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Third Night Free at Top NYC Hotels

trump soho

Mayor Mike Bloomberg recently announced that New York City played host to a record 50 million visitors this past year. Seems like we can expect a few more in 2012: NYC & Company, the official tourism board for our fair Gotham, has rallied some extraordinary big-name luxury hotels to participate in their wintertime Third Night Promotion, where you get one free night for every three-night stay.

The list of  ‘signature collection’ properties hosting this winter sale includes both elegant, storied hotels and see-and-be-seen hip newcomers. Choosing just one may be the biggest challenge of your stay:

The Carlyle, A Rosewood Hotel
The Chatwal New York
Hôtel Plaza Athénée New York
Jumeirah Essex House
Loews Regency Hotel
The London NYC
Mandarin Oriental, New York
The New York Palace
The Peninsula New York
The Pierre
The Plaza Hotel
The Ritz-Carlton New York, Battery Park
The Ritz-Carlton New York, Central Park
The St. Regis New York
The Setai Fifth Avenue
The Sherry-Netherland
The Surrey
Trump International Hotel & Tower
Trump SoHo New York
The Waldorf Towers

As one who regularly watches these hotels for affordable offers, I can tell you that an opportunity to save 33% doesn’t come along very often. I can also guarantee that a visit to NYC this winter will be a memorable one. Whether you take the budget route of window-shopping, people-watching, and street food, or use those savings to indulge in some of the thrilling culture, cuisine, and commerce of the city—either way, you’ll leave already planning your next visit.

Ritz-Carlton Central Park

Top photo courtesy of Trump Soho; bottom photo of the Ritz-Carlton, Central Park © Kelly Kollar.

Ann Shields is a senior digital editor at Travel + Leisure.

Protect Your Mobile Info From Cybercrime

cybercrime report

I once was a stubborn holdout on smartphones but now I’m a zealous convert. On a recent trip out of the country and out of my phone’s data network, I felt a little dazed and out of sorts without my constant handheld companion.  I confess that I used some free, unsecured WiFi during the trip.  While I was vigilant about the type of info I was sending and receiving, for all I knew, my smartphone (and passwords and bank info and all manner of personal data) could have been accessed during those brief, careful sessions.  And when I read this chilling cybercrime report from Norton, I vowed to change my sloppy smartphone habits.

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Singapore Airlines 5-Day Sale: $888 Roundtrip to Asia

singapore airlines

Singapore Airlines, voted our readers’  favorite international airline in this (and most every) year’s World’s Best Awards, just announced a brief but exciting sale to inaugurate its new A380 service from New York: Fly round trip from JFK to Frankfurt for $599 or to Singapore for $888, including *all* taxes and fuel surcharges!

Tickets must be booked between now and November 7 for travel between January 16 and March 31, 2012. Fares to other destinations in Southeast Asia (including Tokyo, Beijing, Hong Kong, and Seoul) are also available for $999, again with no additional taxes or fees tacked on.

For more information or to book, please visit Singapore Airlines.

Photo courtesy of Singapore Airlines


Papua New Guinea Tribesmen Spotted on Times Square

Wigman in NYC

I was one of the lucky New Yorkers who caught a brief, colorful glimpse of Papua New Guinea recently.  At an event sponsored by luxury tour operator Absolute Travel and the Papua New Guinea Tourism Promotion Authority, two tribesmen—a Wigman from the Huli tribe and a Mudman from the Asaro tribe—performed and mingled with the crowd to promote travel to PNG.  The promotion worked.  I want to go.

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3-Day Club Med Sale From $129 Per Person!

20111013_clubmedjpg

Club Med, that French hippy grandma of all-inclusive beach resorts, is running a weekend sale that could get you and yours a place in the sun for prices that start at $129 per adult and kids from 50% of that!

The Club Med Go Sale covers 3- to 7-night stays at its properties in Cancun, Ixtapa, Punta Cana, Sandpiper Bay in Florida, Turkoise in Turks and Caicos, the Bahamas, and Martinique.

