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If you're feeling the pinch but are pining for a tropical Bahamas getaway, then you can probably still enjoy a Bahamas lifestyle at a cheaper resort like the Comfort Suites Paradise Island. With fancier places closing down, it might even be a smart move that ensures your hotel is still running when you arrive.
A deal for the Comfort Suites Paradise Island crossed our desk this week that got us pretty excited: $99 a night for a double, including breakfast but there's one biggish catch. You must either be a travel agent, be related to one, or be really good friends with one. If you are, you're in luck and can score this rate; and while you stay at Comfort Suites you get the full use of the pools, beaches and pretty much everything except the rooms at the posh Atlantis Paradise Island next door. Pay less, enjoy more.
If you don't have a travel agent pal, then it's still worth checking for reasonable rates. For "regular" travelers we found a best available rate of $176 a night in August, rising to $283 in December, with some discounts for longer stays. Although no use of the Atlantis facilities are allowed for regular folk. For that you have to cough up the Atlantis' average $370 a night room rate.
And just in case you forget to tip your housekeeper, the Comfort Suites automatically charges a $4.50 houskeeping gratuity per person per night.
Economic downturn putting your Hawaiian getaway in danger? The Aston Hotels and Resorts chain (formerly known as ResortQuest) has got a "vacation bailout" going on with discounted rates across its 25 properties across Hawaii.
Room rates have been cut by up to 40% so the bailout includes deals like $235 a night at The Whaler on Kaanapali Beach, $163 a night at the Aston Waimea Plantation Cottages and $124 per night at the Aston Waikiki Sunset. Curiously, there's also a $88 per night rate advertised for the Aston Maui Lu Resort which we thought had closed down last November.
What kinda made us giggle is the lengths these guys go to in proving that you really can afford this vacation: they say that because their condo properties include washers and driers, you can cut down on your extra luggage fees because you can just wash your clothes regularly. As they put it, you can have "the freedom to do a load while lounging poolside". We're not sure that alluding to household chores is quite the way to sell a vacation deal, even in tough economic times.
Sacré bleu! All is not well in the city of love. According to the Sunday Times this week, the Paris hotel scene is crumbling, with hotel occupancies down by 10 per cent. It is, according to the president of one hotel association, a “catastrophe”.
To be honest, we’re not surprised. When we went earlier this year we were gobsmacked by just how expensive everything was, from the hotel right down to a cup of coffee. We’ve never felt entirely priced out by a city as we did by Paris – no wonder they’re getting a scavenging problem.
But there is light at the end of le tunnel. Hotel prices have been cut by up to 70 per cent – the Hotel Ascot Opera, whose rack rate is $260 a night, can currently be named for just $100 if you book through the tourist board website, www.paris.info. Or the Le Marquis, just down the road from the Eiffel Tower, is down from $430 to $212.
The Sunday Times reckons that eating is cheaper too, now. Here’s hoping.
Down in Australia, the government's decided to prop up the economy by giving most tax-payers a A$900 bonus, and with the money starting to arrive in everyone's accounts, hotels are among those trying to tempt people to spend their bonuses. And in Sydney, the "stimulus package" deals are a-flying freely.
For non-Aussies, the names of the deals probably seem a bit odd. You have to know that the Prime Minister down there, who is (in a sense) the guy who's giving out the money, is named Kevin Rudd; and that in Aussie slang,"ruddy" is kinda like the Brits' "bloody." You following?
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A lousy economy filled with budget-aware travelers didn't keep the luxe high-end Capella Singapore on Sentosa from opening for business today.
Unlike another musically named, South East Asian hotel (Tune in Malaysia) Capella costs a lot more than a pretty penny. Room rates start at $750 Singapore dollars per night (which equals about $492 U.S. dollars)for rooms that are double in size than the average hotel room. Capella square-footage can reach well over 4,000-sq-ft.
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It's not even April and yet we already have a pretty great guess at what 2009's buzzword will be: bailout. Everyone wants in on the free stuff action, and so it's no surprise that a whole packet of hotels have risen up to offer some "stress bailout incentives," taking their cue from the American Psychological Association's report that "eight out of ten people say the current state of the economy is a significant cause of stress."
