|by Sean O'Neill||Helpful Websites, Hotels, Online Travel Agencies||1|
Sometimes it matters a lot how close your hotel is to a landmark, such as a famous building, a wedding chapel, or a conference center. Maybe you have limited time and worry about getting lost or delayed. Thankfully, picking a well-located hotel, based on its distance from an attraction that's important to you, has gotten easier with the help of three new Internet tools.
This week, Google upgraded its six-month old Hotel Finder tool, enabling travelers to hunt for hotels close to popular landmarks, such as the Empire State Building. Type in the name of a landmark, and Google's Hotel Finder will fetch a list of hotels located within 20 minutes of that landmark by public transit. If you prefer to walk, you can adjust the search settings. (Google has public transit data for 500 places worldwide. Where none is available, Google displays walking time.)
In a neat trick, Google quotes rates at each hotel for your dates of travel, revealing if each rate is a particularly good deal. Case in point: The Econolodge Times Square, which is within a 15-minute walk of the Empire State Building, recently had nightly rates of $101, which Google says is a 49 percent discount off its average rate over the course of the past year.
One downside: Hotel Finder works only for US cities at the moment.*CORRECTED at 2pm ET.
Once you’ve picked a hotel, it would be nice to know how far you could travel from it within a set time, such as the number of blocks in Chicago that you might cover in a 10-minute radius from the Millennium Hotel. Luckily, new site Cartoo shows you just that, plotting on a Google map how far you can go, whether by car (or by walking or bicycling, where such data is available). It works similarly to Google Hotel Finder for locations worldwide.
Lastly, what if you want to build a multi-day itinerary of attractions, you may find Tripomatic is a remarkably fast and easy tool. When you add a hotel to your trip, Tripomatic calculates the routes for each day’s outing around town, so that you always begin at the hotel in the morning and finish at it in the evening. Search for attractions you’re interested in, such as Golden Gate Bridge, and add them to your map with a click. Tripomatic does the work of arranging a point-to-point itinerary that is efficient. Launched last summer, the site also lets you search for hotels that are listed with major travel site Booking.com. Unlike the two sites mentioned above, Tripomatic is currently limited to covering 75 American cities.
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