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Vacationist Hotel Deals: Bermuda, Costa Rica + California

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Travel towards sunny weather this winter: now’s the time to book your January, February, and early March trips—and you can secure great deals thanks to Vacationist. Take a nonstop flight straight to Bermuda for pink-sand bays, golf, and tennis at Newstead Belmont Hills, or head to Costa Rica’s Hotel Punta Islita, where you’ll spend your days overlooking the Pacific. Lucky Californians don’t even have to board a flight for a stay at Oceana Santa Barbara, where the surf is just a few steps away.

For more hotel deals, including stays in Orlando, San Francisco, and Utah, click here.

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Last-Minute Guide to Art Basel Miami Beach

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To celebrate its 10th anniversary this year, Art Basel Miami Beach (Dec. 1-4) inaugurates new collaborations with the Bass Museum of Art and the Frank Gehry-designed New World Center, which promise to transform the cultural land- and soundscape of South Beach – extending beyond the Miami Beach Convention Center (ABMB’s venue), where more than 260 top galleries from across the globe showcase 2,000 modern and contemporary artists.  There’s an admission charge for the fair (not to mention the price of the art), but plenty outdoors is free. Here's our what-not-to miss guide, plus recommendations for last-minute hotel booking.

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TODAY Show: (More!) Cyber Monday Deals

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Travel + Leisure's features director, Nilou Motamed, reveals some great cyber Monday travel hotel deals in this morning's discount round-robin. (It's the last segment.)

TODAY Show: Last-Minute Thanksgiving Getaway Deals

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Feeling spontaneous? Travel + Leisure's deputy editor, Laura Begley Bloom, chats with Kathy Lee and Hoda about last-minute travel deals over the Thanksgiving holiday. Watch to find out where the bargains are.

No Reservations? Tune in to "The Layover", Premiering Tonight

Here at T+L, beating jetlag is something of a sport. So we’re all pretty pumped for The Layover—the new show from globetrotting chef-author Anthony Bourdain, he of No Reservations notoriety—premiering at 9pm ET/PT tonight on the Travel Channel. In ten hour-long episodes, Tony travels everywhere from London to Hong Kong to Los Angeles in search of the best that each city has to offer.

Here’s the catch: the entire series was shot in 30 days, and he has only 24-48 hours in each place. The result? A whirlwind world tour that’s peppered with all the biting Bourdain commentary we’ve come to love and expect, even if it’s tempered with a dash of jetlag. I got a sneak peek at the first episode (spoiler alert!), in which Tony spends a day in Singapore.

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Battambang: Is Cambodia’s Second City on the Verge?

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With the government aiming to fix Cambodia’s dilapidated railway system by 2013, Battambang, the country’s second biggest city, is poised to become the next big destination. Located near the Thai border, the town has not been touched by the development frenzy seen in Phnom Penh, Siem Reap, and along the southern coast.

It is still home to dozens of charming French colonial villas and Chinese-style shophouses, some of which are being converted into small hotels. A couple of recent examples: La Villa, a lemon-hued 1930’s villa stuffed with seven antique-filled suites, and Ma Maison, another villa-turned-hotel. And, there’s plenty to see in the area, including some interesting temples and Phnom Banan, an Angkor-era ruin set on a mountainside outside of town. Backpackers are already flocking here; I reckon it is only a matter of time before a critical mass of French expats starts opening up more boutique hotels and cafés, as happened in Siem Reap, Phnom Penh, and Luang Prabang.

Jennifer Chen is Travel + Leisure's Asia correspondent. You can follow her on Twitter at xiaochen6.

Photo by iStock

Vacationist Hotel Deals: Celebrate the Holidays in Koh Samui, New York + Miami

201111-b-outriggerkohsamuijpgLooking for a steal during Christmas or New Year’s? Don’t wait another day. While many of the best warm-weather hotels are completely booked, Vacationist snagged rooms at top-notch resorts in prime winter destinations (such as an oceanfront hideaway in Thailand's of-the-moment island hotspot Koh Samui), and promises availability during the holidays. Don’t want to splurge on airfare? There are also deals at properties in major cities (New York, Miami), so you can celebrate away—for less.

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Vacationist Hotel Deals: Trips of a Lifetime – Chile, South Africa + Sedona

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The big question: Where to go in 2012? Vacationist makes it easy, offering deals at hotel’s in some of the world’s most coveted destinations, from the iconic Hotel Antumalal in Chile’s Lake District to the intimate Vuyani Safari Lodge in South Africa. Or stay stateside, with a couple nights at Enchantment, Sedona, where a massage at the Mii amo spa is more than a perk—it’s checkmark on our life list.

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Negev, Israel: New Luxury Hotel

Beresheet hotel in Negev, Israel

Thirsting for luxury in Israel’s Negev region? Look no further than this new crater-front property.

In a nation of countless historic natural wonders, Israel’s 200 million-year-old Makhtesh Ramon crater has always stood out. Set in the stark Negev desert region 2 1/2 hours south of Tel Aviv, this 23-mile-long geological depression is rich both in rare wildlife and the archaeological remnants of its first human inhabitants. Now Mitzpe Ramon—the area’s dusty boomtown—finally has a hotel as wondrous as its location. Named after the Hebrew word for genesis, Isrotel’s Beresheet lives up to its weighty moniker. Built using indigenous stone and tropical Brazilian wood, it has 40 low-slung structures housing 111 rooms and suites, including 42 with Israel’s first private infinity-edge pools. All face the 1,000-foot-deep crater, where four-wheel-drive jeeps take visitors to see prehistoric fossils, early dwellings, and endangered birds and mammals. While the surrounding desert is home to a clutch of boutique wineries, you can appreciate other types of local bounty right at the resort. The pan-Mediterranean restaurant sources ingredients from nearby farms and kibbutzim for dishes such as lamb kebabs and pine nuts wrapped in eggplant, and native herbs are used in essential oils at the nine-room spa. After a treatment, head over to the resort’s crater-front pool for a dip—what better way to drink in the desert than from a water-filled oasis? 972-8/659-8000; doubles from $300.

Photo courtesy of Isrotel

Hotel Guests Recruited with Homeland Security TV Spots

USA Today |  The Department of Homeland Security is recruiting hotel guests to join the fight against terrorism.

Starting today, the welcome screens on 1.2 million hotel television sets in Marriott, Hilton, Sheraton, Holiday Inn and other hotels in the USA will show a short public service announcement from DHS. The 15-second spot encourages viewers to be vigilant and call law enforcement if they witness something suspicious during their travels. (…)

The PSA, which will be interspersed with other messages on the welcome screen, will be the same in all 5,400 hotels that LodgeNet serves. It ends by telling viewers to contact "local authorities."

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