Miles MPG Average Speed  
  248 39.2 56  

Mileage dropped for this trip because I had a 14’ kayak on top of the car.  But still superior mileage to what I’d get with the same boat on top of my Mountaineer – or just with the Mountaineer.

2/8/13 – 2/11/13 Priceline Retail $ Savings % Savings
St Petersburg Marriott Clearwater (3-star) $53.85
$54 bid
($44 + $10 bonus cash)
$196.75 $142.90 73%

I decided to spend the weekend on the west coast of Florida this weekend for some kayaking during the day and to follow the Solar Bears to play the Florida Everblades on Saturday night.  Yay, hockey!

My preferred plan was to stay in Fort Myers / Sanibel Island, but couldn’t get a hotel at my price-point – three nights for $150 total for a 2.5-star or $200 total for a 3-star.  I could have kept trying, since it was only Monday, but decided to try the St. Petersburg / Clearwater water area as well.  Either area would work, provided the price was right.

On I’d seen a 3-star in St. Petersburg Beach go for $46 a night for the previous weekend (2/1), so used $40 as my starting point plus the $10 Bonus Cash from Priceline.  Nothing at $40, but a couple rebids later I got this Marriott.

Booking this through the hotel’s website would have been $159 a night for Friday and Saturday, then $209 for Sunday night.  The total would have been $590.24 with tax … my Priceline total was $161.55 total.

The hotel’s location is a little odd, hence the name incorporating both Clearwater and Saint Petersburg.  It’s about midway between the two cities on the bayside of the peninsula.


I was good with the location, because I planned on paddling in Dunedin and Fort DeSoto (St Pete Beach), so it’s centrally located for me.  I thought I might also do some paddling in the Bay north of the 60 causeway, since I’ve had good luck spotting dolphins there in the past.

Unfortunately, none of those plans worked out.  I got to the hotel around 10:00 Friday night and ordered room service for dinner.  It was a pretty bad chicken piccata – piccata is supposed to be a light, bright sauce.  What I got was almost a cream sauce, so thick with butter that it was solidifying by the time it was delivered to my room.

Worse, about six hours later I got hit with some significant digestive issues that kept me up until dawn and still feeling weak and unpleasant. 

Since I wasn’t feeling well and felt it was unlikely to get better any time soon, I headed home.  I stopped for a bit of poker at Hard Rock, but my heart wasn’t in it.

This is where Priceline becomes an iffy proposition, because I’d prepaid the hotel.  So getting sick and canceling my trip doesn’t get me a refund (they offer some travel insurance, but generally it’s not worth it, in my opinion). 

Now one way of looking at this is that I lost $100 for the two nights I didn’t stay.  On the other hand, if I’d booked through the hotel and not Priceline I’d have paid $159 + tax for the single night I stayed … which is about the same. 

So for this trip, I call it a wash.