The sale runs from midnight on Friday through midnight on Sunday, with available travel dates between October 17 and February 17, depending on the property.  The resorts have higher (but not crazy high) rates over holidays.  Prices include all meals, snacks and beverages (non-alcoholic as well as premium alcoholic drinks), lots of sports and activities, kids’ clubs, and all varieties of room configurations for all varieties of travelers.

For more information or to book, please visit Club Med, or call (800) 258- 2633.

Ann Shields is a senior digital editor at Travel + Leisure.

Photo courtesy of Club Med, Punta Cana

Snow? No. Discounted Lift Tickets? Yes.

20111012_lakeplacidjpg

Like migrating birds and manufacturers of snow tires, skiers start planning for winter long before snow falls (or even, in my husband’s case, well before temperatures have dropped below 80°).

Liftopia, an online source for discounted lift tickets, has been around since 2006 but now represents more than 150 ski resorts.  A visit to their newly revamped site can transform the fall fantasies into actual slope time.  At resorts from Arapahoe Basin to Zermatt, you’ll find discounted lift tickets as well as deals on equipment rentals, lessons, and multi-day passes.

While many of the available discounts are as thrilling as waking up to fresh powder (e.g., up to 40% off at Snowbird, 23% off Sun Valley, 32% off Whiteface), the lift tickets in Liftopia's inventory are date-specific and sell out quickly.   So snag some now before the deals melt away.

Ann Shields is a senior digital editor at Travel + Leisure.

Photo courtesy of Lake Placid Lodge.

How to Sleep Comfortably in an Airport Terminal

air travel airport sleep capsule

Moscow’s Sheremetyevo International Airport is experimenting with an innovation that air travelers have fitfully dreamt of for years:  a safe and clean place to grab a few hours’ sleep.

Installed a month ago in the AeroExpress terminal, the prototype Sleepbox shows travelers a small, private oasis in which to spend layovers.  The 13-sq.-ft. box, covered with an attractive pale ash veneer, is efficiently kitted out with two bunks, LED reading lamps, electrical outlets for laptops or phone charging, WiFi, ventilation and sound systems, under-bunk space to stow luggage, and motor-controlled blinds.  Apparently, there is even an automated process to change the linens between guests.

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Smile! The TSA is Studying Your Facial Tics

terminal a at logan airport

Miffed that airport security full-body scans can feel so cold and impersonal? Don’t worry—your TSA officer may soon want to chat you up before they pat you down.

For the next 60 days or so, select TSA agents at Boston’s Logan Airport, trained to detect behavior that may indicate that a passenger is nervous about more than turbulence, are using their powers of observation to change the screening process.

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Gift for Traveling Wine Lovers

inflatable wine carrier

Waiting for a flight home for Christmas once, I ran into a blowhard I knew from college who announced that the only present he was bringing his parents was a bottle of extraordinarily good wine.  He dropped and broke the bottle of red on the linoleum at LaGuardia before we’d boarded the plane.  Blowhard frat boy or not, I felt bad for the guy.

I was reminded of this tragic holiday vignette when I heard about VinniBag, an inflatable bag that cushions your wine bottle (or bottle of olive oil or Vermont maple syrup or vintage McCoy vase) from the sharp, hard, pointy things of the world.   The smart bags are reusable, deflate easily to slip in your luggage, and make an unbreakable and practical gift for Mummy and Pater.

Vinnibag is available for $28 from local retailers, Vinnibag.com, or on Amazon.

Photo courtesy of Ellessco.

Ann Shields is an online senior editor at Travel + Leisure.

Scavenger Hunt Launched at Florida’s South Seas Island Resort

family on the beachScavenger hunts built around a destination’s unique characteristics are quickly becoming my favorite trend in family travel.  Engaging a kid in something beyond the hotel swimming pool is a sneaky way to keep them learning while on vacation and to cultivate passionate travelers and fun travel companions.

Sarah Khan reported this month about Colonial Williamsburg’s current patriot/spy game that has young visitors in blue neckerchiefs burning up the cobblestones.  Now there’s a new way to play at a family destination.

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