For the week of Dec. 22, 2008
AIRLINES & AIRPORTS
Sign Now, Save Later. If you sign up for OpenSkies' e-newsletter before Jan. 5, 2009, you will get a promotional code good for $250 off any future trip between New York and Paris, and New York and Amsterdam through April 30, 2009.
Boston is Blue. JetBlue is expanding its offerings in Boston, resuming nonstop flights between Beantown and San Francisco beginning May 1, 2009. Also that month, they'll be adding service to San Juan, Puerto Rico. Check JetBlue's website for more service changes.
Where is Everyone? The airways may be a little less congested than usual this holiday season. The Air Transport Association of America predicts there will be 9% fewer passengers flying this year than last but that's no guarantee you won't get stuck in the middle seat. Airlines have cut capacity, so the downturn in traffic may not get you much more than a shorter line through security.
Boston Bargain. Once a former jail, the The Liberty Hotel in Boston, has got a criminal deal right now. The "Winter Wonderland" package includes a walking map from Beacon Hill to Boston Common, tickets to the Frog Pond skating rink in the Common and, for when you return to the hotel, a complimentary in-room movie and two hot toddies. Finish off your stay with breakfast for two. Rates start at $345, through Feb. 28, 2009. 215 Charles Street, Boston; 617-224-4000
New Year's in New York. The recently opened Stay Hotel in New York's Times Square area is offering two special packages the prices may seem a bit steep, but they include lots of goodies (plus, the hotel has feather beds!). The "Stay Til Next Year" package comes with a personal shopper complete with a $250 gift card to H&M, $100 gift card to Sephora and a consultation with a make-up artist two tickets to the New Year's Eve party at the hotel's restaurant, Aspen, champagne and a special dessert in-room, plus room service breakfast on New Year's Day. The rate is $900 for two for two nights, Dec. 29 to Jan. 4.
Cure your post-holiday blues with the hotel's "Stay Merry" package, which includes skating at Rockefeller Center, a carriage ride through Central Park, with a boxed lunch from the hotel restaurant, hot toddies when you return and dessert by your bedside. It costs $750 for two for two nights, Jan. 2 to March 31. 157 West 47th Street, New York City; 866-950-7829 (See 10 things to do in New York City.)
For Snow Bunnies. The Equinox Resort in Vermont, which just completed a multimillion-dollar renovation, is offering a "Cloud 999" package: Book a three-night stay for $999 and, when you're done schussing down the nearby slopes, you can indulge in $999 in spa treatments. If you want to spend a bit more, book the "1769" package; pay $1,769 and get two nights in the Orvis Inn Suite, a facial for two, and a spa day for two, as well as complimentary breakfast. Both offers are good through Dec. 23 and from Jan. 5 to April 30, 2009. 3567 Main Street, Route 7A, Manchester Village, VT; 800-362-4747
Beach Bonanza. If your idea of a winter getaway means getting away from winter, head to the nearest Sandals, which just won the World Travel Award for best all-inclusive resort. Rates are now 55% off at Caribbean resorts, including Jamaica, St. Lucia, Antigua and the Bahamas, if you book a "Luxury Included" vacation with a minimum of a three-night stay. If you book seven nights, you can get up to two nights free. Rates start at $183 per person per night. Book now through Jan. 16, 2009, excluding stays from Dec. 27 to 31. 888-SANDALS
Think Pink. Cambridge Beaches Resort & Spa (441-234-0331) in Bermuda has a "Winter Romance Package," which gets you the fourth night free, a complimentary room upgrade and free dinner each night at the Tamarisk Room, rated one of Bermuda's best restaurants by Food & Wine magazine. Afternoon tea is served daily indulge and work it off horseback riding along the beach. In the evenings, call on the hotel's "bath butlers" to fix you a relaxing soak. Rooms start at $295 for garden view, and $555 for ocean view. Through March 27, 2009, excluding Dec. 21 through Jan. 1. A Monday or Tuesday night stay is required.