From the CasaMagna Marriott Resort & Spa in Puerto Vallarta to Miami's Doral Golf Resort and Spa, hotels are chomping at the bit to both help you relax and spend a little cash. But only a little cash, as they're attempting to attract those budget-conscious folk most in need of a deep-tissue rub.
In times of economic certainty, what we like best is insanely cheap hotel offers. But if they’re not around, a fixed exchange rate will do us nicely.
COMO’s London properties, The Halkin and Metropolitan, are appealing to our economically conservative instincts by fixing prices in dollars from now until September 6, so you don’t have to think about paying in pounds, and know exactly what you’re shelling out upfront.
They ain't bad prices either. Rooms at The Met start at $199, and $299 at the Halkin. Rack rates are normally £375 ($548) and £390 ($570) respectively. You’ll also be paying a fair whack less than those paying in pounds. We just popped in some dates for a stay in April at the Met, and it came up with $199 or £199 per night. £199 is $289.
Not bad, considering you’ll get access to celeb fave The Met Bar, which unassumingly dubs itself “London’s byword for cool and sophistication.” (We haven’t ever been - just call us uncool and unsophisticated - so we can’t verify this one.)
Finally, there's someone who can put the sexual innuendo back into "stimulus package". The Iberostar hotel group has put together an Iberostar Stimulus Package for three of its properties around the Caribbean, and there's not a hint of economic salvation in it--it's all about the love.
Valid at three resorts--the Grand Hotel Paraiso in Mexico (above), and the new Grand Hotel Bavaro in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic and the Grand Hotel Rose Hall in Jamaica--this stimulus package features chocolate-covered strawberries, flowers, champagne, a romantic dinner and breakfast in bed, all of which sound a whole lot more appealing than, well, the other kind of stimulus.
These hotels are all part of Iberostar's "Grand Collection" of adults-only hotels with spas and personal concierge services so treating your other half to something a bit luxurious and romantic should be easy--and a little less expensive than normal. The Stimulus Package includes $150 resort credit for all the incidentals of the luxury life, while packages for multi-day stays can get as low as $100 a night.
The “Ultimate California Wine Country Getaway” from BeautifulPlaces is the ultimate getaway, because after paying for it, you won’t be able to go on any other trips…ever.
BeautifulPlaces, a luxury travel agency that specializes in villa rentals in Napa and Sonoma, has created the Ultimate Culinary Getaway Package for a “once-in-a-lifetime wine country experience.”
You and up to nine of your nearest and dearest will stay for three days/four nights at Villa Carneros, a five-bedroom Sonoma estate surrounded by vineyards, and just minutes from the town of Sonoma itself. And just in case you were wondering, it is not related to the Carneros Inn.
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As if finding a way to Philly wasn't already rather cheap, now staying in the City of Brotherly Love is extremely, unbelievably, insanely affordable. And it's all thanks to the new Guest Stimulus Plan at the Alexander Inn which is offering limited rooms from Thursday through Sundays for $1.. No, that's not a typo. One George Washington is all you need.
Hotel owner Mel Heifetz said he decided to do the promotion to help out guests with their budgets but also to help out the city of Philly. Since folks don't have to spend so much on the hotel room, they can spend a little more on "art exhibits, show tickets, and in other neighborhood establishments." We couldn't agree more.
The promotion runs from March 10 to May 21. We suggest holding out until late April if you can as the hotel is going through a renovation which will see the arrival of new furniture in mid-April.
After the jump is the nitty gritty on the deal.
Joining the host of other hotels trying to get some cash flow from “economic stimulus packages,” the Westin Bonaventure is offering a series of discount packages aimed at “creating an LA based economic generator while maintaining a true Los Angeles experience.” So basically they’re begging for your cash on weekends when their normal weekday business customers depart.
Who’d have thought it? Looks like offering hotel rooms for a ridiculously low amount of money gets people through the doors. The Hoxton, which sold off 500 of its rooms for just £1 ($1.50) last month, saw them go in just seven minutes. Even the relatively expensive next tier up, where another 500 rooms went for £29 ($40) in the same sale), sold out within 13 minutes.
According to the hotel, there were 60,000 people gunning for those 1,000 rooms. Including us – we were on an ill-timed coffee break when the sale started, checked in on it five minutes down, and saw a precious £1 room disappear as we were typing in our pesky credit card details.