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Aspen

Powderhorn MountainSkiing can be glamorous and exciting, and unfortunately, expensive. But as the season wears on, discounts start to pop up for both lodging and lift tickets. Since it looks like most of the major ski destinations will have snow through the beginning of April, here are a few deals to consider for a March trip. This is only a selection, so if your favorite destination isn’t listed, be sure to dig deeper at your favorite area or mountain to see what’s on offer.

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AspenNot that anyone has ever accused Aspen, Colorado of not having enough restaurants, but we’re excited about chef David Burke’s new venture in town — his first restaurant in the western U.S.. Debuting in late March, David Burke Kitchen Aspen is set to be one of the hottest openings of the season. We recently chatted with the restauranteur and former Top Chef contestant about dry-aged beef, his favorite hotels, and why a Sam Adams at a local bar is the best beer you’ll have in Aspen.  Read more

Aspen SkiWhen we think of iconic winter destinations in the United States, Aspen, Colorado immediately comes to mind, especially among well-heeled travelers. It is the most expensive town in America, with last year’s lowest single-family home priced at $559,000 (located, incidentally, in a trailer park). It is also the location of America’s most expensive house, which went on sale a few years ago for $135 million.

What does all this mean for tourists? Well, it’s expensive, but that doesn’t mean it’s not worth it. Read more

Get away to the luxury town of Aspen, Colorado, and stay in a 4-star hotel at the base of the mountain. The recently-renovated Sky Hotel, A Kimpton Hotel, is offering rooms for as little as $169 per night this fall – a savings of 65 percent on winter rates.

The Sky Hotel is a sleek boutique with an updated design aesthetic, and features evening wine receptions, high-speed wireless Internet, and a heated sundeck with outdoor fire pits, a heated pool, and sweeping views of the Aspen Mountain. There is also a 24-hour fitness center and a trendy lounge and restaurant. All rooms feature luxurious linens, iHome clock radios, and plush bathrobes. The Sky Hotel is only three blocks from downtown Aspen’s upscale shopping, dining, and entertainment.

These low rates with the “Nip & Tuck Package” are available Sundays through Thursdays from September 4 through November 21. Weekends and summer rates are available for more, also at a discount. To book, visit the Sky Hotel website or call 800-882-2582 and mention the rate code TUCK.

See our Aspen destination guide for more trip-planning information, then use our Travel Search price comparison tool to find the lowest rates on flights.

AspenI’ve been to Aspen once before and I am pleased to say the charming Western town in Colorado continues to lead as America’s premier glitz and glamour ski destination. I’m not sure which is more impressive – the natural beauty of Aspen’s mountain ranges or the not-so-natural plastic surgeries of its many patrons! Of course, one comes to Aspen to ski the four mountains, and my favorite continues to be Snowmass, followed by Ajax and Highlands. (I have not tried Buttermilk.) Snowmass is 25 minutes from Aspen and there are regular shuttle buses from the center of town.

I found a wonderful lunch spot, Lynn Britt Cabin, at mid-mountain of Snowmass. It’s a charming restaurant, with linen covered table tops, that features some hearty goulash, bison stew, and an extensive wine list. Like Cloud 9 restaurant on Highlands Mountain, Lynn Britt is one of the more special places to stop for a bite after a good morning of ski runs.

I was lucky this trip in that snow had fallen the week before and so the mountains had excellent powder. The light snow of Colorado is unique; Europe, California, and the U.S. Northeast can’t compare. The busiest and best month to come is March; days are longer than in January or February, the temperature begins to get a bit warmer, and there is usually a good snow base.

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Limelight LodgeIt may be a skier’s delight come December, but Aspen has plenty to offer in the fall, too, from hiking to horseback riding. Make your base at the Limelight Lodge, a 126-room hotel at the foot of Aspen Mountain. Take advantage of free loaner bikes, a generous breakfast spread, and not one but two rooftop lounges. For stays from September 5 through November 30, guests can get 20 percent off stays of two or three nights and 25 percent off stays of four or more nights.

THE VALUE: Rates start at $130/night.

THE CATCH: Blackout dates include September 15-17, 22-24, and 29-30.

THE DETAILS: Book online on Limelight’s website.

WE’VE GOT MORE: Use our Travel Search price comparison tool to find the lowest rates on flights to Aspen.

For general trip-planning information, see our Aspen Travel Guide.

Aspen ski hotelWith several of the big ski resorts out west already reporting significant snowfall, it’s time to start thinking about your ski and snowboard plans for the winter. Hitting the slopes on vacation doesn’t have to mean a hard hit to your wallet, however, with these “ski free” packages from hotels in some of North America’s premier ski destinations.

Limelight Lodge, Aspen This family-owned lodge in central Aspen sits at the foot of the namesake mountain. The hotel’s Ski Package offers two free lift tickets for each day of your stay minus one (e.g. two 2-day passes for a three-night stay). Including the ski passes and accommodations, a three-night stay costs $915 and a four-night stay costs $1,315 – a savings of 30 percent. Three-night minimum stay required; some blackout dates apply. www.limelightlodge.com

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Car rentals, parking, and taxi rides can be quite costly when traveling around major cities. You can opt for public transportation, but we’ve found hotels that offer guests a lift to their destination—for free—and in some pretty spiffy rides to boot. See the savings for yourself; it might make sense to skip that taxi ride altogether.

The Hotel: W Fort Lauderdale, Florida
The Wheels
: The 300-horsepower Acura MDX’s take guests to destinations within a 5-mile radius of the hotel. Just dial the Acura Experience desk, reserve your personal driver and the fully stocked SUV is yours.
Room Rate
: $249
Taxi cost from hotel to the Museum of Art
: $6
Hotel parking fees
:$30 per day
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New Year’s might seem far off, but for powder hounds, it can’t come soon enough – especially when there are deals to be had for booking some of 2011′s roster of gay ski weeks early. Some even start happening before your hangover has had time to subside. Details below.

