Post #12 compliments of Mr. Deals…
So Mr. Deals has a work trip coming up and Mrs. Deals is less than pleased. Now it’s not because she will miss Mr. Deals or that he will be away during that made up Hallmark Holiday that falls in February, oh no, quite the contrary. Mrs. Deals is pissed because Mr. Deals will not be staying at one of the big hotel chains. Thanks babe, I’ll miss you too…
As most of you already know if you’ve been following my weekly ramblings, I tend to travel for work from time to time. Mrs. Deals will sometimes tag along, but a lot of the time she’s just there in spirit because she’s pre registered me for every deal under the sun to make the most of my work travel to add to our pool of points/miles. Don’t get me wrong, it’s great but sometimes work has other ideas.
For this particular trip we have a team offsite. It’s taking place at the hotel we will all be staying at, which happens to be the Huntley Hotel in LA. Now I know nothing about this place, but it looks nice and is part of the Preferred Hotels Resorts Group (see Mrs. Deals, I’m looking into the benefits I can get). I’m ok with it as its just a couple days, but since I got word of this trip it’s been nothing but “hey, so you can stay at this Hyatt (Starwood, Marriott, whatever) and it’s not that far from the Huntley. Sorry Mrs. Deals, not going to happen. Oh and the worst part is, it’s going on the company credit card, so I won’t even get those points. Sometimes you just gotta roll with the punches and miss out on some points/miles…
So with that said, if anyone has any tips about the Huntley Hotel that I should know, let me know!
Until next Sunday…
P.S. – I’m still getting my AA miles. Platinum status here I come!
here to view previous posts by Mr. Deals
I’m a romantic and I’m a cynic. Turns out the two are not mutually exclusive, especially when it comes to Valentine’s Day and deals.
Love does mean saying you’re sorry if you needlessly overspend. Overpriced champagne and chocolate shouldn’t take precedence over common sense and genuine emotion. So, this is the season to be creative in expressing that emotion to your significant other…be wary of Valentine’s Day packages. The markups can be huge.
It’s all about quiet, alone time for the two of you. Because Valentine’s Day falls on a Tuesday, you might even benefit by waiting a few days to take your special trip together. Try getting a reservation at a remotely popular restaurant on Valentines’ Day -it’s tough and expensive.
Instead, follow the Travel Detective‘s plan: Celebrate with dinner on the 13th and give your significant other a great romantic weekend away in two weeks. Why not the week after? You’ll also pay a premium on President’s Day weekend. Instead, get your own chocolates, bring your own champagne, and get less expensive roses and aim for the weekend of February 24-26. You’ll thank me.
That said, if you’re set on a Valentine’s Day package, here are some of the more interesting deals available this month.
Compete for a Sweet Escape
Do you and your special someone have a memorable engagement story? It doesn’t need to romantic or crazy. In fact it could just be funny. Submit your “best engagement” story to The Charles Hotel in Cambridge for a chance to receive a complimentary Sweetheart Escape package this Valentine’s Day. Send your submission in to email@example.com by noon February 6, 2012. The winner will be chosen and notified by February 8. Or book the package directly online. Rates start at $319 per night and include a deluxe guestroom, a bottle of sparkling wine with a Valentine’s Day-themed dessert, breakfast in bed or in the hotel’s restaurant, late checkout, and skating passes with rental for two at The Rink at The Charles.
I Do, Part Deux
Do you remember your wedding bells? Valentine’s Day might be a great opportunity to re-live that moment again, whether it’s your two, 10, or 25-year anniversary, Casa Monica Hotel in St. Augustine, Florida, is celebrating V-Day with the Renew Your Vows Valentine’s Package available either weekend of February 10 or 17. You’ll spend three days and two nights in the restored 1888 landmark hotel including dinner for two, a horse-drawn carriage ride with a bottle of champagne, and the ceremony.
Outrigger Hotels in Oahu has a Renew Your Romance package on Valentine’s Day. If your dream beach wedding never happened, you’ll be pleasantly surprised with a hula performance at the edge of iconic Waikiki Beach and a ceremony recited in Hawaiian. Enjoy a glass of champagne and flower lei after the ceremony whilst enjoying the beautiful (and free) view.
