My break in Prague with my friend took me in the end in the finest boutique hotel. The decision was taken after a discussion between the hotel and the apartment. For a few days of relaxing stay in a luxury place with a familiar stay and all the services won on the independence of the apartment. I am satisfied with the accommodation because it is really a marvelous place that I suggest to go.
In past I used Sheraton and it is a great hotel, not so big and located in a quiet area 15 minutes walking distance from Charles Bridge. The finest boutique hotel offers anyway a friendly space in a unique setting, not comparable with any other structure. It is called Alchymist Grand Hotel and Spa. The furniture, the details, and the staff are surely the strength of this hotel.
The finest boutique hotel and its features
I had really a pleasant stay. What did my opinion very high? There are many elements that I evaluated. This finest boutique hotel is located quite close to Charles Bridge, so to the river. It is like five minutes walking distance. There is a very small square in the middle of small streets whit the hotel entrance. It is almost in front of US Embassy. It appears like a very quiet place. The building is a former-bourgeoise house. The structure perfectly restored and kept became hotel, open to the travelers in 2006.
The setting is in baroque style, reminding the past of the palace. The furniture is very well selected to create a refined ambiance. These aspects are easily visible getting into the finest boutique hotel, but there is something more. The staff, starting from the reception, is very welcoming and they are giving tailor-made assistance. The support to every request looks like to be part of a long relation, also if you booked a room for the first time. Alchymist Grand Hotel and Spaoffers particular rooms.
About the room I had I have to say that it is beautiful, clean with a very comfortable bed. Space is above the usual standards among the hotels and each detail is kept in high consideration. Also, the bathroom was large with a powerful shower. Lovely decor is spread everywhere and to sleep in the finest boutique hotel was an incomparable experience.
The room of the finest hotel boutique in Prague has a baroque style, but it is fully equipped with all the modern amenities and with luxury toiletries. Among the features of each room, there are safe, air conditioner, plasma TV, DVD and CD player, WiFi, Mini-bar. Thanks to the location of the hotel guests can sleep easily because there is no noise from outside.
Included in the rate of the room there is breakfast. Therefore you should enjoy the first meal of the day offered by Alchymist Grand Hotel and Spa. It is not only a matter of money but especially it is because of the food. There is a great variety of salty and sweet dishes, prepared according to high-quality standards. You will be delighted, I am sure of it. Do you like to taste local food? If yes try the finest boutique hotel restaurant.
We went to the restaurant one evening and we had delicious traditional dishes. Traditional meal and very good service provided by the professional staff. Aquarius Restaurant is not so big and decorated in perfect baroque style. They offer also Italian cuisine, but as Italian, I want to taste something different. The finest boutique hotel has also the Café Barocco Veneziano, where to taste some hot drink like chocolate with superb sweets during the day.
One of the amenities of Alchymist Grand Hotel and Spa is the spa area, modern and very relaxing. It is in the historical cellars of this finest boutique hotel in Prague. They offer different amenities and also a good variety of treatments for body and face. You can also ask for manicure or pedicure. If you just search for some relax, as it was for us after some parties for the New Year’s Eve, the Health Club is the proper place where to spend some hours. Steam bath, swimming pool with waterfall and the sauna are ready to help you to recover energy.
If you want to enjoy the beautiful city of Prague, the finest boutique hotel Alchymist Grand Hotel and Spa is the right place, especially to start your exploration of the capital. There are many attractions to visit, but also cool bars and restaurants where entertainment is an art. Stay tuned to read my next posts about the capital of the Czech Republic.
Now it is your turn. I need to decide between hotels and apartments. What is the best? For the New Year’s Eve destination I and my friends decided to go to Prague, but we are discussing the accommodation. I suggested to rent an apartment, but one of my friends insisted that hotels are better. He suggests to book a boutique hotel so someone will clean the rooms, we will have the breakfast included and so on. I wanted to go to an apartment to be more independent.
That is why I am trying to get ideas and suggestions from you. We have the task to decide, but you can be a support. What do you think? Are hotels better? Or are the apartments the best solution? Generally, it is a matter of price, but at the last moment you can’t find cheap rates, so the point is more related to the services and the amenities. To let you help me, I can describe what we found on Booking.com.
