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Is the summer heat getting to you yet? There’s relief to be found at one of these public pools in Europe. Whether it’s panoramic views of the Mediterranean, or a 295-foot-high bungee jump you’re after, these 10 municipal water parks are guaranteed to add a little excitement to your summer getaway.
1. Lava Pools, Madeira, Portugal
Naturally-occurring volcanic rock has formed a series of tiny, stunningly beautiful pools on the northwestern coast of Madeira in Portugal. These ocean-filled ‘lava pools’ are the main attraction in the village of Porto Moniz, located about an hour north of Madeira’s capital, Funchal. Despite the wild geography, the area around the pools contains tourist-friendly amenities like changing rooms, lockers, showers, a restaurant, and a team of lifeguards. Entrance fee: $2.60. Read more
After making a splash with our recent flight and hotel etiquette miniseries, we wanted to turn our attention to the pool – an area just barely treading water in the travel manners department. I’m not sure if we should blame chair hogs, the invention of cell phones, waning social graces, or a combination of all three, but over the past few years, pool etiquette – be it at the Ritz or the Holiday Inn – has floated off the edge of the infinity pool. Whether you’re planning on escaping to a palm tree-studded all-inclusive, a romantic retreat, or a family Disney extravaganza this winter, there’s bound to be some serious pool or beach time, so here’s a poolside protocols refresher.
Hawaii is the ultimate seasonal paradox. Crowds flock there when the weather is bad… everywhere else. The weather on the islands, however, stays blissfully consistent year-round, so if you can manage a trip in the spring or autumn, you’ll likely face fewer people, and better prices.
A great hotel option this spring, especially for first-time travelers to the island, is the Westin Maui , which I recently had the opportunity to visit. Even though it’s situated on the island’s resort-dotted Ka’anapali peninsula, it’s a soothing break from the area’s tourist bustle, and allows easy- access to the rest of the island. With a lobby that opens up into an outdoor tropical garden – complete with waterfalls and squawking macaws – and a beautiful, ocean-facing pool area, the resort feels connected to the sweeping coast just beyond.
The best part? This property is offering some of the sweetest rates of the season right now, with rooms starting at $269/night through June. This is a nice deal, considering that other 4-star properties on this lovely strip of coast regularly cost $400 per night.
The Saguaro, the first Joie de Vivre property outside of California, opened in downtown Scottsdale in November. Departing from the commonplace adobe white-washed architecture in the area, Stamberg Aferiat architects played off the colors of local wildflowers to create a vibrant, eye-popping palette. The resort’s 194 rooms come with balconies or patios and views of either the Old Town or Civic Center Mall, pool area or garden; custom contemporary furnishings from Mexico; and accents in colorful hues right out of a Georgia O’Keeffe painting. Two heated pools are surrounded by yellow loungers and umbrellas. Iron Chef Jose Garces developed the menus at both of the hotel’s restaurants: Old Town Whiskey, a saloon-style bar (try the burger with bourbon-glazed cipollini, rogue blue cheese, applewood bacon, and foie gras); and Distrito, a Mexican restaurant and tequila bar with a tapas-style menu of Mexican favorites. For its first 100 days open, the resort is offering promo rates of $100/night (available for 100 rooms per week); use promo code PROPEN. Offer is valid until March 1. Regular nightly rates start from $194. www.jdvhotels.com
For general trip-planning info, see our Phoenix Travel Guide.
Stay at a downtown Miami hotel oozing with boutique charm through this deal with the Regency Hotel Miami. Book any number of nights from $119 within 7 days of travel and receive 15% off your entire stay. That means you’ll be paying a total of only $101 per night.
The Regency Hotel Miami re-opened in October 2011 after a $750,000 renovation including luxurious new bed sets and state-of-the-art HDTV monitors. Only a five minute drive from the airport, the Regency is a perfect starting point for the business or leisure traveler. It’s also just 15 minutes from South Beach and 10 minutes to historic Coral Gables. Complimentary shuttles are provided to and from the airport as well as to popular shopping centers in Miami. Or, simply relax at the Regency – lay out by the lush pool, enjoy a meal at Prieto’s Restaurant, and take advantage of the complimentary buffet breakfast each morning.