Departure to Romance
This Valentine’s Day, why don’t you ditch the chocolate and flowers and take off to Tahiti with your love by your side? Tahiti Tourism can help you escape with the Tahiti Getaway; offering round-trip airfare, five nights at the Manava Suites, and daily breakfast starting at $1,699.
Don’t sneak off to a hotel to get the sparks flying. Instead, rent your own private villa at The Retreat in Laguna in Laguna Beach, California. Through April 30, save up to $185 on a three-night stay with the Laguna is for Lovers package. Rates are from $790 for three nights, including flowers, champagne and in-villa massage. Ask about add-on experiences like an in-room dinner for two, art tours or a night out on the town. Click here for more details.
Single Loving It!
Valentine’s Day, also known as Singles Awareness Day, isn’t just a holiday for couples. Singles love to party and celebrate too! Take it from Gansevoort Meatpacking NYC, their Single + Mingle Package is available the entire month of February. The Package starts off at $585 per night and includes overnight accommodations, continental breakfast, two cocktail vouchers for rooftop Plunge Bar, and an Exhale Deep Tissue Massage in the morning.
If that doesn’t take Cupid off your mind, jet off to St. Barth’s Hotel Le Guanahani Spa with your girlfriends. For $4,700, you get three days of white sandy beaches, fine dining, scuba-diving and partying!
Plus, the Borgata Hotel Casino Spa, in Atlantic City, is rewarding singled travelers with its Single Fabulous package. Rates start at $139 a night and include overnight stays for two in a class room with two queen beds, breakfast at the Borgata Buffet, drinks at the Gypsy Bar and discount shopping at The Water Club.
Romance in San Juan
Head to San Juan’s Caribbean beach front district with the LA Concha Resort’s Discover Romance Package. Available from February 9 through February 15. Rates start at just $289 per night and include an ocean view room, Godiva chocolates, champagne, breakfast for two, late check out and more.
Or head to the Isla Verde Beach Resort for their Romance Under the Stars package. Rates include ocean view rooms, dinner for two with your own personal chef, a couples’ massage and more. Rates start at $410 per night. To book call 1-800-791-2553.
Love at the Club
The Hard Rock Hotel San Diego‘s Whole Lotta Love Package sets the mood for a steamy night ahead. Starting at $299 per couple, the Valentine’s deal presents chilled champagne with strawberries and cream, VIP priority access to hotspots Float and 207, $100 credit to Rock Spa and reservations to Nobu San Diego.
Spa or Sweat It Out
Tropical weather not your cup of tea? That’s fine, Pure Entertainment’s Valentine’s Day package in Quebec whisks you away to snowy Mont Tremblant for two nights at the slopes with a half-day guided dog sledding tour, a couple’s massage, and a Valentine’s Day dinner at La Quintessence all for a cuddly $2, 700 per couple.
For the couple that favors a day of sports, La Manga Club in Murcia, Spain is the place for you. Valid year round, the five-star hotel’s Love Tennis Package gives you two hours on the tennis court, breakfast, and a fitness pass for $260 per couple per night.
For those who favor a day at the spa, head Deep in the Hearts of Texas for the romance package at the Barton Creek Resort Spa. Available February 10-14 with rates starting at $214 per night, the package includes accommodations, breakfast in bed and an additional food and beverage credit as well as a consultation with the resort’s Romance Concierge who will help personalize a romantic escape . Plus if you get engaged during your stay, you will be given credit for a future one-night stay to celebrate your anniversary.
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WISH YOU WERE HERE
Canal only part of cruise’s delights
By Sara Hamsa of Cedar Park
A group of us took a cruise through the Panama Canal in early March. We
stopped at several ports along the way in addition to the passage through
the canal. This impressive visit was highlighted with many photo
opportunities and experiences in Aruba, Costa Rica, Acapulco and Cabo San
Lucas, Baja California.
Although the trip through the Panama Canal was the major highlight of this
cruise, we all agree that the 14 days we spent on board the Holland America
cruise ship Statendam were all fabulous. Some of us were able to snorkel in
Aruba, while others took shore excursions to see the wonderful sights in the
area. Our next port was Costa Rica, where some were able to take the aerial
tram to view the rainforest area. We next stopped in Hutaluco, Mexico, to
visit a small village. We must admit the margaritas under the shade
umbrellas were the best! In Acapulco, Mexico, many of us were able to take
in the sights of this city along with viewing the fantastic cliff divers.