Hotels or apartments? The apartment
For our New Year’s Eve, I proposed to rent an apartment in Prague. Checking on Booking.com the different available options, I selected the most interesting one. It is larger than what we need, but we love luxury and comfort. What are the features of it? Simply: a marvelous terrace with a great view of the city. Not only, but there are also more things to mention. This is better than hotels for me.
The apartment, called Luxurious Pařížská, is located 400 meters from the Old Town Square. The position is really very good to see the attractions. The terrace then allows having a superb point of view on the Prague center. Free WiFi is included in the rate. There are hitters and a very big space. Five bedrooms, so one more than what we need, a living room, three bathrooms with a bat and a spacious living room. Plus a seating area and a kitchen equipped with a dishwasher.
Hotels or apartments? The hotel
My friend prefers definitely the hotels so this is our selected option. On Booking.com we found a very good one, but what about independence. It is a boutique hotel, called Alchymist Grand Hotel and Spa, and it is located 5 minutes walking distance from Charles Bridge. The place is perfect and it is a very good structure, with even more amenities of other boutique hotels.
What are the features? Free WiFi, reception open for 24 hours and they offer a complimentary welcome drink. Breakfast is included. They have a spa, Ecsotica Spa and Health Club, hosted in 11th-century cellars, you can imagine what a beautiful setting where to relax. The access is free and guests can use the fitness area, sauna, and pool. It looks perfect, but what about the independence?
What do you prefer?
Please help me! I am not asking to support my proposal against the one of my friend, but just to express your thoughts. We have limited time to book and it is necessary to define what we want. I am asking you what would you prefer. Hotels or apartments? What is your choice when you travel? Why? What are the elements that influence your choice? Comment below and you will give me a real help to decide and also to convince myself and my friends. Thank you!
Why not a boutique hotel? This is what a friend of mine asked during our plans for New Year’s Eve… I was focusing on apartments and, I admit it, I was insisting a bit on this solution. Why? I want to feel totally free and completely independent. This because we will be on holiday. Anyway, now we have some more doubts and we need to decide between a luxury apartment and a boutique hotel.
I am thinking to share some pics found on Booking.com so maybe you can help us to decide. It becomes like those TV show when you can ask help from the audience. I am not a TV lover, but I think there should be a famous format called “Who wants to be a millionaire?”. I am trying to win my stay for the New Year’s Eve, but I have to decide among the luxury apartment. Before to do that I can explain to you why my friend prefers a boutique hotel. Let’s see together how and why to choose it.
Why choose a boutique hotel
A boutique hotel is an expression of charm and luxury. The structure offers an intimate stay. This is the real difference between the hotel chains and the big resorts. Boutique properties can show a unique style and décor, along with the perks they feel best suit their guests. There is a smaller footprint that helps guests to feel comfortable and in a place more similar to their home.
You can benefit from a tailor-made service, incomparable assistance, like in a family, to a high level of privacy. You have a quiet space to relax. There are more reasons to book a boutique hotel anyway. This starting point, of course, it looks like a great competition with the luxury apartment. Anyway, a hotel gives you more, like someone who cleans the room every day and a ready breakfast every morning.
The reasons to book a boutique hotel
Most of the small boutique hotels are family-owned and run. The family members manage directly the structure and the services.
Many boutique hotels are luxury places with the breakfast included in the rate.
The staff knows the guests by name, so the interaction is more friendly.
Some hotels of this type are located in beautiful quiet places or in the best tourist parts of the cities.
The setting is unique and not like big chains with the structures made using the same standards and design.
There are fewer amenities than bigger hotels, but you can get support to craft your perfect getaway. Maybe the spa is missing, but who are searching for a romantic break, the boutique hotel is simply perfect.
They are not offering loyalty programs and neither co-branded credit cards, but guests will always get special treatment and discounts. Anyway, there are some companies that operate with boutique hotels and they give you a card as a loyalty programme. It is the case of Small Luxury Hotels of the World. In this case, you can get also free nights.
How to book a boutique hotel
Now you know the benefits given by this type of structure, so what you have to check is already listed. In fact, a real boutique hotel has the described features. Plus: they have four or five stars and not many rooms. Checking the pictures you can see the setting. There is always something exclusive and surely you will never feel to be in a déjà vu. Check the availability and the prices on Booking.com. Then I suggest you contact directly the hotel. Maybe they have special rates or they can offer a particular condition. Don’t forget anyway to read the reviews. It can be useful.
