Hotel bookings usually involve a lot of work. Most hotels don’t have good websites or if they do, they’re usually made using Flash. Then there are sites that help you with bookings, but have tons of ads and they make you navigate through many pages to get anywhere. This is where Bellhop comes in. Bellhop by Conceited Software will change the way you book hotels on your Mac.
When you first click on the beautifully designed icon you are greeted with a search window that has some delicious subtle patterned UI elements. After entering your travel dates and location, a nice view slides in with a map of the location and a slider with advanced search options to refine your search. Each hotel that fits in your search criteria is represented by a pin on the map. These pins are clickable and they reveal a popover view for the hotel. Here you see prices and details of rooms available in the hotel along with options to share the link to the hotel and bookmark the hotel for later. The attention to detail in here is really good. The bookmark changes to blue colour when you click on it and that hotel is represented by a blue pin instead of red pin on the map. You can also see guest reviews for the hotel that are from TripAdvisor within the app. Bellhop also has a very nice magenta tint on UI elements when you move your mouse pointer over them. The overall feel of the app is very classy. The built in organizer lets you quickly complete or modify any reservations made. There is no need for any time wasting logins here. Their actual cancellation policies are made clear prior to the final booking and Bellhop has partnered with IAN, TravelNow and Expedia for hotel rates. I love how the app resumes where you left off after quitting each time. There is no need to save anything at all. The icon is a work of art on its own. The label on the bellhop outfit says Conceited software and the small key sticking out of the pocket says Bellhop on it. I don’t think other platform developers spend this much time on app design, let alone icon design.
Using Bellhop on the Mac almost feels like quickly scanning through a beautiful brochure. There are no delays and I am yet to find anything come close to this in terms of speed of booking and overall looks. I did find a few bugs with elements on the map but Conceited Software have informed me that an update has already been submitted to correct any map related bugs. If you travel a lot and are sick of booking sites, Bellhop is the app for you. It is available on the Mac App Store for $9.99 and will revolutionise the way you book hotels. There is a trial available as well on their website.
We are often asked why we don’t feature more Mac apps here. After using iOS devices and a Mac for a long time, I’ve realized the best quality apps are present on both these platforms. While Mac apps are almost always much better than their equivalent on Windows, iOS app developers go the that extra mile with the design of the apps and the apps we showcase here are a perfect example of that. However, it’s not that easy to find Mac apps that go out their way to stay away from a standard UI. Of course, there are apps like Day One and Coda push the envelope with each update. I hope Apple considers a system that allows developers to sell apps that let you pay once and use on iOS devices and the Mac, sort of like a bundle. Universal apps are already very popular and if app suites like Things, Omnifocus etc get on board, I see a much better future for the Mac App Store.