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Last weekend, Punxsutawney Phil didn’t see his shadow on Groundhog Day, signaling an early spring. Though this weekend’s northeast blizzard may have hinted towards six more weeks of winter instead, we choose to believe Phil. This week’s warm weather destinations will help you get an early start on spring, so you can enjoy the sunshine, whether Phil was right or wrong. Read more
In a tough economy, it becomes more difficult to sneak away from the office, but also less realistic to spend your savings on a big vacation. Given the constraints on travelers’ time and checkbooks, few options are as ideal as a quick jaunt to the Caribbean – direct flights are readily available from most East Coast airports to most island hubs, and the variety among the islands means there’s a destination for everyone – from the nature enthusiast to the luxury-demanding mogul. Unfortunately, no destination is without at least one drawback, and in the case of the Caribbean, this drawback is hurricane season. Typically running from June 1 to November 30, the Atlantic Hurricane Season has been known to put quite a damper on many vacationers and cruisers on the Caribbean islands. On the other hand, the unpredictability of the hurricane season also means there are great deals on travel to the Caribbean during these months. While there is no guarantee that any destination will be totally safe during the season, the editors at VirtualTourist have put together a list of “5 Caribbean Islands less likely impacted during Hurricane Season.” Read more
Curaçao is one of those Caribbean islands that you may have heard of, but didn’t know too much about – unless you were one of the millions of viewers of ABC’s The Bachelorette, which just filmed single mom Emily Maynard’s finale there. If you liked what you saw – idyllic beaches, crystal clear water, and cobblestone streets set amid colorful 18th-century buildings – then here’s something else that might surprise you: Curaçao is very affordable! It’s low season there from now until mid-December, so you’ll find great deals. And because Curaçao is generally below the hurricane belt, storms are not typically a problem. I have visited the island and have stayed at the two sister hotels where much of The Bachelorette action unfolded, so here’s the scoop on both – plus deals and discounts on other great properties:
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
As the Caribbean heads into its shoulder (April-June) and low (July-November) seasons, the region’s resorts are offering up some romance packages that are a great value and full of fun extras. So if you’re planning a just-the-two-of-you escape over the next few months, here are four options worth considering:
Curacao Couples Getaway Package: If you’re looking to try a new island, I can recommend colorful, cultural Curacao, where this five-night package from the Lodge Kura Hulanda Spa and Casino (shown above at left) is a great value. It includes five nights’ accommodation in an Oceanfront Studio or Oceanfront One-Bedroom Suite, a three-hour romantic snorkel trip to a nearby reef, a poolside cabana couples massage, buffet breakfast daily, complimentary transport to sister property Hotel Kura Hulanda Spa and Casino (in photogenic Willemstad), and taxes and service charges, from $1,450 per couple. Valid April 8 to October 31, 2012.
THE LUXURY Curacao, which puts the “C” in the Southern Caribbean’s delightful “ABC” islands (tailing Aruba and Bonaire), is known for its cultured capital, terrific dive sights, and the colorful and historic Hotel Kura Hulanda Spa & Casino. Combine a stay in the history-rich heart of Willemstad, a UNESCO World Heritage site, at the Hotel Kura Hulanda with some downtime on the beach at the resort’s secluded sister property, the Lodge Kura Hulanda & Beach Club.
THE VALUE The “Winter on Sale” deal slashes rates by 40 percent, and is valid for bookings in all room categories (excluding the three-bedroom Kalki Villa at Lodge Kura Hulanda) for travel through April 7, 2012. After the promotion, rates at the Hotel Kura Hulanda start at $192/night, while prices at the Lodge Kura Hulanda start at $159/night.
THE CATCH Note that taxes and fees will tack on an additional 20 percent to the discounted rates. Plus, a 3-night minimum stay is required to secure the deal, and the promotion must be book before it expires on February 15 .
THE DETAILS Visit www.kurahulanda.com for more information on the properties, but you’ll need to call 877-264-3106 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to actually book the special offer.
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.
When I first stumbled upon my new favorite haunt in Willemstad, Curacao – a sexy Latino bar called Mundo Bizarro – and parked my ride on the sidewalk with the assurance that I would never have to worry about getting a parking ticket, my vacation officially began.
As the Caribbean’s most populous and largest of the ABC islands, Curacao offers a variety of activities which include shopping along the Breedestraat Punda; photographing the colorful Dutch architecture from the rickety Pontoon Bridge connecting the two sections of Willemstad separated by waterway; diving and snorkeling at over 30 beaches renowned for their coral reefs (both natural and man-made); and lots of bars and restaurants scattered throughout the island.
- Loews Hotel: Get 20 percent off at 15 hotels, with rates from $104. Available all day today.
- British Colonial Hilton, Bahamas: With rates from $129/night, you’ll save 30 percent on stays December 10-23. Sale ends today!
- Fairmont Mayakoba: This Five Diamond Riviera Maya hotel is on sale for $199/night.
- Z NYC: This brand new hotel will offer rates of $128/night on the 28th of the month for the first six months of 2012. Hurry! You can only book from 12:00pm to 12:28pm today!
- Kura Hulanda Resorts, Curacao: Get the third night free at one of two luxury properties on the island.
- Viceroy Palm Springs: Facebook fans of the hotel can score rates of $75/night, plus some stellar perks.
- Charles Hotel, Boston: The Four Diamond Boston property is slashing rates 50 percent, to start at $99/night. The low rates are only bookable between 11:28am and 12:29:28pm.
- Hotel Thirty Thirty, NYC: Stay at this Midtown NYC hotel for just $129/night. The sale ends Tuesday.
Use our Travel Search price comparison tool to find the lowest rates on flights, hotels, cruises, and more travel deals.
Black Friday bargains may lure intrepid shoppers, but it’s Cyber Monday that travel-savvy couples should be on the lookout for. A range of hotels around the country– as well as in the Caribbean, Mexico, and Central America – are offering 20 to 65 percent discounts on rooms for travel this winter and coming spring. The hitch: You have just 24 hours (from midnight to 11:59pm this coming Monday, November 28, 2011) to book them. Here are 10 great Cyber Monday deals that are primed for romantics: Read more
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