This trip will long be remembered by this group and recommended to anyone
Sara Hamsa and her husband moved to Cedar Park in 2007 from Lafayette, La.
Wish You Were Here runs the first Sunday of every month. If you’d like to
share your trip with others, please email 300 words and a high-resolution
image to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Get your tattooed self on out to Amarillo
When you think tattoos, you think Amarillo, right? Well, maybe not. Still, the
Ink Life Tour Tattoo and Music Festival will be there Feb. 17-19 at Amarillo
Civic Center, 401 S. Buchanan St. Both world-renowned and local tattoo
artists will spend the weekend comparing work and competing for prizes.
There’s also music, a human suspension show by Atzlan Arts and more. Check
out the events at inklifetour.com.
Tickets are $24-$39 for a three-day pass at 806-378-3096 . The other Texas
stop on the tour is Aug. 24-25 i Longview – yet another hotbed of tattooing.
- Helen Anders
Deals for wherever your heart leads you
If you’re in the mood for love, you need only to shoot an arrow into the air.
Wherever it comes down, there’s a Valentine’s Day package:
New York: Starting at $140, get a room at the Wolcott Hotel with a 10
percent discount at Ayza Wine Chocolate Bar. The deal’s good Feb.
10-19. Book at wolcott.com/TLC . Also in New York: Gray Line bus tours
offers a Night on the Town tour of Lower Manhattan with a romantic dinner in
Little Italy, a cruise on board a New York Watertaxi with a champagne toast
near the Statue of Liberty, a walking tour of the new Highline Park and a
ticket to check out the skyline from Top of the Rock Observatory. Tickets
are $79, but you get a $20 discount if you buy two for Valentine’s Day. More
Napa, Calif.: A whole bunch of deals are sitting at legendarynapavalley.com.
Just one: Cedar Gables Inn is offering a Valentine’s Seduction Cooking Class
followed by a four-course dinner with wine pairings for $175 per person.
San Francisco: Starting at $199, Hyatt at Fisherman’s Wharf’s Amour
Romance Package includes a room, breakfast, sparkling wine,
chocolate-covered strawberries and late checkout. Book at fishermanswharf.hyatt.com
Chicago: The James Hotel offers a Weekend for Two package that includes
your room, a $50 dinner credit at David Burke’s restaurant, two glasses of
champagne and more. The package starts at $179. Check it out at jameshotels.com.
Curl up in the snow with the Romantic Mountain Getaway for Valentine’s package
at Three Rivers Resort. Stay two nights and have dinner at Garlic Mike’s
Italian Restaurant in nearby Gunnison. The $350 package is valid Feb. 10-14.
Book at 3riversresort.com.
Ski discounts are available at Crested Butte Mountain Resort.
VADITO, N.M. — The thought of taking three kids skiing sounded insane for a lot of reasons.
First, two parents who hadn’t skied in a decade would be outnumbered. Chasing and corralling kids ages 8, 5, and 3, while on skis, seemed improbable. And the cost of the endeavor didn’t seem feasible.
However, all fears of failure subsided after two accomplishment-filled days on the slopes at Sipapu Ski Resort.
Tucked away on New Mexico Highway 518 about 20 miles south of Taos and 54 miles north of Las Vegas, Sipapu prides itself on two things — being “family friendly” and having this state’s longest ski season (November to April).
On the mountain, which sits at 8,200 feet above sea level at the base, it didn’t take long for the kids to become naturals. A big reason for that was the magic carpet lift that carries kids and parents 90 feet up the teaching hill.
Picture yourself riding on a large conveyor belt like the ones at grocery store checkouts while wearing a ski bib, coat, gloves and skis, and you’re being transported on Sipapu’s magic carpet.
The kids didn’t have to worry about holding on to a rope, a pole, trying to sit in a chair or walking to get to the top of the hill. It made a big difference in how quickly they learned and how many times they raced to the bottom.
After a couple of hours, I turned to help our 3-year-old, but she was already on the belt heading back to the top by herself. She didn’t need my help.
Because the kids were first-timers, we took advantage of the free lessons for our 8-year-old. He was with three other novice skiers, and he skied the first day. The next day, he switched to the snowboard and had a teacher all to himself for an hour. The instruction was first class, full of motivation and high-fives.
Lines were short and classes small because we were there on school days. Avoiding the crowds definitely enhanced the experience, but Sipapu’s busy times on weekends and holidays still are less crowded than the big resorts.
