For the week of Jan. 29, 2009
AIRLINES & AIRPORTS
Bring a Friend. To celebrate Barack Obama's Inauguration, Ethiopian Airlines is offering a free companion ticket to any of its 32 destinations in Africa, including Nairobi, Cairo and Johannesburg, from Washington's Dulles Airport. Book Feb. 1 through March 30. 800-445-2733 (See 10 things to do in Washington, D.C.)
Kangaroo Route. Qantas is now flying its A380s from Sydney to London three times a week. They're 10% more fuel efficient than other jumbo jets and loaded with wi-fi, quieter engines and 17-in. monitors in the Marc Newsondesigned first-class cabin. Ergonomically designed seats complete with a small foot rest improve the comfort level even in coach. It all makes the 22-hr. flight a little more bearable.
Take Me Home. For those John Denver fans out there, American Eagle is launching service from New York's LaGuardia airport to Charleston, W.Va., starting April 1.
Sleep for Free. British Airways has reduced fares to London. Fly from J.F.K. airport for $156 each way, or from Boston for $186. Book before Jan. 29 and get a free hotel room in the city center for each ticket purchased. See its website for participating properties. For travel through March 22.
HOTELSThis week and next, we'll be featuring some Valentine's getaways at hotels around the world.
Vegas, Baby. The Mirage has a package built around Cirque du Soleil's Beatles tribute, "Love." The "All You Need Is Love" package gets you a room and tickets to the show for $318 during the week and $368 during weekends. If you just want to hit the show, the Mirage offers dinner at Stack, a drink at the Revolution lounge and entry to the Jet nightclub, along with tickets, for $150. Through Feb. 28. 3400 South Las Vegas Boulevard; 800-732-8412 to reserve a room; 800-963-9634 for the show alone
Sky High. Las Vegas's Hard Rock Hotel & Casino is offering two packages. Start with an in-room fitting with lingerie designer Love Jones and then a Swedish massage. Enjoy a complimentary bottle of wine, and once you're relaxed enough, hop a champagne helicopter ride (the champagne's for you, not the pilot) to get a different perspective on the city's night life. Rates start at $220. Mention code CSP0109. 455 Paradise Road, Las Vegas, 702-693-5000 (See 10 things to do in Las Vegas.)
Swinging London. With fares to Europe dropping in price, hop across the pond and stay at the Berkeley in Knightsbridge during its "From London with Love" package. Valentine cookies, chocolate truffles and fresh fruit greet you on arrival, and the mood upstairs is set with rose-scented candles. The hotel has loaded up an iPod, left in the room, with favorite romantic crooners. The in-room video system is similarly stocked for you to cue up Casablanca or other romantic movies. You can stay put and have a bath or adjourn to the rooftop pool, which will be open until midnight on Feb. 14. Champagne breakfast and a 2 p.m. checkout top it off. Starting at $409. Through the end of Feb. Wilton Place, London, 0207-107-8830 (See 10 things to do in London.)
No Third Man. Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Prague will pick you up in a Mercedes S-class limo to start off its "Perfect Kiss" package. Once there, go upstairs to your room for an 80-min. couples' aromatherapy massage and later enjoy a candlelit evening turndown with flowers, champagne, finger food and chocolates. If you want to leave your upgraded room, the hotel will pack a gourmet picnic basket, or you can have afternoon tea at the hotel. Feel free to lounge, with a late 6 p.m. checkout. $920 per night. Through March 31. +420-233-088-888
Rome-ing Heart. Rome Cavalieri, part of the Waldorf-Astoria collection of luxury hotels, brings out the big guns. Dazzle your opera-loving sweetheart with a private in-room performance by a tenor, followed by a ride in a vintage Rolls-Royce Silver Spur, a bottle of Dom Perignon Rosé, red roses and a gift from Tiffany's. At $1,290 per night, all this glamour doesn't come cheap. But, hey, your 401(k) isn't going to buy you much in 20 years anyway. Via Alberto Cadlolo 101, +39-06-3509-1 (See 10 things to do in Rome.)
Leave Your Heart. If you're staying Stateside, try San Francisco's Taj Hotel's "Love Is in the Air" weekend, which includes champagne and strawberries, breakfast in bed and prix fixe dinner at the Union Square hotel's award-winning restaurant. $275 per night. Available through Feb. 28. 340 Stockton Street, San Francisco, 415-781-5555 (See 10 things to do in San Francisco.)
