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The colorful and chaotic frenzy that is India can quickly frazzle even the most seasoned travel vet. Happily, remedies to recover from India’s assault on the senses are well within reach in a nation that’s served as a fountainhead for such ancient wellness traditions for as yoga, Ayurveda, and meditation. I survived my recent month on the road there by setting aside some much-needed downtime at a handful of the country’s superlative spa hotels. Put R&R on your radar at two splurge-worthy mountain spa oases, where the resorts are worthy destinations in and of themselves, or try two great-value hub-city hotels touting top-notch spas aimed at helping you reboot while you’re en route.
It’s that time of year. Jack Frost has taken his first bite out of winter and on the most dismal of days we start dreaming of leaning palm trees, swaying hula dancers, and any drink with an umbrella teetering on top. While driving or walking to work dodging sideways sleet, it’s settled, our dreams turn into plans, and our island itinerary is set: indefinite sun, never-ending beach strolls, and overflowing Mai Tais await. Having made the over-ocean journey to the Hawaiian Isles more times than I can count, may I suggest Maui as your your muse for a complete getaway that puts tropical before touristy and sand before scene. I’ve found two beachfront locations that fly under the radar of most visitors’ viewfinders.
Bucharest might not garner the buzz of other burgeoning Eastern European cities, but look past the traffic-choked streets, swarms of stray dogs, and swindling taxi drivers, and Romania’s ripe-to-be-discovered capital city is rich with travelers’ treasure. A few days of exploration is certainly warranted in this budget-friendly hub, a perfect launching pad for trips deeper into the Romanian countryside, like legendary Transylvania.
While in Bucharest, be sure to check out relics from the nation’s Communist days, including ex-leader Nicolae Ceausescu’s behemoth Palace of Parliament (the second biggest building in the world, after the Pentagon); charming museums (we loved the Museum of the Romanian Peasant, revealing the art and culture of rural Romania); elegant architecture, airy plazas, and historic boulevards (read on for a just-for-ShermansTravel hotel steal, with a prime location on the 19th-century belle-époque Victoriei Avenue); and a refined musical scene brimming with ballet and opera (don’t miss a concert at the exquisite Romanian Athenaeum music hall – where tickets start from just $8). Plus, we’ve wrangled special savings on guided city tours with Romanian tour company Perfect Tour exclusively for ShermansTravel readers. Read more
Traverse the Atlantic Ocean from Southampton to New York City this holiday season aboard Cunard’s luxurious Queen Mary 2, one of the world’s most famous ocean liners, for $649 per person. This offer saves $650 (or 50 percent) on rates later in the season. Book now as this sale ends on Monday, September 10.
Set sail on December 5 at this rate. For $100 more, stay in an ocean view or balcony cabin. For $699, travel on November 20 from Southampton, or November 27 from New York City. Other eastbound and westbound sail dates are available at slightly higher rates.
Spend seven-nights aboard the fourteen-deck Queen Mary 2 — the largest vessel of its kind. The vessel’s detailed decor and elaborate furnishings recall the golden age of travel, while the ship’s amenities provide unparalleled, modern luxury. Feast upon gourmet cuisine from the ship’s restaurants and grills, then indulge in decadent cocktails from twelve bars and lounges. Catch a live show in the theater, or dance the night away in the largest ballroom at sea. Other common cruise amenities, such as five swimming pools, a fitness center, tennis courts, a casino, and a movie theater, are also available, but with Cunard’s signature, upscale touch.
To book this cruise visit Cunard’s website by clicking here, then select December 5 for the lowest rates. Book by September 10 at midnight.
See our New York City and England destination guides for more trip planning information, then use our Travel Search price comparison tool to find the lowest rates on return flights, packages, and more travel deals.
For those of us who remember the Radisson that used to occupy the concrete high-rise that’s now Boston’s shiny new Revere Hotel, the change from one property to the other is dramatic, to say the least. The Radisson got the job done for leisure travelers, especially in this centrally located Boston neighborhood, but you can be sure that it never featured soothing aromatherapy scents in the lobby, sculptures, studded leather headboards, or trendy bath products in sparkly-tiled showers.
Following a July, 2012 opening, only the building’s parking garage-y exterior remains intact. The interior got a plush re-do for maximum comfort and urban cool. The building’s roof even received a subdued-yet-glamorous facelift and now serves as a topiary-filled sundeck with skyline views.
If you want to experience the Revere firsthand this fall, you’ll likely pay somewhere between $350 and $500 a night to do it, but if you can hold out for cooler weather – and resolve to do your Christmas shopping in the boutiques on Newbury Street – you can stay for as little as $159 to $199 per night in November and December. That’s a steal considering that the property is still as shiny as its namesake’s silver, and that its rooms, common spaces, and the super-friendly treatment from its staff feel more 5-star than 4-. At that price, even the winter wind that whips through Boston doesn’t seem so daunting. Click here to search for rates.