Let’s go back to my challenge. Do I have to book a luxury apartment or a boutique hotel? Well, I really need your help. So stay tuned, because I am preparing a post with more details and you will be able to help me in my decisions. You will be so important because I will get more advice to share with my friends.
What about a luxury apartment for New Year’s Eve? I asked this question to my friends because I found interesting proposals. I like to stay in hotels when I travel, because of the services. But going from a hotel to another it seems to me to be like a parcel post. That’s why sometimes I prefer to book an apartment. It gives me the feeling to be like at home. Of course, it is not the same, but it is more close than a hotel room.
In order to find a way to be less ‘tourist‘ for the New Year’s Eve, I am searching for a luxury apartment. I love the luxury setting and then with more rooms I can share it with my friends. It will cost less and we can manage it easily. Since the offers are a lot, I want to find the destination according to the availability of the best apartments.
My luxury apartment research
I decided to use Booking.com to have quickly a list of offers. Thanks to the filters I can easily activate the option I prefer to define better my research. In this way I skip all the properties I don’t like. This starting point helps me a lot. I can see the cities and also have some proposals with the prices. So I don’t start from the place but from the accommodation.
I can check the location, the pictures, and the features. This is really useful. Through this method, I can select the best luxury apartments in different cities around Europe and then I can decide what is the best choice. I and my friends are interested in a few days to break, so it is good to have comfortable rooms. Maybe the New Year’s Eve it will see us outside for a big part of the nights, but before and after we need a room where to relax.
The choice on the way
We need to decide quickly to book and organize our trip. That is why we are going to focus on the city events for the New Year’s Eve and as well on the luxury apartment features. What we really need in the house? Bedrooms, where to sleep separately, few bathrooms to not plan turns. Then a kitchen, a living room and of course a marvelous view.
The location is very important so this is one of the priorities. In the downtown or close to the main attractions and to the main events. This will be perfect to easily explore the place and as well to go easily where the party takes place. To have an amazing view helps also our stay. Thanks to Booking I can have the complete list and also to compare prices and to get the best deals on luxury apartments.
It’s Christmas time and you are searching for cheap flights to spend a few days on holiday. Maybe for the New Year’s Eve or just to go to meet relatives and friends who live far from you. Well, purchase a ticket at the last moment can be quite expensive, but if you apply my advice you can save money and fly to your destination for an excellent rate.
Let’s proceed step by step. First of all, I want to focus on last minute cheap flights so you will be able to leave for your Christmas holidays very fast and without spending all your salary. Then I will give you some advice about the method to find cheap flights in general and I will conclude the post with first class tickets. Read till the end to know the best way to get low rates.
Last minute cheap flights
Now you are in a hurry and you expect to pay a huge amount of money to buy your ticket. Don’t worry, you have a chance to find cheap flights also at the very last moment. How? With a few steps online.
Where to look and how to book
At the check-in desk at the airport, there are not anymore deals for you. They ask you the full rate and the price is very expensive. Too much. What can you do? Switch on your computer first of all. The entire process will be online. I suggest you book always in advance, at least 50 or 60 days before the departure, but if you can’t, pay attention to the next lines. A couple of months earlier guarantee you the best rates.
Once you know your destination go on Skyscanner.com. It is the best search engine for plane tickets. If in the city there are more airports, choose “any”. For instance, if you go to New York, select “New York any”. In this way, the engine will show you all the connections to the city, in all the local airports. This is the first step to find cheap flights. You can also tick the box to “add nearby airports“. The system will scan all the closest airports. You can do the same research on Kayak.
Book a seat on a charter flight
If you search for last minute cheap flights the best option isn’t a low-cost airline. Their strategy is to take advantage of the passengers in need. Start to scrap the list of charter flights. Consider that tour operators book entire planes and they need to make it full. There are always excess seats and they sell them reducing the price. You don’t have to buy a holiday package, but only the flight. For this reason, I suggest you check on Thomas Cook and TUI fly if your destinations are Florida and the Caribbean.
