In the mood for a little mid-winter R&R? Wherever you live, chances are there’s an affordable getaway just a short drive away. These domestic deals stretch coast to coast:
The Gastonome’s Beach Retreat Check into the Hotel Shangri-la in Santa Monica, CA, for a hedonistic seaside weekend: book two nights at $475/night, and you’ll enjoy a guided Malibu wine tasting tour for two, a private chef’s dinner featuring ingredients from the local farmer’s market with cocktail pairings, and score a free upgrade to an Ocean View One Bedroom Suite (complete with a chef’s kitchen for any further culinary experimentation). Total savings nabbed: $800. (To book, call (310) 394-2791.)
The January chill means we're craving a warm-weather winter getaway. A few ideas, courtesy of Vacationist: Costa Rica, where the temperatures hover around 90 degrees and the 10-room Rancho Pacifico, set on the southern Pacific Coast near Manuel Antonio, has an open-air spa to take in the rainforest views. In Ixtapa, Mexico, Las Brisas is set on a private beach for quiet relaxation, while the adults-only all-inclusive Rendezvous, on the northern coast of St. Lucia, offers activities from snorkeling to tennis and bike tours—and temperatures in the 80s.
This winter may be Lake Tahoe’s best yet, thanks to a slew of new restaurants, just-opened trails, and adventurous snowcat tours to back-country skiing. A bonus? You can access all 6,000 mountain acres from the 56-room PlumpJack, at the base of Squaw Valley, for less than $130 a night when you book with Vacationist. Or, for those who want to leave the snow behind, there's up to 33 percent off stays at St. Lucia’s Jade Mountain, where the weather is so warm that suites are built without a fourth wall—for unobstructed views of the sea.
We’re starting 2012 with Vacationist deals in some of our favorite cities in the U.S. In New York, the Sherry-Netherland is a classic property located directly across from Central Park; the hotel restaurant, Harry Cipriani, is a Manhattan icon. Looking for warmer weather? The Huntley Hotel is also set on prime U.S. real estate—a tree-lined street just steps from the Santa Monica boardwalk. But if true surf culture is on the brain, head further south to La Jolla, where the pink-tinged La Valencia has been delivering oceanfront views since 1925.
CNN | Never mind that you're probably still recovering from holiday travel and may have no interest in heading to another airport. Faced with a traditional post-holiday lull in travel, several airlines are hoping their New Year's sales will lure travelers back into the air at a discount.
"These deals have a lot to do with people not traveling after the holidays," says Anne Banas, executive editor of Smarter Travel. "They just spent a lot of money, they're tired and they're not thinking about going anywhere. So it's a very quiet time."
The best deals are on JetBlue, says Banas, noting that some of the airline's sale flights are to peak-season destinations in the Caribbean and Florida. The best fares are for midweek flights, so you'll need some flexibility.
JetBlue launched its "Holiday Recovery Sale" on Tuesday morning….
Just as in retail sales, some of the best travel bargains can be found after the holidays, even in peak-season destinations.
Caribbean: Think you have to wait for hurricane season for a value in the islands? Actually, most island hotels slash rates to fill rooms during the lull between New Year’s Day and Presidents’ Day, when schoolchildren start their midwinter break. At press time, we found a luxury room in Anguilla’s CuisinArt Golf Resort & Spa (a 2012 T+L 500 hotel) for $815 per night starting January 3—$500 less than the rate from mid December through New Year’s.
Ski Resorts: Snow conditions hit their peak in January; luckily, that’s not so for many hotel and lift-ticket prices. Ski.com’s five-night ski-and-stay package at the Four Seasons Resort Vail, in Colorado, for example, costs $1,793 per person if booked for mid January, compared with $3,708 during the holidays—a 48 percent savings.
In honor of the holiday season, Vacationist is offering members even deeper discounts on hotels we’re featuring this week. From an all-inclusive resort in St. Lucia to a six-bedroom Costa Rica villa and a recently-renovated escape in Barbados, these are warm-weather deals you won’t want to pass up. But book now! The deals are only good through 2011.
We admit it—we’re free Wi-Fi junkies. And there’s nothing more galling than having to pony up additional scratch for Internet access at airports and hotels—especially after paying so much just to get into those places. So we’re always happy to see announcements like the one that came to us this morning—that Skype will be offering a free hour of Wi-Fi at participating airports from December 21–27.
Rates of under $200 for prime holiday season in New York City? Unheard of! And yet, Vacationist has rooms at the Ace Hotel, one of the city’s buzziest hotels, right in Manhattan’s Flatiron District. Or escape the hustle and bustle at Richard Gere and wife Carey Lowell’s cozy winter hideaway, 45 minutes north in Bedford New York. Another option: leave the States behind in favor of Bahia Del Sol Beach Front Hotel, Costa Rica, where 28 rooms open onto private decks with hammocks, and the ocean is warm enough for swimming all year long.
For more hotel deals, including stays in Mexico and Greece, click here.