 Ended up going home early & taking sleeping tablets so i wouldn't have to keep going to toilet on trip home. Was not fun.

  • At 4/09/2010 9:32 pm, Anonymous YM said…

    We just returned from our honeymoon. Having spent too much on the wedding, we opt for a quiet 1 week holiday in Rydges Sebaya Cairns. The hotel boasts 2 pools and lovely garden. We were looking forward to spending our days (and nights) out in the pool, relaxing and enjoying each other's company. Unfortunately the weather has other plans for us. It rains non-stop for the whole week (a milestone for Cairns for the wet season). Needless to say, not able to enjoy the pools/outdoor attraction, made be a pretty grumpy bride. My lovely husband managed to talk to the managers and arrange for a couple of romantic night in the room (with games, candle light and dinner on the balcony). Listening to the raindrops and enjoying the gloomy skies cheer me up! It also reminds me why I love my husband so much. He always managed to make lemonade from lemons. Thanks to the hotel staff for providing us with the sugar for the drinks!

  • At 4/12/2010 10:52 pm, Anonymous YM said…

    Another entertaining experience I have was small cheap hotel in Lake Taupo, New Zealand. We booked the hotel online and probably do not have very high expectations given the price we paid. We were greeted with a friendly owner and his family upon arrival, offer some yummy traditional tea and even a guided night stroll along the lake. The conversation and friendship is priceless. We are only sad that we did not have the time to stay longer. Really wonderful people!

  • At 4/13/2010 9:46 am, Anonymous WJ said…

    The little hidden gem I have found through hotel search engine is Tamar Valley Resort in Launceston. Initially we are a bit sceptical about our choice. Boy…are we wrong! The resort is self-rated and located only 10 minutes from Launceston City. But it is near to all the winery, fruit orchards, chocolate factories and the many attractions offered by Tasmania. The resort itself is a Swiss Village with cute bakery, coffee shop, restaurant and souvenir shops. The lake view from the room is spectacular. The staffs are friendly and very helpful. We even managed to catch some kangaroos hopping around the golf course surrounding the resort. Truly a spectacular place!

  • At 4/13/2010 5:29 pm, Anonymous MM said…

    My special hotel experience is in January 2010 when my then boyfriend brought me for a 2 night stay in the Lakehouse, Daylesford (Victoria). It was the most magical place. We got engaged by the balcony overlooking the hotel’s swimming pool. In my opinion, personal experiences with hotel services (good, bad or ugly) are the best way to enjoy what the world has to offer. I look back at all the memories (good or bad) and have a good chuckle. Reading other’s comments in this space just confirm my belief! I look forward to having much more of these experiences.

  • At 4/15/2010 11:27 am, Anonymous Helenlovesfood said…

    My entertaining (not so much for me at the time) hotel story is when my boyfriend surprised me with a hotel room for the night at the Westin in Sydney (now possibly my favourite hotel). I was delighted and extremely excited for our night in the city. We went out for a couple of drinks and dinner, bumped in to some friends and drank a bit more. My boyfriend (who is no longer) went a little overboard with the drinks and when we came back to the room for a romantic night he ended up spewing all over the bed, floor and then the bathroom. Being a spewaphobic (and subsequently a sympathy spewer) at 2am in the morning, furious at my boyfriend for ruining a good night and disgusted by the smell, I dragged myself down to the lobby to find a comfy chair to sleep in. The Night Manager asked me if I was OK and I explained to him what had happened and how mad I was and that he should charge my boyfriend for all cleaning charges. He took pity on me and gave me a free room next door to sleep in! Now that's customer service (and luck) at it's best! And he didn't even charge us for cleaning!

  • At 4/15/2010 12:10 pm, Blogger Elle said…

    Ahh. Entertaining is a fairly loaded word! I'll go with 'entertaining AFTER the fact'.

    Setting the stage: We were travelling to Sydney in Winter. My first trip interstate (age 11) and I was insistent that we get a hotel with a rooftop pool. Good choice #1.

    Another good choice on my part. Oh, hey, I've heard of Oxford Street. Let's stay there.