Get deals to your mobile
Are you in a hurry but you can wait for a few days? Subscribe to get directly in your email or on your WhatsApp the updated offers. You will be updated on flash sales, on new flight launches and also on last-minute discounts. This helps you to find your cheap flights. Skyscanner, Cheapflights, Travelzoo, and HolidayPirates are the websites that you need to explore to reach the goal. The first three platforms update you via email, meanwhile, the last one sends you the news via WhatsApp. Don’t forget to check the social profiles of these search engines on Twitter and Facebook to find the deals for the cheap flights.
Keep yourself free on Tuesday
The last advice to catch cheap flights is to search for them on Tuesday. Buy the ticket on the same day, because the last-minute deals are more convenient. Airlines prefer this day of the week to sell all remaining seats. Especially because at that point they know if the planes are full or empty for the weekend. The sales appear on Monday, but the competitors need one day to set the offers.
These steps will take you to purchase the last-minute cheap flights.
Cheap flights: how to find them
Now you know how to find last-minute cheap flights but there are some rules that you need to keep in mind always. Also when you book your ticket in advance. Let’s go to see what you need to do to have the best deal all for you. You can easily save money.
Keep your research secret
Each time you start research on the internet, your data are registered, especially from the engines. So if you type some information about the flight you want and then you do the same research on different websites, the prices will be higher. Why? They already know that you need a certain ticket. Your need becomes their strategy to earn money. To avoid this problem you don’t need to do anything particular. It is enough to keep your research top secret. Browse in incognito.
Don’t worry, it is not a hard issue. If you use Google Chrome or Safari hit the Command (Control for the desktop computer), Shift and “N”. If you use Mozilla Firefox or Internet Explorer instead of “N” press “P”, the other steps of the procedure are the same. In any case in the menu bar, you find the voice private browsing or incognito. Nobody will recognize you and nobody will register your research. You will see the real prices and not the increased ones.
Select the best engines
If you want to book cheap flights, you need to search for them in the proper places. Some platforms show you the highest rates, meanwhile, others propose you low prices. Here you can find a list of some good websites to use. If you know others, just add them in comments.
Google Flights (It doesn’t give you the cheapest prices, but it is really useful to compare the dates)
You should keep in mind that the list of airlines on these websites is not complete. So I suggest you, especially for regional and low-cost companies to go directly to their official pages.
Choose the proper day to book
Generally, there is the cheapest day to fly and it helps you to find the airline tickets best price. If you search on the internet you will find different opinions and mostly the sites indicate Tuesday as the perfect day. Be careful, because it is not true. It is correct that fly during weekdays is more convenient many times, but each company has its own policy. So there are deals to travel on Saturday or Sunday as well. So what to do? Don’t worry, there is a solution.
The procedure you must follow to find cheap flights is easy and immediate. Go on the search engine, for instance, Skyscanner. Then type the departure date, don’t consider the return ticket for a while. Select the “one-way” option. Do your research for an entire month. In this way, you will find out what day is the cheapest one to move. Once you collected the information you can adjust your search. Don’t forget to do the same for the return date so you will know how to manage your round trip.
This tip is valid to find the airline tickets best price. Keep in mind that if you have to add more days to your stay just to have a cheap rate, you will increase the accommodation cost. Is this convenient? The answer is up to you. If you use Kiwi.com or Hopper you can track the changes in the prices.
Use your miles
As I mentioned in my travel planner guide, if you have in your wallet a loyalty card issued by an airline company or a credit card with a cashback plan, you can travel for free. It depends on the miles present on your account balance. Maybe you will get a discount or you will purchase the ticket without any expense. Also, the main hotel chains propose cards that give you miles to spend on your airline tickets. In this case, check what you have and visit the programs web pages. Pay attention: the number of miles follows the same policy of the prices, so check the best day to travel. The cheapest flight can be free for you.
Prefer low-cost airlines
For the last-minute tickets, the low-cost airline is not the best choice, but they are if you book in advance. Around the world, there are many airlines working with budget deals. They generally propose you very low rates, like almost nothing, but there are some compromises. In fact, to reduce the prices they put more seats and you have less space for your legs. Then they don’t give you food and drinks for free on board. You may pay also for the suitcase. To have a better treatment they offer some privileges to who wants to pay more.
