“Mad” Hotel GM To Rip Beds From Rooms

Economy-inspired “Survivor” promotion costs less as guests pare amenities at the posh Rancho Bernardo Inn

By Ron Donoho
|  Wednesday, May 13, 2009  |  Updated 10:47 AM CDT
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Want a Cheap Hotel Room? Just Give Up the Bed

Hotel staff will empty the honor bar and take the bed out of the room if you so opt.

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A basic “deluxe accommodation” at San Diego's stylish Rancho Bernardo Inn usually goes for $219, and includes breakfast for two --  but from May 15-June 15, a wacky “Survivor”-inspired promotion will allow guests to get the room for just $19 (plus tax).

All you have to do to get the “mad” bargain is give up the breakfast… and the honor bar, the air conditioning, the pillows, the sheets, the lights, the linens, the toiletries… oh, and the bed.

In listed order, each time you choose to eschew an amenity, your nightly bill goes down $20-$30 dollars. If you do choose to camp inside a hotel room, management decided it was too risky to cut off electricity to the room -- so the TV will work.

Rancho Bernardo Inn general manager John Gates says this is part of his Twitter.com-based “GM Goes Mad” campaign. He joined the social media platform, and to see if it was working he posted random notes like: “Bring me a sandwich, get the day off.” It worked. Another “follower” got half off his meal price at the hotel’s restaurant by taking the tweeted advice of telling a server what El Bizcocho means (sweet biscuit).

Has Gates been mad for his entire 18 years in the hospitality industry (three as GM at RBI) or has madness suddenly come upon him?

“It’s been a gradual process,” he says. Gates is not quite sure how many people will be willing to go without certain items, or go all the way with the $19 special (the offer will be repeated from August 16-31).

This is not a joke. Hotel staff will empty the honor bar and take the bed out of the room if you so opt. Guests are free to bring sleeping bags, flashlights and their own soap and shampoo. Squatters beware: there’s a three night maximum on the deal. 

Ron Donoho, formerly executive editor of "San Diego Magazine," is a regular contributor to NBCSandiego.com who covers local news, sports, culture and happy hours.

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