    At this point, if it wasn't my first real holiday there would be alarm bells and you would be asking why my mother let my pleas sway her (hell, I'm sure you're asking now).

    We get there. Mould everywhere. Toenails in the bed (please let that have been the only thing in the bed; I think I cried, haha), so I had to sleep with my body accordianed so my feet were nowhere near the mid/end of the bed. The room stank of cigar smoke - it actually made our eyes water. The pool was mouldy (and coming from Brisbane, I don't think I'd ever been that cold anyway - it wasn't heated and the weather was windy on top of that apartment block!!). There was something wrong with the shower and the water would flood out of the bathroom on to the carpet in the actual hotel room. It was..probably not the best start to travelling (less likely to give me the travel bug, more likely to give me any other kind).

    It was only years later that when we travelled through and read the names of the businesses nearby that I cracked up laughing. Oh my poor innocent 11 year old self! Lucky that I loved Sydney itself - I go back whenever I can.

    I'm sure there are other parts of the stay that I blocked out (although, I do recall some guy trying to charge me $1.20 for a Curly Wurly back in 1997). Someone must have seen sense, because the Oxford Koala was part-demolished and fixed up (I think under a different name).

    Thank God for the innocence of childhood. But I think I would have found the whole experience that littlest bit funnier now.

  • At 4/15/2010 12:34 pm, Blogger Sarah D said…

    my husband was selected for the top 100 Australian idol finals, during the week of final auditions they are all put up at the Menzies hotel (And despite him living a mere 10 minutes away in Redfern he had to stay there).

    SO, towards the end of the week, i snuck in at about 9pm and stayed the night! OMG, i'm not sure why i stayed! It was the craziest night. all night you could hear people randomly running up and down the hallways, singing, just general craziness! and to top it off, the bed was hard as a rock, it was like sleeping on a wooden door.

    Luckily we weren't ambushed by cameramen, or i would have been mortified. :-)

  • At 4/16/2010 12:17 am, Blogger Jason said…

    Made the mistake of staying on the Gold Coast during schoolies, never again. Though if you like late-night screaming sessions and loud music all the time, this is the place for you. We also made the mistake of booking into a dodgy hotel, I refused to walk on the carpets without thongs because my socks were black from walking to the bed and back to the tiled kitchen.

    Somebody was too lazy to take their garbage bag to the shoot and just dumped it in the hallway, that added a nice fragrance to the walk in the suspiciously dark hallway.

    It was an experience though and I don't regret going.

  • At 4/16/2010 3:03 pm, Anonymous Sally-Ann said…

    It was our wedding night. My newly wedded husband and I thought it might be nice to take a spa bath to unwind after the celebrations of our big day.

    We filled the tub and settled eagerly into our bath. Of course a spa bath is not complete without the bubbles so we turned on the jets to get the water flowing. So there we were relaxing in the spa. As we lay there, we noticed a few hairs floating around us in the water. We thought it was a tad off but who would let a few hairs spoil their special day?

    The next thing we know, we’re surrounded by a ‘sea’ of black hairs. We jumped out of the tub and drained the water. The bottom of the tub was left covered with a carpet of hair and we had to wash down in the shower.

    We let the hotel know of the incident the next day and when we returned, the tub had been cleaned up. Even so, we didn’t dare use the spa again just in case!

  • At 4/16/2010 3:26 pm, Anonymous MM said…

    One of the most memorable hotel experiences I will treasure for the rest of my life is a 2-night stay in Crown Plaza Hotel, Malaysia with my grandmother. It was in preparation for my sister’s wedding in the same hotel. The hotel is nothing fancy but the quality time I spent with my granny is priceless. We spent many hours lying down by the comfy hotel beds, talking about her childhood and her life. It was a very special time for me as one year later she passed away. I am forever grateful for the small amount of time I am able to be part of her life.

  • At 4/19/2010 1:30 pm, Blogger Helen (Grab Your Fork) said…

    Thanks everyone for all your fantastic entries - so many entertaining anecdotes! The winner has been chosen by HotelsCombined.com and announced here.


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