From beachfront hotels to snowy mountain retreats, we have an easy—and affordable—weekend getaway for you.
Southeast: Florida Coast Stay:B Ocean Fort Lauderdale The 240 rooms at this hotel come with white-on-white leather furnishings and equally fabulous ocean views. There's a heated infinity pool, a spa suite, a fitness center, and a few dining options including Saia, a sushi restaurant. Guests are also treated to complimentary Wi-Fi, iPad rentals, and Aveda bath products. Doubles from $199/night on weekends.
Northeast: Catskills, NY Stay:The Graham & Co., Phoenicia, NY A three-hour drive from New York City, the Graham & Co. is a new retro-chic inn that's great for families. The décor has a Brooklyn-feel to it, notably the hanging Edison lights and reclaimed-wood tables. There's an outside fire pit, and bikes available to borrow. Special winter offers include discount ski tickets at nearby Hunter Mountain. Doubles from $99/night on weekends.
Their couples' Spellbound Massage, available only February 14–17, uses products containing pheromones—those naturally occurring chemicals that are elemental in occurrences of natural "chemistry."
It's $175–$250 for the 60- or 90-minute versions; on V-Day itself you and your partner can even opt to have the treatment in a "Valentine Suite" decked out with (what else?) candles, rose petals, soft music, and chocolate truffles.
From the spa it's just a few steps to the hotel's fantastic restaurant, Culina, Modern Italian for the special four-course menu ($85 per person) featuring oysters and lobster. (Look for Larry Flint—he's a regular). And from there, of course, you're just steps away from the spacious rooms upstairs overlooking the City of Angels.
Mark Orwoll shares travel websites and apps that will make it easier to book your next trip.
Backbid: Reverse hotel bids Post a reservation request (dates, location, number of stars) with maximum rate you're willing to pay. Hotels in that destination will bid for your business, presenting the lowest rates they can offer. Unlike other bidding sites, you know the specific hotel where you'll be staying using Backbid. When I tried it, I got my first reverse bid within two minutes at a savings of more than 10 percent of what I would have paid on the hotel's own website.
Tingo: Automated hotel rebooking at lower rates Book your hotel through Tingo and if the rates go down, Tingo automatically rebooks you at the lower rate. It's great for those travelers who know which hotel they want to stay at but are concerned whether they really got the "best" rate at time of booking. Tingo only rebooks if there are no rebooking or cancellation penalties and the price difference is refunded automatically to your credit card. All you have to do is enjoy your hotel stay.
Do you know a travel company that's making a difference?
Each year, Travel + Leisure recognizes the standard-bearers for responsible tourism in our Global Vision Awards. From airlines that are lightening their footprints to hotels that are investing in the communities around them, the winners represent travel's best ideas for a better world. (You can find the 2012 Global Vision Awards here.)
Please drop a note to TLGlobalVision@aexp.com if you know of a company or organization that should be among this year's winners. The deadline for the 2013 Global Vision Award application, available here, is April 1, 2013.
Photo: Editor Nancy Novogrod speaks with the jurors and winners of the 2012 Global Vision Awards at the annual luncheon in October.
Sorry to bother you, but can we set a few ground rules? First of all, we love the nightly turndown—thanks for the macaroons!—but really, it’s not necessary to reseal the bed each morning with the decorative coverlet, bolsters, and throw pillows. It might as well be padlocked shut. (We’d considered a siesta after lunch, but unwrapping everything was too much work.)
There are simple things you can do to increase your chances of getting an upgrade on your next flight, hotel stay, or even when you rent a car.
1. Choose Your Frequent Flyer Program Carefully When picking an airline frequent-flyer program, it can pay to choose an airline that isn't headquartered in your city (there will be fewer elite passengers to compete with for an upgrade).
2. Check-in Later Check in to your hotel late in the day; you're more likely to get an upgrade if it looks like a better room will otherwise sit empty.
3. Stay at a New Hotel Stay at a new hotel; staff are more likely to want to woo new guests and spread good word of mouth. You could also think about staying at a large hotel—large hotels with tons of rooms offer a better chance of getting you upgraded.