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You’re busy. We understand. We are, too. Between work, family, social engagements, and endless to-do lists, we all forget to stop to take a breather now and again. And chances are most of you are finding yourselves with extra vacation days that you didn’t use because of the lack of said breathers – which you can’t carry over into 2013. (It’s a common story; even those of us who work at a travel website sometimes can’t find the time to use them.) But don’t despair, because it’s not too late to plan a trip with those few extra days. With these great deals – all available for travel this December – you can explore a major metropolis, soak up sunshine, or relax at a luxurious spa for an extended weekend getaway that isn’t too far from home.
Still looking to plan a late-summer getaway? Head to Fort Lauderdale for its vibrant arts scene, excellent dining, and wide open beaches. You can stay in the heart of downtown at the charming Riverside Hotel, which is celebrating its 75th anniversary this summer with rooms from only $116 per night – a savings of 30 percent on rates later in the season.
The historic Riverside Hotel features vintage décor and sweeping views of the city skyline, the Atlantic Ocean, and the New River. It also includes a heated outdoor swimming pool, a fitness room, free wireless Internet, a marina with boat dockage space, and three restaurants and bars. The property is the only hotel on Fort Lauderdale’s prestigious Las Olas Boulevard, lined with boutiques, art galleries, spas, and outdoor restaurants and bars. The beaches along the Atlantic shoreline are just three miles away. Read more
Sitting less than 25 miles north of Miami, Fort Lauderdale has made a name for itself with an intricate canal system, miles of white sand beaches, and a booming nightlife. Right now, the Westin Beach Resort & Spa, Fort Lauderdale and Sheraton Fort Lauderdale Beach Hotel are offering extended summer specials for ShermansTravel.com readers, allowing guests to relax on the sandy shoreline without breaking the bank. Now through October 15, rates start at $105 per night at the Sheraton, a 45 percent savings, and $115 per night at the Westin, a 60 percent savings. Both resorts are also offering valet parking for $10, a $15 nightly discount.
With little seasonal variation, you can count on a sunny, carefree vacation in Fort Lauderdale. Both resorts have undergone extensive renovations and now feature beachfront access, exquisite dining options, and a palm-lined pool deck. At the Westin, take advantage of the new Heavenly Spa by Westin, where they offer an extensive menu of revitalizing treatments, steam rooms, Jacuzzis, and comfortable locker rooms. The new nautical design of the Sheraton is inviting for families, with on-site dining options including the iconic Wreck Bar showcasing porthole views into a swimming pool, where guests may witness a mermaid sighting.
For a last-minute Memorial Day Weekend trip, head to sunny Fort Lauderdale, Florida for three nights starting at $313. For those who plan in advance, this offer is valid through September 30.
Stay at the historic Riverside Hotel – the only hotel on glitzy Las Olas Boulevard – in a traditional guest room with either a king or queen bed, vintage 1930s decor, cable TV, same-day dry cleaning service, and Wi-Fi access. For $76 more, upgrade to a spacious executive tower room with a king bed, contemporary furnishings, and a balcony overlooking the city.
As an added bonus, the Riverside Hotel adds in the following savings: 25 percent off services from a local salon, 20 percent off dinner at the hotel’s Indigo restaurant which features Classic American Cuisine, buy one get one free ice cream from popular confectioner Kilwins, and half off beer, wine, or cocktails at the hotel’s Golden Lyon Vintage Pub.
The Riverside Hotel provides guests with many amenities such as an outdoor pool with food and beverage service, a fitness center, onsite restaurants, bars and lounges, a business center, and riverside boat slips. Read more
Truth be told, my only experience with a repositioning cruise was as a precocious 6-year-old sailing Cunard’s Queen Elizabeth 2 instead of flying when my family moved back to the U.S. from Paris. Our week at sea was spent watching the newly released Beauty and the Beast and splashing in salt water swimming pools. Even our poor cat, Fuzzy, came along for the ride, although I think she had significantly less fun than we did. (Apparently this trip made quite the impression on me, as the parent volunteers from my first grade class still to this day remember how I regaled them with tales of the QE2.)
