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With this edition of our Monday Deal Alert, we’ve compiled some of the best airfare currently in the market, from West Coast escapes to journeys to Eastern Europe. Rates start from as little as $69, so whether you’re looking for a quick weekend getaway or a long vacation, we’ve got plenty of ways for you to fly away this fall.
Virgin America’s current fall sale features amazing one-way rates between West Coast cities, like $69 between San Francisco and Las Vegas, $89 between Los Angeles and Portland, and $109 between Seattle and San Francisco. The sale doesn’t only apply to West Coasters, though: you can also fly one-way to Los Angeles from Chicago, Dallas, and Philadelphia for $139, or from Orlando, New York City, or Boston for $159. Just book your getaway fast – this sale ends at midnight tonight. Read more
I’ve recently returned (and am still recovering) from several days in Keystone, Colorado, for the 2012 Travel Bloggers Exchange. This is the third year for this growing gathering of travel enthusiasts, from travel bloggers (such as yours truly) to tourism bureaus eager to spread the word about their destinations.
Not surprisingly, a common topic during the weekend was the explosion of adventure travel – as well as where the next hotspots are. Here, a few expert picks for places to put on your adventure travel bucket list.
Since regaining control of its historic canal in 2000, with expansions set for completion in 2014 (the 100-year anniversary), Panama has emerged as a top stop for tourists worldwide. Its capital city, which is ideally set between the Pacific Ocean and lush jungle, has an ever-growing modern skyline across the bay from a revitalized historic district, making it a destination for all types of travelers. And the Westin Playa Bonita, the first Westin in Panama, is a testament to Panama’s rise to the top, embracing the country’s growth and modernity as a sleek skyscraper, while keeping the unique history and landscape at the finger-tips of guests. Read more
For the past decade, fans of the ABC reality series “The Bachelor” have followed a revolving door of love-seeking (and in some cases, fame-seeking) Bachelors and Bachelorettes to sexy and romantic destinations around the world. Some of these forays showcase these places to their fullest (Ali in Tahiti, Brad in South Africa). In others, the drama and rivalry (which are really on display this season) can draw viewer attention away from the destination’s beauty and charm. Still, sun, fun, and lots of lip locks have made all three beach destinations featured in the 16th season of “The Bachelor” – Vieques (shown above at left), Panama, and Belize – look pretty appealing. Here’s what you saw as Bachelor Ben and his Bachelorettes frolicked, as well as a few things the cameras missed: Read more
Celebrate the soft opening of Panama’s newest hotel, the Westin Playa Bonita Panama, with their exclusive Westin Indulge Package. Guests will stay in a green view room starting from $285 per night or an ocean view room from $295 per night. Included in the nightly rate is daily breakfast in bed for two, sparkling wine and strawberries upon arrival, and a late check-out of 4 p.m. The $100 million upscale hotel is based along the gold sands of Playa Bonita Beach with the lush rainforest providing a backdrop. With six restaurants, four bars, three infinity pools, and VIP lounge, the resort is a destination unto itself. Couple that with its location 20 minutes from the bustling capital, Panama City, and travelers will experience all this diverse destination has to offer. Travel is valid through April 3, 2012.
THE VALUE: The inclusions are valued at $97.
THE CATCH: It’s high season, so expect an increase in airfare costs.
THE DETAILS: Visit www.starwoodhotels.com to book your stay.
Donald Trump may not be entering the Presidential candidacy ring, but he’s officially entered into the international hospitality space with his first hotel outside of the U.S. – the Trump Ocean Club International Hotel and Tower Panama. The hotel, located in the heart of Punta Pacifica (minutes from the heart of Panama City and the financial district) launched with a bang on July 6, with a fireworks show that rivaled any Independence Day celebrations back in America. Read more
Stay One of this year’s Smart Luxury Award winners, the Bristol Buenaventura sits on the Pacific, just 2 hours from Panama City by car. The hacienda-style resort encompasses 1,000 acres, 2 miles of beach, and a lake. A Jack Nicklaus-designed golf course will open soon. Each of the 114 sumptuously furnished rooms comes with an enclosed terrace or balcony. Attentive staffers wait on guests by the pool, on the beach, and at the three top-notch restaurants.
Details Discounted rates start at $333/night for a deluxe room, down from the regular cost of $475/night. A four-night minimum stay is required.
Book It Call 011-507-908-3333 or email firstname.lastname@example.org with promo code BG. thebristol.com
From the Winter 2010/2011 issue of Smart Luxury Travel magazine by ShermansTravel.com.
For general trip-planning information, see our Panama Travel Guide.
One of my favorite spots in Panama is Bocas del Toro and on our last trip we stayed in these perfectly placed over-the-water villas surrounded by nothing but the Caribbean Sea and the lush mangroves that protect the coast. Eco-friendly Bocas Villas (bocasvillas.com) is comprised of a set of four one-bedroom villa rentals (owner/manager Philip Albrecht is currently residing in one of the units) that stretch out over the sea, anchored by a string of boardwalks and a dock. If you want to totally relax and unplug, this is the place. We rented two side-by-side villas and some of our best days (and nights) were spent just hanging out on our patios, swimming and snorkeling right off our own dock, and attempting to catch dinner via a speargun and the sea’s natural bounty (note: we were never successful). While we were there, my cousin shot this video. It does the best job of summing up our experience at Bocas Villas.
For general trip-planning information, see our Panama Travel Guide.
Bocas Del Toro, the paradisiacal archipelago off Panama’s northern coast, is just a quick half-hour flight from Panama City. We landed on Isla Colon, home to the island’s main stomping ground, Bocas Town. The small, colorful town consists of a jumble of dirt streets lined with mangled buildings housing restaurants, dockside bars, surf shops, hotels, and hostels. On or around the main drag is where the action is come nightfall (check out La Iguana, a hippie-centric waterfront bar playing mostly reggae beats, and El Pecado, a tasty seafood joint with great Sangria). Our hotel, Bahia Del Sol, straddled the best of both Bocas worlds: Its location is close enough to town (a 15-minute walk), giving us easy access to local life, but far enough removed, fronting Zaigon Bay, so that privacy and a tropical lilt reigned supreme. Read more
I was just in Panama City long enough to get a sense of the city (due to an, ahem, unfortunate passport mishap that delayed my trip). There are some seriously sketchy areas (where, for instance, a kind local may advise you not to even get out of your car) but there are other areas like Casco Viejo, Panama City’s old quarter, and pockets of the financial district that are primed for tourists. It’s remarkable to see the towering skyscrapers and shiny new condominiums (with plenty more being constructed as we speak) lining the highway into the city and across the water from the old town; development is indeed booming here. The most charming neighborhood is Casco Viejo, a Unesco World Heritage site, which is slowly being renovated and houses a few boutique hotels transformed from historic mansions. The DeVille Hotel on the outskirts of the financial district is a fine bet for a night or two in the city. The all-suites boutique offers roomy two-story units with a separate sitting area, marble bathrooms, exposed beamed-ceilings, a balconied staircase up to the second bedroom, functional yet elegant furnishings, TVs, minibar, safe, and Wi-Fi. The lobby has a somewhat corporate feel but the staff is friendly and accommodating. There’s no pool or gym but an onsite restaurant is opening soon and various eateries are just stroll or cab ride away. Room rates start from $260/night.
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