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Since regaining control of its historic canal in 2000, with expansions set for completion in 2014 (the 100-year anniversary), Panama has emerged as a top stop for tourists worldwide. Its capital city, which is ideally set between the Pacific Ocean and lush jungle, has an ever-growing modern skyline across the bay from a revitalized historic district, making it a destination for all types of travelers. And the Westin Playa Bonita, the first Westin in Panama, is a testament to Panama’s rise to the top, embracing the country’s growth and modernity as a sleek skyscraper, while keeping the unique history and landscape at the finger-tips of guests. Read more
Appealing to today’s more value-conscious upscale traveler, luxury line Crystal Cruises has added all-inclusive amenities to their standard pricing. These new benefits began with Crystal Symphony‘s first transatlantic voyage from Miami to Lisbon on March 19 (the next all-inclusive sailing will be the Crystal Serenity‘s trip from New York to London on May 8).
The new all-inclusive pricing includes prepaid gratuities for housekeeping, butler, and dining staff, an impressive selection of fine wine and premium spirits in the restaurants, open-bar service throughout the ship, 24-hour room service, and more.
As repeat passengers, my husband and I anticipated exceptional cuisine and a world of imaginative itineraries when we had the pleasure of taking an 11-day cruise through the Panama Canal in January. It was the perfect time of the year to sail from Costa Rica into the turquoise waters of the Caribbean Sea, stopping at the colorful ports of Curacao, St. Maarten and St. Thomas before arriving in Miami.
Unfortunately, it was too soon in the year for us to take advantage of Crystal’s all-inclusive pricing – but there’s always a next time. Read more
For all you early planners, and especially for those with romantic beach holidays on your mind, Couples Resorts Jamaica is offering unbelievable deals if you book your future travel by April 17. All-inclusive rates for travel between December 26, 2012 and December 25, 2013 at the four Couples Resorts Jamaica start at just $169 per person, per night, with savings up to 57 percent off their published prices. A three-night minimum stay is required for the 2013 Early Escapes deal, but all service charges, taxes, and gratuities are already included.
Couples Resorts Jamaica consists of four resorts: Couples Tower Isle and Couples Sans Souci, both in Ocho Rios, and Couples Negril and Couples Swept Away, both in Negril. At all of them, you’ll enjoy beachfront properties set for romance – the resorts are adults only – with all-inclusive additions like scuba diving, reef snorkeling, and sunset cruises and excursions, as well as amenities such as access to multiple pools, beach butler service, and gourmet dining. It’s all included in the nightly fee, no extra taxes, tips, or dining surcharges.
To enjoy your all-inclusive romantic retreat and great savings, book the 2013 Early Escapes special online. Plus, if you stay at least seven nights, you’re eligible for extra bonuses like a $300 resort credit or the seventh night free, depending on your travel period. Learn more about date restrictions here.
For lodging on St. Croix, a great family option is Divi Carina Bay, which became an all-inclusive property in January 2011 (the only one of the island). Situated on the eastern end of the island – close to what is considered the easternmost point of the United States – Divi Carina Bay sits on 1,000 feet of sandy beach with sparkling waters protected by a reef. The resort takes full advantage of this location, with all 180 rooms and 20 villas sporting ocean views as well as a vast array of water sports including snorkeling, kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding, and windsurfing. Divi also offers a free intro to scuba diving in its main swimming pool; for a fee, guests can get PADI-certified in five to six days. There’s plenty to do on land, too, from tennis to mini golf to the only casino on St. Croix, where you’ll find lots of locals as well as guests. After all that exercise, guests can grab a bite at the two main restaurants, pizza shack (open late afternoons and evenings), and casino café, which stays open until 3am. Tip: For a bit of quiet relaxation, head to the pool near the villas, which is open to everyone but tends to attract fewer guests than the main swimming pool near the beach. All-inclusive rates start at $175 per person, per night this spring; up to two children under age 12 stay and eat free with paying adults. www.divicarina.com
For general trip-planning information, see our St. Croix destination guide, then use our Travel Search price comparison tool to find the lowest rates on hotels, flights, and vacation packages in St. Croix.
Nothing staves off those post-holiday, cold-weather blahs quite like planning a beach vacation. Breezes Resorts and Spas is offering savings of up to 55 percent off at six of its properties in the Bahamas (Breezes Bahamas), Jamaica (Breezes Runaway Bay, Breezes Grand Negril, or Breezes Trelawny), Curaçao (Breezes Curaçao), and Brazil (Breezes Búzios) for travelers who book by February 15 for travel between May 1 and October 31. The chain’s all-inclusive rates include accommodations, all meals at multiple dining venues, unlimited premium-brand drinks, numerous land and water sports offerings, entertainment, and more.
THE VALUE: Savings range from 25 to 55 percent off of rack rates, working out to as low as $68 per person, per night. You’ll secure the most highly discounted rates by booking ahead for travel in August or September.
THE CATCH: A minimum 3-night stay is required.
THE DETAILS: To book, visit www.breezes.com or call 877-273-3937.
WE’VE GOT MORE: Use our Travel Search price comparison tool to find the lowest rates on hotels, flights, vacation packages, and more travel deals.
