Welcome to Traveler's newest column, Hotel Confidential. Traveler's Hotel Central editor, Susan O'Keefe, is just back from St. Petersburg, Fla., where she attended the Historic Hotels of America annual meeting at the salmon-colored Don CeSar Beach Resort on St. Pete's beach. You'd have to get up pretty early in the morning to beat the deal she found while she was there.
The Don has a wonderful incentive program to get people to check out of their hotel room early, especially great when you have to make those early morning flights anyway. The "Back to the Beach" program asks guests to vacate their room before 10 a.m. on the day of departure so housekeeping can get in there and clean it for the next guest (and who doesn't hate waiting around the hotel lobby for their room to be ready?).
Guests who depart before 10:00 a.m. can enter into a weekly contest to win a return two-night complimentary stay at the oceanfront resort. If you're a morning person, there's even more incentive to be an early riser: Early birds who check out before 8 a.m. receive three entries, before 9:00 a.m. receive two entries, by 10 and you receive one entry. One stay per week is given away. The return stay certificate is valid for two nights in a standard room (based on availability, valid Sunday through Thursday).
And while IT loves to sleep in, knowing that getting up early means you could be back for a return visit is enough incentive to set the alarm.