In today’s tough economy, there’s one silver lining: travel deals.
As hotels, resorts, airlines, and cruise lines compete for your travel dollars, they’re dropping rates like never before.
And then there is what is known in the travel industry as the “Dead Week.” That’s the week after New Year’s Day when nobody is traveling, and rates drop even lower.
Peter was on the Today show talking about some of these great deals, and we have even more for you below.
ALL AROUND THE U.S.
If you indulged a little too much over the holidays, the Monteleone Hotel in New Orleans has a Detox and Retox in Style package that may be just what the doctor ordered. It’s available from January 4-11, 2009 and is priced at $475 per person, double occupancy for four days/three nights. This represents a savings of 62 percent off regular rates.
You’ll also receive champagne and chocolate-covered strawberries upon arrival, two cocktails, a romantic dinner for two with wine, daily breakfast for two, a tour of NoLa’s famous drinks and taverns, a detox session in the Monteleone’s Spa Aria, and, a “hangover kit” for morning of departure (contains aspirin, Pepto-Bismol and Bloody Mary mix.
Guests reserving a two-night Frosty Fridays weekend package at The Colonnade Hotel in Boston will pay only the outside temperature on Friday night, and a rate of $295 per room for Saturday night. So if the weather is right, you could potentially pay next to nothing for one night. The package includes a choice of two tickets to either the Old Town Trolley Tour or free skating at the Boston Common Frog Pond Skating Rink, hot chocolate for two at Brasserie JO, and overnight parking.
Escape to the beach at the Hotel del Coronado in San Diego. For the week of January 4-11, 2009 the Del is dropping its rates from $285 to $199 per night (that’s almost a 30 percent savings). This rate includes overnight accommodations, free boogie board rentals, a two-hour Coronado Island biking trip for two, and free parking.
The luxury resort Red Mountain Spa in southern Utah has last-minute holiday escapes starting at $209 per night from now through January 31. The offer includes accommodations, three meals a day, daily hiking and biking, unlimited fitness classes, and wellness events. Sagestone Spa and Salon is also discounting some of its spa treatments, such as a 50-minute Swedish massages for $69 (usually $110) and a 50-minute facial for $79 (usually $115).
And even though what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, that can’t happen unless they get people there. Check out these Sin City deals we got from our friends at Travelzoo: the Wynn is offering one of its lowest rates ever: $129 on January 5 and 6. The Palms Las Vegas has rooms for $79 a night on January 4-6 and 9-10, and is throwing in a $50 dining credit. And, at the Golden Nugget, if you stay January 4-6 and January 11, you pay $49 but get $40 in credit … so they’re almost paying you to stay!
Live like a reggae king on a prince’s income at the Marley Resort & Spa in Nassau, Bahamas. (Rita Marley, Bob Marley’s widow, purchased this 16-room luxury property after falling in love with it at first sight.) The Royal Welcome package costs $250 per room, per night, which is nearly half off the rack rate of $425, valid through January 31, 2009. This rate also includes something called an Akwaaba Welcome Touch Foot Ceremony for two (i.e. a 10-minute foot massage with rose petals).
The Hilton Papagayo Costa Rica Resort and Spa is offering a deal from January 4-31, 2009 that includes savings of more than 50 percent off normal room rates. Guests will pay $99 per night, per room (regular rate is $229 per night) and get a 25 percent discount on massages at the resort’s spa. Go local with spa treatments like a Banana Leaf Wrap and a Gentleman’s Volcanic Pedicure with a wrap of local volcanic mud.
And would you believe that a Caribbean hotelier is letting you swap bad stocks for a beach vacation?
If you book between now and January 31, 2009 Elite Island Resorts – which operates high-end, all-inclusive resorts in Antigua, the Grenadines, and Tortola – will allow you to take a vacation worth up to $5,000 at any of its resorts, and pay in stock! But here’s the crazy part—Elite is accepting the shares at their July 1 pre-meltdown values. So a stock that was once $20 per share that is now worth $2 gets 10 times the current value. Approximately one hundred U.S. stocks, from Ford Motor Co. to Xerox Corp., are included in the deal, which is valid for stays until December 20, 2009. No blackout dates apply, but there are only a limited number of rooms set aside for the promotion.
