Hectic schedules and stressful jobs make spa vacations a sought-after commodity for many travelers.
Hot stone massages, seaweed wraps and sugar scrubs are among the more popular choices for vacationers, but facials and foot rubs receive high marks as well.
But all the relaxation and rejuvenation don’t come inexpensively. At the Montage Beverly Hills, for instance, a Red Carpet Ready package called the Lifetime Achievement Award, consisting of a massage or facial, a manicure and pedicure and an updo/blow out lists for $375. A couples massage at the Four Seasons Las Vegas starts at $300 and tops out at $620.
Before you take the plunge, it pays to shop around. Package deals and online coupons may come immediately to mind as your money-saving options. For instance, Living Social Escapes (www.livingsocial.com) recently listed a night at the Ravella Hotel at Lake Las Vegas plus a 50-minute aromatherapy massage, for $179, which also included parking. A one-night stay Sundays-Thursdays at the Ojai Valley Inn Spa included a day pass to the spa (no treatments) plus breakfast for two and a bottle of wine for $259. Availability of such packages can be limited, and these specials may no longer be available, but if you’re traveling, it pays to take a look at such sites and plug in the city you’ll be visiting to see what’s available.
Here are some other strategies that could extend your spa savings even further.
Passes: It’s common for spa facilities to offer day passes to vacation or business travelers who want to experience a few perks during their downtime. Rates for a day pass typically range from $25-$50, so if you’re not into treatments, you have an affordable option for the sauna or the steam room.
Amenities: If you prefer treatments and the facilities, however, many spa venues offer complimentary day access to their non-treatment amenities if you have received a spa treatment. At some hotel spas, you need not purchase the top-of-the-line treatment to get use of the facilities; something as inexpensive as a pedicure or manicure may do the trick. At the Emerald Mist Spa on the Caribbean island of St. Kitts, for instance, guests can access all of the additional amenities for free before and after their treatments. Perks include hot and cold plunge pools, dry sauna, spa water and snack selections. Similarly at Miami Beach’s Lapis spa, located at the Fontainebleau, wellness clients are granted full-day access to the spa’s unusual communal areas — including the rain tunnel and mineral immersion pool — when booking any treatment at any price.
Enhancements: At the NSpa in Delray Beach, Fla., $80 treatments such as reflexology experiences and hydrating facial masks are reduced to $45 when booked as a massage enhancement. With a savings of nearly 50%, this is likely your best budget bet, provided you were planning on getting a massage. At the Ritz-Carlton Los Angeles, if you’re having a classic manicure for $40, you can add a paraffin treatment for $15. Ditto for a pedicure ($60) and paraffin ($20).
Booking: How you book your spa getaway often makes a difference in your overall price point. For example, the Keystone Resort in Colorado provides a 10% discount on 50-minute custom massages when both the treatment and accommodations are booked through the hotel’s website, http://www.keystoneresort.com.
Googling: Try Googling “spa credits” and hotel. On a recent Friday, that took me to Priceline, where the Marriott Newport Beach Hotel Spa was offering a 50-minute spa treatment as part of the price.
Times staff writer Catharine Hamm contributed to this report.
VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) – If you’ve always wanted to see the Acropolis, now might be a good time.
The money troubles in Greece mean some great deals for tourists, with last minute deals on flights and hotels across the country cutting rates by as much as 20 per cent.
The riots you hear about in the news are actually centred around a few blocks in the financial district of Athens; it is business as usual across much of Greece. But Claire Newell with Travel Best Bets warns, despite the deals to be had, it’s not for everyone.
“You have to be prepared for a potential strike that might affect buses or taxis or the ferries. You have to be flexible, which is part of travel,” she tells us.
“Anytime there is a situation like the one in Greece, with the economy and revolving public strikes, you tend to see prices dropping a bit. The same goes for places getting negative media attention; for example Mexico and Egypt,” explains Newell.
“There are people I wouldn’t recommend this for,” she adds. “You have to be a little more adventurous; a little more patient. If you want the ‘no hassles,’ smooth vacation, it is not the time to go. Goodness knows there are so many other places in the world you can visit.”
But if a Greek adventure sounds good right now, intrepid travelers are snapping up discounts.
The lighthouse on towering Cape Spear, near St. John’s, is one of the most visited sights in Newfoundland.
