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October 19, 2009

Deal of the Day Update

Deal of the Day As I promised earlier this month, until the RSS feed is up for the Deal of the Day blog -- which has now moved to Conde Nast Traveler's new web site Truth.Travel -- I'll still be posting a list of recent deals here every few days.  The latest:

* Save up to 35% at San Francisco's Hotel Vitale

* Restaurant Weeks in Los Angeles, London, Chicago, and NYC serve up meals for as little as $16

* Get a free companion ticket on British Airways

* Save more than 60% on 2010 Alaskan Cruises

* Save big this winter at 20 Starwood hotels in New York City

* Stay seven nights, pay for three at Club Med properties

* Stay at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas for $54, plus get a $50 resort credit and more

* Save 30% at Preferred Hotels and Resorts

* Save $100 per night at the Sagamore Resort on Lake George, New York

* Save up to 45% on Quantas Business Class to Australia

October 02, 2009

Calling All "Deal of the Day" Junkies

Deal of the Dayby Wendy Perrin

It's come to my attention that Deal of the Day -- which, in case you didn't get the memo, morphed into an eponymous blog and moved to Conde Nast Traveler's new web site Truth.Travel -- cannot yet be subscribed to. This is a bummer for those of you who like to get Deal of the Day via email. So, until the RSS subscription mechanism gets set up, I'm going to make life a little easier for you by publishing here on The Perrin Post (which you can subscribe to) a short list of the current deals every few days.  Sound good?  Here are the latest:

* Save 61% on a ski vacation at Whistler Blackcomb, Canada

* Up to 40% off a stay in London, Bangkok, and the Caribbean at Como Hotels and Resorts

* Get $200 off airfare to Curacao, a fifth night free, and more

* Fall Caribbean deal: Get the fourth night free at Ritz-Carlton Hotels

And I'll let you in on a little secret about today's yet-to-be-published deal: It's for Windstar Cruises -- my personal fave (yes, that's the cruise line with the small, romantic, sailing ships that go to unspoiled ports) -- so be sure to check over at Truth.Travel later today for the details.

September 28, 2009

A New Home For "Deal of the Day"

by Wendy Perrin

Deal of the Day

introduced it seven months ago as a public service to help travelers separate the real deals from the raw deals in the Middle Eastern bazaar that is today's online travel marketplace. And it's grown so popular that it now merits its very own blog!  I'm talking about Deal of the Day, which I'm thrilled to announce is moving to Conde Nast Traveler's new site, Truth.Travel.

Not to worry: Your favorite dealsters -- Julia Bainbridge, Katherine Hottinger, and Kathryn Maier -- will still be investigating and vetting the offers.  But my Conde Nast Traveler colleague Lisa Gill, who edits the magazine's annual Hot List of top new hotels, will take over the day-to-day supervision. Remember when we spun off The Daily Traveler from The Perrin Post?  It's like that, only this time we've got not just one new blog but a whole new site, filled with the voices of even more Conde Nast Traveler editors. And, of course, I'll still be advising where and how to find the best travel values in my regular Perrin Report advice column in the magazine.

I'm thrilled because this means I'll have more time -- when I'm not snowed under by my print responsibilities -- to do what I was doing before Deals overtook this blog: dispense travel advice.  I'll still cover the occasional terrific bargain that pops up in my In-Box and mustn't be ignored, of course, but I'll now have more time to address timely travel issues in the news, answer your questions, share my own personal experiences and adventures from the road, and run the occasional "Where's Wendy?" contest.  Sound good?

September 24, 2009

Savings on Adventures Worldwide

Schoolgirl in Bhutan

This photo of a Bhutanese schoolgirl comes courtesy of Geographic Expeditions, which is offering $1,000 per person off one of its Bhutan journeys.

by Wendy Perrin

Deal of the Day

I'm bushed. I'm beat. I'm bleary-eyed. And yet I'm blogging. At 11:45 at night. Why? So that you, Dear Reader, won't miss out on a deal that was just announced this evening: The ten premier adventure travel companies that make up the Adventure Collection are offering special rates for late-2009 and early-2010 itineraries. Some are nature expeditions, some cultural discoveries, but all are transformative experiences offered by top companies that rarely discount, so jump on 'em. A complete list of offers, with much more descriptive detail, is available at the Adventure Collection's blog, a.k.a. Don's Place, but here's a taste:


* GALÁPAGOS ISLANDS Natural Habitat Adventures is offering savings of $750 per person on its Dec. 11-21, Jan. 21-31, and Feb. 25-Mar. 7 Galápagos Islands cruises. Book by: December 31.

