LI hotels booked to near capacity for storm
Long Island hotels were booked close to capacity as residents sought shelter from Sandy.
Hotels were already filling up by Sunday, the New York State Hospitality Association said in a news release. One draw during a storm, the trade group said, is reliable electricity.
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Some area hotels still had a few rooms available at midday Monday.
Those who wanted to ride out the storm in Gilded Age splendor booked rooms at Oheka Castle, in Huntington, which owner Gary Melius said will stay open during the storm and is mostly full.
"I'm holding a couple [of rooms] for friends," Melius said Monday. "If I don't hear from them, I'll release them." He said the regular rates, starting at $395, still applied.
Prices on popular websites were sometimes different from prices quoted by phone. Booking a room for the night at the Red Carpet Inn in Bay Shore through Kayak.com was $173, $111.59 through booking.com and $110 over the phone in the early afternoon Monday.
The Whitman Motor Lodge in Huntington listed rooms for $500 online, but prices quoted over the phone were $110.
New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman warned businesses over the weekend that it was illegal to jack up prices for essential goods and services during the storm. A Schneiderman spokesman said Monday this prohibition includes hotels.
At the Hilton Long Island/Huntington in Melville Monday, families gathered at tables in the lobby bar, many of them accompanied by dogs on leashes. Rain beat down on the large skylight as Giulia Sellino's four children, ages 7 to 15, scampered around the lobby, giggling.
Sellino, who lives in Lawrence, said she received a call from the village on Sunday urging them to evacuate. Her family booked at the hotel because it is inland and has a pool where the children can play. "I don't want them to have to worry," Sellino, a manager at a Long Island fashion company, said of her two daughters and two sons. "If you're in the house, you're just going to be concerned -- is the house going to blow down, is the water going to rise?"
Sylvia Lang, a Massapequa resident who was staying at the hotel with her husband and their 5-year-old Brussels griffon dog, Griffy, said they chose it for its pet-friendly policy.
"In case we can't get back in the house or we don't have electricity," said Lang, a receptionist, "at least we have some place to stay."