In response to the shaky economy, many hotels and destinations are offering worldwide deals to make travel more affordable than ever. The best way to get the global economy back on its feet is to start spending again, and here are a few great travel companies doing their part to help travelers. From Caribbean resorts and Amazon adventures to barging bargains in France and South African safaris, the deals abound.
CMH GIVES CREDIT WHERE CREDIT IS DUE
CMH (Canadian Mountain Holidays), the world’s first and largest Heli-Skiing operator, has an added bonus for the 2010 Heli-Skiing season: book with a deposit by June 15, 2009 and receive a daily guest lodge credit of CAN $100. Heli-Hiking guests who book by June 15, 2009 for summer 2009 will receive a daily CAN $75 lodge credit, and children aged 5-14 receive a 50% discount. Credits can be used for bar-bills, massages, extra heli-skiing meters and in the lodge shops. 1-800-661-0252, www.canadianmountainholidays.com
HEAVEN KNOWN AS AMANYARA
Amanyara, one of the most luxurious resorts in the Caribbean, is even more irresistible this summer. Guests staying 4 nights or more in one of Amanyara’s Pavilions or Villas from April 18 through October 31, 2009 receive three delicious complimentary meals daily - a massive saving. Amanyara’s cuisine is known for its mix of classical Asian and modern Mediterranean influences and casual Caribbean fare; coffee, tea and juice at breakfast are complimentary: other beverages are additional. As always, dining in complete privacy on the terrace of the Pavilions or Villas is also a tempting option. www.amanresorts.com
MEDJETASSIST CREATES DOMESTIC MEMBERSHIPS
This year, many Americans are opting for trips closer to home and family vacations are more treasured than ever. The MedjetAssist Domestic Membership Program is $175 per person and $305 for families - per year, a savings of 30% over the standard memberships. Members under the age of 75 travel with peace of mind knowing that should they be hospitalized anywhere in the contiguous 48 states more than 150 miles from home, MedjetAssist will provide air-medical transport back to their hospital of choice. 1-800-527-7478, www.medjet.com
INKATERRA OFFERS LAST-MINUTE SPECIALS
Ever dream of an Amazon adventure or a visit to Machu Picchu? Just book 20 days before departure and earn a 20% discount! Visit Inkaterra Reserva Amazonica for 3 days/2 nights starting at US$379; including all meals (special Peruvian and fusion cuisine). Explore and climb the treetop canopy walk for a unique perspective of the southern Amazon rainforest. http://www.inkaterra.com/special-offers/reserva-amazonica-special-004.php
Visit mystical Machu Picchu for 3 days/2 nights starting at US$710.50. Price includes a guided tour of the Machu Picchu Citadel; 2 nights at Inkaterra Machu Picchu located in its own Cloud Forest with Orchid Walk, Bird Tours and more; and a De-Stress massage at the UNU Spa. An added plus for the environment: Each stay is 100% carbon neutral. http://www.inkaterra.com/special-offers/machu-picchu-special-005.php
IGUAZU FALLS ADVENTURE
From now until December 31, 2009, Iguazu Grand Hotel, located on the Argentine side of the amazing Iguazu Falls, is offering a 2-night adventure package starting at $512 based on double occupancy. The package includes a welcome drink upon arrival, room upgrade subject to availability; daily buffet breakfast; transfer to/from the Argentine side of the falls; 1 picnic box per person; excursion on the Great Adventure per person and free access to the Health Club and Spa Circuit. www.iguazugrandhotel.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
LET THEM DRINK WINE IN ARGENTINA’S WINE COUNTRY
From now until June 30, Algodon Wine Estates in San Rafael, Mendoza, is offering a 3-day/2-night Weekend Wine Getaway at the vineyard lodges; that includes daily breakfast; a tour and tasting at the Algodon Winery; harvest activities such as handpicking your own grapes; and hands-on winemaking. All guests will receive a golf cart to use during their stay and a bottle of Algodon Wine. Price is US$340 per person based on double occupancy (taxes included), and is valid for classic and superior suites.
ORIENT-EXPRESS FOR LESS
Ever dreamed of traveling on the legendary Venice Simplon-Orient-Express? This year, a special 3-night package rate of US$2,990 per person includes the one-night journey from London or Paris to Venice (or v.v.) and 2 nights at Venice’s renowned Hotel Cipriani - and all transfers in Venice too. This extraordinary price is less than the regular train-only price between London-Venice of US$3,120 per person! Stay on for 2 nights in London or Paris for US$500 per person for two at either The Ritz in London or the San Regis in Paris. http://www.orient-express.com/web/taif/taif_special_offers.jsp
BARGING BARGAINS WITH AFLOAT IN FRANCE
Save US$2,000 per person when booking a cabin onboard the Hirondelle -the luxurious Orient-Express river barge that floats along the picturesque Burgundy canals of France. The all-inclusive price is US$3,400 per person for a week, based on two people sharing a cabin. 2009 cruises must be booked before May 31, 2009. www.orient-express.com
GET A BREAK OFF SPRING WEEKENDS AT LAUSANNE’S BEAU-RIVAGE PALACE
For each weekend through June 15, 2009, Switzerland’s renowned Beau-Rivage Palace is offering significantly discounted rates in the Comfort Room category — CHF 400 (US$355) — a US$110 savings — along with various themed advantages. Guests choose from five themes - Culture, Wellness, Gastronomy, Family and Romantic - and then receive three related perks. The Family weekend offers guests two tickets to one of Lausanne’s many museums, a pastry course with the hotel’s Pastry Chef (for kids), and one in-room movie. The Culture theme includes a cruise on Lake Geneva, daily buffet breakfast — a CHF 46 (US$40) value — a public transportation pass for Lausanne and free access to the property’s Cinq Mondes Spa. And since Switzerland uses Swiss Francs (not Euros), with a favorable exchange rate for guests spending US dollars, the savings promise to be even greater. www.brp.ch
STAY AN EXTRA NIGHT AT ZURICH’S BEST HOTEL
At Zurich’s legendary Hotel Baur au Lac, a luxury stay by the lake this summer will also be a great value! From July 11 to August 16, 2009, guests at the Baur au Lac can enjoy three nights for the price of two when they book one of the hotel’s junior suites (CHF 2,100 or approx. US$1,842). Other four- and seven-night packages are also available at great savings. All packages include complimentary minibar and wireless Internet and admission to the hotel’s rooftop fitness club with a lake view. For more information, please visit: www.bauraulac.ch.