The convenience has to be check up to your needs. Anyway, I always suggest checking the low-cost airlines. Because maybe you book a flight for a short trip and you can do some sacrifices to save more money. Last thing about this step. The airport location is most of the times the less close to the destination, so think about the transfer and the time that you will need. You will go straight to cheap flights.
Take advantage of the mistakes
Do you want to find easily and immediately the airline tickets best price? Search online for mistakes. Often the offices of the companies publish online the wrong rate. There are many reasons, but what is important is the result. If you catch the error and buy at that rate, you have the right to travel without any other costs. They can’t change, as the law says, the price after the ticket is sold. The mistakes are on the official website and they are your luck in the research of cheap flights.
How can you find them? You are thinking to stay 24 hours online without sleep hoping to catch the error… No, you don’t need this. You can just connect to some platforms that search for you. Then you need to be lucky. Visit AirFare Watchdog and Secret Flying. On the first one, the updates are in real-time. Use the same search criteria already described in previous steps.
Slit connecting flights
Are you searching for connecting flights? Maybe to go to your destination it is necessary to change plane e in another airport or country. Never search for all tracks. Split them. If you book each flight, also with a return ticket, you will find better deals. It is also possible to save money just changing the airline company. If you do this you are freer to choose the best options, according to the price and to your convenience. It gives you more chances to find the cheap flights you want.
Keep in mind that you need to work more on hours of arrival and departure. This because you have maybe to move and to catch the connection with a different airline. If you use a low-cost company and a traditional one check the arrival airport. It can happen that they use different locations and you have to organize the transfer on time to catch the other flight. You can in case consider also a stopover to see another place.
Choose the destination carefully
To find the airline tickets best price you have to focus also on budget companies. As I already wrote they offer you a good rate for different reasons. One of them is the airport used. In the big cities, there are more locations, with different distance between the city and the airport. Anyway, if this looks a sacrifice, you should consider one more element. There are different tracks to get to your destination for less money. This is an important step in the research of cheap flights.
You are thinking…WHAT?!?! I am going to explain to you two interesting options. The first one is that around the region of your destination there are smaller cities or town connected with their airports. It can cost less to go there and then to move by car, bus or train to the place where you want to stay. The second aspect is made by the connections.
For instance, if you move from the USA to Italy and you stop in Spain to change flight you have more chances to save money. In fact, airlines have some track that they need to promote and they offer good deals. Or simply using different airlines and prefer a longer trip can become an economic benefit for you. It happens especially if you choose airlines without a hub in the departure or arrival countries.
In this way, there are always some risks. Be careful because if you book a connecting flight with different companies and you miss the plane to continue your trip, you will lose your money. That is why it is good to prefer dedicated search engines. Some of them help you to use different airlines in combination and to purchase your ticket in the same order. In this case, your money is guaranteed and you can get refunded in case of problems. This because they sold you the deal for the whole trip. When you choose the website read their policies. Otherwise, cheap flights become very expensive.
Prevent the hidden city risk
While people were searching for their cheap flights, they discovered the “hidden city” connections. It means that airlines are going to hide the flight connections because they are cheaper than the direct flight. Anyway with the steps described you won’t have problems to find them. The problem concerns the risks and you need to be aware of this.
What are the risks? To not have theluggage checked directly for all flights, so you need to claim it at your arrival and then do again the check-in. You may not be allowed off the plane in case the flight is continuing to its final destination. You may lose the connection without having any assistance from the airline. There is no solution, but that is why I suggest to choose carefully the website and especially to check the conditions.
Book all flights in the same moment
Did you find the cheap flights? Will you use the same company? Buy the tickets altogether. If there is no chance to have a lower rate in splitting the flights, buying each of them separated it will cost more. Companies prefer to sell the round trip, otherwise, they propose a higher rate. It doesn’t make sense. Try to do the research through the multi-city flights.
For example, a company can offer more routes together for an interesting rate. In Europe, it is quite common with Turkish Airlines. The same does Virgin Atlantic. Include regional passes, because there is a cooperation between local companies with the big ones and it costs less to mix the flights among them. The same airline will issue the ticket.
