Where are those much-hyped four-star hotel rooms at one-star prices?

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We told you a few weeks ago about a special online auction from the Leading Hotels of the World. Namely, for 80 minutes only this morning, the group of luxury hotel properties would release "a limited number" of rooms at the rate of $19.28 per night (for its founding in 1928; get it?) for travel between Nov. 1 and Dec. 15, 2008.

Well, I'm not a fool, and this morning I tried to take advantage of the offer. But I wasn’t able to get through on the website — it just kept telling me to reload the page. Once the 80-minute time frame had passed, I went to the site and received the following apology:

"Due to the overwhelming number of consumers participating in this promotion, we have indeed experienced technical difficulties. Despite our efforts to carefully manage and prepare for this worldwide promotion, we were unable to meet the demand.

Please accept our sincere apologies. You will be receiving another opportunity to participate in this offer shortly via the email you provided to register for this promotion.

In the meantime, please rest assured that we will not be saving your email address in our database for any future solicitations.

Thank you for your understanding.

The Leading Hotels of the World, Ltd."

It sounds like their server crashed. I wonder when or if the promotion will resurface. We asked our mascot, Bud Travel, to use his Twitter.com/budtravel feed to ask folks what they encountered.

Meg Keough of says, "I tried the auction. No luck. They sent out an email saying fill out an attachment. No attachment." Then, moments later, LHW sent out a third mass e-mail. Via her Twitter feed, Meg adds, "Just had the third resend with a link to download a form. Instructions: Email it in tomorrow at noon GMT."

Update: 1:23 p.m. ET.: Weird! I'm not getting any of these email updates! And I know I'm registered because I got a confirmation email weeks ago! Drat!

Christine Cantera of the delightful Miss Expatria travel blog, couldn't get through either and has a hilarious, expletive-filled transcript of the process. And Shanfishes said she couldn't get through either.

Sigh! What a fiasco. But don't give up hope!

Did anyone get through to get a deal?

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