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We all know Cabo – the beaches, resorts, and water sports of this Baja Californian city make it a heavily touristed winter getaway. However, La Paz – a quiet little town about 100 miles to the north – makes for a less-crowded, and affordable alternative. The town is set on the Sea of Cortez (described by Jacques Cousteau as “God’s Aquarium”) and offers access to an array of outdoor activities including swimming, scuba diving, snorkeling, kayaking, and whale watching. Read more
The twelve days of Christmas have come and gone, but that doesn’t mean there’s no more excitement to be had in December. In fact, for travelers, end-of-year sales and promotions can yield some of the best finds of the whole season. The tricky part? Finding them. But luckily for you, we’ve gone and done all the hard work to bring you the best last-minute travel deals available this week. Consider it our Christmas present to you… Read more
It was only a few years ago that frequent news of violence on Mexico’s Pacific coast threatened to scare away tourists for good. Recently, however, a light has emerged out of that dark period. The 190-mile coastal development known as the Riviera Nayarit, north of Puerto Vallarta, has seen significant expansion since 2007. In January, Aeroméxico will begin a new non-stop route between New York City and Puerto Vallarta, with fares for less than $500, while Virgin America’s route from San Francisco, which launched in 2011, costs less than $400 round-trip. Add in the current exchange rate between the USD and the MXN, and you’ll find the beaches and resorts of Riviera Nayarit make for a very affordable winter getaway. Read more
There’s not long to go now, but if you are thinking about taking a last-minute getaway for the holidays, here are a few hotels offering deals and special activities. Read more
The Mexican Riviera port of Mazatlan is again welcoming cruise ships. It’s a turnaround for the destination, which three years ago fell victim to a public relations disaster following a spate of robberies and one highly publicized shooting. Even though the shooting did not involve any tourists, the incident scared off every single cruise line that had previously included the port in its West Coast itineraries. Since then, passenger safety concerns have been substantially alleviated.
Tourism officials have invested some $2.8 million in security cameras throughout the city, new lighting at the port, and better coordination of police forces. Another $3 million was also invested in a “tourism corridor” – a cobblestone promenade – between the port and city center. Holland America Line was the first cruise operator to return to the port earlier this month, when the 1,350-passenger Veendam left San Diego on a seven-day Mexican Riviera Holiday cruise that also calls at Puerto Vallarta and Cabo San Lucas. Read more
With the Millennial generation growing up, the travel industry is beginning to see a gap in the market for sophisticated young travelers on a budget. Budget-chic brands such as CitizenM and Marriott’s Moxy, which offer high design and low price points, are booming, while budget brands such as Radisson are undergoing a design-focused overhaul. The result is that the high-end experience is being redefined: luxurious is no longer synonymous with expensive. That’s good news for travelers of all generations; gone are the days when a low budget meant bland and basic accommodations - as the following worldwide hotels prove.
New York City: Playland Motel
Located way out in Rockaway Beach in Queens, the Playland Motel, which opened in summer 2013, restored a 19th -century building and engaged 12 artists and designers to curate each of the guest rooms. Each season, artists and designers will update the rooms’ designs according to their own aesthetic. Rooms currently available to book include Kate Pane’s Coconut Castle room, which the artist describes as “a hot and heavy girlhood frolic with glitter sunburns, ponies and wet swimsuits.”
The Playland Motel is also home to a popular bar, diner, and pizzeria. The scene is young and the music loud. Rooms (with shared bathrooms) go for around $160 a night.
The approach of Thanksgiving usually means readying yourself for the shopping frenzy that comes immediately after. Luckily, with these Cyber Monday hotel deals, you don’t have to brave the cold and the lines and can snap up a bargain, and mentally transport yourself to a sunny beachfront hotel (or the snowy ski slopes, if you prefer), from the comfort of your own home.
For all offers, conditions and blackout dates may apply; read the fine print. Read more
Known for warm weather and beautiful beaches, Caribbean resorts aren’t usually thought of as true foodie destinations. Discerning travelers, however, are increasingly demanding good cuisine, and tropical resorts are happily answering their culinary prayers. From cooking classes to bespoke menus, these Caribbean hotels go beyond conch fritters and strawberry daiquiris, offering true tastes of their respective regions.
