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All comments by Jonathan Steinberg
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Mike, you keep saying Montreal is easy to find housing. Can you provide some concrete examples and links.

Hotel rooms in Montreal that are going for CDN $125 in January sell for more than CDN $300 plus in July.

When Philadelphia was held in March, the ACBL Marriot was US $160. I was able to stay a 10 minute walk away at the Hilton DoubleTree for US $100. A significant savings that I suspect would be much harder to find in July. When it is off season and a non ACBL hotel has vacancies, guests like bridge players who stay for 7 nights or longer are appreciated and get upgrades.
Jan. 20
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I definitely recall receiving at least one notice but it may have been for San Francisco, not Columbus.
Jan. 20
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Gatlinburg advertises 20, 30 different hotels with info. You choose the one you want, call them and reserve. If sold out, try another. Not difficult.

NABCs may have, 1, 2, 3 host hotels, rarely 5 but it would not be difficult for the ACBL web page to have updates. The real problem is availability and selling out within hours and/or within the first week.
Many haven't even begun thinking about their July vacation 6 months in advance. By the time the ACBL Bulletin with Montreal info arrives, all the hotels will likely be sold out. This is not a formula for maximizing attendance nor making ACBL members happy.
Jan. 20
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Gatlinburg, because of its size, has often been referred to as the 4th NABC. The organizers negotiate reduced rates at multiple hotels, advertise all of them (including others that are not sponsors) and then the players book directly with the hotel of their choice.

I'm still waiting to learn why a housing bureaus is a necessity for ACBL NABCs.
Jan. 19
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Hopefully even the patron members have a deadline date to book after which the unsold rooms can be made available to the rest of the membership.
Jan. 19
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Chris, ACBL Patron membership has little to do with NABC housing, room blocks, or criticizing the ACBL. Less than a fraction of one per cent of ACBL members are Patron Members. Not all attend NABCs. They are making a donation although I doubt if it is tax deductible since the ACBL is not a charity.
Jan. 19
Jonathan Steinberg edited this comment Jan. 19
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Sunday, January 19, 9 AM EST. Reservations opened just under 4 days ago. The only hotel with full availability is the Fairmont Queen Elizabeth. Le Westin only has rooms available on 3 of the 11 nights; The InterContinental on 6 nights; Holiday Inn has 9 nights available but Thursday, July 21 and Sat, July 25 sold out. The Embassy Suites sold out Fri & Sat July 24/25.

Regardless of one's views on yield management, ACBL negotiating skills, Housing Bureaus and so on, this can not be good for NABC attendance. It is mostly the NABC regulars who circle their calendars and wait for reservations to open. I'm sure many players who occasionally attend the odd NABC are not first in line. And when they take a look and see little availability, they move on.

Just for your information, Trip Advisor ranks the ACBL Montreal hotels as follows: Out of a total of 172 hotels, the InterContinental is #37, Fairmont Queen Elizabeth #38; Le Westin is #48; Holiday Inn #64; Embassy Suites #66
Jan. 19
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I have more than one response from him. Regardless, I don't think it would be appropriate for me to do so. Joe Jones could certainly post his (the ACBL's) response on Bridge Winners if he so chooses but that would be his decision, not mine.
Jan. 19
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As Jonathan Cohn wrote below, history indicates that there will be multiple cancellation just prior to or on the last date you can cancel without losing the first night room deposit. For Montreal, it is MAY 12. Mark the date and be sure to check at that time. Rooms will open up but how many and for how long is unpredictable. But don't forget. May 12 is the critical last day to cancel without forfeiting your first night deposit.

Background: At the last Toronto NABC, there was no penalty for last minute cancellations. Literally, hundreds of room nights at the Royal York were cancelled within two weeks of the tournament. Consequently, many people did not attend who might otherwise have done so. Further, ACBL failed to meet its room block! and had to pay a financial penalty to the Royal York hotel.
As a result, then CEO Bahar Gidwani instituted the immediate one night deposit when booking. The deposit becomes final and non refundable two months before the start of the NABC. Excellent policy.
Jan. 18
Jonathan Steinberg edited this comment Jan. 18
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You may be thrilled (or not) to learn that after several years of cost cutting, shorter Board meetings, more conference calls, in 2020 the President has announced that the Board will return to four day Monday to Thursday meetings at all three NABCs plus a monthly telephone conference call. so much talk… signifying nothing!
Jan. 17
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Not true. I have booked many Canadian hotel rooms and there are lots of choices. You can book a room with two beds, one bed, a high floor view room, a standard “Run of House” room, a Senior discount, CAA/AAA discount, prepaid room, and so on and so forth. Even Priceline often gives you a choice of bedding with their Express Deals. The price for King rooms are often less than for two double/queen rooms. The problem is that Conference Direct/ACBL gives you NO OPTIONS and NO CHOICES. For $200 a night, we should have those options.
Jan. 17
Jonathan Steinberg edited this comment Jan. 17
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Sorry if you were offended, Cam. I thought the comment was obviously meant to be humorous although there is some seriousness to it. Reservations opened at the weird hour of 11 AM and before the afternoon was over, you could not book a full stay at Le Westin. Not very fair!
Jan. 17
Jonathan Steinberg edited this comment Jan. 17
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The ACBL terminated OnPeak and are now using a new housing bureau: Conference Direct. I share your concerns as do many others. Please refer to Ed Judy's Bridge Winners thread at: https://bridgewinners.com/article/view/montreal-summer-nationals-in-july/

and my thread including a letter I sent to the ACBL Board of Directors at: http://bridgewinners.com/article/view/open-letter-to-acbl-board-of-directors-housing-bureau-nabc-rooms-montreal-summer-nabc/