Newfoundland and Labrador have done a great job promoting their destination these past few years with an eye-catching ad campaign. If you’re ready to book, Globus has a deal: 12-day tours discounted by $200 per person, as long as you reserve by April 17. Trip highlights include Gros Morne National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site famous for its spectacular scenery, the Strait of Belle Isle (also known as ‘Iceberg Alley’), L’Anse Aux Meadows National Historic Site and the only known Viking settlement in North America, the historic community of Trinity, Cape Spear and St. John’s with a cruise of Witless Bay to see the humpback whales. With the discount, prices start at $2,379 per person and include accommodation, touring, attraction tickets, daily breakfasts and most dinners, including a lobster dinner and a farewell dinner complete with one of Newfoundland’s famous ‘Screech-In’ ceremonies on the last night. Tours run June through September. See www.globusjourneys.ca.
AQUA’S A ‘10’
Aqua Hotels Resorts enjoyed its 10th birthday celebrations last year, so much so that the company is extending its ‘Aqua is 10’ promotion into 2012. ‘Aqua is 10’ takes 10 per cent off best available rates, and all you have to do show at picture of yourself at age 10 when you check in. The deal is available through Aug. 10 at 17 Aqua properties on Oahu, Maui, Molokai and Kauai. Another promotion, ‘Aqua Five-O’, applies to 11 hotels in Waikiki and comes with a special $50 (U.S.) rate on the first night of a minimum three-night stay. And a third option, the ‘Snooze-n-Crooze’ package, includes a compact car rental and free daily parking plus a coupon book for Waikele Premium Outlets, with availability at 16 participating Aqua properties on Oahu, Maui and Kauai. You can even ‘Take Your Top Off’ – with an upgrade to a convertible. See www.aquaresorts.com.
PUT THE COLD ON HOLD
London, ON’s London Hotel Suites invites guests to ‘Put the Cold on Hold’ with its winter getaway package, with a free third night’s stay plus one free in-room movie with popcorn, in-room hot chocolate, coupons for the local Children’s Museum, a local attractions booklet and a $25 gas card. Available through March 31, the deal also includes breakfast for two each morning, plus kids under five years old eat free. See www.londonhotelandsuites.com.
BEST BUY OF THE WEEK
It is better in The Bahamas … especially when that Bahamas vacation comes with a $400 discount for stays of six nights or more. Shorter getaways qualify for savings too, to the tune of $250 for three or four nights. Packages must include airfare and bookings must be made by Feb. 27 with participating tour operators, for travel through June 20, with no black-out dates. See www.bahamas.com.
Kathryn Folliott is a Toronto-based freelance writer. Prices quoted are subject to change and availability.
PICKS OF THE WEEK
Sunquest: Aruba, air hotel, $789 (+$409 taxes fees) (Feb. 25). www.sunquest.ca
Air Canada Vacations: St. Thomas, air hotel, $1,299 (+$85 taxes fees) (Feb. 25). www.aircanadavacations.com
Nolitours: Camaguey, air hotel, $677 (+$276 taxes fees) (March 15). www.nolitours.com
Signature Vacations: Puerto Vallarta, air hotel, $675 (+$357 taxes fees) (March 23). www.signaturevacations.com
Transat Holidays: Lisbon, air hotel, $915 (+$395 taxes fees) (March 4). www.transatholidays.com
Bel Air Travel: Anaheim, air hotel, $449 (+$208 taxes fees) (Feb. 25). www.belairtravel.com
Sunwing Vacations: St. Maarten, air hotel, $1,095 (+$320 taxes fees) (March 1). www.sunwing.ca
Sell Off Vacations: Ocho Rios, air hotel, $249 (+$346 taxes fees) (Feb. 24). www.selloffvacations.com
itravel2000: Six-night Paris, air hotel, $980 (+$520 taxes fees) (April 19). www.itravel2000.com
WestJet Vacations: Barbados, air hotel, $1,199 (+$142 taxes) (March 31). www.westjetvacations.com
Tour East Holidays: Eight-night Singapore Malaysia, air, hotel, meals, sightseeing, $3,050 (+$250 taxes fees) (through March 31
SALISBURY, Md.- Allegiant Airlines on Thursday began offering low-cost, nonstop flights between Salisbury and Orlando, Fla. The airline company is known for its exceptional travel deals and even offers fares as low as $69.99 one-way between the two cities.
Customers who arrived from Orlando to Salisbury seemed very pleased with the service.
“This was the best flight I’ve been on since I was 18-years-old and I’ve flown 10 times since then. It was just so smooth and it was fast,” said Shirley Grubb, who flew the airline to meet her grandson for the first time.
The company will also offer travelers a fourth night free when they book their Orlando stay at Serlago Hotel and Suites or Best Western Orlando Gateway.
The first flight to leave from Salisbury to Orlando was completely booked with around 150 passengers.