Things change. Those words are particularly apt when talking about the current hotel expansion happening in the Caribbean. On Wednesday, we showed you photos of the still-in-construction 1,000-acre mega resort Baha Mar, set to open on New Paradise Island in the Bahamas in late 2014/early 2015. Of the resort’s four hotels (totaling 2,200 rooms), one will be flagged as a Mondrian, the design-forward brand normally associated with urban destinations like New York and Miami.
With its trendy cocktail bars, pool cabanas, and “Sunset Strip vibe,” the Mondrian will be specifically targeting fashion and nightlife crowds. This signals a 180-degree shift from the Caribbean’s usual family-oriented, mid-range hotel offerings. But this could be just the tip of the iceberg. Read more
New York City and Mexico City both teem with traffic, culture, amazing food, and beautiful architecture. But for the next year, these two metropolises will have more in common. The two cities recently announced their first-ever city-to-city partnership that includes a one-year agreement aimed at boosting tourism in both destinations. The best part? As part of the agreement, Aeromexico is offering $399 round-trip flights between the two cities, including flights on the 787 Dreamliner, through March. (Book by November 22.)
Even if you can’t take advantage of the special fare, you can enjoy some of the cities’ similarities just by visiting one or the other. Here are some related places that we love both in the Big Apple and south of the border…
In Mexico City: Downtown México
Downtown México is one of several Mexico City hotels that pare part of the design-savvy Grupo Habita. This one, in the heart of the city’s historic center, occupies one of the city’s few remaining 17th century palaces, and is just a short stroll from Zócalo, the main square. Habita’s typical contemporary design blends with original features such as high ceilings and a brick faςade. The hotel has two courtyard restaurants, as well as a rooftop bar and pool.
Winter travel tends to involve more indoor activities (unless you’re heading to a white sandy beach, in which case, we’re jealous!), and that can often mean visiting more museums. But what if you’ve been to all the big ones already? MoMA… Asian Art Museum… Rock and Roll Hall of Fame? Snooze. This season, a new batch of museums is offering visitors across the country a chance to see something a little out of the ordinary. But the thing is, you probably haven’t heard of them. Places like Toledo’s new Maritime Museum, or Cancun’s Maya Museum, offer world-class exhibits, but haven’t yet made it onto tourists’ radars quite yet. This all works in your favor, since lesser-known museums are generally queue-free, and cheap (or free) to enter. Take our advice and make a point of visiting one – or all! – of these places on your next trip to… Read more
At an all-inclusive resort, we often resign ourselves to an acceptance that what we gain in dollars saved, we lose in memorable dining experiences. When all of our meals are included in the room rate, we often don’t hope for anything better than standard food court or buffet fare.
The Spanish hotel chain Iberostar wants to turn that perception on its head, and so they have launched a new initiative, named Iberostar Chef, that focuses on elevating awareness of the brand’s culinary offerings through special events, training courses for guests, and a cookbook.
What could be more fun than a daytrip through Area 51? Or a road trip through Dracula’s hometown? On the eve of the season’s spookiest holiday, we’re looking back on our recent travel stories that made us go “Aah!” (or, at the very least, contained awesome photos of electric guitar-playing skeletons and UFOs). Now, grab your passport – and a flashlight – and read on! Read more
There is generally one main factor at play when it comes to cruise prices during the holiday season: the strength of the cruise industry. If it’s been a gangbuster year, don’t expect the cruise lines to wave you aboard for a pittance. Conversely, if sales have been lagging over the past ten months, they’re more likely to roll out holiday deals in a bid to shore up fourth quarter revenues. Value offers will vary by line, so consumers will benefit from some comparison shopping.
Though 2013 brought some challenges to the cruise market – remember the Carnival Triumph power loss in February? – deals seem to be on the scarce side this season. Nevertheless, we found a few decent ones floating around: Read more
Booking a room in a brand new hotel can be a nerve-wracking experience – you’re just not sure what you’re going to get. Moreover, that brand new hotel might not even really be open yet. Often in the hotel world, prior to the grand opening, there is what’s called a “soft opening.” This refers to a period of time – weeks or months – when the hotel is not fully open but is renting rooms anyway. Soft openings are rarely announced, and sometimes not all of the facilities (such as the spa, the pool, or the restaurant) are up and running. The soft opening (and also sometimes the very early period after an official opening) is the time in which staff and management can work through the kinks before formally inviting the world inside. So should you take a chance and book a room in a brand new hotel? We say yes, definitely. Here’s why… Read more
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