Already anticipating your holiday vacation? Get away to the luxurious 4.5-star Milliken Creek Inn & Spa in Napa Valley this winter. This elegant hotel in California’s renowned wine country is tucked away overlooking the Napa River, and you can take advantage of its Scents of the Season package for bookings this holiday season. With rooms starting at $199 per night for stays from November through January, you’ll save 40 percent on current rates.
Stay in a luxurious guestroom that features a king bed, a spa bathtub, a plasma television with DIRECTV, complimentary Wi-Fi, and evening turndown service. Select rooms also feature one-touch gas fireplaces and private balconies. Read more
Just two hours from New York City, Bermuda is the perfect weekend getaway. Leave the city chaos behind and escape to the soft pink sands and crystal clear waters of the British territory. Located on Bermuda’s stunning South Shore, the Fairmont Southampton offers luxury accommodations in paradise. This property, voted one of the top resorts in the Atlantic by the readers of Condé Nast Traveler, offers guests 30 percent savings off bookings of three nights or more. Rooms start at $193 per night through the end of the year.
Your guestroom will feature one king or two queen beds, a spacious bathroom with a his-and-hers granite vanity, and a private balcony. The property contains eight onsite dining options including fresh local seafood at the beachfront Ocean Club and The Cellar, a local favorite cocktail and entertainment lounge. Relax on the serene private beach, where the Cabana Bar & Grill will bring you island-inspired cocktails and snacks. The resort’s full-service spa features a state-of-the-art ocean view fitness center as well as treatments including aromatherapy and reflexology, cleansing facials, and custom massages. From tennis courts to an eighteen-hole golf course, the Fairmont Southampton really has it all.
This special is available for 3-night stays booked through December 31. To book, visit the Fairmont Southampton website. For more information, call 800-257-7544.
If you’ve already been to Italy, chances are you’ve seen the big three: Rome, Florence and Venice (and perhaps even Lake Como and the Amalfi Coast). If you plan to return, as most travelers do, I suggest you visit one of Italy’s lesser-known regions: Emilia Romagna. Bordered by the Adriatic to the east and the Apennine Mountains to the west, this food-centric north-central region is anchored by the bustling university city of Bologna (shown at right) and is the home of not only Motor Valley (where Ferraris, Lamborghinis, Ducatis, and other sexy Italian sports cars are made), but also such Italian culinary treats as tortellini, Bolognese sauce, mortadella, Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, and balsamic vinegar.
In other words, Emilia Romagna’s got fast cars and slow food, which makes it molto delicioso! Read more
Come to Miami for one last vacation before summer draws to an end. Stay two nights at the 4.5-star Viceroy Miami and receive your third night on the house, a savings of over 30 percent on current rates. Room rates start at $133 a night, including weekends, for travel through September 10.
Take in the breathtaking Biscayne Bay, relax on the white sand beaches, experience the South Beach nightlife, and live the luxurious Miami lifestyle that everyone raves about. The prime downtown location of the property offers guests easy access to shopping, beaches, and the diverse Miami culture. The Viceroy Miami features Florida’s largest infinity pool, a full-service spa, several on-site dining options, and a chic rooftop lounge.
The Viceroy King room featured in this end-of-summer special includes a private balcony, a complete kitchenette, and a daily national newspaper. Guests will also receive a variety of welcome amenities, including VIP access to Club 50 (Viceroy Miami’s very own lounge atop the hotel tower at fifty stories), two recovery drinks, and a late 2pm checkout.
The Forever Summer promotion is available for any three-night stay booked by August 31. To book, visit the Viceroy Miami website and enter the promotion code FOREVER.
We’d love if every cruise we took could be aboard a luxury liner like the Queen Elizabeth, but budget constraints normally keep us from splurging on all that opulence and personal service. However, these amazing, limited time fares – up to 60 percent off – on Cunard’s fall Mediterranean sailings mean you don’t have to sacrifice savings for style.
The best value is the 10-day Mediterranean Moments, where inside cabins start at $699, or about $70/day; the cruise goes from Rome to Southampton and makes calls in Italy, Monaco, and Spain. Other itineraries we love range from the 12-day Holy Land Explorer (Rome to Venice, with stops in Turkey, Cyprus, Israel, and Egypt) from $899, to the 12-day Pearls of the Black Sea (Venice to Athens, with stops in the Greek Islands, Turkey, and Ukraine) from $1,299. Even better: all sale fares also include an onboard credit of $100-$300, depending on cabin class.
To give you some perspective, these fares are comparable to similar itineraries currently on offer from Royal Caribbean, which don’t include Cunard’s luxury perks like white-glove service and formal evenings. Just be warned that all sailings with the exception of the 12-day Greek Isles and Turkish Splendours start and end in different ports, and buying two one-way flights may increase the cost of your airfare. You’ll also have to hurry, as the sale ends August 6! Find all the details at www.cunard.com/sale.
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