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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
Part eco-sanctuary, part European luxury, The Benson Hotel resides in downtown Portland, Ore., among duty-free shopping, farm-to-table cuisine, progressive politics, and some of mother nature’s finest geographic endowments. The AAA 4-Diamond celebrity-occupied Benson has withstood Portland’s transformation since its opening in 1913, and is hosting out-of-towners this winter with a bottom-dollar Super Saver package, starting from just $134, including tax, for the lowest-category room, through $184 per night to stay in their 450-square-foot executive junior suite! Guests also receive overnight valet parking and high-speed wireless Internet. If the executive suite isn’t enough pampering, a 6,000-bottle wine cellar awaits at the hotel’s award-winning restaurant, London Grill.
THE VALUE: In addition to watching your shows on a 37- or 42-inch flat-screen LCD, you’ll also get to slip into an organic bamboo robe and slippers, and choose between a traditional King Tempur-Pedic or 8-foot pillow top mattress (if you choose to go executive).
THE CATCH: You’ll have to do a little digging to find this package. The Benson’s specials page will redirect to Coast Hotels & Resorts booking, and prompt you to fill out the state, city, and hotel before displaying the room options and rates.
THE DETAILS: Visit www.bensonhotel.com to view the Super Saver offer and book by December 30.
WE’VE GOT MORE: Check out our Portland Travel Guide for more trip-planning information.
The famously luxe Conrad Maldives Rangali Island resort has recently rolled out one of those amenities that’s truly out of this world. Spread out over two islands in the Alif Dhall Atoll of the Maldives, the Conrad is known for (among other things) its underwater restaurant, Ithaa. The all-glass dining room is submerged 16 feet under the ocean and was the first of its kind when it opened five years ago. Dining here is an unforgettable experience in itself (everyone must wear sunglasses at lunch because it gets so bright). But to really step it up, the resort is offering a special opportunity in honor of the restaurant’s fifth anniversary.
Who wants to sleep (and wake up) with the fishes?
Twelve celebrity chefs walk onto a cruise ship – no punch line here. Each of these renowned kitchen pros headlines one seven-night, Royal Caribbean Epicurean Discovery voyage on the Freedom of the Seas. Available from September 2010 through February 2011, the program highlights a private dining experience with the chef, wine-tasting, appetizer and cocktail reception, and complimentary in-room amenities, among other savory perks.
One of the first mainstream cruise carriers to feature an extensive culinary experience, Royal Caribbean joins the ranks of luxury lines like Crystal Cruises and Regent Seven Seas, rivaling their food festival, wine-tasting, and cooking workshop cruises, which can cost from $5,000 and up, per person. Comprising a star lineup of Top Chef contestants, James Beard Award winners, and acclaimed gourmet masters, Epicurean Discovery (only applicable to suite bookings) runs from just $1,249 to $1,849 per person, based on double occupancy – not a penny more than regular suite rates!
With the first sail date fast approaching on September 19, The Freedom of the Seas prepares for 12 round-trip voyages from Port Canaveral. The cruises will follow thoroughfare routes to the Eastern or Western Caribbean, calling on ports like Cozumel, St. Maarten, Ocho Rios, and CoCo Cay. Visit www.royalcaribbean.com to book yours.
Laidback and more sophisticated than Cabo San Lucas, San Jose del Cabo has become one of Mexico’s premier luxury playgrounds. Yet the humble drive up to the lobby of Cabo Azul gives no indication of the riches that await behind the resort’s adobe walls.
Seven towers fan out around the resort’s crown jewel – a series of gorgeous infinity pools and terraces filled with chaise loungers, hammocks, wicker cocoon-style cabanas, and sun beds set in the shallow water. The terraces lead out to the palapa hut-studded stretch of beach that the resort resides on. Poolside, Cabo Azul’s informal dining restaurant, Flor de Noche, is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, but its best feature may be the swim-up bar, complete with tiled underwater stools and guests in designer sunglasses sipping tropical drinks. Read more
The ShermansTravel Deals team hand-picks the special breed of deals that promises free perks ? no strings attached. Good little boys and girls stay for free in a suite with parents (maximum of two children) at the five-star, all-inclusive, $257/night Barceló Los Cabos Palace Deluxe on the Sea of Cortez through December 23. This offer covers taxes, alcoholic beverages, daily entertainment, and entrance to their kids-only, water playground, while guests enjoy jetted tubs and furnished terraces in every room. For reservations, call 1-800-BARCELO or visit www.barceloloscabos.com.
Transport your loved one to a serene, tropical paradise on the dazzling shore of the Riviera Maya – far away from the chaos of packed lunches, ironed shirts, and misplaced socks. Spotted on Condé Nast Traveler’s Gold List in 2009 and 2010, Ceiba del Mar Beach and Spa Resort in Puerto Morelos, Mexico, has just what every mom needs this Mother’s Day – a relaxing, spa getaway. Just 20 minutes south of Cancun, with package rates starting from $886 for two people (only $443/person!), Ceiba del Mar accommodates moms and guests in a quaint, scenic fishing village that has managed to evade the tourist footprint.
The Pampering Mom Experience includes:
• Four nights in luxe oceanview accommodations
• Upgrade to the next suite category
• $300 spa credit
• 80-minute manicure and pedicure appointment for two
• Welcome cocktails
• 10 percent off additional spa treatments
No matter how much we travel, it’s still exciting to peek into a hotel room’s bathroom and see what kind of toiletries are on offer. With hotels nickle and diming guests at every turn (for WiFi, bottled water, beach chairs . . .), toiletries sometimes seem like the last sacred freebie a hotel guest can count on, whether at a humble Holiday Inn or a 5-star palace hotel.
The quality and type of toiletries can say a lot about a hotel—I’ll admit a sucker for this method of branding. But who isn’t? Here are some of the top hotel toiletries that I’ve come across. What are your favorites? Read more
Before ever stepping foot into the extravagant five-star boutique hotel, confirmed guests arriving at Red Carnation’s The Milestone, located across Kensington Palace and The Royal Gardens, are invited to fill out a detailed preference form.
Personalized questions such as “what are your hobbies/interests?” or “what is your favorite color?” allow Milestone staff to tailor one of their uniquely designed 57 luxury rooms and 6 apartments to suit your individual style. Handpicked antiques, original oil paintings, and intricately designed décor add to each room’s deluxe personality. Themes range from a Safari suite with animal prints and a colonial ceiling fan to the Mistinguett boudoir-styled room named and fashioned after the 20th-century French actress and her flamboyance with vivid splashes of red and plush fur. Read more
Puerto Vallarta is known for its romantic pedigree – the Mexican beach town first made headlines in 1963 when Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton took up shack in a local villa; their former love nest is now a B&B and museum, by the way – and the destination continues to woo visitors today. For a dreamy getaway, PV’s Hacienda San Angel (a 2008 Smart Luxury Winner) is hard to beat. The Colonial-style hacienda sits above the cobbled streets of El Centro and offers commanding views of the town and bay. Suites come with one-of-a-kind antiques, palapas (in some), eclectic artwork, and loads of charm. This February, you can save 25 percent with the hotel’s Heavenly Escape package which includes accommodations for two nights, an in-suite couple’s massage, bottle of sparkling wine, evening margaritas, daily breakfast in bed, and transportation to and from the airport. Rates for the 2-night package go for $845 for Junior Suite accommodations; $945 for Master Suite accommodations; $1065 for Royal Suite room; $1225 for the Presidential Suite. Call 877-815-6594 to book or email email@example.com.
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