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CYBER MONDAY TRAVEL DEALS: Save Big With 24-Hour Special Rates

I’m not a fan of consumer holidays. I am a fan of affordable travel, however. So, if a Colorado ski break, an Italian hiking holiday, or an all-inclusive Mexico beach escape is on your travel wish list, here are four Cyber Monday travel deals to help you save big


COLORADO SKI BREAK

The deal: Park Hyatt Beaver Creek Resort and Spa, located in the heart of Beaver Creek at the base of one of Colorado’s most celebrated mountain resorts, is offering Cyber Monday savvy-shoppers a free night stay and a free day of skiing!  Those who book the Ski Free, Stay Free offer can enjoy an extra night as well as an extra day on the slopes.  In addition, those who book on December 2 will receive a slope side view upgrade based on availability.  This deal represents a 20% savings on accommodations and savings of $200 for skiing. 

 

How to save: To make reservations for this four-night stay, visit http://beavercreek.hyatt.com/en/hotel/offers/offer-detail.html?offerId=52910544 and use promo code CYBER. Offer is valid for stays between December 3-20 and throughout select dates in 2014. Please check the terms and conditions for availability.

To make reservations for this four-night stay, please visit http://beavercreek.hyatt.com/en/hotel/offers/offer-detail.html?offerId=52910544 and use promo code CYBER. Offer is valid for stays between December 3-20 and throughout select dates in 2014. Please check the terms and conditions for availability.  

ITALIAN HIKING HOLIDAY


The deal: REI Adventures, a leading adventure tour company, is offering a Cyber Monday deal on its classic Cinque Terre Hiking trip in Italy. Guests who book this trip on December 2, 2013 will receive $700 off any 2014 departure of the trip, a 20% discount. The trip is a stunning tour by foot through the five picturesque fishing villages dotting the Mediterranean Coast of Italy. Guests will hike along dramatic views of the coastline, through chestnut and pine forests and past a 16th century naval fortress – all the while enjoying the region’s renowned wines, gastronomy and relaxed seaside culture. 

How to save: Trips can be booked at www.rei.com/adventures (FYI the last time REI Adventures offered a discount was for their 25th anniversary, which was in April 2012.)

  

MEXICO ALL-INCLUSIVE BEACH ESCAPE

Barceló Hotels & Resorts

 

The deal: Barceló Hotels & Resorts specializes in all-inclusive resort experiences found in the world’s most desirable locales. The brand’s two multi-resort mega complexes, Barceló Bávaro and Barceló Maya, are characteristic of Barceló’s high quality service and endless entertainment options. Catering to online travel consumers, the brand is offering a 40% discount on stays with a three-night minimum.

How to save: Reservations must be made on Monday, December 2 though the savings is valid for travel throughout 2014, blackout dates may apply. To book, visit http://www.barcelo.com/BarceloHotels/en_GB/offers/cybermonday-deals.aspx.

 

Sandos Hotels & Resorts

 

The deal: Sandos Hotels & Resorts is offering up to 50% off at one of Sandos’ four all-inclusive Mexico resorts. The brand’s Mexico collection includes: Sandos Caracol Eco Experience Resort and Sandos Playacar Beach Experience Resort, both in Riviera Maya; and Sandos Cancun Luxury Experience Resort in Cancun. Sandos Finisterra Los Cabos is the fourth and newest Mexico property in the collection, which opened May 2013. Only available for booking on Cyber Monday, December 2, 2013. Valid for travel in 2014; blackout dates may apply.

How to save: To book, visit www.sandos.com, select the Sandos Mexico hotel of choice and then click on the special offers tab at the top of the hotel landing page.

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National Park Trips On Sale At Holiday River Expeditions

In Celebration of National Parks Week 2013 adventure travel outfitter, Holiday River Expeditions, is offering great deals on several of their National Park biking and rafting trips.

Holiday River Expeditions/Canyonlands National Park.

Book space on select Cataract Canyon Rafting or Combo Cataract Rafting & White Rim Trail Mountain Biking trips by April 26, 2013 and save $200 OFF the Adult Fare.

Or, for the ultimate mountain biking adventure, save $100 OFF the Adult Rate on their White Rim Trail Mountain Biking trip.

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SWEET SAVINGS: 5 Romantic Getaways for Less

Whether it’s a romantic Valentine’s Day rendezvous or simply time away to relax and reconnect, February is the perfect month to fall in love with these Simply Sweet deals from Unique Inns, a collection of extraordinary Country Inns, Bed & Breakfasts & Boutique Hotels in the American West.  


Specials include ocean view rooms with roaring fireplaces, candle-lit whirlpool soaks, gourmet breakfast in bed, couples massages, complimentary chilled champagne, decadent chocolate covered strawberries and more.

