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Booking a summer vacation is so satisfying. Even more satisfying? Saving hundreds of dollars on it. Our deals experts have been scouring the internet in search of the hottest summer deals to help you save. Here’s what they came up with, from an incredible suite in Vegas to a cool Bahamas getaway to a 5-star Spain package. For even more deals, check out our weekly Top 25.
As a writer specializing in honeymoons and romantic travel, I have been lucky enough to visit Tahiti five times (go ahead and hate me) and these magical South Pacific islands never get old – but cruise ships do. So I was happy to hear that the m/s Paul Gauguin (shown at left in Moorea), the 332-passenger ship that has been sailing the South Pacific for 14 years, underwent a $7 million refurbishment in January. And when I went aboard in late February for a seven-night Tahiti & Society Islands cruise, the renovations looked great. The new color scheme – muted neutrals and pale blues instead of the old red and dark navy – gives the ship a renewed elegance and sense of place. And the all-inclusive (with the exception of shore excursions and spa treatments) pricing makes the Paul Gauguin, while still a splurge, a great value in a region where overwater bungalows run upwards of $800 per night and food alone can tack on another $500 a day for two. Plus, book in 2012 and cruise fares include free round-trip airfare from Los Angeles. Here’s what you need to know if you’re thinking of booking a romantic sail through the islands of French Polynesia.
If one of your New Year’s resolutions is to spend more quality time with the person you love, then I suggest you enjoy that togetherness someplace amazing! And what’s better or more romantic than a stunning, sun-kissed island? There’s something innately sexy and bond-inspiring about the sea – floating together in gentle turquoise surf, walking hand-in-hand at sunset, enjoying the day’s fresh catch paired with a rum cocktail or a fine wine. So as the new year begins, here are my top 10 picks for the most amazing islands to escape to together in 2012. Read more
If you have a thing for H2O – you love to be near it, in it, over it, or under it – here’s a sampling of some of the unique water-centric features of a variety of resort and cruise ship spas in the U.S. and around the globe. All are located on or near the ocean as well, so it’s water, water everywhere!
Deep Ocean Spa, Bora Bora: If you are planning a romantic getaway or honeymoon, consider the exotic South Pacific island of Bora Bora, where The Deep Ocean Spa at the InterContinental Bora Bora Resort & Thalasso Spa (shown above at left) is a water-lovers’ fantasy come true. Features include overwater treatment rooms with glass panels in the floor so you can spy on fish as your back is massaged, and an al fresco hydrotherapy circuit filled with mineral-rich sea water pumped from 3,000 feet below the Pacific. Rooms from $670, treatments from $108.
If your idea of the ultimate romantic getaway is the islands of French Polynesia, now is the time to make that dream a reality. The rainy season is ending and Tahiti Tourisme (www.tahiti-tourisme.com) and Air Tahiti Nui (www.flyatn.com) are offering a variety of “Romance in Tahiti” deals to the islands of Tahiti & Moorea and Bora Bora (shown above at left). Or, if you have a luxury budget and you’re planning a fun-filled getaway with two other couples, The St. Regis Bora Bora Resort’s palatial three-bedroom Royal Estate (where Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban honeymooned) is on sale. I have stayed at or toured all of these resorts and know these packages offer a great value in a very expensive destination. Here are the details:
It may only be entertainment, but the settings of movies and TV shows do have the power to transport. So it made me think that with the Oscars just a few weeks away, I should share my picks for the top 10 movies that capture both the romance and beauty of a place – and are actually fun to watch.
Bora Bora: Couples Retreat Vince Vaughn and Jon Favreau may be the stars of this 2008 comedy, but Bora Bora steals almost every scene. Filmed at The St. Regis Bora Bora Resort (doubling as the fictitious Eden Resort – and shown above at left), the movie is not as winning as Wedding Crashers, but it will make you want to raid your bank account and fly off to this ridiculously romantic paradise.
New York City: When Harry Met Sally I live in New York City and this 1989 romantic comedy nails what I love most about my hometown – winter, spring, summer, and fall. With scenes at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Central Park Boathouse, Yankee Stadium, and Katz’s Delicatessen (a sign still hangs above the seat where Sally showed Harry how to fake it), this Nora Ephron-written, Rob Reiner-directed classic is like calling a dear friend who lives here each time you watch it.
Is there a more romantic fantasy than saying, “I do” on a white-sand beach beside a tranquil blue lagoon in Bora Bora? Dream no more as Tahiti has legalized destination-wedding ceremonies for U.S. and Canadian couples (in fact, for any overseas visitors over the age of 18 who are not French citizens – with the exception of same-sex couples). Here’s the scoop:
Requirements: If you want to wed legally in Tahiti you will need to start the process at least six months in advance (you can also marry stateside and enjoy ceremonial-only vows in Tahiti with far less paperwork). There are about six detailed documents that need to be translated and filed, including a “Marriage of Foreign Citizens in French Polynesia” document; a letter signed and dated by both spouses and addressed to the mayor of the commune where the wedding will take place; proof of identities (copies of both spouses passports); a certified copy of both spouses’ birth certificates issued less than six months prior to the wedding date, authenticated with an “Apostile,” translated into French by an approved translator and legalized by the French Consulate; a “Certificate of Non-Marital Status” signed by a lawyer, translated into French and legalized by the French Consulate; and proof of residency for both spouses (such as utility bills). For complete details, visit Tahiti Tourisme’s dedicated weddings page (www.Tahiti-Tourisme.com/Weddings).
Exotic, romantic Tahiti often seems out of reach for newlyweds on a set budget. But if you can afford $500 a day (that’s just $3,500 for a week, not including airfare, which runs about $1,600 for two on Air Tahiti Nui from Los Angeles), an unforgettable honeymoon to this South Pacific paradise is totally doable. If you can splurge on $750 to $1,500 a day, Tahiti’s resorts will deliver pampering beyond your dreams. Here’s how:
On $500 a day
Focus on more affordable (and ferry-linked) Tahiti and Moorea—although you can sneak in two nights on Bora Bora if you are willing to stretch your budget. After arriving in Tahiti’s capital, Papeete, stay a night or two at the InterContinental Tahiti Resort or the Radisson Plaza Resort Tahiti. Rooms at both start at about $199 a night, but food and sightseeing are pricy and will quickly eat up the rest of your daily budget. Then hop the ferry over to lush, spire-topped Moorea, where a pair of romantic yet affordable resorts (ranging from about $220 to $350 a night) awaits: Moorea Pearl Resort & Spa and The Sofitel Moorea Ia Ora Beach Resort. Spend four nights on Moorea to stay within budget, or if you have your heart set on Bora Bora, two on Moorea and two there. Interisland airfare is about $1,000 roundtrip for two and rooms at the Sofitel Marara Beach and Private Island and The InterContinental Le Moana Bora Bora range from $329 to $500 a night. Read more
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