* BAJA CALIFORNIA AND THE SEA OF CORTÉS Lindblad Expeditions is offering savings of $500 per person, plus free round-trip airfare (Los Angeles/La Paz/Los Angeles), on select Jan.-Mar. departures of its Among the Great Whales expeditions.

* COSTA RICA Backroads is offering savings of $500 per person on the Dec. 27 departure of its Costa Rica Family Multisport adventure, which includes biking, rafting, and kayaking from the Arenal Volcano to the Pacific coast.

*FIJI OARS is offering a $500-per-person discount for groups of four or more on its Highlands to Islands: The Ultimate Fiji Explorer trip, from Dec. 26-Jan. 5.

* BHUTAN Geographic Expeditions is offering savings of $1,000 per person on its Nov. 9 departure of The Essence of Bhutan--a trip designed by Brent Olson, the Bhutan specialist on my list of top travel planners.

September 23, 2009

Next Year Might Just Be the Year You Can Afford a Crystal Cruise

Crystal_Symphony_Capetown

Crystal Cruises has repeatedly been voted the number-one large-ship cruise line by Conde Nast Traveler readers in our Readers' Choice Awards.

by Wendy Perrin

Daily deals

Have you spent years wishing you could afford to sail with Crystal but settling for lesser cruise lines instead? Well, 2010 may just be the year you can afford to upgrade.  Crystal just dropped prices by 15% to 17% on every single sailing next year, for every single cabin category. That's 15% to 17% off Crystal's already substantially discounted 2009 rates. 

The new prices are two-for-one fares that include free round-trip airfare to most destinations, shipboard credit of up to $2,000 per couple, and a price guarantee: Should there be another sale that lowers fares yet again, Crystal will refund the difference between the price you paid and the new, lower fare.

What you should know about Crystal Cruises (full disclosure: I've sailed on the Crystal Symphony as an invited speaker) is that, by supporting the cruise line, you're also helping to support the Conde Nast Traveler Five & Alive Fund, which saves the lives of children in developing countries around the world.  In fact, the cruise line raised more than $80,000 for the Fund last year.  Crystal Cruises president Gregg Michel spoke at length about it on my panel at Monday's World Savers Congress, and you can read more about Crystal's philanthropic efforts here.

As for the two-for-one cruise savings, Crystal's Vice-President of Public Relations, Mimi Weisband, stopped by my office yesterday to provide more details, which you'll find after the jump.

Continue reading "Next Year Might Just Be the Year You Can Afford a Crystal Cruise" »

September 21, 2009

Free Nights and Upgrades at the Swank New Waldorf Astoria Orlando

Waldorf_astoria_orlando_deluxe_bedroom

Follow a class act: Save 25% on this Deluxe Room at the brand-new Waldorf Astoria Orlando.

by Kathryn Maier on Travel Deals

Daily dealsThe legendary Waldorf Astoria hotel, an official New York City landmark, has been synonymous with luxury for decades, hosting heads of state, foreign dignitaries, and celebrities alike. Starting this fall, the new eponymous hotel brand moves beyond the Big Apple.

The Waldorf Astoria Orlando, the brand's first outpost, opens on October 1, and it's offering a great introductory deal: The fourth night of your stay is free, plus stays of five nights or longer receive a one-category upgrade.

This new property is more a resort than a city hotel. It's got indoor and outdoor treatment rooms at its Guerlain Spa and a Rees Jones-designed golf course -- facilities that it shares with next-door-neighbor The Hilton at Bonnet Creek. Rooms at the Waldorf Astoria Orlando start at $224 per night (including tax). So, with the deal, a four-night stay costs $671 instead of the usual $896. That's just $168 per night. Note that when booking, it will appear as though you're being charged for all four nights; one will be removed from your bill at check-out. 