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SAINT LUCIA: Spring Savings Just In Time for Easter & Mother's Day

Looking to relax and unwind with a Caribbean escape this Spring that won’t break the bank? Take advantage of value-packed specials at Bay Gardens Resorts this Spring for Easter, Mother’s Day and Saint Lucia Jazz at two of its three Saint Lucia properties - The Bay Gardens Hotel and Bay Gardens Inn.

Nestled in the heart of Saint Lucia’s entertainment capital, Rodney Bay Village, both properties offer superior accommodations, traditional Caribbean cuisine, and the finest in service and hospitality. Within walking distance of the world famous Reduit Beach, dozens of restaurants, entertainment, shopping, and the recently opened Treasure Bay Casino, Bay Gardens is perfectly situated to offer the best of what Saint Lucia has to offer.

Celebrate Easter, Mother’s Day and Saint Lucia Jazz on a Budget at Bay Gardens Hotel and Inn.

Easter Savings

Easter is a great time for a family escape. Bay Gardens Hotel and Bay Gardens Inn doubles the fun for parents and children with their Easter Savings package where children under 16 stay for free. Mom and dad can receive a Couples Massage at La Mer Spa or a romantic three-course dinner at the Trios Caribbean Fusion Restaurant, both located at Bay Gardens Beach Resort & Spa, including complimentary babysitting service. Children can take part in a day of fun with an Easter egg hunt, special Easter Sunday Brunch at the Beach Resort, and a visit from the Easter Bunny himself. Rates for a five night package start at US$689 for a family of four in a Superior room including daily Caribbean buffet breakfast – a savings of 60 percent.

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10 Sweet Valentine's Day Travel Deals To Fall In Love With

Whether it’s a staycation, active adventure, tropical getaway or spa day retreat you’re looking for, here are ten sweet Valentine’s Day travel deals to fall in love with. 

1. Bike/Raft Adventure, Utah. 
Buy one and your sweetheart goes for HALF PRICE. A wilderness river or mountain bike trip offers the chance to truly get away and just spend time together. Your guides take the ‘rough’ out of camping and leave you with plenty of time to relax, explore, dig your toes into the sand and keep the focus on each other. Reservations must be made by February 10, 2012. www.bikeraft.com

2. Seven Days in Heaven, Rendezvous, St. Lucia.

An all-inclusive Caribbean hideaway is ideal for a romantic Valentine’s Day getaway. Try the “Seven Days in Heaven” package at St. Lucia’s Rendezvous boutique hotel for couples, perfect for celebrating each day in a new way. Available from February 10 for stays through the month of February, 2012. The promotional code “My Valentine” must be used when booking. www.theromanticholiday.com

3. Pampered retreat, Kismet Inn, Bath, Maine.

So you don’t have a special someone to lavish sweet nothings on? That doesn’t mean the pampering should go to waste. Replenish and renew your spirit at the Kismet Inn located in Bath, ME.  Start your day practicing your best downward dog followed by a centering meditation session. Enjoy a healthy midday meal before heading to the coast for a scenic and relaxing walk along the water. When you leave you’ll feel replenished and happy you spent your Valentines Day getting back in touch with you. www.BnBFinder.com/Kismet

4. Two Nights Free, Namale Resort & Spa, Fiji 

Namale Resort & Spa in Fiji special Holiday Romance package, offers guests the chance to stay seven nights at the 5-star resort for the price of five. Voted the Best Hotel for Romance in the South Pacific by Trip Advisor® and One of the Top 50 Most Romantic Places on Earth by Luxury Magazine, the all-inclusive resort and spa provides the idyllic backdrop for romance, unparalleled luxury and privacy. To take advantage of this package, guests must plan to stay at Namale now through February 28, 2012. Couples can also expect extra perks upon their arrival at the resort. www.namalefiji.com

5. Night on the Town, NYC

Planning a romantic trip to New York City? Gray Line New York (the iconic red double decker buses in NYC) is offering a romantic date option for couples or anyone who wants to see the dazzling side of New York City with their Night on the Town tour. Buy two tickets for the Night on the Town Tour for February 14th and recieve $20 off. www.newyorksightseeing.com

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Kids Ride Free on Amtrak

Amtrak is celebrating its 40th anniversary by letting its youngest fans onboard for free! So if you book a trip now through May 6, 2011 and travel May 1 through June 9, 2011, your family can join in the celebration, and your kids will ride free

For forty days, you can let your kids experience for free how Amtrak has changed the way people travel for the last forty years. And before they go, visit the Amtrak Kids Depot, our new website dedicated to our younger riders.

Visit www.amtrak.com for more details and to book your trip.

 

Source: Amtrak

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AirTran Airways Announces 12 Days of December Deals

Airline Offering Special Sale Fares During First 12 Days of December -

 

Airtran Airways Offering Special Sale Fares During First 12 Days of December -

AirTran Airways today launched a special 12-day “Festivus For the Rest of Us” sale. Over the next 11 days, the sale will feature new and exciting destinations each day with special fares valid for one day only. New sale fares posted daily.

