How to find cheap hotel deals

As Spring break approaches, some travelers are scouring the Internet for one last ski trip or a warm weather getaway to replenish vitamin D levels. I am on Maui, attending an estate planning conference held at the 5-star Grand Wailea, part of the Waldorf Astoria chain.
Room rates here begin at almost $500 a night, and for a view of something other than the parking lot, accommodations get substantially more expensive. Professional meetings tend to be designed for attendees with generous expense accounts and leisure time. Since I have neither, I am economizing by doubling up in a $440 per night room with my friend Karen Boxx, a professor at University of Washington School of Law.
By rooming together, we figured we could save enough money to ensure that we have something left for fruity drinks and a trip to the spa. Without these perks, in our effort to economize, Boxx and I could begin to resemble a bickering old married couple by the end of the week. Even when picking up the tab ourselves, we share the belief that money spent shopping for shoes and scouring consignment stores for designer labels far outweighs the value of an ocean view or a private room.
By rooming with a colleague at a professional conference on Maui, Wendy Goffe figured she could save enough to pay for a visit to the swank hotel spa.
Also attending is our colleague, David English, a University of Missouri Law School professor, and the gold standard of meeting frugality. He has a reputation for always finding the cheaper alternative. This time he is staying at a 3-star hotel a few miles down the road.
Finding a hotel room on any budget can be a time consuming project. Comparing advertised rates is tricky. Like airlines, which have long unbundled their fees, hotels have joined the bandwagon with costs that can quickly add hundreds of dollars to your tab.
Here are nine tips, from English and other seasoned travelers, for navigating hotel charges and finding bargains.
1. Abandon nostalgia. Forget about in-room coffee makers. Even in a 5-star hotel, you may need to pay for your morning Joe. Those cute little soaps and shampoos that everyone likes to take home are going down the drain, too. Hotels have figured out it’s cheaper to use wall dispensers.
Boxx recalls an experience at the Ritz Carlton in Washington, D.C. during the 1980s that would be hard to duplicate today. The desk clerk, who heard her sniffling the morning after she arrived, asked, “Miss Boxx, are you not feeling well?