Still Room at the Inn

Plenty of hotel openings in many cities for this New Year's Eve

If you still haven’t made a plan for New Year’s Eve and think it may be too late, think again. Many hotels are finding that they have plenty of open rooms and not much time left to book them.

In San Diego, California hotel owners think the hype over Y2K has kept people from making reservations. Usually hotels don’t sell out until a couple weeks before New Year’s and this year looks about the same. Many people expected it would be much different and that’s why the open rooms are disappointing to hotel owners.

At the Marriott Marina in downtown San Diego they’ve sold just 300 of 1,200 tickets to their big New Year’s Eve bash. This year the hotel is charging $1,000 per couple, while last year the price was about $400. Price could be a factor, hotel managers admit, but also say they are paying higher prices for services and have to pass along the increases t guests. The Town and Country hotel in Mission Valley has lowered its overnight prices from $129 to $99 in hopes of filling up the hotel for New Year’s Eve.

In Las Vegas thousands of rooms are booked, but there’s still some deals out there. The 3,300 room Mandalay Bay resort has plenty of open rooms and the hotel is lowering prices to attract guests. Rooms that were going for $1,100 a night have gone down to $599.

In Denver, Colorado the Westin Tabor Center is still hoping for someone to drop $99,000 on their New Year’s party. The hotel chain will rent you 25 rooms, dinner, tickets to Phantom of the Opera and a midnight gala bash for that price. No takers yet. One event that seems to be doing well is "no Vegetables" night at the Sheraton Denver Tech Center. The hotel is offering a night for kids and parents. Dinner is pizza, pasta and ice cream and for entertainment there will be videos, games and magic by Cracko the Clown. The cost of this evening $149 everything included.

There’s one place that’s having no problems finding guest for New Year’s Eve. Rio will be swarming with tourists even though prices are up 500 percent. Packages ranging in price from $8,000 to $16,000 are almost sold out. Even the smallest hotels are charging $2,500 a night, breakfast not included. Most of the big spenders heading to Rio are from Brazil. Many are rich executives from the business capital of Sao Paulo or industrialists from the south and west of the country. People are paying the price and don’t seem to care, authorities are predicting more than 4.5 million visitors will hit the beaches of Rio this New Year.

DATE: 12/6/99

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