Bring the whole family to an all-inclusive beach resort in Montego Bay, Jamaica, this holiday season. The Holiday Inn SunSpree Resort Montego Bay is offering stays from $72 per person, per night – a savings of 65% on current rates.
Stay now through December 24. These rates include all meals and snacks, resort activities and entertainment, non-motorized water sports, and free in-room WiFi. Plus, two children per booking stay for free.
Located directly on the beach, the expansive SunSpree also offers a state-of-the-art fitness center, a full-service spa, and plenty of sports, swimming and activity options for the whole family, as well as numerous restaurants, bars, and lounges.
THE VALUE: Save 65% and receive all-inclusive amenities at this family-friendly Montego Bay resort.
THE CATCH: These rates are only available through December 24.
THE DETAILS: Visit the SunSpree Montego Bay or call 888-288-6006 to book.
In summer, it’s hard to beat those days when you can just lie around and do nothing. And what could be better than doing nothing in the middle of pristine Montana wilderness? New this summer, the Ranch at Rock Creek has set up 12 hammocks on its 6,600 acres (six along Rock Creek, six in the property’s mountains) that offer just such a respite.
The scenic hammock spots, dubbed “Cowboy Kips,” can be reached by hiking, biking, or a short drive. The ranch’s chef will pack you a gourmet picnic with snacks like breakfast burritos and homemade trail mix bars (or pretty much anything else you fancy) along with water, soda, beer, or a bottle of wine. Should you feel alone in the wilderness, don’t fret: The hammocks also come outfitted with walkie-talkies, a first-aid kit, and instructions on what to do in an emergency.
Opened in May 2010, the Ranch at Rock Creek is located outside Philipsburg, Montana, about one hour 45 minutes southeast of Missoula International Airport. All-inclusive rates (starting at $900/person/night for a lodge room or $5,600/night for a 5-bedroom cabin) encompass everything you could ask for during your stay: lodging, meals and beverages (including alcohol), on-site activities like horseback riding and paintball, as well as day trips to Philipsburg and nearby ghost towns. www.theranchatrockcreek.com
For general trip-planning information, see our Montana Travel Guide.
For bookings this week only, every all-inclusive Caribbean vacation booked at an Elite Island Resort gets you the second free. That means savings of 50 percent! So, you have no (financial) excuse not to bring mom and dad or the kids. The offer also comes with a complimentary room upgrade (based on availability). Choose from properties in Antigua (St. Jame’s Club & Villas, The Verandah Resort & Spa, or Galley Bay Resort), St. Vincent & the Grenadines (Palm Island Resort), British Virgin Islands (Long Bay Beach Resort), or Grenada (LaSource).
THE VALUE: Slash the cost of your trip in half with this promo valid for stays through December 20, 2011. This offer must be booked between midnight on Monday, May 2, and midnight on Sunday, May 8.
THE CATCH: Airfare is not included.
THE DETAILS: Call 800/858-4618 or visit www.eliteislandresorts.com and use offer code MOM.
WE’VE GOT MORE: Use our Travel Search price comparison tool to find the lowest rates and travel deals on flights to the Caribbean.
Need a relaxing spring vacation by the beach with the option to sail, windsurf, golf, or just play in the sand? What about a place where the whole family can have a good time? Book a 4-night, all inclusive stay at the Riu Emerald Bay in Mazatlan, Mexico before April 15 and get all of those options in just one place. For just $500 per person, receive airfare, accommodations, meals and more! In addition, kids 12 and under stay free with two paying adults.
THE VALUE: This deal includes air taxes which can cost an additional $123.
THE CATCH: This price is only available when leaving from Los Angeles. Other departure cities are available, but at higher prices. In addition, prices were accurate at the time of this post but may prices may fluctuate. Book soon to reserve this rate.
THE DETAILS: To book click here or call 1-877-433-4378 before April 15;
WE’VE GOT MORE: Sign up to receive more editor-vetted deals with our Top 25 Newsletter.
Looking for more vacation ideas with the family? Check out our Family vacation Blog.
The Luxury Set on 200 private acres, Playa Viva is a 30-minute drive south of Zihuatenajo on Mexico’s Pacific Coast. The all-inclusive eco-resort features a mile-long beach, an Aztec archeological site, and a turtle sanctuary. All five of the resort’s open-air, thatched-roof casitas have ocean views, canopy beds, and design elements created by regional craftspeople. Meals are prepared from local and organic ingredients when possible. Activity options include surfing, swimming, and whale watching.
The Value Through March 31, readers who stay three nights get the fourth one free, which brings rates to $222/night for a studio and $297/night for a deluxe suite. Two one-hour massages and all meals and airport transfers are included. The overall savings represent a 30 percent discount on high season rates.
The Catch Taxes, tips, fees for excursions, bar drinks, and other spa services are not covered.
The Details 650-585-6770 (use code Sherman11); playaviva.com
From the Winter 2010/2011 issue of Smart Luxury Travel magazine by ShermansTravel.com.
For general trip planning information, see our Mexico Travel Guide.
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