Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Superbowl - The Last Pieces

After taking the decision to got to the Superbowl, we had to scramble to get our final preparations made. I plan on writing a series of posts about our experience, but not too much about the game itself, everybody saw it. If you watched it on TV you probably saw it better than I did.

Superbowl Tickets

After losing the first two rounds of ticket lottery (and apparently a third round no one knew about) we also quickly exhausted our connections. Everyone we knew who won the lottery (not too many) had already made other arrangements. They had already sold their tickets, promised their tickets to someone else or were looking to retire on the sale of their tickets. We started started looking on line for tickets.

Although there are many websites that sell tickets we quickly decided on either Stubhub or the NFL official exchange Ticketmaster. Due to the last minute rush to get going we felt we needed the credibility of companies associated with the NFL. Ticketmaster is the official ticket scalper and Stubhub is a subsidiary of the Official NFL package provider. They both offered the largest assortment of tickets, almost 5,000 each.

We settled on Stubhub because they had the strongest guarantee, although getting your money back after investing thousands of dollars in the trip would hardly be a satisfying result. She selected tickets in the Upper End Zone Corner, row 10 on the Saints side of the field. They were not the cheapest tickets (those were on the Colts side or in the end zones), but they were not much more than the cheapest. Our final purchase was Monday evening, we were leaving on Friday. Stubhub did not offer to overnight the tickets but did tell us we could pick them up on Saturday.

Sunlife Stadium Section Numbers

We still didn't have a hotel room. I had already made some enquirers. We checked out our hotel in South Beach, the Marsalles and the first hotel we stayed in in South Beach The Ritz Plaza. We looked at the Yankee Clipper in Fort Lauderdale and one of out favorite hidden spots in Fort Lauderdale Lago Mar. We checked Trip Advisor my go to hotel site and we tried Travelocity Orbitz and Expedia. When we go to South Florida we usually rent a condo. I like having space and a kitchen, but since we usually deal with individual owners it takes a lot more effort and time to arrange. We called a few places we had stayed before.

As I expected there were plenty of rooms pretty much everywhere but prices were all pretty high, about double and sometimes tipple what rooms go for normally, even in "season".

The Contenders,
The Marseilles Pool

The Marseilles was out hotel for New Years Eve 1999, the Faux Millennium Eve. We have returned several times since. The hotel is located on Collins Ave, withing walking distance of Ocean Drive and Lincoln Road. The hotel have a nice poll and direct beach access. It is the best of At that time we first stayed there it was in almost original condition. It has since been updated with new decoration in the rooms, but most of the origiual hotel is still there, unlike many South Beach Hotels. Price $349/night.

The Ritz Plaza Pool

The Ritz Plaza a couple of doors down from the Marseilles it was the first hotel we stayed in in South Beach in the early 90's. We were were there for a conference. Then in almost original condition it has been closed for renovations for several years always due to open next year. There have been several owners and it's still under renovation. Maybe Next Year.

The Yankee Clipper pool side

The Yankee Clipper is a Fort Lauderdale Landmark, built in the form of a cruise ship it is one of the few hotels in Fort LAuderdale located directly on the Beach. There used to be a pretty goood Steak house in the hotel, I'm not sure it's still there.

The Yankee Clipper Bar

It features a bar with windows into the swimming pool complete with mermaids from a earlier era. Recently renamed the Sheraton Fort Lauderdale Beach Hotel. It is located steps from the NFL Saturday NIght FREE Concert. SOLD OUT.

Lago Mar Bayside

Lago Mar was a sleepy relatively inexpensive beach resort when a friend first referred us to it in the mid 90's. It is located in a quiet residential area, with an almost private beach. When we discovered it it was the best deal in Fort Lauderdale, it has since moved upscale with little improvement in quality, still its a nice place. $429/night

We decided not to stay in Southbeach or Fort Lauderdale. We booked a room in our favorite area Hollywood, mainly because there is a lot of resturants within walking distance and its convenient to the stadium. We tried a number of condos, but that didin't work out. We kept coming back to the Ramada Hollywood Beach Resort.

Hollywood Beach Resort, Ocean Side

The Hollywood Beach Resort built in 1925 as the Floridian by the world renown Rubish and Hunter architects of Indianapolis has been converted to an odd combination of hotel/ Condominium/ Time Share/ Mall. We have an affinity for grand old hotels and this was once one of them. It has been the victim of several ill conceived and poorly executed conversions over the years. We were anxious over the possible accommodations and have avoided staying there in the past. Since this was not a typical trip we decided we could sleep there 3 nights since we would be out of the hotel most of the time. $189/night.

The Final Piece was parking. Where would we put the car during the game? I had read that if we bought tickets from Ticketmaster we would have the opportunity to purchase a Stadium Parking Pass. I got a pleasant surprise when checking out at Stubhub. I was able to order a parking pass at the Stubhub Experience located at the racetrack adjacent to the Stadium, even more surprising there was no additional charge, so I ordered one. The website was a little sketchy on where the parking was and how I could get the pass. I also tried to figure out how to purchase a pass to the Stadium parking. I looked everywhere and while I could find sites reselling the passes I could not find out how to purchase one directly. Finally I called the stadium. A very helpful lady there told me I could go to Click and Park to purchas one.

It was Tuesday afternoon and we had all of our pieces in place, but not our ducks in a row.

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