Get your fill of lobster rolls and oysters in this quintessential New England beach town. The charming Kennebunkport Inn has a large front porch and sundeck and an outdoor fireplace overlooking the Kennebuck River. You can enjoy complimentary bikes, beach passes, towels, and beach chairs; it’s a 15-minute drive to Goose Rocks Beach. From $169/night (3-night minimum over Memorial Day weekend).
Originally a collection of salt miners cottages, this recently opened 15-guestroom hotel in Provincetown offers crisp bright white rooms, plus bath products from C.O. Bigelow and LA-based Further brand. Co-owner Kevin O’Shea is also the Inn’s interior designer and its chef; he makes breakfast each day. There’s an outdoor dining area, a lounge, and a sun terrace on the landscaped grounds. From $250/night with free parking (3-night minimum stay over Memorial Day weekend).
On Florida’s west coast, this laid-back hotel puts you right on the beach. All guestrooms are individually decorated and have flat screen TVs, free Wi-Fi, vintage light fixtures and, in many cases, large-scale surf photography by local artists. A large pool is lined by bright yellow chaises, and PCI Beach Bar serves cool drinks on the sand. From $199/night.
Originally opened in 1929, this Spanish-inspired property launched the Casa Surf Project in 2010 with 10 one-of-a-kind suites dedicated to surf culture. Head to the outdoor rooftop lounge for beautiful ocean views—plus a menu with all dishes at $12 or less. The hotel, steps from the beach, provides guests with umbrellas, towels, chairs, and drinks for a day out in the sun. From $199/night on Fridays and $228 on Saturdays.
Just north of better-known Cannon Beach, the small town of Gearhart is big on antiques shops and picturesque hiking trails. It’s an easy walk from dunes along the Pacific Ocean to restored Gearhart Ocean Inn: 12 attached cottages, each with a kitchen or kitchenette. The owners of this property welcome pets and will provide beach cruiser bikes and a “clam gun” for scooping up clams from the sand. From $140/night (3-night minimum stay over Memorial Day weekend).
It's not too late to get away this spring. We've found five travel deals within $200 a night, from a ranch in Jackson Hole to a beach resort in St. Kitts.
St. Kitts: St. Kitts Marriott Resort Set right on Frigate Bay Beach, this resort offers plenty of ways to play and to relax. Swim in one of several pools, work out at the fitness center or spinning center, or enjoy the on-site casino. There's also a championship golf course, as well as water-sports such as snorkeling. Go to the Emerald Mist Spa for a bamboo massage and a papaya pineapple polish, and feel free to bring your kids along as well for a princess manicure. Doubles from $199/night in April.
Florida: One Ocean Resort & Spa, Jacksonville While the 193 rooms and suites all come with full or partial ocean views with floor-to-ceiling windows, put in a special request: the balcony rooms on the hotel's east side overlook the beach, and rooms on floors 6 to 8 have the best views. You'll begin to unwind immediately thanks to the butler service that helps with unpacking your bags and so much more. The Spa at One Ocean Resort has more than 40 marine-inspired treatments, such a Seashell Massage and a rubdown designed especially for windsurfers. Head to the nearby Beaches Town Center for shops and art galleries, or go down the coast to historic St Augustine. Doubles from $179/night.
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.
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.
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.
Whether you want to ski or swim, we have some fun and affordable ideas for your getaway this season.
Caribbean Beach: Martinique Stay:Plein Soleil Located 25 minutes from the airport, this chic collection of airy villas faces Thalemont Bay; the pool overlooks the inlet, too. The pretty, soft-white bedrooms here have linen-draped chaise lounges and Koi fish live in the ponds on the terrace. Dine at the open-air restaurant for spicy crab farci and local fruits marinated in mint. American Airlines offers connecting service through San Juan, Puerto Rico from many U.S. gateways. Doubles from $219/night.
If your 2013 resolution is to travel more, watch T+L's feature editor Nilou Motamed reveal the 13 places you have to see in 2013 on the TODAY show, from Puerto Rico and Uco Valley, Argentina, to Amsterdam and Charlevoix, Quebec. See the full list of the Hottest Travel Destinations of 2013 here.