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Contest Watch: Win a Cali Hotel Stay, Luxury Cruise, Sydney Trip, and More!

Excuse my flurry of posts but there has been a huge surge of late-breaking contests that I just had to share. All you need to do is enter:

200910-b-hotelbelamarjpgLarkspur Hotels "I Need a Vacation Because!" Contest (closes Nov. 17)

Facebook fans of the Larkspur Hotels page can enter to win a two-night getaway to one of the Larkspur Collections’ eight hotels (one winner per hotel) in California and Oregon. Contestants must post why they need a vacation in 50 words or less. Entries will be judged on originality, creativity, humor, and substance, and from what I’ve seen on the Facebook page, TravelandLeisure.com’s savvy and creative readers have a pretty good shot. The prize includes $150 voucher for Southwest Airlines and a $100 to the hotel restaurant. Winners do not have to cover taxes or fees. Visit www.facebook.com/larkspurhotels to enter.

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St. Lucia on Sale

stonefield.jpg Just in time for Caribbean travel season, JetBlue today kicked off service between New York’s JFK and St. Lucia. We’re big fans of the blue airline, so it’s exciting to see their destinations expanding. It’s even more exciting to see the kickoff deal: only $129 each way. Sure, there are strings attached: you have to act fast (book by this Friday) and travel between November 2 and February 8, 2010 (yeah, Valentine’s Day is going to cost more).

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Virgin America's Awesome New Sundries Bag + $100 Cross-Country Fares!

200910-b-virginjpg I already know that Virgin America is a favorite airline of our readers—it scored No. 1 in the domestic airline category of T+L’s 2009 World’s Best Awards—but I’m happy to report that Richard Branson’s company is continuing to impress with new deals and fun in-flight amenities.

Here's a selection of some of its latest low fares:

$109 one-way from San Francisco to Virgin’s newest destination, Ft. Lauderdale
$100 one-way from Los Angeles to Boston
$40 one-way from San Diego to San Francisco (cheaper than a tank of gas!)

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Fall Golf Deals: Florida and Mexico Packages Expiring Soon!

200910-b-golf-lucy-schaefferjpg I love golf! More importantly, I love a great golf deal. So it pains me to have to leave some of our best deals by the wayside as booking dates near and expirations loom. From sunny Mexico to (uh, also sunny?) Florida, I’ve salvaged some deals that didn’t make the newsletter but shouldn’t go unnoticed.

+ Los Cabos: 3-night all-inclusive resort/golf deal for $743
+ Los Cabos: Hotel + unlimited golf for $320/night
+ Los Cabos: Marquis Los Cabos + 4 rounds of golf for $670/night
+ Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida: Hotel + golf + lessons + credit= $170/night
+ St. Augustine, Florida: World Golf Hall of Fame gala event packages from $359
+ Orlando, Florida: Unlimited golf + hotel for $139/night


Charlotte Savino is online listings editor (and resident golfer) at Travel + Leisure.

Sale of the Year: 25 Cents a Night for a Caribbean Getaway!

200910-b-avijpgAfter almost a decade as an editor at Travel + Leisure, I’ve developed a sixth sense about offers that seem too good to be true. Which is why I was justifiably skeptical when I ran across the U.S. Virgin Island’s CENTsational sale (while doing research for an appearance on the Today Show; watch the video here).

The cynic in me was tempted to write the deal off a a clever marketing ploy with enough fine print to fill an encyclopedia. However, after examining the details closely, I have to say that I’m sold. Here’s the back story: to celebrate the newly minted U.S.V.I. quarter, a dozen hotels on St. Thomas and St. Croix , including Marriott Frenchman's Reef Resort, are offering a 25 cent nightly rate for a three-night stay (plus nominal taxes and fees).

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Join The Club: Jetsetter.com Members Get Steep Travel Discounts

200910-b-jetsetterjpg Ever find yourself daydreaming at work about booking a last-minute trip? Thanks to Jetsetter.com—the latest venture from Gilt Groupe, best known for their utterly addictive designer flash-sales—it’s easier and more tempting than ever to do just that.

Every day, the site sends registered members an email with a new batch of specially negotiated—and deeply discounted—hotel stays around the world (at press time, a City View Junior Suite at the Epic Hotel Miami was going for $169 per night—that’s $158, or nearly 50 percent, less than the hotel’s published rate!).

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Brazilian Airline Announces $285 Unlimited Flight Pass

Remember this summer when we reported on Jet Blue's Unlimited Flight Pass? Well now another airline, Brazil-based Azul, is offering a similar deal. (Is it really any surprise that Azul is owned by David Neeleman, who is also responsible for the creation of Jet Blue?)

The Passaporte Azul is up for grabs for the shockingly low price of $285. Granted, you'll first have to pick up the tab for a flight from your home turf to Brazil and back ($830 from NYC; $1,010 from Chicago; $660 from Miami; all to São Paulo), but once you arrive, there's nothing stopping you from sleeping in São Paulo or waking up in Manaus, the gateway to the Amazon, or any one of the 12 other Brazilian cities—Beleo Horizonte, Campo Grande, Curitiba, Fortaleza, Maceió, Maringá, Navegantes, Porto Alegre, Recife, Rio de Janeiro, Salvador, and Vitória—Azul services.

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Westin’s Heavenly Bed on Sale!

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I don’t know about you, but I need my eight hours of beauty sleep every night, and for this reason I’m pretty persnickety when it comes to mattresses—whether at home or at a hotel.

Hands-down some of my best hotel sleeps have been at Westin/Starwood properties, which was why I was excited to hear the hotel group’s 10th anniversary sale offering 25 percent off its famous beds. The Heavenly Bed made by Simmons is a genius layering of patented pocket coils covered with 13 fluffy inches of pillow-top (yes, 13!). The result is a delicious medium-firm cradle that's guaranteed to send you off to Dreamland in no time.

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Go Green and Save by "Jetpooling"

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Has the recession forced you to sell your Gulfstream? If you love to fly private, but the current economic crisis is cramping your jet-set lifestyle, there’s a unique new option in the skies. The Greenjets shared-ride service lets you buy a seat on a private jet at a fraction of the cost normally associated with such a luxury. Flights from New York to Florida are as low as $1,100 each way, a bargain compared to owning or renting your own plane—and you avoid the lines and regular security headaches at the airport. Not to mention the added good karma you get from reducing the number of jets in the air when you “jetpool,” if you will.

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Fly from NYC to West Coast on Virgin America for $109!

200908-b-sf-lyndseymatthewsjpg

Ready to ditch the humid summer heat of the East Coast? Hankering to go on a foodie tour of San Francisco’s North Bay or dine at some of the World’s Best Oyster Bars in the Bay Area or Seattle?

Good news, because West Coast airfares from New York City on Virgin America airlines (voted “Best Domestic Airline” in T+L’s 2009 World’s Best Awards) just dropped to $109 each way. Offers are good to these West Coast cities, and more:

*Las Vegas
*Los Angeles
*Orange County
*San Diego
*San Francisco
*Seattle

The $109 fare is available for travel on Monday-Thursday and Saturdays between Aug. 28-Nov.18, Dec. 2-16 and Jan. 6- Feb. 10 (Friday and Sunday flights cost an extra $25). Tickets are on sale through September 8, but book quickly as certain flights may sell out.

For more information or to book, visit Virgin America.

Lyndsey Matthews is an editorial intern at Travelandleisure.com


Photo courtesy of Lyndsey Matthews

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