As for the upgrade, you'll go from big to even bigger: The lowest category room, the Deluxe Room, is a generous 448 square feet, while the next level up, the Deluxe Suite, measures a whopping 945 square feet.

Book by: October 31, 2009.

For travel from: October 1 through December 24, 2009.

September 17, 2009

Save 50% at a Romantic Resort in Ixtapa, Mexico

Capella Ixtapa pool

Take a dip in the Capella Ixtapa's spectacular pool for half-price this fall.

by Kathryn Maier on Travel Deals

Daily deals Hey, water babies: Did "The World in Six Laps," our photo essay in Conde Nast Traveler's August issue, leave you yearning to take a plunge yourself? Here's your chance to loll firsthand in one of the featured pools for half the price: Capella Ixtapa is offering every second night free for stays through December 25.

The oceanfront rooms at this cliff-hugging resort on Mexico's Pacific coast start at $395 per night, or $506 once you add in tax and service charges. The complimentary nights are still subject to a 10% service fee, so a two-night stay averages out to $273 per night, including all taxes and mandatory fees.

Condé Nast Traveler
approved
: The pool isn't the only thing you'll love about this property: Its dramatic setting and chic style landed it a spot on our 2009 Hot List

Book through: The hotel directly by calling 877-247-6688. Ask for the "Buy 1 Get 1 Free" offer.

September 16, 2009

21 Twitterers to Follow For Amazing Travel Deals and Help Snagging Them

Wendy_at_SEA-TAC That's me twittering from SEA-TAC last month. My typical airport juggle involves an iPhone in one hand, a child in the other.

by Wendy Perrin

You may know Twitter only as the butt of late-night comedians' jokes, and if you haven't spent much time on Twitter, it's easy to dismiss it as a silly social-networking fad for narcissists telling one another what they ate for lunch. But I've been on Twitter for more than a year now, and I'm here to tell you that the perks you can glean from it are no joke. Ignore it and you'll miss out on significant travel benefits, including deals you can't find elsewhere.

That's from my Perrin Report column in Conde Nast Traveler's October issue that's about to hit the newsstands.  The column, on "How To Tweet Your Way To Amazing Travel Deals," is accompanied by a list of "21 Twitterers to Follow" and why.

If you've avoided Twitter up till now but are now inspired to give it a whirl, check out "100 Amazingly Insightful People You Can Learn From on Twitter," as well as a more extensive list of travel tweeters to follow in "What You're Missing If You're Not on Twitter." 

As for me, I've now got two Twitter pages: I cover travel deals and advice at @perrinpost and my personal travels and musings at @wendyperrin

Got a travel information source you think should be added to these lists?  Please let me know by clicking on "Comments" below and sharing the company's or person's name and Twitter page URL, so that everybody else can click on it and check it out. Thanks!

September 14, 2009

Weekends are 40% Off at a Chic NYC Hotel

Hudson Hotel - room 

Weekend discounts at New York City's Hudson Hotel help you save big bucks in the Big Apple.

by Kathryn Maier on Travel Deals

Daily deals Is there a better time of year than Autumn for visiting New York City? The weather's at its best, and there are plenty of cultural events going on. The only downside: It's when hotel rates typically are highest.

But for a long weekend in a hip Midtown hotel, check out this deal, available September 17 - December 25: Rooms at the Philippe Starck-designed Hudson Hotel for as low as $189 per night (before taxes), available through Travel-Ticker.com.

We were able to book a mid-October, Friday-through-Monday stay in a standard double room for $737, including taxes. That same three-night stay without the Travel-Ticker discount costs $1,246--a savings of 40%. Booking through Travel-Ticker gets you complimentary breakfast and a room upgrade too.

The $189 rate applies to Friday- and Sunday-night stays from September 17 through December 25, as well as a few additional dates during those months. Discounts apply on other dates too--just not as low as $189.

Book by: September 30 for travel September 17 - December 25

Condé Nast Traveler approved: The Hudson Hotel made our Hot List in 2001.