THE VALUE: Stay in a newly renovated hotel and save 15% off market pricing.
THE CATCH: This deal is subject to availability, so act fast!
THE DETAILS: Visit The Regency Hotel or call 305-779-2010.
WE’VE GOT MORE: Use our Travel Search price comparison tool to find the lowest rates and travel deals on flights to Miami.
For general trip-planning information, see our Miami Travel Guide.
To celebrate its 20th anniversary, Villa Caletas and its newer neighbor Zephyr Palace are offering every other night for $20, even for one of the over-the-top palace suites (usually priced from $550/night and up). The two properties are tucked away on a secluded hilltop in Jaco. Both afford tony views of the lush countryside and Pacific, have serious infinity pools (Zephyr palace pool pictured), and share a private beach (complimentary transport takes guests down through the jungle trails to the shore). Villa Caletas comprises 49 rooms and bungalows scattered amid the jungle, while the Zephyr Palace is a kind of otherworldly manse with seven themed suites (the African suite is right out of Africa, and comes with floor-to-ceiling windows with stunning views and a private balcony with hammock and Jacuzzi). Both are popular wedding and honeymoon spots.
THE VALUE: Book a night in any room at Villa Caletas or the Zephyr Palace, now through December 20, and get the second, fourth, sixth, eighth (and so on) for only $20/night. Room rates start from $180/night at Villas Caletas and $550/night at Zephyr Palace.
THE CATCH: Traveling in Costa Rica in summer/fall could mean more showers, but the light sprinkles or sporadic showers are often times refreshing.
THE DETAILS: Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 011-506-2630-3000
Save your money for gambling, dining or shows with the Tropicana Las Vegas’ Spring Sale. This hotel on the Strip just recently underwent a $180 million renovation, and all the rooms in this sale have recently been redone. So starting at just $55 a night, you’ll get to stay in a new room with plush new mattresses, new 300-thread count linens, stylish furnishings, and more. This offer also includes two reserved chairs at the hotel’s award-winning pool (so you don’t have to wake up at 6 a.m. to go stake out your territory with a beach towel), special happy hour discounts, VIP Check-in & Late Check-out, and a Tropicana Experience Book, valued at $900.
THE VALUE: Stay on the Las Vegas Strip and save 20% off regular rates! Plus, the Tropicana offers tons of free extras to guests, like high speed wireless internet, fitness center access, 2-for-1 signature cocktails, and more!
THE CATCH: A daily resort fee of $9.99 is not included, and you must be 21 or older to book this deal.
THE DETAILS: Book online or call 888-381-8767. Use code ISPGP11 to get the sale price.
WE’VE GOT MORE: Use our Travel Search price comparison tool to find low rates on flights to Las Vegas!
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The Luxury The modern boutique AVIA Savannah burst onto the scene in January 2009 with a brand-new building in the city’s historic district. The 151 sleek rooms and suites have 9-foot ceilings, minibars stocked by upscale provisioner Dean & Deluca, and free Wi-Fi. Though late fall is a bit chilly for swimming outdoors, a spacious second-floor terrace offers an excellent lounging space around an outdoor pool and a fire pit. AVIA Kitchen serves a hip take on Southern cuisine, while the AVIA Lounge wine bar is an ideal place to while away an evening.
Have you been brainstorming ways to extend your summer? You can put your mind at ease because the Loews Miami Beach Hotel Summerfest package is available through September. With this package, when travelers book four nights in a luxury category room and above (rates start at $229/night), the fourth night is free! Additionally, guests will receive $100 in food and beverage credit, which can be used at one of seven restaurants and bars on the property. This deal also works in conjunction with Loews Miami Beach Hotel’s self-improvement month, in which guests can take advantage of complimentary beach yoga, “the art of sushi” classes, free sunscreen and smoothies at the pool, and 10 percent off all apparel at Splash retail store.
THE VALUE: Travelers can save up to $350 on a four-night stay.
THE CATCH: The free night is only valid on four-night stays.
THE DETAILS: To book your stay, visit www.loewshotels.com.
WE’VE GOT MORE: Find low fares on flights to Miami using our Travel Search price comparison tool.