Check local airlines
Never forget to check the proposals of the regional airlines. They are small but they have connections and they may propose low rates. Especially in the countries where tourism is now so much developed. It is difficult to know them and to find a complete list, but searching on Google you will access to their web pages. It is also hard to find them in the main cheap flights’ search pages. The small companies can be a surprise, it is good to check every time you need to travel.
Book the trip when you know the date
It is another important rule to follow for who are searching for cheap flights. When you decide the dater for your travel start immediately to check the flights. Also, purchase as soon as possible the tickets. All the steps will help you to find quickly the best deal but keep always in mind that approaching the departure day the rates will increase in any case. It can be useful, if you don’t have fixed dates, to search for the best one to travel, the one that has the lower price. So you will let the search engine decide for you. It can be convenient.
Pay attention to the currency
The last tip about how to find easy and immediately concern the currency. Booking form different countries you can see different prices. That is why you should consider checking the different currencies on the same website. Sometimes it is not a simple conversion and also it depends on the conditions apply for certain countries. You can save again a bit of money. Be sure to have a credit card that doesn’t apply fees for the transactions in foreign currency. It is part of the steps to find cheap flights.
Cheap flights: first class
Sometimes there are discounted first-class plane tickets, you can fly inside the USA for less than 1,000 USD or internationally for less than 2,000 USD. How can you find the cheapest flights as a first-class traveler? I like luxury and for that reason, I try to search for good deals. Why spend more than enough? Here I want to share an efficient strategy that I learned and applied.
The first-class cheap flights are usually not many, so if you search for a round trip you will reduce the chances. You can go to your destination with a company and go back with another one. On domestic flights, it is not common to find a ticket that costs more than half of the round trip. Searching for a flight don’t be surprised if the cost is around 100 USD more than a coach seat. Of course on domestic connections.
Deals on your mobile
If you are not in a hurry, I suggest you search first-class cheap flights on websites able to send you alerts. So you will be among the first to know the deals. The alerts are important because discounts are short living. You can find them also on the Twitter feed of TheFlightDeal. My tip is to check and subscribe to FirstClassFlyer.com and to FlyerTalk.
Pay attention to the small airlines
In recent years also the smallest companies improved their first-class setting. They also propose good deals for the cheap flights, so check them. So companies from Norway and Poland, for example, offers very low prices to travel from Europe to the USA. They have often new aircraft with a well equipped first class. The service is very well organized and complete. I have to confirm anyway that the big companies are doing something more, also because they have to win the competition, especially on first-class.
Become a loyalty card member
Do you want first-class cheap flights? Well, subscribe to the airlines’ loyalty cards. Why? Because some of them are offering discounts on your first-class ticket purchase. For example, British Airways reserve too AARP members 400 USD of discount for business and first-class tickets. Lufthansa, Swiss, Austrian, and Brussels Airlines give to the cards’ holders 15% off. If you fly from Europe to South America the discount is up to 30%. Cathay Pacific recognize to the loyalty cards members 20% off. There are many airlines that give discounted prices to their loyal customers.
Check the upgrade cost
One you bought your economy-class ticket you can purchase your upgrade. Some airlines offer you discounted options. So adding a limited amount of money you can fly in first-class. The American company United do that, meanwhile, Delta let you switch to a first-class fare on the same itinerary with no change fee. If you see a good first-class fare open up after you book, call and lock it in. Austrian Airline allows you to make an offer for an upgrade. The best offers are accepted. This means you can change class spending a small amount of money more.
Use your frequent flyer miles
The biggest airlines in the USA give the chance to their frequent flyers to book a one-way ticket for half price using miles. This allows you to save money for a first-class seat. Don’t forget that your miles, for all the airlines in the world let you get discounts, mixing miles and money. Also, you can use your miles, if they are not enough for the entire ticket, for a class upgrade. Your first-class cheap flights are so easy to get.
Don’t exclude any option for your travel. Check all the airport close to your destination, because the rates can be different also for the first class. You can fly in first-class spending less money and than adding a cheap coach ticket to reach your destination. This trick allows you to use the best airline benefits, just changing the airport. Of course, it depends on the country where you go.
If you follow these steps you will easily find first-class cheap flights. Now book your seats and enjoy your journey!
Traveler's blog: experiences, guides, tips, and deals.