Sipapu won’t blow you away with size and grandeur found at other resorts, such as Breckenridge and Keystone in Colorado or even Taos. One look, even in the dark, tells you this. After avoiding the elk and cattle on Highway 518′s tight turns, we arrived at 8 p.m., and it wasn’t readily apparent where skiing takes place.
In the dark, it looked like a lodge and some outbuildings off a mountain road.
We knew we had come to the right place when we found a staffer waiting for us to check in three hours after the lodge closed.
What it lacks in architectural splendor, Sipapu makes up for with deals and a good time.
You can get free lodging with a lift ticket ($44). You can get a free parent’s lift ticket with the purchase of a child’s ticket ($29). First-timers get free lessons with a lift ticket. Some Wednesdays, everyone in the car gets a lift ticket for $50 — total (limit six people). On Thursdays, say you’re a local, whether you are or not, and the normal $44 lift ticket costs $25. Those who ski for free include those 70 and older, 60-year-olds (in honor of Sipapu’s 60th anniversary), 40-year-olds, fourth-graders and kids 6 and younger.
Sipapu’s accommodations include the main lodge, a duplex, a couple of mobile homes, three cabins, five apartments, eight suites and 16 hotel rooms. There are even spots for the RV or trailer.
And that’s it.
Remember, grandeur is not a selling point.
We stayed in a one-bedroom apartment, with three kids sleeping on a futon in the main living area. It was the ideal landing spot after a 14-hour drive from San Antonio and our days on the slopes. All the rooms are walking distance to the ski area.
For the adults, the mountain tops out at 9,255 feet and there are four other lifts to take you to 41 trails, 34 of which were open while we were there. The stats say 20 percent of the runs are for beginners, 40 percent for intermediate, 25 percent for advanced and 15 percent for experts.
Fresh powder started falling after we left, but Sipapu’s artificial snow made for soft landings when falling was preferential to sliding off the side of the mountain for one parent.
What started as a scary idea, wound up being a magical time. The Sipapu staff goes out of its way to make sure you have the right gear, and at a decent price, too. It cost $15 to outfit each kid with skis and boots, an extra $8 for the big kid’s helmet.
That made me happy for the impact it had on the pocketbook, but it was nothing compared to the joy of seeing three little smiles, and one momma smile, light up the mountain.
The deal: The Norwich Inn in Vermont is offering the “Winter Romance Package.”
Cost: Starts at $299 per night based on double occupancy.
What’s included: Accommodations in a deluxe king fireplace suite; bottle of sparkling wine and chocolate-covered strawberries; plus three-course dinner for two and breakfast including tax and gratuity.
When: Through April 30.
Information: 802-649-1143 or norwichinn.com/vermont- getaways-packages.php.
The deal: The Fifteen Beacon in Boston is offering the “Love ‘em” or “Leave ‘em” packages for pro- and anti-Valentine’s Day guests.
Cost: Package starts at $197 a night with rates from $525 per night based on double occupancy.
What’s included: “Love ‘em” package includes bottle of champagne; rose petal turn-down; chocolate-covered strawberries; breakfast in bed; and 2 p.m. late checkout. “Leave ‘em” package includes two drinks at Mooo; chocolate-dipped treats; girls brunch at Mooo; and any (anti) Valentine’s Day movie of your choice.
When: Through March 4.
Information: 877-497-6976 or iprefer.com/search.aspx?hotelname=fifteen+beacon.
The deal: The Sandos Caracol Eco Resort and Spa in Riviera Maya, Mexico is offering a “Romantic Getaway” for adults only.
Cost: Starting at $151 per night per person when you book for two people.
What’s included: Nightly stay in recently renovated eco-rooms on the edge of the jungle; hydro-massage tub in the suite; private pool access; premium liquor bottles and a fully stocked minibar, as well as unlimited drinks on the complex 24 hours a day; all meals, including restaurant access; private oceanfront clubhouse with premium bar service and gourmet canapés; beach lounge area with unlimited access to beach concierge service and hammocks, lounge chairs and beach beds; daily entertainment, activities and water sports; 15 percent off all Sandos Spa treatments; and all tips and gratuities.
When: Through April 8.
Information: 1-866-887-5601 or sandos.com.
— Alexis Tarrazi