Book through: The link to this deal on Travel-Ticker.com, or directly through the Hudson Hotel's reservations page using discount code SPTICK.

September 04, 2009

Win a Week's Stay in a Luxury Villa in Tuscany

Villa Grandi - room
You could win a week's stay in this villa near Cortona, Italy, courtesy of Ciao Bambino and HomesAway.

by Kathryn Maier on Travel Deals

Daily deals Okay, so it's not a deal per se, but you need to know about it regardless: Our friends at Ciao Bambino are giving away a weeklong stay in a luxury villa in Tuscany--a prize worth up to $10,000.

The property is Villa Grandi, a family-friendly, three-bedroom house near Cortona. It's on a large hillside estate surrounded by woodlands, vineyards, and olive groves, and features a terrace with pool, offering sweeping views over the valley below. To say it's the land of Under the Tuscan Sun is no exaggeration: You can actually see Frances Mayes's villa from this property. And you can walk into town along a two-kilometer footpath that is part of the original Roman Road. How great is that?!

For more details and pics, click to the next page.

Continue reading "Win a Week's Stay in a Luxury Villa in Tuscany" »

September 03, 2009

Save up to 66% on SeaDream Yacht Club Cruises

SeaDream Jost Van DykeVisit unspoiled Caribbean gems--such as Jost Van Dyke in the British Virgin Islands--for 40% off during Christmas week. 

by Kathryn Maier on Travel Deals

Daily deals Dreaming of Christmas in the Caribbean?  Last month we told you about steep discounts from SeaDream Yacht Club, but now it turns out the cruise line has slashed fares by up to 66% on more than a dozen additional Caribbean sailings on prime dates this fall and winter, including one during Christmas: It's a 9-day cruise that sails roundtrip from San Juan, Puerto Rico, departing December 18. Ports include Vieques, Jost Van Dyke, Virgin Gorda, St. Barts, Nevis, and Anguilla, which is where you'll spend Christmas Day. The brochure fare for this sailing is $8,904 per person (including taxes and port fees); the discounted price is $5,403--about 40% off.

If that sounds too pricey, know that there are also two five-night sailings, departing December 13 and January 3, that are discounted to just $2,079 per person (including taxes and port fees), down from $5,680, for savings of 63%.

More details after the jump.

Continue reading "Save up to 66% on SeaDream Yacht Club Cruises" »

September 02, 2009

50% Off in the Bahamas This Winter at a New All-Inclusive Resort


For a three-minute getaway to the turquoise waters and pink and white sands of the Bahamas' Exuma Islands with Condé Nast Traveler editor Kate Maxwell, click on this video.

by Kathryn Maier on Travel Deals

Daily deals Many people figure they'll get the best deal if they wait till the last minute to book their winter trip to the Bahamas or the Caribbean. That tactic may work if your destination is a relatively large island with lots of flights from the mainland (e.g., Nassau, Puerto Rico, St. Thomas, St. Maarten), but if you want a smaller island with limited airline service and haven't got much date flexibility, waiting till the last minute can mean sky-high airfares or no seats available at all. 

Which is why we're advising you of this particular deal now. Sandals Emerald Bay is scheduled to open on the Bahamian island of Great Exuma in January, on the site of the former Four Seasons Resort Great Exuma. Sandals is renovating the property to include a new pool complex and additional restaurants, and it's offering an introductory special of 50% off. Nightly rates start at $324 per person (based on double occupancy). That price includes all meals and drinks, nearly all activities--including unlimited scuba diving--and all taxes and fees. The only things you'll pay extra for are treatments at the resort's spa and greens fees at the Greg Norman-designed 18-hole golf course. 

When to go: The resort is scheduled to open on January 22, 2010. The introductory special will likely continue at least through the winter.

Bonus: For more information about the Exuma Islands, check out our comprehensive Bahamas guide in Conde Nast Traveler's September issue. And if you liked the Exuma video, check out our additional Bahamas videos here.

