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Vacationist Hotel Deals: T+L 500 Hotels for Less!

201106-b-esperanzajpgThere’s nothing better than a guaranteed stellar hotel stay, which is why, every year, we spotlight the top 500 hotels as voted by our savvy readers—so that you can rest assured that your next trip will be top-notch. And this week, you can stay at three of these winning hotels for less, thanks to deals on Vacationist.

In search of a mountain retreat in Vail? Try Sonnenalp Resort, a Bavarian style lodge with a unique sensibility. Looking for a sexy beach getaway? There’s Esperanza, an Auberge Resort, in Los Cabos, with views that overlook a private cove. Or toast your deal-finding luck in Dublin, where you’ll stay at the historic Shelbourne for 30 percent less.

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New Hot Spots in Champagne, France

Le Parc

There’s much more to Champagne, France, than sparkling wine. Just an hour-long TGV ride from Paris, the region is now bubbling over with new spots to sip, eat, and stay.

An 18th-century mansion turned 12-room eco-retreat, the charming Hôtel Jean Moët opened last summer in the heart of Épernay, just off Avenue de Champagne. Its lovely wrought-iron-and-glass atrium doubles as a tea salon that serves (yes) champagne cocktails. 7 Rue Jean Moët; 33-3/26-32-19-22; doubles from $169.

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Vacationist Hotel Deals: Urban Escapes in New York, Rome, and Venice

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Whether you prefer the fast-paced streets of Manhattan, the ancient ruins of Rome, or the romantic gondolas of Venice, we’ve got your next vacation covered—all for more than 30 percent off standard rates. And don’t forget that all Vacationist reviews include tips, a room to book, and destination information from T+L insiders, so you can explore the world’s most exciting cities like a true insider.

PLUS This month we’re also offering special two-day sales at over 100 Preferred Hotels thanks to the Check-in For Japan program, and all proceeds will be donated Japan relief. So no matter what you’re looking for, we have an experience for you.

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New Website Helps Travelers Pick the Best Hotel Room

Brad Gerstner

Who He Is: As founder and CEO of Altimeter Capital, a hedge fund that specializes in travel-themed tech companies, Brad Gerstner spends a lot of time on the road as both a business and a leisure traveler. As a result, he knows how to spot a good hotel room (“on a high floor and away from the elevator”)—a skill he leveraged when creating his latest company.

His Big Idea: The website room77.com promises to help travelers pick the perfect hotel room. (Sort of like what SeatGuru did for airline seats.) The site offers floor plans, pictures, user reviews, and window views for rooms in 2,500 three-star-plus hotels (and counting). A new iPhone app provides the same service for free, on the go. So now guests can book a room and not worry about that blocked ocean view the hotel’s website neglected to mention.

Photo courtesy of Brad Gerstner

Big Sky Ranch Lodges Go Glam

Resort at Paws Up

Pack your spurs: two ranches are adding a new dose of glamour to Big Sky Country. Opening this June in Wyoming, the Lodge & Spa at Brush Creek Ranch (doubles from $1,200, all-inclusive) is located on 13,000 sprawling acres. On the itinerary? Twilight tours past a roaming buffalo herd, juniper-oil massages, and plenty of relaxing in the 17 cabins with roaring stone fireplaces. Outside Missoula, Montana’s Resort at Paws Up (doubles from $820, including all meals) is unveiling a new six-tent camp with oversize tubs and butler service this summer.

Photo courtesy of Resort at Paws Up

Vacationist Hotel Deals: Beach Escapes in Jamaica, Oahu, and the Florida Keys

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Steamy scenes across the U.S. have us yearning for cool beach breezes. Enter Vacationist, with hotel deals at oceanfront properties from the Caribbean to the Florida Keys. PLUS Don’t forget: This month we’ve teamed up with Preferred Hotels to present Check-In for Japan. Book one of the 21 Preferred Hotels on sale now, and 100% of the proceeds will be donated to the American Red Cross disaster relief fund.

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New Study: What U.S. City is No. 1 for Bed Bug Infestations?

USA TodayNew York, for the second year in a row, according to a study just released by pest-control giant Terminix. Not really a surprise, since NYC is a populous metropolis with well-publicized infestations everywhere from apartment buildings to businesses such as department stores, magazine offices, even Lincoln Center.

Terminix reports an increase in bed bug infestations in most states during the past year, in part because consumers are more aware and on the lookout for the tiny pests, Terminix entymologist Paul Curtis told me.

The company's list of most bed bug-plagued cities, based on customer complaints validated by Terminix and infestations discovered during pest calls:

1. New York
2. Cincinnati
3. Detroit

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If Travel Searches Are Any Indication, You're Probably Going to Vegas This Summer

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Anyone still wondering where to go on vacation in the next few months might get some ideas from the 20 top hotel destinations searched for this coming summer on Kayak.com, the price-comparison travel site. Most popular: Las Vegas, where the average hotel rate from June through August is $130, down slightly from summer 2010. Most expensive: New York, where rooms averaged $218, up nearly 15 percent from a year ago. Biggest increase: Bangkok, whose average room rate was up a whopping 40 percent from last year. (On the other hand, the summer average for a hotel in Bangkok is just $117, so stop complaining.) Cheapest: San Jose, Costa Rica, with an average rate of $94.

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Our New Favorite Amenity: Cool Hotel Vehicles

custom seaplane at Beach House Maldives

Our favorite new amenity? Getting your own private escape-mobile. As far as airport transfers go, it doesn’t get much better than Beach House Maldives, a Waldorf Astoria Resort (doubles from $815), where guests are greeted by a DeHavilland Twin Otter seaplane tricked out with everything from iPads to Bose noise-canceling headphones.

Coming this summer to all stateside Fairmont Hotels (doubles from $169): BMW Cruise bikes (plus helmets and locks, of course).

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Vacationist + Preferred Hotels: Deals Benefit Japan

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Great news from Vacationist! Starting today, 21 new Preferred Hotels will launch 48-hour Check-In For Japan sales on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday through June 30th at Vacationist.com—and 100 percent of the proceeds will be donated to American Red Cross disaster relief for those affected by the earthquake in Japan.

Room rates are as low as $50 a night at properties both close to home (Laguna Beach, California and Vail, Colorado) as well as more exotic destinations, from Maui to Madagascar. Act fast, do good, and stay for less through 2011! See offers below.

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