iPhone App Hotel Tonight does exactly what its name implies

Not every night in hotel has to involve weeks of planning and early reservations – iPhone app Hotel Tonight proves that.

This slick app is designed with one purpose – get you a well priced hotel for tonight. At the moment, the app only covers hotels in Hollywood, New York and San Francisco, but since its hotel deals are hand-picked, the quality of the results are quite impressive.

Once you pick your city of choice, you are presented with three hotels – sorted by category; hip, elegant and basic.

For tonight in San Francisco, I can choose from the Hotel Nikko ($120), Hotel Vitale ($191) or the Executive Hotel Vintage Court ($69).

From my quick test, these prices are considerably cheaper than what is offered directly from the hotel. For example – the Vintage Court can be booked through the app for $69 ($80 with all taxes), but that same room is $172 with taxes through the hotel itself.

The deals are not exacly random either – they are hand picked by the people behind Dealbase who happen to know a thing or two about hotel prices.

All hotels are accompanied by a really well written description, explaining what the reviewers like, what the fine print is, stats about the hotel (including things like the cost of parking) and its Tripadvisor rating. Most properties even list the food and drink offering, with examples of prices for room service items. And to top it all off, you can even find some tips about the area with some recommendations for places to eat and drink close to the hotel.

%Gallery-114854%The credits tab is a really neat one – because if you sign up, you’ll get a $10 instant credit applied to your account. Once you’ve made a reservation for tonight, your booking is displayed inside the app.

I have to say – I love this app. It is well designed, it offers well priced hand picked deals, and the amount of information presented with each hotel is staggering. Sadly, the number of cities is still limited, but Hotel Tonight promises they’ll be expanding that soon.

So, if you’ve had a few too many drinks, or you’d just like an elegant way to surprise someone special in your life, download Hotel Tonight (free) and book yourself a room.

Continental Airlines iPhone app includes Point Inside airport maps and more

Continental Airlines has jumped on board the “make an app” bandwagon. But unlike a lot of branded travel apps, this one is amazingly well designed.

At the heart of the app are all the things you’d expect from an airline app – flight booking, flight status and links to contact information.

But in designing their app, Continental went way beyond the ordinary – for starters, the app includes airport maps from Point Inside – one of my personal favorites. Inside the app, you can also check in, pull up your mobile boarding pass, view reservations and even enable push notifications of flight status messages.

They didn’t even stop there – under the “more” button, users will find a currency converter, a DirectTV program schedule (for in-flight live TV), games, links to Presidents Club locations, a timetable, recent Continental Airlines Tweets and an overview of reservations.

I’ve seen an awful lot of travel apps, but Continental Airlines really shows people how an app should be – a huge amount of handy tools, and all the features a Continental traveler needs to access their reservations. Well done Continental!

All I can hope for is that United Airlines does something similar soon…

You’ll find the free Continental Airlines app in the App Store, or through this iTunes link.


National Parks app comes to the iPhone

Visitors to America’s national parks now have a new high tech option for learning more about those amazing places. Last week the National Parks Conservation Association released an app for the iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch that offers up a wealth of information on 50 of the most popular parks in the country, including Yellowstone, the Grand Canyon, and Yosemite. (For a complete list of the parks covered click here.)

The app is completely free and provides information on the plants and animals that travelers can expect to find in the various parks, including the ones that are poisonous and dangerous, something this always helpful when you’re not sure if your about to step into poison ivy or not. You’ll also find comprehensive lists of threatened and endangered species, as well as a brief history of each of the parks, including great photos from each location as well.

But that’s not all. The app also allows you to find parks that are close to your current location and offers directions on how to get there. It includes information on making reservations at each park, directions on how to find the visitors center, and current news from the park system on featured parks as well.

The field guide app was developed in conjunction with eNature.com, a company with an extensive database of information focused on wildlife. That database has been created by top biologists, zoologists, and conservationists, and contains information on over 6000 different species. That information is now, quite literally, delivered to the fingertips of visitors to the national parks.

There is one caveat to using the app however, as a data network is required to download the information. The iPhone will work where cell service is available, although in more remote areas of the parks that can be spotty at best. iPod Touch and iPad users will need to use wifi, which is available in some visitor centers, to load up their maps and information ahead of time. Keep that in mind when relying on this app to help guide you through the parks.

To download the new app click here.

[Photo credit: NPCA]

StreamThru for iPhone – the ultimate all-in-one trip manager?

Last week, the developers of a new iPhone app asked me to take a look at their newest creation – now, I’ll admit right away that I get about 30 of these requests a week, and a large portion of them are just not “travely” enough for Gadling. But in the case of this app – I’ve been taken by surprise and may have found a new favorite travel app.

StreamThru is a mobile travel assistant that takes all the best parts of many other travel apps, and turns it into a single all-in-one assistant.

With StreamThru, you can email your travel itinerary to their service, and it’ll automatically add your trip to your online StreamThru account. Those trips can then be viewed inside the iPhone app. But the best part is the amazing amount of information included inside the app.

Not only do you get your schedule, but you can also check the weather, airport amenities, information on how to get from terminal to terminal, airport terminal guides, city guides, local events, phone numbers and more.

Flights can be added using the email option, or by manually entering it into the app – which is assisted by a flight schedule system – so you only need to enter the date and city pair, and StreamThru will display all available flights. Once flights are entered, StreamThru will notify you of any flight changes and status updates.

Itineraries can also be accessed using the web, where you’ll also find additional (paid) add-ons like daily weather reports and a destination assistant feature that provides phone based translation services.

All in all I’m amazed by the app – but the best part is that it is (currently) free of charge. The app is also available for Nokia devices, and can be found in the Ovi store.


Find good food on the go with these free iPhone apps

The days of relying on (often poor) advice from strangers, or carrying around a printed copy of the Zagat guide are long behind us. Thanks to devices like the iPhone, we can pull restaurant tips, reviews and locations right into the palm of our hand. In this lineup, I’ll list ten free iPhone food finder apps.

In the gallery of apps, you’ll find programs to help find kid friendly restaurants, an app that lets you reserve a table on your device, and even an application that can help find the perfect restaurant for dinner with your boss.