Texas Tea. Oil prices dropped to about $35 a barrel at press time; the further they drop, the better your rates at The Joule hotel in Dallas. On the second night of your stay, the hotel will match the price of your room to whatever the price of oil is at the opening bell that morning. Plus, if you book the "Black Gold Experience," you get a $100 gift card to Neiman Marcus, conveniently located next door. Rates start at $340, through March 1, 2009. 1530 Main Street, Dallas; 214-748-1300
Take Me to Your Leader. For political junkies who want to get a closer view of President-elect Barack Obama's past (or the ongoing Blagojevich scandal), The James hotel in Chicago has a "City of Hope" package. A guide will take you in the hotel's Audi on a tour of the city, including the Hyde Park neighborhood, which the Obamas' called home, and Millennium Park, where Barack Obama acknowledged his election victory and where you can take a spin around the skating rink. Return to the hotel and warm up with hot chocolate in the Lobby Bar. While you sip, the concierge can make reservations at one of the Obamas' favorite restaurants, like Spiaggia, Sepia or MacArthur's. Go to sleep clutching a complimentary copy of Barack Obama's second book, The Audacity of Hope. Rates start at $219. 55 East Ontario, Chicago; 877-526-3755 (See 10 things to do in Chicago.)
Cheney Country. If you feel more connected to the outgoing Administration, try Spring Creek Ranch (800-443-6139), a spa-resort located in a wildlife refuge. The hotel provides skiers free lift tickets to nearby Jackson Hole and Grand Targhee, plus complimentary breakfast. Rates start at $87.50 per person per night. If you want accommodations closer to the slopes, the Grand Targhee Resort (307-353-2300) is offering slopeside rooms as cheap as $89 per person, including lift tickets. If you can round up three other ski bums to join you, rooms at Jackson Hole's Village Center Inn cost $81 per person, including lift tickets, based on quad occupancy. Call 800-443-8613 for special packages through Jackson Hole Resort Lodging. These rates are available until April 2009, but blacked-out over the holidays.
What Recession? For some serious luxury just an hour and a half from Minneapolis, or six hours from Chicago, there's Canoe Bay, a Relais & Chateaux resort located on 280 wooded acres. The "Personal Bailout" package includes two nights in a deluxe cottage, a lodging upgrade and dinner for two at the hotel's restaurant over looking Lake Wahdoon, for $830 for two per night. Upgrade to the "Personal Stimulus" package, which costs $200 more per couple, and you get two 60-minute massages and free breakfast. Through April 30, 2009. Chetek, WI; 715-924-4594, ext. 3
Last-Minute Meals. New Year's is just around the corner, but if you haven't booked a special table yet, not to worry: The online restaurant reservation service OpenTable.com says there are still a few deals out there. New York City's Aureole is doing an early seating with a prix fixe starting at $95 per person; San Francisco's Andalu has a three-course menu for $49; the dinner at Catch in L.A. includes dancing and a balloon drop at midnight for $170; and Zaytina in Washington, D.C., has unlimited meze and a DJ for $100. (See 10 things to do in Washington, D.C.)
Ease Your Getaway. If you're flying out of Atlanta for the holidays, kick off your travel with a touch of luxury. Book a room with the "Park Here, Fly There" package (promotional code PKF) at the Renaissance Concourse Hotel Atlanta Airport, and you can leave your car in the hotel parking lot for up to 10 days. The hotel will shuttle you free to and from the airport. Rooms start at $105 on weekends, and $165 on weekdays. One Hartsfield Centre Parkway, Atlanta; 404-209-9999
Heads Up. A rule change for private aircraft was announced by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). All private aircraft must now provide the CBP with flight plans, including detailed departure and arrival information, along with passenger manifests, 60 minutes before departure. The program is voluntary for 180 days, becoming mandatory May 18, 2009.
Safer Roads. What, no private plane? Feel secure in the knowledge that U.S. highways have become safer than ever, according to the Department of Transportation. The number of people killed in traffic accidents fell 10% in 2008, hitting a record low of 31,110, early estimates suggest. That could be due in part to the fact that there was also a record drop in road travel: Americans drove 100 billion fewer miles between November 2007 and October 2008, compared with the same period a year earlier the largest continuous decline in U.S. history.
What Global Warming? Dubai is reportedly building the world's first refrigerated beach; heat-absorbing pipes running under the sand will keep the surface of the beach from getting too hot, and giant wind-blowers will cool suntanners. The idea is to prevent the wealthy guests of the neighboring Palazzo Versace hotel from burning their delicate feet on the searing hot sand. If all else fails, they can always go back to that centuries-old device shoes. (See 10 things to do in Dubai.)