Luxury for Less

by Brook Wilkinson


Lesson to Travel By: Make the most of local festivals—but go home just before the major holidays to save big.

The Deal: Head to Rome (view slideshow) for some of the world's most moving Christmas celebrations.

The Luxury Essentials: It may seem counterintuitive, but there are deals to be found in Rome—yes, the home of the Pope—in the weeks leading up to Christmas. Take the Daphne Inn (view slideshow): As long as you vacate your room by December 25, you'll pay the low-season rate of $122, and it's only steps from the Piazza Barberini. On the day after Christmas, the same accommodations will cost you at least $80 more a night. Look also for deals at business hotels like the St. George (view slideshow), which see a drop-off in guests this month; rates start at $345. Meanwhile, the city is aglow with holiday decorations like the nativity scene in St. Peter's Square and a giant tree in front of the Colosseum. The weather is mild, with temperatures in the 50s, but even on the coldest days the sun usually makes an appearance.

Artful Advice: Load up on presents sold directly by the artisans and watch street performers at the Christmas market in the Piazza Navona, but beware of the panettone, or Italian fruitcake—too sweet and dry, just like the stuff at home.

A Fair Fare: Airfares to Europe are at their lowest in the winter, and Rome is no exception, provided you return before the holidays; a flight from San Francisco costs $880 on United, for example.

Daphne Inn
Tel: 39 06 8745 0086
Doubles from $122

St. George Rome
Tel: 39 06 686 611
Doubles from $345

NEXT: Even more budget ideas

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Information may have changed since date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.

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