Tag Archives: SDCC Hotels

Comic-Con 2010 Hotel Block Opens March 18

I’m pleasantly surprised that Comic-Con International and/or Travel Planners has gotten their act together for next year’s convention. Before attendance (and hotel rush) went completely insane, they used to send out hotel info with their fall newsletter or in a postcard around December (or maybe January), but over the last two years it’s been pushed later and later. For 2009, they didn’t even announce a date for hotel reservations until February…a month before they opened. The list of hotels went up even later — the day before, IIRC.

The fall newsletter, now an online magazine, went up today, and along with it not just the date for reservations, but a list of hotels…including distance, prices, and shuttle stops. Hotel reservations go online March 18, 2010.

Additionally, they’ve made some interesting changes that may help combat the craziness:

  • Reservations will now require an immediate deposit of one night’s stay
  • Deposits are fully refundable until May 14.
  • From May 15 to June 17, there’s a $75 cancellation fee.
  • From June 18 onward, deposits are nonrefundable.

With luck that’ll cut down on some of the “just in case…” extra reservations, now that there’s an actual financial commitment to it.

(Cross-posted at Speed Force)

Comic-Con Hotel Review: Holiday Inn on the Bay

During Comic-Con we stayed at the Holiday Inn on the Bay (not to be confused with the Holiday Inn Bayside). It’s sort of in walking distance of the San Diego Convention Center (we did it one morning…and I did it again one evening after an incident with the shuttle that deserves its own write-up), but at more than a mile it’s not a distance you’d want to walk with a heavy backpack, or in a costume, or carrying bags, or on a hot afternoon, or after a long day of trudging around the convention center.

It’s located on the bay (of course), near the San Diego Maritime Museum where they have several classic ships permanently anchored and available for tours. If you happen to have an upper-floor room, the views are quite nice. (We were on the second floor, so our view was of the roof of the hotel’s conference center. It’s funny how quickly we got used to the sound of the air conditioner.)

It’s an easy walk to Little Italy (we went out to one of our favorite San Diego restaurants, Indigo Grill, on Wednesday) or the trolley, and on the convention shuttle route.

Holiday Inn RoomThe rooms were nice, clean and spacious (absolutely huge, compared to the last few places we’ve stayed in San Diego). The bed was comfortable, and they had pillows with two different levels of firmness, so neither of us had any trouble getting to sleep. The hotel restaurant/pub, the Elephant and Castle, is quite good. There’s also a Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse in one tower, and a deli next door. And for those looking to save money on breakfast, the in-room coffee service is a single-cup disposable-basket setup, so that if you want plain hot water for tea or oatmeal, it won’t taste like coffee! Wireless internet access is complimentary, and easy to set up. Our room had locked doors to adjoining rooms on both sides, so a large group could presumably link together at least three rooms into a suite.

The only annoyances were:

Internet access during the convention was absolutely swamped. Sometimes pages just wouldn’t load, and the Flickr uploader actually gave up several times. This would have been less of a problem if I hadn’t been so determined to post photos and blog during the con, though at least with photos it turned out I could (usually) start them before going to bed and let them run overnight. The one night that it just gave up, I tried when we got up at 6 AM and they posted extremely quickly.

The bathroom had a sliding door that didn’t seal. Like the room at the Omni, it blocked light but not sound or airflow. On the plus side, it was actually big enough that we could brush our teeth at the same time.

Overall, though, we really liked it, and agreed that it would be near the top of our list when it came to hotels on the shuttle route. Though if possible I’d really prefer something close enough that we wouldn’t have to rely on the shuttle or other transportation.

Note (2014): This hotel is now the Wyndham San Diego Bayside.

Comic-Con Hotel Booked – Sort Of (2009)

Well, I jumped into the fray of the Comic-Con International hotel reservation system and made it across to the other side, getting through by phone after 1 hour and 20 minutes. I never did make it past the “waiting room” page online.

The weird thing about the phone reservation system is that I don’t actually know which hotel we’ve gotten yet. They took my name, contact info and top 3+ choices (I gave them 5), then handed the info to their processing center. They’ll call back (later, I assume, after the rush is over) to let me know which hotel I got. I do have a backup that I reserved directly, but the convention discount is significant, especially when you add up four days.

It was interesting watching commentary streaming by on Twitter (search for “comiccon,” “comic-con” or “comicon”) as people started out commenting, then complaining, and eventually celebrating (after about an hour) when they finally got through. Or really letting loose when the system dropped them.

Update: A reporter interviewed me about the Comic-Con hotel reservation experience. Update (3/20): Here’s the article at the Union-Tribune. I’m not quoted.

Update: I got an email confirming our reservation. It’s farther out than the backup, but it’s ~$100 cheaper (over the course of 4 days – possibly more, depending on how much the other hotel charges for internet access) and there’s a shuttle. Now to weigh ~$100 vs. walking distance and figure out which room to keep and which to free up for someone else who needs one.

Cross-posted at Speed Force

Comic-Con Hotel Block Opens March 19, 2009

Comic-Con International finally announced the opening of this year’s convention block in San Diego hotels: March 19.

This time last year, they’d already gone on sale and sold out.

As recently as three (or maybe four) years ago, they’d have sent a postcard by January. They used to include a full list of hotels in the winter newsletter with distance and prices. I could swear I remember them going on sale in January.

Of course, five years ago you could still book the Little Italy Super 8 only less than a month in advance. Now the discounted rooms are in such demand that they sell out in a matter of hours.

Like last year, they are only selling tickets in advance, so if you plan on attending, you should order them online.

Getting a Hotel for Comic Con (2008)

Tomorrow morning at 9:00 PST, rooms in the convention block go on sale for this year’s Comic-Con International. I was going to write up a bunch of tips last week, but CCI beat me to it by launching their own blog, Staying In San Diego. Visit it today, because it’ll probably be swamped tomorrow. (Though if it’s actually hosted by TypePad, direct visits may not take it down.)

Update Wednesday Morning: Well, I made it through. Oddly enough, in exactly the same amount of time as last year. I had the confirmation number at 10:04. Weird.

Once again, I was completely unable to get through by phone. The website was hit and miss, and actually crashed at one point, serving up only a “500 Server Busy” error. Right after I entered my name and address for a reservation. Nice. The current blog entry is filling up with complaints from people having similar or worse experiences.

Update 2: The Beat has a growing comment thread as well, and notes that the con hotel blog is making noises about trying to get Travel Planners to fix the problems. I think having an official place where they can read exactly what people are going through is helping convey the fact that the reservation system is broken, and that it’s not just the imbalanced supply and demand for rooms. (end of update 2)

I’m going to repeat some of my criticisms about the actual website, which seems designed expressly to make it bog down under this load: Continue reading