L.A.’s newest archaeological dig goes by the name of the San Gabriel Trench Project — not exactly something that screams fun. But a team of archaeologists working at the excavation site has turned up thousands of interesting bits of L.A.’s past: bones, pottery, coins depicting King Ferdinand VII of Spain and more. A free March 9 tour offers an opportunity to witness L.A.’s underground history firsthand.
The deal: The tour is organized by the Los Angeles Visionaries Assn., a self-described group of creative souls that promotes sightseeing tours and cultural activities in the city. Though the tour is free, you must register in advance at the group’s website.
When: The tour runs from noon to 2 p.m. March 9.
Details: An archaeologist from the agency overseeing the rail project, the Alameda Corridor East Construction Authority, will explain what’s happening at the dig and show some of the artifacts. (The authority oversees the trench project that’s part of a rail plan to improve rail crossings at San Gabriel intersections to improve street traffic.)
The group meets along the train tracks at West Main and Ramona streets in San Gabriel, opposite the San Gabriel Mission (park at the mission or on the street). Participants on the 90-minute tour should dress comfortably and avoid wearing red or green clothes because they could confuse conductors on passing trains, the website says. Contact: Los Angeles Visionaries Assn.
Tip: If the March 9 date doesn’t work for you, call the Alameda Corridor East Construction Authority at (626) 962-9292, Ext. 170, to schedule a tour for individuals or groups.
MUMBAI, INDIA, Feb 16, 2012 (MARKETWIRE via COMTEX) –
Go ahead. Splurge into a getaway that won’t soon be forgotten and
experience international travel at one of the premier Juhu Beach
hotels in Mumbai that is designed for opulence and priced for
Regardless of when or why you travel, Courtyard by Marriott Mumbai
has room packages and hotel deals to provide guests with a remarkable
hotel experience. Creating hotel packages based on guest requests,
this premier choice among Mumbai hotels near the airport, offers
outstanding packages that are both comfortable and affordable.
Available seven days a week through December 31, 2012, these hotel
packages are a great way to budget exciting travel, that includes
added amenities or valuable hotel credits.
Extended Stays – Keep costs down to enjoy long stay accommodations at
Courtyard Marriott Mumbai. This package includes a complimentary
breakfast buffet and 20 percent discount on food and beverage,
laundry and use of spa facilities; and a 15 percent discount on local
calls. Rates from 7,000-13,000 INR with promotional code LTS.
Stay for Breakfast – Enjoy a fresh and healthy breakfast from the
hotel’s MoMo Cafe with this hotel package. Rates from 8,000-10,500
INR by using promotional code S4B.
Business Travel Plus+ – Refresh your business routine with this
exclusive package, designed to meet the needs of busy executives. In
addition to a deluxe or executive club room, this package includes
buffet breakfast for two adults at the MoMo Cafe, 24-hour in-room
Internet access, complimentary two-way airport transfers, 20 percent
off laundry services and one-time use of the business centre
facility, and complimentary two-hour use of one room within the
hotel’s impressive Mumbai meeting space, based on availability.
Executive room bookings include complimentary access to the Executive
Lounge. Rates from 9,000-11,500 INR with promotional code BP6.
Suite Delight – A specially crafted offer that meets the needs of the
discerning traveler, this hotel deal is hard to refuse for those
seeking extra services and lavish amenities. Package includes buffet
breakfast, lunch and dinner at the MoMo Cafe for two guests,
complimentary two-way airport transfers, free access to the Executive
Lounge and complimentary two-hour use of a hotel meeting room, based
on availability. Rates from 13,000-15,500 INR using promotional code
You Stay, We Pay – A supersaver offer that entitles guests to credit
of INR 1000, 2000 and 3000 in credits, depending on length of stay,
against fabulous options including: food and beverage, telephone
usage, laundry services and transportation.
About the Courtyard Mumbai International Airport Hotel
Mumbai International Airport Hotel is an award-winning property
conveniently located near both airports to provide guests with easy
access to popular area destinations. Travelers are welcomed with
outstanding service and comfortable accommodations amidst a vibrant
upscale and contemporary atmosphere. This relaxing Mumbai hotel with
pool, fitness center and exceptional on-site dining options, also
offers state-of-the-art event and exhibition space, ideal for
business conferences, trade shows and elegant social gatherings.
CONTACT: Rubani Marwah Courtyard by Marriott, Mumbai International Airport +91 8108182108 Email Contact
SOURCE: Marriott International
Copyright 2012 Marketwire, Inc., All rights reserved.