Remember, the Canadian dollar is valued at about 20 percent less than the U.S. dollar. Ski bums on a budget should head to Canada’s Whistler/Blackcomb ski resort which is offering a fifth night of lodging and fourth day of skiing free. On top of that, guests buying a package also receive a free Fresh Tracks ticket, which gets you a hot breakfast at the Roundhouse Lodge and early access to the mountain before the lifts officially open. This package starts at $98 per person, per night, and is valid from January 4, 2009 through the end of the ski season.
If you want to combine Scandinavian revelry with your ski vacation, check out Breckenridge, Colorado. Select hotels there are offering packages from as little as $588 per person which include four nights lodging in a two-bedroom condo (that’s $147 a night), three lift tickets per person, a dinner sleigh ride, backcountry dog sledding, and … the “Ullr Fest” experience. The Ullr Fest is Breckenridge’s celebration of the Norse god of snow which from January 4-10, 2009—we’re talking skiers and snowboarders wear horned Viking hats, Ullympic competitors flinging frying pans for prizes, and Ullr enthusiasts filling the streets. This package is offered from January 4-11, 2009.
You may not think of Virginia and skiing together, but the Homestead Resort in Hot Springs features the South’s first ski area—which is marking its 50th anniversary in 2009. The Family Ski Free Package includes accommodations and free lift tickets for four for $199 per room, per night. This package represents a savings of approximately 52 percent off of normal rates and is available from January 2 through March 17.
Even luxury lodges are getting into it—they may still charge the same amount, but they’re throwing in freebies to sweeten the pot. The Little Nell in Aspen, Colorado, is offering a Hassle Free package with a four night-stay through ski season. Guests get tons of value-added amenities such as a $250 credit for luggage shipping, daily ski or snowboard rentals for two (valued at $63 per guest per day), free airport transfers and transportation around town, a luxury shuttle to the ski slopes, and early admission to the slopes. Oh, and you also get access to a ski concierge, who will actually warm your boots before you hit the slopes and bring in your snowy equipment, and you get to test drive an Audi Q7 and A8L test-drive vehicles.
BY SEA AND BY RAIL
You can find some cheapo sailings on Carnival from Miami and New Orleans just after the first of the year. Right now, a three-day cruise from Miami to Nassau departing January 9, 2009 starts at $189 for an inside cabin, and $209 for an ocean view cabin. Or you can sail for four days from Miami to Key West and Cozumel departing January 5 for $279 for an inside cabin; or cruise for five days from New Orleans to Western Caribbean on January 10, starting at for $349 per person. And all through January, Carnival is also offering free two-category upgrades.
Discount broker Cruisebrothers.com has cruising deals galore: The Sapphire Princess has a seven-night cruise departing January 10 from Los Angeles to Mexico starting at $399 per person (that’s $57 a night). Skip the shore excursions and pricey alcohol, and you’re looking at a vacation that’s practically cheaper than staying home. Later in the month, a 10-night Caribbean cruise departing January 29 starts at $858 per person—still far less than $100 a night and including all of your meals.
Viking River Cruises is offering significant savings on its spring 2009 tours to China. Guests in Category B staterooms or higher get $500 off per person, and Category C staterooms or lower get $250 off per person. Or, you can skip the discount, and instead secure round-trip airfare to China from the U.S. for an incredible $199 per person. Each deal can be combined with the Ocean Cruisers Discount, which means that you get up to $500 off if you took an ocean cruise in the past year–with any other line! The Spring Booking Discount and reduced airfare offers run through February 28, 2009.
If you’re over 60 and want to tour Canada by rail with your significant other, VIA rail (Canada’s national train service) has a deal for you. Starting January 6, if you buy one ticket at the full senior fare in economy class, you’ll get a free ticket for a traveling companion. This offer available for seniors ages 60 and over from January 6 to December 14, 2009. VIA rail also has other senior discount offers available on its Web site. Link:
By Karen Elowitt for PeterGreenberg.com.
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