Never been to a gay ski week? Looking for something more low key? Ski Bums, the nation’s largest LGBT ski and snowboarder organization, runs group trips across the country and select worldwide pilgrimages (Courchevel, France and heliskiing in Sweden are on tap for in 2011), as well as day trips from NYC, creating what amounts to a mini gay ski week in the process. A new California chapter launches next Friday, October 8 at Gym Sportsbar in WeHo, so West Coasters can start feeling the chilly thrills soon. Both black diamond masters and bunny hill newbies are welcome.

sky-hotel-resize.jpgIn honor of its new status of Green Seal eco-certification on the Silver Level, Aspen’s Sky Hotel is offering a special deal for similarly eco-minded guests. The Green Sky Package ties in 20 percent off room rates, a free Green Seal cocktail (a fruity mix of vodka, Malibu, Midori, and pineapple juice) at the hotel’s 39 Degrees lounge, and free valet parking. On top of that, the hotel will plant a tree for every guest to book the package. Special bonus points go to drivers of hybrid or electric cars, for whom Sky Hotel will donate 5 percent of the room rate to the Aspen Valley Land Trust.

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viceroysnowmass_edit.jpgA shoe-in for LEED silver certification, the luxury Viceroy Snowmass resort glistens on the sweeping slope of Assay Hill in the Aspen area of Colorado. Muting Aspen’s reputation as an extravagant celebrity destination, the Viceroy sells opulent ambiance complimented by pragmatic and intimate design at reputable prices. Through June 16, the Springtime in Snowmass package offers guests discounted room rates starting from $150 (regularly $225) on their beautiful studios and apartments, along with 30 percent off all massages, facials, rituals, and manicures and pedicures at their 7,000-square-foot spa.

For reservations visit www.viceroysnowmass.com, or call 888-328-1724.

About the Resort: The brainchild of respected architect Jean-Michel Gathy, Viceroy Snowmass is a wonder of sustainable design, with 30 percent more efficiency than traditional edifices. It comprises 173 residential ski-in/ski-out accommodations outfitted with fireplaces, private sundecks, full or convenience kitchens, flat-screen televisions, DVD players, and wireless Internet. Indulge in local, seasonal offerings at their restaurant, grab a snack at the poolside café, or break a sweat at the state-of-the-art fitness center – better yet, stroll down one of the newly thawed hiking trails.

give-and-getaway-image-resize.jpgEarth Day may have come and gone, but that doesn’t mean you have to stop your environmental good deeds. Once again, RockResorts is teaming up with Breckenridge Hospitality, Keystone Resort, and Grand Teton Lodge Company to offer the “Give and Getaway” package for vacation-goers looking to get their hands a little dirty this summer and fall. With full- and half-day eco-projects ranging from hiking trail maintenance to working on a sustainable farm, there are plenty of voluntourism options from Aspen to Miami, and even the Caribbean!

As an added incentive, participating guests receive 20 percent or more off room rates during their stay and free extras like work gloves and backpacks (these vary by hotel). Rates start at as little as $59/night at La Posada de Santa Fe Resort & Spa, topping out at $555.75/night for a 5-night package at The Landings St. Lucia.

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aspenviceroy.jpgThe Aspen-Snowmass ski area encompasses 5,300 acres over four mountains (Aspen Mountain, Aspen Highlands, Snowmass, and Buttermilk). In the middle of it all, the town of Aspen has loomed large for decades, with every new development setting off an avalanche of news in the ski world.  

The big news this season, however, is unfolding 9 miles west of Aspen at the base of Snowmass Mountain. There, the developer Related WestPac is unveiling an entirely new village on what was previously just gravel parking lots. Of the four peaks, Snowmass is known for its sheer size, with more skiable acreage than the other three mountains combined. Over the past two years some 90 ski-in, ski-out condos have opened in the new Snowmass Village along with a smattering of restaurants, a kids’ activity center, and a beginners’ ski school. Read more

thegant_edit.jpgLocated at the foot of Aspen Mountain’s powder-packed slopes in Colorado’s picturesque high country, The Gant Resort provides an ideal base for an ultimate winter ski getaway. This posh mountain lodge boasts 140 upscale condominiums with luxurious amenities like wood-burning fireplaces, fully equipped kitchens, and daily housekeeping. Rack rates in December start at around $195/night for a standard 1-bedroom suite, but you’ll save up to 30 percent with the early-bird special. The Summer Snow Saver promotion entitles guests to a 30 percent discount on stays of 4 nights or longer, or 15 percent off a single night’s stay, for travel between November 26 and April 11, 2010. Plus, ShermansTravel Readers enjoy perks like guaranteed late check-out and a complimentary bottle of wine upon check-in. Visit www.gantaspen.com and enter special promotional code SHERGT by November 15.

 

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AspenYou know you’re in an upscale ski town when you see Chanel, Dior, Malo, and Fendi shops in a three-block walk. Being Aspen, most visitors are outfitted smartly, including the latest Prada ski jackets. Actually, fashion here blends tasteful western chic with a more jet set, designer look. Beyond fashion, though, one notes the large number of international skiers and staff. Mainly South Americans (to my surprise), Australians, and some Europeans make up the energetic, amiable staff working the slopes and in town, and the potpourri of languages spoken among the skiers affords a unique, and positive, addition to the whole trip.

The third noteworthy item is the superb quality of just about all that you need on a ski trip – well laid out ski lifts with plenty of chair lift padding, excellent food (in town and on the slopes), and a fun après-ski nightlife (for young and old).

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