Every year Vienna’s Old Easter Market gathers up a mountain of 40,000 or so decorated Easter eggs at Freyung square in the city. TourCrafters offers a seven-day land tour of Vienna and Budapest in March that’s all about the Easter scene — and saving money.
On this trip, participants spend three days in Vienna visiting the Freyung market as well as markets at Kalvarienberg and the Baroque Schonbrunn Palace, which features marzipan Easter bunnies and Easter decorations as well as jazz and soul music. The trip continues by train to Budapest and spends three days in the Hungarian capital on sightseeing tours of the city and a cruise of the Danube.
When: The trip departs March 23. (Other dates cost more.)
Price: $621 a person, double occupancy. This includes six hotel stays, daily breakfast, train tickets between the two cities, bus tours and more. Airfare is extra.
This land trip pencils out to a little more than $100 a person a day. Without the package, the average price for the hotels runs about $65 to $76 a night per person, and bus tours cost about $27 a person in each city. Add on the train ticket, river tour, airport transfers, etc., and you’re way over the package price. One note: TourCrafters “builds” each trip for each traveler, meaning hotels and other events promised in the itinerary may change slightly.
Contact: TourCrafters, (800) 621-2259
The Galapagos is a land of fearless sea lions, game-changing scientific theories, and expensive vacation packages. The destination is best explored by boat or guided tour, and one of the easiest ways to plan a trip is by booking a one-price-covers-all vacation package—but these aren’t cheap. Published prices for Galapagos packages on Intrepid Travel, a small-group adventure-tour operator, start at $2,020 for five nights, no airfare included—and we won’t even get into what luxury packages cost. So consider the alternative: Plan your own journey. SmarterTravel editor Caroline Morse did just that and saved a bundle. Morse details her incredibly affordable Galapagos trip in this trip report, writing, “We ended up walking into one of the numerous tour operators that line the streets on the main island and booking ourselves onto a four-day, three-island tour with everything (meals, accommodations, tours, snorkeling, boat transfers, et cetera) included for just $200 per person.” Putting on your travel-agent hat and conducting a bit of research could really pay off when planning a Galapagos getaway.
What does Greece’s recent economic turmoil mean for travelers? As of publication, there are no warnings issued by the U.S. Department of State against travel to Greece, and this year could, in fact, be an excellent time to go, as Greece travel deals are popping up like olive trees. TripAdvisor reports that hotel rates in popular Greece destinations have fallen by as much as 20 percent in the past year. The influx of bargains is a win-win for both locals and visitors, as a healthy tourism industry could help Greece revive its economy. According to Catharine Hamm of the Los Angeles Times, “Greece needs tourist dollars now more than ever to find its way out from under lest it default on its loans. Tourism is one of its leading industries, and that means you are apt to find bargains.”
By Laura Bly, USA TODAY
A lone horse and carriage at the Pyramids in Giza is testimony to the dearth of visitors in Cairo and other Egyptian cities in March, 2011.
Revolutions don’t make for an attractive vacation destination—but travel deals do. To counter a drop in demand due to Arab Spring unrest, providers are rolling out some incredible price reductions for Egypt travel. As of press time, we spotted offers like 50 percent off Egypt tours from luxury tour operator Abercrombie Kent; this deal also includes complimentary travel insurance with select trips. Furthermore, Hotels.com lists Cairo as one of 10 worldwide destinations where luxury hotels cost the least (the average nightly rate for a five-star Cairo hotel came to $203 in 2011). If you’re comfortable traveling to a destination where there may be some civil disorder (we recommend purchasing travel insurance), you can book a once-in-a-lifetime luxury getaway to Egypt for pennies on the dollar.
PHOTOS: Empty Egypt pines for tourists
Jon Arnold Images
A traditional Japanese restaurant in Tokyo.
The tourism industry in Japan took a major hit after the catastrophic earthquake that struck almost a year ago, and it continues to lag. To bounce back, Japanese hotels and other travel providers have been offering deep savings on accommodations, attractions, and more in an attempt to lure international visitors. (Experts agree it’s now safe to travel to most of Japan, including the greater Tokyo area.) “Japan is still expensive, primarily because the yen is high against the dollar,” Chris Gray Faust, of Chris Around The World, told us in an email. “But hotels have been offering value-added specials to entice tourists back to the country. In Kyoto, for example, the Hyatt Regency Kyoto has been offering deals where if you buy one night, you get the second one for 50 percent, or a third night free with two nights paid,” she said. Moreover, spending money on a Japan vacation is a great way to support a nation that has endured a terrible tragedy and is still in the process of rebuilding.
