Travel News: It's Rodeo Season! (Plus, Restaurant Week in New York)

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J.G. Domke / Bloomberg News / Landov

Judge Jarold Callahan, left, looks over a steer during the Junior Steer competition at the Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo in Fort Worth, Texas.

For the week of Jan. 12, 2009


Fare Fall. JetBlue's fares are on sale: Flights to Burbank, Oakland, Seattle and Las Vegas from New York's Kennedy Airport start at $139 one-way. Go to Bermuda from NYC for $114, or to Nassau, Bahamas, for $119. Starting Jan. 29, JetBlue will fly to Bogotá, Colombia, for as low as $99 one-way from Orlando, Fla. Travel must be completed by April 1.

Tiptoe Through the Tulips. O.K., it may not be tulip season quite yet, but OpenSkies has a special on fares from JFK to Amsterdam in Prem+ class (i.e., almost-business class, with 52 inches of legroom, and a 140-degree seat recline) for just $1,000 round-trip, inclusive of all taxes and fees. It's a good deal, considering that fares are usually around $1,700 to $2,000. Book by Jan. 26, and fly by May 31.


What's New in Hollywood. Hyatt's new boutique brand Andaz opens its first U.S. outpost in Hollywood. The hotel strives for a low-key, friendly atmosphere and features an open kitchen for people to gather in, a comfortable lounge and no front desk — instead, guests are greeted by a "host" who checks them in via wireless PDA, ushers them to their room and helps with everything from local directions to restaurant recommendations. The hotel also has a rooftop pool, and the RH restaurant, which focuses on fresh local ingredients. You'll be tracing the steps of rock stars here: Back in the '70s, when the hotel was still a Hyatt (nicknamed the "Riot Hyatt"), Led Zeppelin rode motorcycles in the hallway here, Jim Morrison swung from a balcony, and the opening scene of This is Spinal Tap was filmed on the roof. Check out Andaz for an introductory rate, starting at $295 per night; after Feb. 28, rates go up. 8401 Sunset Boulevard, West Hollywood, CA; 323-656-1234

Multiple Choices. The Personality Hotels chain in San Francisco is running a "5-10-15" promotion at all its properties — Hotel Vertigo (which takes design cues from the eponymous Alfred Hitchcock film), Hotel Union Square and others. You can choose from three deals: pay just $5 for a room upgrade; get a $10 Starbucks gift card; or save $15 on valet parking. Room rates start at $119.

Marriott Rewards. Oahu's Waikiki Beach Marriott Resort & Spa is offering a special surf package. Along with your room, you'll get to borrow a board and a surf jersey for a two-and-a-half-hour group lesson with the Faith Surf School. Rates start at $309 per night, through November. 2552 Kalakaua Avenue, Honolulu; 808-922-6611.

The Aruba Marriott is offering a $250 credit (promotional code P50), which you get back when you check out. Use the credit to pay for your airfare to the island. A four-night minimum stay is required. Rates start at $369 per night, through Nov. 21. L.G. Smith Boulevard, No. 101, Palm Beach, Aruba; 297-586-9000.

And here's one for Marriott Rewards members: Earn double airline miles for each dollar spent with any of 28 partner carriers, including Delta and British Airways, beginning the second night of your stay at a Marriott property from Feb. 1 through April 30. That's up to four miles per dollar at some properties. Enroll with Marriott's loyalty program between now and April 30 to qualify.

Better Best Western. If your company is cutting back on premium hotel stays for business travel, keep in mind that you can stay at any Best Western hotel from now through Feb. 14 and earn up to quadruple points when you pay with a MasterCard. That means, if you join Best Western Rewards, you may be able to earn a free stay after just four nights. Plus, this isn't your father's Best Western: Many hotels now have 42-inch flat-screen TVs in the rooms, with nary a polyester quilted bedspread in sight. Pretty luxe for the price.


NYC Restaurant Week Returns. New York City's Winter Restaurant Week starts on Jan. 18: Get a three-course, prix-fixe lunch for $24.07, and dinner for $35. During Restaurant Week in the past, the prix-fixe meals have been offered only on weekdays, but this time around, they're available Sunday too. Now's your chance to try Kobe steak at Megu, the famed black cod with miso sauce at Nobu or any number of other delectable dishes at 250 participating restaurants, such as star chef Daniel Boulud's Bar Boulud or Mario Batali's Del Posto. Restaurant Week actually lasts for two weeks: Jan. 18 to 23, and Jan. 25 to 30. (See 10 things to do in New York City.)

Noshing in Nola. In time for the start of Mardi Gras, the Zagat Guide has released its 2009 restaurant guide to New Orleans. No surprise that a third of surveyors said Creole and Cajun were their favorite cuisines: The award-winning creole restaurant Brigtsen's took Top Food and Top Service honors, while Commander's Palace in the Garden District was voted Most Popular and No. 1 for décor. And finally reopening after Hurricane Katrina are local favorites Cafe Sbisa and Charlie's Steak House. You can also get Zagat listings on your iPhone; download the app for $9.99 through the Zagat website.

Bottomless Breakfasts. If breakfast is your meal of choice, IHOP is offering a 2009 Hungry Consumer Relief Plan — customers can order all-you-can-eat pancakes starting at $4.99. You'll be served three at a time until you cry uncle. Through Feb. 22.

Tea Party. Starbucks is offering registered Starbucks reward card customers $2 Tazo Tea lattes through Jan. 18. Just use your Starbucks card to pay.


Ship Ahoy. Expedia is offering a sale on cruiselines, like Norwegian, Royal Caribbean and Disney. Sail to Mexico on a four-night cruise from from San Diego or L.A. for just $189 per person, or to Alaska for 12 nights for $799 per person. Book by Feb. 27 for travel before March 2010.

Free Day. Hertz is offering one free weekend day when you use code PC#127595 while reserving any car between economy and full size. You may redeem this offer once a month, through March 31.


Can You Hear Me Now? Skype, the Internet-based video-phone service, has a new version for Mac with improved voice and video. Download it here.


Howdy, Pard'ner! Rodeo season kicks off in Texas on Jan. 16, with the Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo. Billed as America's oldest stock show, 113 years strong, it features daily rodeo events, livestock shows and, if you haven't spent all your Christmas money, vendors selling those cool Western belt buckles and boots. Jan. 16 to Feb. 8. Will Rogers Memorial Center; 817-877-2420 for tickets

Let the Sun In. For the more effete crowd, Miami is holding its 32nd annual Art Deco Weekend festival, and this year's theme is Argentina. Tango dancers will demonstrate their skills on stage on Ocean Drive, and there will be Argentine-wine tastings and screenings of films from the country. The Jan. 16-18 celebration kicks off with the Art Deco parade, complete with stilt walkers, giant puppets and unicyclists. Ocean Drive, between Fifth Street and 15th Street

Early Bird. Stuck in the desolate snow belt? Enjoy pictures of flora and fauna at the Milwaukee Art Museum's Catesby, Audubon and the Discovery of a New World: Prints of the Flora and Fauna of America. James Audubon is, of course, famous for his birds. Mark Catesby, for those who don't know, was an 18th-century gent who traveled to North America to document the colonies' plants and animals. Through March 22. 700 North Art Museum Drive, Milwaukee, WI; 414-224-3200