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Tips for Hotel Seekers, especially Paris and Amsterdam (Haarlem)

I successfully booked rooms in the above cities after getting tips from the Travel Forum.
What I hadn't read elsewhere, but really worked for me was making more personal contact than on the Web.
Website companies often said the rooms were not available at the time I was seeking. I phoned several hotels and, despite the online statements, found that they in fact did have a few rooms available. So, don't stop searching when you go on the Net and read, "No rooms". I think the booking companies may have used up their quotas, but the hotels themselves often have many rooms. Also, the rates can be negotiated. Sometimes, just saying you were on a Rick Steves tour helped. Other times, I kept asking about discounts and surprise: even when they told me there were no more rooms or discounts, when I asked to speak to a supervisor, they often discovered a room or two with lower prices.....often much lower than on line, eg our hotel in Paris on line was going to cost $300 a day. I got it for $160, tax included! By the way, their English is quite good, so do check on the phone with hotels which advertise in a different language than, French. Isn't is great having a Rick Steves Travel Forum to work these things out?!

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This is nice to hear, Robert! Please post a trip report after your trip and let us know how these hotels worked out! I've been lazy and still need to post one on Sicily!