A Guide To Lastminute ‘Top Secret ®’ Hotels – And 10% Off Promo Code

by Continental Club on March 14, 2014

Lastminute NewThe concept of so-called ‘opaque’ hotel bookings – ones where the guest chooses a star rating and rough location, but doesn’t know the precise name of the hotel being offered – has been around for more than a few years now. The internet has undoubtedly fuelled growth in the genre, though ‘mystery tours’ have been popular since charabancs started chugging off into the unknown.

Travel website lastminute.com promotes their version of the ‘opaque’ booking through its Top Secret ® Hotels offers; the unidentified hotels appear in the lists of properties returned in a standard hotel search.

lastminute.com advertise that they list ‘four and five star hotels in 250 locations for up to 35% less than you’d pay anywhere else‘. Is the balance between certainty and saving stacked in the guest’s favour or not, though?

There’ll probably never be a definitive answer – indeed the opacity of the offer means that all the parties on the supply-side are completely in control of what they make available, at what price and described in ways that they’re free to amend at any time.

However, to encourage guests to give Top Secret ® Hotels a try, lastminute.com has introduced a promotional code offering 10% off this specific booking method. There are 4,000 opportunities to use the code, and bookings must be made by 23:59 on 31st March 2014.

This code continues to work into July 2014; we don’t have a new expiry date, so do continue trying to use it! Code now reported to be invalid.

To check availability and to book with the discount, visit lastminute.com/hotels and enter the code ‘trialtopsecret‘ (all lower case) when prompted.

Beyond the extra discount then, how can you make the most of lastminute.com Top Secret ® Hotels? Well, while there are no guarantees, there are some guidelines which may help guests make an informed choice.

First of all, there’s the hotel star rating which, in areas that have fewer hotels of a given rating, may allow you to narrow down the possibilities.

Then there’s the list of facilities; if there are only one or two properties in a particular location that offer, say, a swimming pool, can you match that to the description of a Top Secret ® Hotel?

There may be only one other named hotel listed on lastminute.com in the area that you’re looking that offers a specific amenity, but that’s no absolute guarantee of a match – Top Secret ® Hotels may not also be listed under their own name on the site.

Are there any other secondary clues that might help you narrow down the possibilities? From the level of saving (based on the ‘full price’) to the number of reviews, or the precise description of the property, guests could find that there are some very strong hints to work on.

And, of course, if the location and the rate are the most important factors in your hotel search, then does it really matter if the name of the hotel is only revealed upon booking confirmation? If all the 5 star hotels in a neighbourhood would be acceptable, the savings could be compelling. Use Google or a site such as Kayak for a list of all hotels at a given grade.

Needless to say, Continental Club has tried out the lastminute.com system to verify that it works, and to see what saving was achievable in practice. The results, for a one night stay at London Heathrow Airport on 16th April 2014 were as follows:

Top Secret ® Hotel rate Advertised as 35% off £97.56
lastminute.com rate Hotel named in search results £151.19
Best available rate Continental Club complete web search £151.19

 

So, in fact, the sample booking that we made turned out to offer a saving of exactly 35%, before the addition of the 10% off ‘trialtopsecret’ code. The property turned out to be the 5* Sofitel at T5, and we used this specific link to book.

To search for other Top Secret ® Hotel rates, visit lastminute.com/hotels.

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3 comments

Have booked a secret hotel for Dubai on New Year’s when all hotel prices were outrageous. Hotel advertised as 5* and indeed ended up being the rather nice and grand Sofitel Palm. The price was at least 30-40% less than any other 5* hotel bookable in that area at that point in time.

by RandomUser on March 19, 2014 at 12:21 PM. Reply #

Sounds like a result, especially knowing how high Dubai hotel prices can be over Christmas and New Year.

by Continental Club on March 20, 2014 at 6:48 PM. Reply #

I used the code TRIALTOPSECRET at the beginning of June 2014 and it worked fine!! Thank you!

by Angela on June 19, 2014 at 8:24 PM. Reply #

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