Review of the Hotel Tonight App | The Frugalista

Review of the Hotel Tonight App

by frugalista on August 21, 2013

hoteltonightHey Frugs! I did a “hotel hop” using the free Hotel Tonight app to celebrate my mother’s birthday in New York, and I wanted to let you all know what I thought about the app.

The Hotel Tonight app is basically like a daily sample sale for the chicest hotels in cool cities in North America and Europe. Every day at noon, check the app to see what hotels are available for that night on a discount. The hotels are categorized as hip, basic, solid, charming and luxe. You let the app know how many days you’d like to stay in a hotel and it will let you know what inventory is available. During our Hotel Tonight hop, we stayed at the Paramount Hotel, Empire Hotel and Dream.

Using the App in New York:
In New York, I had the option of searching in New York City (Manhattan) for hotel deals or Brooklyn. Brooklyn offers great rates, but if you’re a tourist, you’ll likely do most activities in the city. I only would book the Brooklyn hotels when visiting friends who live in Brooklyn.

The first hotel Mom and I booked using was the Paramount. We booked shortly after noon and we had a handful of hotels to chose from. We picked the Paramount because it’s considered a luxury value hotel, so I knew it would be a good fit. I’d like to think of it as frugal and paramount hotel in new yorkfabulous. :) Booking the hotel was so easy that I did it from the taxi cab line at LaGuardia airport. Pick the hotel that you want from the list available and pay with a credit card through the app.

The Paramount has a beautiful lobby, great bar, but a really small bathroom in the room! We had no problem checking in and even got an upgrade to a larger size bed once the hotel discovered it was two of us using the same room. The front desk knew that we used the Hotel Tonight app to book and didn’t treat us like scourge.

The Paramount is located in Times Square, so if you have tickets to catch a show, it’s a great location. You have to pay for Wi-Fi ($13.95 per day) unless you’re in the lobby. Boo and hiss. Including tax, the hotel cost us $152 for the night. A twin bed room there can easily run you $209, pre-tax. Our room had a bigger bed than twin, thank goodness.

After having a good experience with the app, we decided to keep using it for the other two hotels. It was like a mini adventure. If you’re the type to not want to pay cab fare to cart your goods, then “Hotel Tonight hopping” may not be for you! Or you can travel light and take the subway – $2.50 per ride!

There is a bit of a beef between Hotel Tonight and discount hotel site Priceline. Priceline says that Hotel Tonight’s deals aren’t all that. I would say as a Frugalista, if you are looking for $400 per night hotel rooms for $40, don’t use the Hotel Tonight app. If you are looking for a good price on a sophisticated and desirable hotel, then Hotel Tonight is perfect for you. All of the hotels we stayed in cost less than $200 per night and located in great neighborhoods in the Big Apple.

Who Should Use the Hotel Tonight

1) Spontaneous people who believe that variety is the spice of life. In a span of four nights, Mom and I stayed in three different hotels. It’s easier to get a deal for one night than it is find a deal at one hotel four nights.

2) People who like staying in nice hotels but don’t want to pay full price. We didn’t get Empireany hotel deals for less than $100, but that’s OK. Our stay at the Empire Hotel, a mainstay of Gossip Girl, a favorite during Mercedes-Benz Fashion week and other displays of wealth, was under $200. Ordinarily, that hotel is in the mid-$300.

3) People who are traveling in small groups. Many of the hotel deals are for couples or single people in New York. I’m not sure about the other cities. Every night, Mom and I were spooning in one bed! :)

Who Shouldn’t Use the Hotel Tonight App


1) People who prefer staying at Best Westerns and Howard Johnsons because of the low prices. The beauty of the app is that it’s not super corporate with its selection. The app has a nice curated lists for hotels.

2) People who are too proud to wait on a new supply of hotels, promptly at noon. If you’re the forgetful type, you may forget to book a room for the evening and only remember at 8 p.m. to find a hotel room. The best deals could be gone by then! You can set a reminder on the app to notify you promptly at noon to search for a room!

3) People who hate paying for a hotel upfront. You use your credit card when booking the room.

What’s your favorite app or website for saving money when traveling? Have you used Hotel Tonight? Thoughts?

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