Fond childhood memories aside, these types of cruises generally offer the best deals around, since cruise lines need to move their ships from one place to another and offer significant discounts on “one-way” passages. The itineraries can cost as little as $42/night – though note since you spend less time in port you’re more apt (so the cruise lines hope) to open your wallet for the ship’s onboard activities and specialty restaurants.
For many Caribbean destinations, spring is the perfect time to visit – the high season crowds start to depart and hotel prices begin to dip, yet the weather remains balmy and hurricane season is still just a blip on the horizon. A boon of new routes this year from the East Coast will get you to that sunny vacation even faster.
Launched March 2, Delta now takes New Yorkers from Laguardia to Nassau, Bahamas. JetBlue has three new routes with deals to match:
- Newark to San Juan, PR: starts April 25, from $163 one-way
- Fort Lauderdale to Kingston, Jamaica: starts April 30, from $107 one-way
- West Palm Beach to San Juan, PR: starts May 15, from $113 one-way
Use our Travel Search price comparison tool to find the lowest rates and travel deals on flights.
Even better – until March 12, the flights to their three new destinations are on sale. One-way tickets begin at $99 to Tampa, $109 to Sarasota, and $119 to Fort Myers for travel between June 11 and July 31, 2012 (with blackout dates around the Fourth of July holiday, June 29-July 9).
The new LaGuardia to Tampa routes will be twice daily; Fort Myers and Sarasota are daily flights. JetBlue is also adding two more daily flights to Orlando and one daily flight each to Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood and West Palm Beach. That’s 16 round-trip flights to Florida from LaGuardia this summer. Read more
Valentine’s Day is a popular time for hotels to offer packages with champagne and romance concierges (you know, to help your hopeless partner plan a romantic evening out), but it’s not as easy to find packages that include spa treatments and massages. Luckily, we’ve done the searching for you, and we’ve found some great budget options as well as some luxurious extravagances. For both a romantic and relaxing February 14 (or thereabouts), try out these hotels and spas, from East Coast to West.
The Budget Picks:
The Westin Beach Resort & Spa, Fort Lauderdale, FL
Sunsets on the beach are already dreamy, but the Westin Beach Resort & Spa is taking the swoon factor a few steps further with its “Rekindle Romance” package. It starts at only $319/night and is available for stays from February 10-15. What do you get? The package includes breakfast in bed, a visit to Shula’s on the Beach (for dinner, the Chef’s Tasting Menu, and wine!), champagne and strawberry turndown, and the Heavenly Healing couple’s spa treatment at the Heavenly Spa.
Sail away on a 6-night getaway to top destinations in Southern Florida and the Western Caribbean, including quirky Key West, gorgeous Grand Cayman, and fun-in-the-sun Jamaica. The spacious, 2,974-passenger Carnival Freedom embarks on February 19 from Fort Lauderdale, with discounted rates – reflecting savings of up to 73 percent – starting at just $409 for inside cabins, and $519 for ocean-view upgrades, when booking through CruisesOnly.com. Expect onboard diversions like a kids’ club, spa, fitness center, casino, mini-golf, and much more to easily fill up the two days spent at sea.
THE VALUE: This high-season sailing during a peak holiday break represents a rare 73 percent savings off of the brochure rates of $1,519/person, working out to as little as $409 per passenger, or $68/night. What’s more, book through CruisesOnly.com and get a complimentary upgrade, too.
THE CATCH: We’ve seen airfare to Florida during this peak holiday break spike considerably, so be sure to factor in the cost of your flight before booking the sailing to ensure overall value.
THE DETAILS: Visit www.cruisesonly.com.
WE’VE GOT MORE: Use our Travel Search price comparison tool to find the lowest rates on flights, hotels, vacation packages, and more travel deals. For general trip-planning information, see our Caribbean Cruises 101.
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