Good luck to all in finding accommodations.
Jan. 17
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HUGE renovation. The hotel was closed for almost one year in the 2016-2017 period. Spectacular renovation
Review of Fairmont The Queen Elizabeth
Reviewed August 27, 2017 via mobile
This is more than a makeover, this is s total transformation! The rooms are superb in every way. Comfortable obviously, but more than that, with a real design personality. It was as if we were on a curated journey! Bathrooms spectacular as were all amenities. Service was commensurate with the surroundings: flawless. My feeling is that this hotel now takes on the mantle of the best in the city. https://www.oyster.com/montreal/hotels/fairmont-the-queen-elizabeth/full-review/
Jan. 16
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UPDATE: Just 31 hours or so after reservations opened, Le WESTIN
is sold out most days and the InterContinental is sold out on Thursday, July 16 and Friday, July 24.

The Fairmont Queen Elizabeth is still showing availability every day. The cheapest of the ACBL hotels at CDN $183 plus 18% tax, it is not a bad option. A quality hotel just 1 km (0.62 of a mile) from the playing area. ACBL will provide shuttle buses (or a healthy 12-13 minute walk).

GOOD LUCK to all. Montreal in the summer is a great tourist destination!
Jan. 16
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Run of The House means the hotel can give you whatever standard room they have available. You are NOT guaranteed a King bed or a room with two beds. For $200+ a night, you should be able to specify the type of room you require and have it guaranteed.
Jan. 15
Jonathan Steinberg edited this comment Jan. 15
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Another issue with the new ACBL Housing Bureau is that my confirmation under room type said “Run of the House”. which means that you are unable to guarantee/reserve a room with two beds or one. That is not acceptable to me. ACBL members have no problems dealing directly with a hotel when making reservations for Regional tournaments at the bridge rate. Why do we need to go through a housing bureau for NABC room reservations?
Jan. 15
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UPDATE: Sadly, just 5 and half hours after the ACBL online reservations opened at 11 AM EST, Le Westin shows NO ROOMS AVAILABLE for Sunday-Monday-Tuesday, July 19-21. Is it any wonder NABC attendance is falling and the members are unhappy with this kind of service? Gross incompetence, IMHO.
Jan. 15
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From my FB post this morning: HEADS UP! Reservations have opened for the Montreal NABC, July 16-26, 2020. You can book online at: https://nabc.acbl.org/montreal/plan/

All events will be held at the Palais des Congres de Montreal (Convention Center).

There are no less than five host hotels ranging from CDN $183 to $275 (US $140 - $211) plus taxes which add up to 18%! They all have pluses and minuses. However, one of them – Hotel Monville (primarily for the American Bridge Teachers Association - ABTA) is no longer available. It has been replaced by a Holiday Inn /Downtown (primarily for the Youth NABC) so very few rooms are available.

The three primary hotels for normal (ha,ha) bridge players are the Fairmont Queen Elizabeth, InterContinental & Le Westin.

The Fairmont Queen Elizabeth is the least expensive (CDN $183/US $140) but it is 1 km (Google calls it a 13 minute walk) from the playing area. ACBL will provide shuttle buses. This may actually be a plus for those who enjoy fresh air and walking. All the other hotels are adjacent to the convention center.

Le Westin is a Marriott Bonvoy property. For the Marriott Platinum and Titanium high-rollers, please note that there is NO Executive Lounge. But you will receive points/miles and free breakfast in the restaurant. At CDN $192/US$147, I expect it to sell out within days.

Hotel Monville, opened in 2018, is modern and innovative (robots deliver room service!) but only offers rooms with one King size bed. Online reviews criticize the “very small” but well-appointed rooms. The hotel responds “All our rooms are made to optimize comfort and practicability. They all have king size beds, a rain shower, a 50 inch flat screen TV and a Nespresso machine.” ACBL rate: CDN $199/US $152. NOT AVAILABLE. ALL rooms taken by the ABTA.

Hotel InterContinental, as with Le Westin, Queen Elizabeth & Monville, are all rated highly but why is it priced higher than the other three hotels at CDN $209/US$160?

Finally the Embassy Suites (A Hilton property) provides suite style accommodations, “free” breakfast with made-to-order omelettes and “free” drinks during Happy Hour. Despite the extras, it gets mixed reviews and at CDN $275/US$211 you are paying a huge premium for your “free” omelet and drink.

July is Prime Time, High Season in Montreal. The tournament is near “Old Montreal” which has excellent restaurants and numerous attractions. An outstanding venue in an amazing joie de vivre city.

But there are no hotel bargains at that time of the year and as is usually the case, when the ACBL comes to town, prices rise. The weeks before and after any NABC are always less expensive. Supply and demand.

There are numerous modest accommodations available if you search carefully, use Priceline, etc. Montreal is a great tourist destination, especially in the Summer.

I urge you to book early as I expect rooms at Le Westin will not be available for very long. If you miss out, be sure to check back on or before May 12 which will be the last day to cancel a reservation without losing the first night deposit.

USA citizens require a passport. At current exchange rates, $1 US dollar equals $1.31 Canadian.
Jan. 15
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Excellent tourist area. It should be a winner. https://web2.acbl.org/Tournaments/Ads/2020/08/2008123.pdf
Jan. 9
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