Yesterday (July 3, 2020) was the first day in months that residents of Atlantic Canada could freely move about the region. This “Atlantic Bubble” as it’s called signals an easing of restrictions established to combat the spread of COVID-19. I thought it might be worth doing a little bit of searching for any special lodging rates aimed at encouraging Atlantic Canadians to spend some travel dollars close to home.
Chain Hotel Staycation Rates
[UPDATE July 25, 2020: I’ve discovered since writing this post that some individual IHG hotels have Atlantic Canada resident rates or staycation specials. However, they do not display on the main IHG Rewards website. Instead, you find it by going to the website or Facebook page of the specific property and clicking through the booking linking for the discount rate. I did not do a comprehensive search but the Holiday Inn Express Inn & Suites Halifax-Bedford and the Holiday Inn Express Stellarton-New Glasgow are two hotels with such deals that are apparently only bookable with a promo code that appears using the designated link]
I previously posted on the blog about the Choice Hotels discount for Canadians (25%+ off, book by July 9, 2020) and the various Best Western gift card deals, so I decided to see if there are any promotions specifically aimed at close-to-home bookings at other hotel chains. So far, it appears that Marriott is the one paying most attention to the staycation angle.
When searching on the Marriott website, remember to check the “Deals and Packages” tab for special rates. For example, I see the Halifax Marriott Harbourfront Hotel offers what’s called a “heart.soul.halifax! Staycation” rate that includes a $25 Visa gift card and a $25 dining credit; the Four Points by Sheraton Halifax has an “Atlantic Road Trip” rate that includes parking and a $25 gas gift card; and there is a “Nova Scotia Staycation” rate at the Courtyard Halifax Downtown that includes parking and a packaged continental breakfast.
The Delta Beausejour in Moncton has a staycation rate that includes a $20 hotel credit, parking and late check-out. The Four Points by Sheraton in Moncton offers an Atlantic Road Trip rate like the Four Points in Halifax although they add the word “Challenge”. Not sure what that means but at $119 the rate is a significant discount over the Marriott Bonvoy member rate of $146 on the random July date I chose.
As always when evaluating hotel rates, consider all the options and whether the inclusions actually constitute a good deal. Often you’re better off paying the best flexible rate (for loyalty program members) but sometimes you can score a great package deal.
Unrelated to staycation deals, note the Residence Inn in Dartmouth is currently offering a package rate with 2500 Marriott Bonvoy bonus points per night. On the date I checked, the member rate was $136 compared to $149 with the extra points.
If you’re signed up for Travelzoo emails, you already know about their promotions. Otherwise, keep an eye on their page for Quebec and Atlantic Canada Hotel Deals.
There are multiple special offers from the various Rodd Hotels & Resorts in the Maritimes that you can compare with the package rates on their own websites. Same with Hearthstone Inn in Sydney, Nova Scotia. And for those seeking luxury, there is a discount offer from Fox Harb’r Resort that includes an activity credit.
In addition to information on restaurants and shopping, the Discover Halifax website includes a compilation of various accommodation specials in the Halifax area.
Direct Booking Discounts
If you spend some time googling you may come across independent lodging establishments offering special rates for booking directly with them and not through a third party website. Whether it’s a high end hotel or a rustic cabin rental, you should go right to the source before deciding how to make your reservation.
I found a few examples after a little bit of online searching…
In Nova Scotia, The Gillespie House Inn in Parrsboro has a “Covid 19 Staycation Special” where guests save 10% when staying two nights or longer. Similarly, the By The Bay Bed & Breakfast near Peggy’s Cove has a 15% discount for stays of at least two nights.
In PEI, the Around the Sea Rotating House has an “Atlantic Bubble” special rate. As well, the Island Home B&B mentions special “Maritime Bubble” reduced rates on its website.
I didn’t know there was a rotating house in PEI. I think somebody should take a trip around the Maritimes and stay at as many unusual lodging options as possible – an old train caboose, a lighthouse, etc.
Although some B&B operators have made the difficult decision not to open for the 2020 season, it does appear that a number of businesses in Atlantic Canada are gearing up to salvage a tourist season turned upside down by COVID-19. A few are even using the “Atlantic Bubble” in their marketing to entice guests with discounts on a close-to-home vacation.
One should of course shop around to see if the special rates offered at some accommodation providers beat out the various other options in the area. While perusing websites for rate info you can also read about any social distancing protocols or updated cleaning procedures put in place in light of the coronavirus pandemic, which might ease one’s mind about travelling in the region this summer.