Romantic Bounty. Down South, the Mutiny Hotel has a "Miami Romance/Honeymoon" package with two nights in a suite; champagne and flower petals on the bed set the mood, and you get dinner for two on nearby Key Biscayne at the Rusty Pelican restaurant. Package rates start at $708. 2951 S Bayshore Drive, Miami, 888-868-8469
Warm Heart. If you want to use the cold as an excuse to get close, Michigan's Grand Traverse Resort and Spa has a "2 Night Carefree Getaway" package. That package includes breakfast and a dinner on one night of your stay. And on Valentine's Day weekend, the Cherry Capital Winter Wonderfest has film festivals, live music and sleigh rides. Package rates start at $444 per person. 100 Grand Traverse Village Boulevard, Acme, Mich.; 800-236-1577
Staying Put. W Hotel's "Baby It's Cold Outside" package encourages staying in bed, with pancakes and cranberry chutney for two delivered to your room. Shower up with a jar of Bliss Hot Salt Scrub and adjourn to the bar for two winter cocktails. Rates vary depending on location. Through April 5.
Sleigh Bells. The Time Hotel in Manhattan's midtown is offering the "Lovin' Time" package with a private dinner in the rooftop glass pavilion room, breakfast in bed and a carriage ride in Central Park. Starting at $790. 224 West 49th Street; 877-846-3692
Winter Season. Four Seasons Chicago's "Suite Heart" package provides champagne and chocolates in your suite, a four-course dinner at the hotel's restaurant, and, natch, breakfast in bed the next day. $595 per night, available Feb. 13-14. (See 10 things to do in Chicago.)
Four Seasons also has a "Presidential Retreat" package to give you a taste of the chief executive's life. You get a VIP greeting and escort to your room, champagne and chocolates delivered by a champagne butler and an executive power treatment either a facial, massage or scrub. Once revitalized, you can tackle the economy with a $50 gift card (hey, it's a start). Relax the next morning with breakfast in bed. Rates begin at $470. Through March 1. 120 East Delaware Place, Chicago, 312-280-8400
FOOD & DINING
Sniffing Out a Bargain. If you can't afford French truffles these days, try domestic. Wild Oregon truffles, which grow on the roots of Douglas Fir trees in a habitat similar to the finest truffle orchards in Europe are sought after by chefs and gourmands alike. To make sure you get your share, head to the Oregon Truffle Festival in Eugene. Among many treats, the $475 weekend package includes dinner at local restaurants, lunch the next day at a local winery, a chance to go truffle-hunting and see a truffle dog in action, and the Grand Truffle five-course dinner. If you just want to sample the truffle-inspired dishes at the dinner, it'll run you $160, which includes wine pairings and champagne. Jan. 30-Feb. 1. 503-296-5929.
On Reserve. If you haven't yet made your dinner plans for Valentine's Day, which falls on a Saturday this year, check out OpenTable.com, which has a special page for restaurants like Rosa Mexicano, which has a "Fruits of Love" menu featuring lobster and shrimp enchiladas, and Vancouver's Zin Restaurant & Lounge, offering a five-course menu. A sexologist will be on hand to answer couples' burning questions.
Adoration. Over at the St. Regis in New York, chef Alain Ducasse is offering a three-course tasting menu at Adour for $145 per person, and a five-course truffle menu for $290 per person. At his Washington, D.C., outpost, the menu is slightly less dear, with a four appetizers and four entrees to choose from for $95 per person. And you get cotton candy to top it off. Who knew that was an aphrodisiac? New York: 2 East 55th Street, 212-710-2277; Washington: 923 16th Street at K Street, 202-509-8000
Try Your Luck. At David Burke Townhouse, chef Burke is offering a four-course $85 prix fixe, but if you dare go on Friday the 13th, you'll get 20% off. There is also a champagne-and-roses brunch on Saturday and Sunday for $35. 133 East 61st Street, 212-813-2121 (See 10 things to do in New York City.)
Old Ride. If you think your rental car isn't as fresh as it used to be, you're correct. According to Automotive News, rental-car companies have cut new car orders on their fleets, and companies like Enterprise Rent-a-Car are now buying half the cars they bought in recent years. Plus, they are now keeping their existing cars for an average of 13 months rather than 11.
Ride the Rails. Rail Europe is offering half-off fares on the high-speed Thalys train routes connecting Paris, Brussels, Amsterdam and 14 other cities. Book by Feb. 28 for travel through March 31.
SHOPPING & SERVICES
Relax. If you can't find time to get away for the whole weekend, the Chopra Center & Spa in New York City is offering the "Cupid's Kiss" package starting with a Navina Sensory Bath filled with herbs and essentials oils to detoxify and replenish the skin for two. Once waterlogged, you start an 80-min. Odyssey Ayurvedic treatment with five therapies among them, a Garshana exfoliating treatment, an Abhyanga tension-dissolving massage and a Vishesh treatment, during which technicians use firm, precise hand strokes to deepen the healing process. The tactile adventure finishes off with a Marma treatment to revitalize your inner energy. (I'm not sure what any of that means, but it sure sounds good.) Before you leave, you and your partner get a 15-min. hand massage workshop designed to encourage hand-holding. The 115-min. treatment runs $220 per person. 1710 Broadway, New York City; 212-249-1700