Off-season Hotel Discounts

• The Kempinski hotels have announced special rates through March 31, 1997, at these and other European hotels:

* Hotel Bristol - Berlin - 270 DM ($180)*

* Hotel Corvinus - Budapest - 230 DM ($153)

* Hotel Taschenbergpalais - Dresden - 340 DM ($221)**

* Hotel Gravenbruch - Frankfurt - DM 248 DM ($161)**

* Hotel President Wilson - Geneva - 440 Sfr. ($347)**

* Hotel Atlantic - Hamburg - 260 DM ($173)* Dec. 1-30, 1996, 275 DM ($183)* Jan. 1 - Feb. 1997

* Hotel Furstenhof - Leipzig - 250 DM ($167)**

* Hotel Vier Jahreszeiten - Munich - 280 DM ($187)*

* *Includes tax and service charge.

* **Includes breakfast, tax, and service charge.

* These are double room rates. To book, contact a travel agent or call 800-426-3135.

• The Steigenberger hotel chain offers a wider choice of properties than the Kempinski and its special winter rates are guaranteed in dollars. The following are examples of Steigenberger's "Dollars & Sense Europe" rates.

* Hotel Weisler - Graz - $179

* Hotel Europa Tyrol - Innsbruck - $169-$179

* Hotel de France - Vienna - $159-$199

* Parkhotel Schönbrunn - Vienna - $139-159

* Grand Hotel Bohemia - Prague - $229

* Hotel Amethyst - Prague - $139

* Hotel Diplomat - Prague - $159

* Hotel Savoy - Prague - $199-$219

* Hotel Drei Mohren - Augsburg - $159

* Bad-Hotel Zum Hirsch - Baden-Baden - $129

* Badischer Hof - Baden-Baden - $159-$169

* Axelmannstein - Bad Reichenhall - $159-$169

* Steigenberger - Berlin - $159-$229

* Bleibtreu - Berlin - $179

* Savoy Hotel - Berlin - $199

* Hotel Am Terrassenufer - Dresden - $169

* Steigenberger - Frankfurt Airport - $149-$159

* Lindner Congress Hotel - Frankfurt - $129

* Frankfurter Hof - Frankfurt - $179-$189

* Lindtner - Hamburg - $179

* Steigenberger - Hamburg - $199

* Palatin - Heidelberg-Wiesloch - $149

* Eden Hotel Wolff - Munich - $179

* Splendid - Munich - $129

* Palace - Munich - $199

* Ramada Nürnberg Parkhotel - Nürnberg - $129

* Hotel Helia - Budapest - $129

* Hotel Gellert - Budapest - $149-$169

* Schweizerhof - Zürich - $309

* Bookings must be made in the U.S. Tel. 800-223-5652

Hotel Coupon Deals

Ed Perkins, editor of Consumer Reports Newsletter, is an expert on finding the best hotel deals. His regular newspaper column recently dealt with the issue of hotel discount coupon books.

He cited Entertainment Publications new half-price hotel directory which lists some 5,500 hotels around the world, including more than 800 in Europe, and said it "far outstrips Entertainment's earlier directories, as well as those of its major rival programs."

Called the Ultimate Travel Savings Directory, it comes with an ID card valid for at least a year and sells for $59.95 from Entertainment 1-800-445-4137. The directory includes discount coupons for American Airlines, Continental Airlines, several cruise lines and car-rental companies. The Entertainment ID is also good for system-wide discounts up to 25% at several big mid-priced hotel chains.

Entertainment also publishes a separate book for Europe that includes discounts at participating restaurants and visitor attractions as well as hotels.

Perkins also mentions two other major hotel discount book sellers: Encore ($49.95 per year, 800-342-0558) and Quest ($99 per year, 800-742-3543).

In order to reserve a room at a discount rate, the Entertainment (or Encore or Quest) ID card holder must call a listed hotel directly (not the nationwide toll-free number). If the hotel expects to be less than about 80 percent full, the half-price rate is extended. These rates are not commissionable, so your travel agent may be less than enthusiastic about handling the booking for you.

Finally, Perkins points out that "half" price is usually 50% of an inflated rack rate that almost nobody pays. Nonetheless, he concludes these discounts are usually the best price the hotel has to offer.

It should also be noted that Gemütlichkeit has successfully used the Entertainment discount program in Europe.

Condor Goes Sked

Condor, the Lufthansa "holiday" airline, now has authority to fly scheduled service from Tampa and Fort Lauderdale, Florida; Las Vegas, Nevada and Anchorage, Alaska. All flights are nonstop to Germany.

Though Condor has offered charter service for over 20 years, scheduled service approval allows them to be listed in computer reservations systems and allows travel agents to sell their tickets.

The winter schedule calls for only one flight per week from Florida and Las Vegas but a Condor spokesperson said it is "looking for at least twice weekly service" during the May-October summer season. Anchorage service begins in May of 97 and continues through mid-September.

Flights, via Boeing 767-300, offer a two-class arrangement. Comfort class is nonsmoking and offers business class-style service with roomier seats.

Current low season - through the end of April, 1997 - roundtrip fares are $598 economy and $1348 comfort class from Florida and $700 and $1450 from Las Vegas.

Passengers may book by calling 800 524-6975 and, beginning in December, via a travel agent or through Lufthansa Reservations at 800 645-3880.

November 1996