August 31, 2009

Crystal Cruises' Big Deal: More than 50% Off This Fall


Crystal_Symphony_IstanbulExplore Caribbean and Mediterranean ports this fall for half off. Here, the Crystal Symphony in Istanbul.

by Kathryn Maier on Travel Deals

Daily deals Wendy just got back from vacation this morning, but she's so jazzed about an unprecedented offer from Crystal Cruises that I half expect her to be out the door again soon. We've seen Crystal offer 2-for-1 fares before, and we've seen it offer $1,000 per person in shipboard credit before, but never before have we seen the two offered together . . . until now. The 2-for-1 fare in combination with up to $1,000 per person in shipboard credit is available on ten itineraries this fall. 

The least expensive of these sailings is the 7-day November 22 cruise on the Crystal Serenity, starting and ending in Miami and calling at Grand Turk, Grand Cayman, and Key West. The 2-for-1 discount reduces the brochure fare from $4,960 per person to $2,480 (plus $190 in port fees) -- and you get an extra $250 reduction because of the shipboard credit.

Looking for more unusual ports? There's a 13-day Miami to Manaus sailing on the Crystal Symphony, also departing on November 22. Ports include Antigua, Barbados, and Devil's Island, French Guyana.  The brochure fare of $7,980 per person has dropped to $3,615 (plus $305 in port fees), and you get an additional $1,000 off your bill in the form of shipboard credit.

Condé Nast Traveler approved: These sailings may sound pricey, but not when you consider that, over and over, our readers have voted Crystal Cruises the number-one large-ship cruise line in our Readers' Choice Awards.

Book by: There's no book-by date.

For travel on: Ten cruises departing between late September and early December.

Book through:  If you've read Wendy's articles on cruising, you know the importance of using the right travel agent to book your trip. Mary Jean Tully, one of the cruise specialists on Wendy's list of top travel planners, can often get additional amenities such as private shore excursions for her clients. 

August 14, 2009

Free Nights in Newport, Rhode Island

Castle Hill Inn
Get your third or fourth night free this fall at Newport's top property, the Castle Hill Inn & Resort.

by Kathryn Maier on Travel Deals

Daily deals Attention, East Coasters trying to carve out a New England getaway this fall: The Castle Hill Inn & Resort, a Relais & Chateaux property in Newport, Rhode Island, is offering free nights during midweek stays this September and October. In September, you can get your fourth night free, in October your third night free. This means that in September, you pay just $1,881 for a four-night stay, instead of the usual $2,509. In October, a three-night stay is $825 rather than $1,237. These prices include tax, daily breakfast, and afternoon tea.

The Inn, a Conde Nast Traveler Gold List property, is a lovely romantic retreat for couples -- although, as Wendy discovered during her visit, it's surprisingly family-friendly, too.

Kidfriendly_castle_hill_2
That's Wendy's younger son, Doug, running around on the Castle Hill Inn's massive lawn with a killer view.

Book by: There is no book-by deadline.

For travel through: Sundays through Thursdays in September and October, excluding major holidays.

Book through: The Inn's reservations line at 888-466-1355.

August 12, 2009

Save 60% on All 2010 Silversea Cruises

Silversea
Next year, Silversea is offering 60% off every sailing, including ports of call such as Portofino.

by Kathryn Maier on Travel Deals

Daily deals Here's a deal for the record books: Silversea has slashed prices for every single cabin on all of its 2010 sailings. The first guest in a cabin gets 20% off, and the second guest sails for free, which averages out to a 60% discount. In addition, a majority of these sailings include free round-trip economy airfare from 22 cities in the United States and Canada.

"This has never been done before by any luxury cruise line," says Richard Turen, one of the cruise specialists on Wendy's annual list of top travel planners. "This is the largest discount in the entire luxury cruise sector in my memory, because it's for every sailing and all categories."

Condé Nast Traveler approved: Readers have voted Silversea one of the top five small-ship cruise lines for the past several years.

Book by: December 31, 2009. This deal is capacity-controlled, which means that the cruise line may revoke the discount once a certain capacity is reached on a given sailing.

Book through: Richard Turen, who informed us of this deal and who Wendy swears by. Not only does he negotiate extra perks for his clients from the cruise lines, but Perrin Post readers also receive the favored-client benefits of his "Royal Cruising Society."

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Prices and other information were accurate at press time, but are subject to change. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.

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