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The scoop on Scoopon Travel

January 5, 2012

Last July, in desperate need of a holiday, I purchased a voucher through Scoopon Travel for a holiday in Port Douglas. The holiday was subsequently booked for December, and then I waited. Waited in a state of paranoia, convinced that the deal was too good to be true and that purchasing something as big as a holiday through Scoopon was bound to be a mistake.

Swim-up bar and pool at Rydges Sabaya

So what was the deal?

I bought a five night stay at the Rydges Sabaya Resort (4 star) in Port Douglas, buffet breakfast daily for two, bottle of wine on arrival, free wi-fi and a late checkout of 2pm for $499. You were able to purchase multiple Scoopons to increase the length of your stay so I bought two, meaning the holiday was for 10 nights and cost $998. Travel had to be between October 2011 and March 2012 with a few blockout periods applying.

Scoopon experience pre-holiday

I’d bought Scoopon deals before, and purchasing a deal through Scoopon Travel  is really no different. It’s a seamless experience, and easily purchased through the mobile device app as well as via their website. Once purchased, I had to wait a few days before booking could be taken. Bookings had to be made over the phone with Sunlover Holidays. I called Sunlover as soon as bookings were open with the intent of booking our stay in November, however whilst 5 nights could be accommodated, 10 nights was unavailable until December. I had actually bought this Scoopon in its second round – it had been available a week earlier – so this was believeable given a few hundred of the Scoopons had already been purchased.  We booked for 4-14 December.

View of resort from our balcony

Holiday experience

We arrived at the Rydges Sabaya and were given excellent treatment by the Reception staff who gave us a map of town, details on the resort, and informed us they were happy to book any tours for us should we wish. Our room was basic – king bedroom, bathroom and balcony – but we didn’t intend to spend a lot of time here other than sleep. The promised bottle of wine was in the mini bar with accompanying note from Resort Management. Five days into our trip we came back to our room to find another bottle of wine with another note saying they hoped we were enjoying our stay. I honestly didn’t expect this; I knew that technically I was entitled to two bottles of wine given I’d purchased two Scoopons, but since it was ‘on arrival’ I would have been happy with just the one. So this was a nice surprise.
The resort facilities were fantastic – especially the huge lagoon-style pool with swim-up bar – and the staff were friendly, helpful & at all times accommodating.
The resort was located a five minute drive from the town of Port Douglas, or a 40 minute walk along Four Mile Beach. However we knew this prior to booking and chose to hire a car (there was also a shuttle bus available if we wished).

A very relaxing holiday!

Was it worth it and would I use Scoopon Travel again?

This particular deal was an absolute bargain, definitely worth it. The description in the Scoopon advertisement was spot-on, there was no false advertising and there was no trouble booking the trip.
Yes I would consider using Scoopon Travel again, but I would always be careful about which deals I choose. I had travelled to Port Douglas before, so knew the region and knew whereabouts the resort was located. I also knew how much 4 star accommodation in the region normally costs and knew this price was a steal. I originally felt that purchasing a holiday this way was really risky, but if you know your stuff then it’s a breeze.

Tips for those thinking about Scoopon travel deals

  1. Know the location
    Research, research, research! I’ve seen some deals for resorts in Thailand before on Scoopon Travel (and other group buying sites) which have great deals to stay in Phuket. Having travelled to Thailand a few times before I know that Phuket town is actually not the best place to stay on the island, it’s too far away from the beachside district of Patong. Make sure the location is where you actually want to be going.
    If the accommodation is a fair way from the action you may end up spending a fair bit in taxis or car hire which needs to be factored into the total cost.
  2. Do your homework
    I read every single review on TripAdvisor so I knew all about the resort & if it was a nice place to stay. People leave lots of little tips here too, like the best part of the resort/hotel to request for your room to be, to where to eat for dinner. I found out through TripAdvisor that you could sign up for a Rydges Priority Guest Card online and would be entitled to 20% off our food and beverage bill for the whole trip! Also check the usual rates for the time you’re planning to go to make sure that you’re actually getting a good deal.
  3. Book early
    Work out when you’d like to go, and as soon as bookings open get onto it. If you leave it then you will be left with the dates that no-one else wanted. That’s when people have bad experiences with sites like Scoopon. Remember it’s a cheap deal and if you’re going to get what you want you will need to be quick. But you should also always know that even still, you might not get what you want.

Follow up, 12/10/2012: Rydges Sabaya Resort has been re-branded as QT Port Douglas Hotel and Resort.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. January 5, 2012 10:31 pm

    Uesful tips about Scoopon travel deals…

  2. October 4, 2012 10:38 am

    I too had a wonderful holiday in a private villa with pool in Seminyak in January2012, school holidays . Paid $599 for 5 nights and the booking experience was excellent. They even accommodated our flight change. I was a little worried but thought it was worth the risk.

    You mentioned you weren’t expecting too much but when you received the note, the wine and you were flexible with the booking dates you felt valued and appreciative of the opportunity for such a holiday you might not have had. It’s make the whole experience all round memorable and enjoyable. Humbleness goes a long way!

    The bigger the risk the bigger the return, either positive or negative.
    I hope Scoopon maintain the holiday deals because its the only way some people can enjoy the wonderful places close to us.

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