Read our Miami Travel Guide and know where to go!
Find a great deal on a cruise out of Miami before or after your stay with the help of our Cruise Deals Page.
Chicago is known as much for its innovative architecture and art installations (Willis Tower, The Bean, Cows on Parade) as its calorie-bomb food (deep dish pizza, fatty hot dog toppings, greasy jibaritos), which might be why the city’s newest Kimpton property, the Hotel Palomar Chicago, fits in so well – it doesn’t skimp on art or eats.
Located in the River North neighborhood – just west of Lake Michigan and surrounded by art galleries – the 261-room hotel reflects the nabe’s artsy vibe with sleek furniture, bold carpeting, floor-to-ceiling windows, and guestrooms styled by interior designer Orlando Diaz-Azcuy.
In Morocco’s Imperial capital of Fez, nearly a quarter of residents still live in the bustling Medina, Fes el Bali (Old Fez). The city is a mecca for artisans and tradesmen. It’s packed to the gills with artisan shops – silk makers, tanneries, carpenters – and souks selling their beautifully crafted items like leather handbags, brass lanterns, ceramics, and intricately carved wooden wares. Wander around the different quarters and souks and shop as you go. Less ostentatious than Marrakech, Fez doesn’t have as many glitzy hotels or designer riads, but it does have a few excellent choices like the Sofitel Palais Jamai. It’s hard to beat the exceptional spa or the Medina views from the terraces here. Book a room in the old palace wing which dates back to 1879 and boasts Moorish majesty and Medina views. There are three restaurants on property serving international and Moroccan fare but the kitchen will essentially prepare anything you like (if your stomach is a little uneasy after a few too many tagines, the kitchen is happy to create a simple dish like grilled chicken with rice). The spa, though pricey compared to local neighborhood hammams, is excellent, with a royal setup that includes zellige and tadelakt finishes, a geometric pool with massaging jets that come from all sides and above (to reach the top of your shoulders and neck), hammam, sauna, and several treatment rooms. One could easily relax here all day.
Now through fall, book your stay and recieve a $50 resort credit good for use at the spa, restaurant or bar. Rates start from about $213/night. Visit www.sofitel.com or call 800/763-4835.
The Luxury A relative newcomer to Italy’s most exclusive isle, Villa Marina Capri overlooks the glittering Amalfi Coast from its hilltop perch. Its 21 uniquely designed rooms vary in style from contemporary-chic to blends of modern and baroque (bold colors paired with billowing canopy beds). Outdoors there’s a heated infinity pool. The Stai spa offers a range of treatments, from color therapy to hydromassage. Read more
We know how it goes – year after year summer flies by and all those exciting travel plans get lost somewhere between great idea and execution. So before your office’s summer Fridays end and the kids head back to school, pack up your shorts and swimsuits and head out for one last summer hurrah. Here are a few fab deals for the upcoming holiday weekend. Read more
Summer’s coming to a close, so why not send it off with a proper Labor Day weekend getaway on Mexico’s Caribbean coast? Travelers can relax in luxury over the holiday weekend at the Catalonia Royal Tulum where room rates start at $162/night in conjunction with the Riviera Maya Jazz Festival on September 4, 2010. The all-inclusive Riviera Maya resort is adults only (really, no screaming kids at the pool or beach), and features a full-service spa; four bars, and seven restaurants offering a variety of international cuisine; and activities including snorkeling, swimming with dolphins, canoeing and kayaking, and much more. The Riviera Maya Jazz Festival will be held in nearby Playa del Carmen, featuring world-renowned musicians Eddie Palmiera, Araya-Orta Latin Jazz Quartet, and India.
THE VALUE: The Riviera Maya Jazz Festival is free, and accommodations at the resort include à la carte breakfast, lunch, and dinner, plus unlimited drinks, daily activities, hotel taxes, and gratuities.
THE CATCH: Airfare is not included.
THE DETAILS: Visit www.hoteles-catalonia.com and enter your Labor Day weekend dates to find rates starting at $162/night.
WE’VE GOT MORE: Use our Travel Search price comparison tool to find low rates on flights to the Riviera Maya.
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