THE EARLY BIRD CATCHES THE ROOM AT THE HOTEL HASSLER ROMA
Rome’s beloved Hotel Hassler Roma, perched atop the Spanish Steps, is offering a “Summer Early Bird” promotion, with rates reduced by approximately 35% when booked by May 15, 2009. Continental breakfast and service charges are included and a 2-night minimum stay required. Reservations must be made by May 15, 2009 and the promotion is valid from July 19 - September 10, 2009. www.hotelhassler.com
CELEBRATE ASHFORD CASTLE’S 70TH BIRTHDAY
Ashford Castle, located in Ireland’s beautiful west country, will celebrate its 70th birthday on May 22nd with packages, menus and amenities throughout 2009. Kicking off the festivities is a new Ashford 70 package that includes a complimentary third night when guests book two nights for €770 (approximately US$975) through December 22, 2009. Breakfast for two each morning and an upgrade to a Deluxe room are also included. PLUS, guests born in 1939 (when Ashford Castle opened), or two guests with a combined age of 70 or couples celebrating a 70th wedding anniversary will receive a welcome bottle of champagne to toast the special occasion. A favorable dollar exchange rate makes 2009 an auspicious start to Ashford Castle’s next seven decades. www.ashford.ie
THE MERRION OFFERS ONE MORE NIGHT
The Merrion, Dublin’s most luxurious hotel, is offering guests 3 nights for the price of 2. The special includes complimentary car parking, access to the hotel’s Tethra Spa and all taxes and service charges. Prices start at €520 (approx. US$692) per couple per stay, and the offer is available throughout 2009. Additionally, the Merrion’s Cellar Restaurant is currently offering a special two-course lunch with a glass of wine for €20 (approx. US$27) and three-course dinner for €29.95 (approx. US$40). www.merrionhotel.com
AFRICA, ASIA AND THE MIDDLE EAST
NEW BICYCLE RENTAL PROGRAM IN TEL AVIV
Save money and the environment by exploring Israel by bicycle this year. Tel Aviv has announced plans to launch a new bicycle rental program in 2009, modeled after similar programs in Paris and other European cities. The program allows tourists to pick up a bicycle at one of 25 rental stations in central locations around the city and drop it off near their destination. http://www.tel-aviv.gov.il/English/Tourism/Sites/Index.htm
AMAZING THAILAND, AMAZING SHOPPING
As part of its Amazing Thailand Amazing Value campaign, Thailand’s Amazing Shopping Paradise project promotes shopping opportunities all over the country. The dedicated website www.amazingshoppingparadise.com highlights different themes each month, offering games and prizes, deals on tour packages as well as travel information.
FALLING RAND MAKES A SAFARI MORE ACCESSIBLE THAN EVER
South Africa has long been among the world’s top travel destinations and now, thanks to the exchange rate with the US dollar, trips to South Africa are 30% less than last year. And now, if travelers book a safari last minute with &Beyond (formerly CC Africa), they will receive even bigger discounts. Every unforgettable &Beyond safari includes accommodations in a private, luxury suite, three meals daily plus endless snacking, house beverages, morning and evening game drives, laundry services, nature and bush walks, and emergency medical evacuation insurance. The latest special deals can be found at www.safariasap.com.
BUSINESS CLASS SPECIALS TO BRUSSELS AND INDIA ON JET AIRWAYS
Jet Airways, India’s leading international airline, has just announced special Premiere (business class) fares from New York to its European hub in Brussels and to India. For a total of US$2,500 (ticketed by May 31, 2009) to Brussels, and US$3,760 to India (ticketed by April 15, 2009), travelers can relax in style and comfort in private pods that provide one of the longest and widest flat beds in the air. Outbound travel must commence before May 31, 2009. www.jetairways.com
BARGAIN VIENNESE VACATIONS ON AUSTRIAN AIRLINES
Austrian Airlines, which operates the only nonstop flights to Vienna from New York and Washington, is offering an amazing 3-night City Steal to Vienna. The package includes roundtrip airfare from New York’s JFK or Washington’s Dulles airports, 3 nights at the centrally located Hotel Savoy Garni and daily breakfast: US$1,089 (Apr 1-May 31, 2009 and Aug 31-Oct 25, 2009); US$1,369 (Jun 1-Aug 30) per person. www.austrianair-vacations.com
Source: Geoffrey Weill Associates