Long term stays in upmarket hotels
September 26, 2019 3:04 AM   Subscribe

I remember several years ago (possibly a decade or more) reading a long-form article about a guy who stayed for a year in luxury hotels at very low prices by offering to stay for long periods. Can you find the article, and does this strategy still work?

The idea was that the author ignored websites and directly phoned around all the luxury hotels in a destination, explained that he was playing them off against each other, and offered very long occupancy (one month or more). Since hotels like the security of long occupancy, a surprising number were willing to let him stay at very low rates.

I was explaining the idea to a friend who wanted to do something similar, but given the fleeting nature of things on the internet I can no longer find the article. Also I'd love to know whether anyone has tried this one weird trick more recently, and whether it worked or not.

I think the long-form article was a promotional extract from the cash-in book that he'd written after the year was up, and it may have involved other hacks - I think he was doing the year without working while living on only $1000 or something of that nature.

Other details: probably on the Guardian website; both the guy's parents had worked in the hospitality industry which is why he knew about the occupancy hack; guy came across as insufferably smug and also the kind of person who's really into airmiles; he started the trip by staying in a beachside destination somewhere in Asia.
posted by chappell, ambrose to Travel & Transportation (4 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I can’t shed light on the article, but if you’re going to try this, I would avoid luxury hotels owned by large corporate chains with loyalty programs (InterContinental, Park Hyatt, Ritz Carlton, Fairmont), because they get a lot of corporate clients for long stays who don’t care about discounts (because client money and/or reward points are paying), so they might be less likely to want to make a bargain with you. I’d aim for luxury and boutique hotels that are independently owned.
posted by sallybrown at 4:22 AM on September 26, 2019 [1 favorite]

I think you're looking for Paul Carr and a book called 'Upgrade'.
posted by humuhumu at 4:29 AM on September 26, 2019 [2 favorites]

Paul Carr did write about this and his book was very informative but the details here don't quite match up. But if your friend is looking to travel to eg, Thailand, know that plenty of very nice places publish daily/weekly/and monthly rates on their websites.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 4:47 AM on September 26, 2019 [1 favorite]

Many thanks all - Paul Carr was actually given a column in the Guardian to blog about his adventures as an alcoholic at tech conferences and that’s all I find when I search for him there, but otherwise the details basically add up. Going to mark this one resolved, but I’m still curious to know whether his approach was just bullshit from a self-aggrandising drunk or not. I suppose I’ll have to buy his book...
posted by chappell, ambrose at 2:21 PM on September 26, 2019

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