This year, Berlin turns 775 and will open a new major international airport. And while the city is one of Europe’s best for museums, galleries, fashion, and culture, it offers more bang for your euro compared to major Western European destinations such as London, Paris, or Rome. Average nightly hotel rates in Berlin are just €72—that’s well below average prices for the aforementioned cities. And did we mention the exchange rate? The euro has been falling against the dollar, and economic problems in the euro zone, while calamitous for those who live in E.U. countries, could lead to better exchange rates for U.S. travelers.
PHOTOS: Top attractions in Berlin
By John Moore, Getty Images
The Empire State Building towers over the Manhattan skyline as tourists gather on the observation deck of Rockefeller Center in New York City.
New York City
New York is the most expensive U.S. city to spend the night in, with average nightly hotel rates reaching $190.46 in 2011, according to data gathered from Hotels.com. But high hotel rates can couple with a wealth of free activities to strike an affordable balance for travelers to the Big Apple. City parks, music shows, galleries, breweries, famous stores, monuments, and museums that charge zilch abound in the city—you need only know where to look. We recommend browsing through the regularly updated listings on Time Out New York or reading this list of 40 free New York attractions from Lonely Planet. If you’re looking for even more savings, beat those notorious New York hotel rates by booking alternative accommodations on sites like Airbnb and Flipkey. We found one-bedroom apartment rentals in Manhattan listed on Airbnb for as little as $100 per night for high-season summer stays.
It’s shaping up to be a good year for Hawaii, as more and more travelers are heading to the lush locale. (Can you blame them?) The Wall Street Journal reports that Hawaii tourism rates are at their highest levels since 2007, thanks in part to large advertising campaigns put forth by the local tourism board. As a consequence, one might expect prices for travel to this already-expensive destination to rise. Yet there are ways to try big-wave surfing, explore underwater lava caves, or dance the hula on the cheap this year. One cost-cutting tactic is to buy your big-ticket Hawaii flight from a discount airline; very soon, you’ll be able to do this. Hawaiian Airlines and JetBlue recently entered into a partnership agreement that will open up new routes to the Aloha State (this will also bring about the only nonstop flight connecting New York to Hawaii). United’s adding a new nonstop from Washington, D.C., as well. New routes usually amount to greater competition, which could work to push down fares to Hawaii in the coming year.
By Beth J. Harpaz, AP
The Hubbard Glacier in Alaska as seen from the deck of Royal Caribbean’s Radiance of the Seas cruise ship.
Alaska is enormous—it’s two times the size of Texas. And crossing hundreds or thousands of miles by plane, train, or automobile isn’t cheap. The solution? Set sail. Cruising is the most popular way to tour Alaska—and it may be the cheapest, too. The destination has been drawing more and more ships (Disney Cruise Line began its inaugural Alaska season in 2011) since the state’s government decreased head taxes on cruise-ship passengers. For an amazingly economical Alaska vacation, book a cruise during shoulder season. As of this publication, we spotted weeklong spring and fall Alaska cruises on our sister site Cruise Critic’s deals page on sale for as little as $569 per person.
As the euro falls in surrounding countries, the franc holds steady; this would, it seem, make for a very expensive Switzerland vacation. However, with many travelers choosing neighboring destinations that offer better exchange rates, the local tourism industry has suffered. The good news? Travel providers are taking pains to make it more affordable to see Switzerland. This season, ski resorts have been offering free night’s stays and free skiing in an effort to draw more guests, reports OnTheSnow. And, as of press time, the Zurich Tourism Board was offering 20 percent off winter stays at a variety of local hotels. Of course, if you’re an American or a European, you’ll have to deal with an unfavorable exchange rate when traveling to Switzerland. But take advantage of a good travel deal or two and your Swiss vacation could be a lot cheaper than you might expect.
Cayman Islands Department of Tourism via AP
A diver photographs coral off of Cayman Brac, Cayman Islands.
Discount carriers like JetBlue and AirTran don’t fly to the Cayman Islands, and the destination is generally considered one of the most expensive in the Caribbean. So to access the islands’ blue waters and breezy beaches at a fraction of the price, veer off the beaten path. Skip the high-rise hotels that line the coast on Grand Cayman and go for a guesthouse or a villa on one of the Caymans’ smaller islands: Cayman Brac or Little Cayman. (There are no campsites on the Cayman Islands, so guesthouse lodging is likely the cheapest option you’ll find.) We spotted oceanfront guesthouses listed on the Cayman Islands Department of Tourism website for as little as $1,000 per week in high season—a more-than-fair price for a one-bedroom house that sleeps four or five people.
MORE: Read previous columns
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