Today’s feature kicks off with special fares to a Caribbean getaway – Montego Bay, Jamaica – providing rest and relaxation to those who may have just completed a Festivus Feat of Strength.

Similar to the humble beginnings of Festivus that eventually gained legendary status, the sale will grow into something larger each day. Special fares will be posted daily at www.airtran.com/festivus and the number of destinations on sale will correspond with the day of the sale (i.e. seven destinations on sale on day seven, etc.). A final surprise will be unveiled on the 12th day, December 12.

Travelers can purchase these Festivus fares online at www.airtran.com, from their local travel agent or via AirTran Airways’ reservations system at 1-800-AIR-TRAN. For Spanish, call 1-877-581-9842.

These special Festivus fares are available for purchase daily through Dec. 12, 2010, and are good for travel from Jan. 5, 2011, through Feb. 16, 2011. Sale fares are valid for travel daily

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Los Cabos Hotels and Resorts Offer Last Minute Travel Deals

I’m in Baja for the next month enjoying the sun, fun and savings. And you can too. Travelers looking to treat themselves to an early holiday present this winter might want to check out the last minute travel deals now on tap at the hotels and resorts in Los Cabos. 20 of the hot-spot’s top properties are offering amazing travel deals valid through the end of the year. From a Thanksgiving dinner on the beach to a Baja-style New Year’s Eve celebration, you’re sure to find a deal that best fits your last minute travel needs.
 

1. Cabo Villas Beach Resort & Spa

Phone Number for Reservations: 1-866-962-2268

Web Address: www.cabovillasbeachresort.com
Promotion Code: WIN09

Rates begin at:
◊   $160 per night for a Deluxe Room
◊   $230 per night for an Executive Suite with Jacuzzi
◊   $340 per night for a 2-bedroom Executive Suite with Jacuzzi

Welcome drinks
Daily buffet breakfast included
Free wireless internet
Children 12 and under stay for free with parent
Offer valid for travel between now and January 23, 2010

2.  Casa Dorada Los Cabos Resort & Spa

Phone Number for Reservations: 1-866-448-0151

Web Address: www.casadorada.com
Package: Thanksgiving Special

Three-night stay in an ocean-view suite
Complimentary Thanksgiving Dinner with all the trimmings
25% discount at 18-hole Robert Trent Jr. designed Cabo Real Golf Course
25% discount to Wild Canyon Adventure Park
Roundtrip airport transfers
Package rate begins at $875 for a Junior Suite, $950 for a One Bedroom Suite and $1,750 for the Two Bedroom Suite
Package is available for travel from November 26-29, 2009

3. Crowne Plaza Los Cabos Grand Faro All-Inclusive Resort

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GIVE YOURSELF THE GIFT OF SPA ON YOUR BIRTHDAY - Aquae Sulis Spa offers $50 discount and gift to honor that special day

JW Marriott’s luxurious Aquae Sulis Spa Las Vegas wants spa-goers to celebrate their birthdays with a well deserved day of rest and rejuvenation. For 2009, guests will receive $50 off any spa service valued at $100 or more when booked for that special day. And who can forget presents! A special take home gift will be presented upon check-in (valued at $10).

“We want everyone to celebrate their birthday and what better way than with a spa day,” said Nichole Pfeifer, Aquae Sulis spa director.

Also, for guests who register their contact information on their birthday, a complimentary day pass will be given, providing an opportunity to come back and enjoy the spa facilities on another day … a gift that just keeps on giving!

Offer is available any day of the week through to December 31, 2009. No additional discounts can be applied and a valid ID is required.

JW Marriott Las Vegas Resort & Spa features 548 oversized guestrooms set amid 54 acres of lush gardens. Located in Summerlin, 20 minutes northwest of the famous Las Vegas Strip, the resort is close enough to indulge in the city’s amenities, but far enough away to enjoy golfing on one of the courses surrounding the resort or explore beautiful Red Rock Canyon. Indulge yourself at JW Marriott’s luxurious Aquae Sulis Spa or lounge by the grass-edged pool. Plus, the resort features a wide selection of dining and entertainment options, from casual to elegant. All services and amenities synonymous with JW Marriott are at your fingertips when you visit.

JW MARRIOTT LAS VEGAS RESORT & SPA: 221 N. Rampart Blvd., Toll Free: 877-869-8777, www.jwlasvegasresort.com.

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Get Back to the Basics of Romance with Hotel Blake's Special Offer for Couples

Boutique Printer’s Row Property’s Romance Package is Easy on the Wallet, Big On Atmosphere, Luxury and Relaxation


All you need is love – and the charming and elegant atmosphere at Chicago’s Hotel Blake – for a perfect couples’ getaway that’s easy on the wallet. Located in the heart of Chicago’s Printer’s Row close to museums, shops, restaurants and theater, this luxury boutique hotel is offering a Romance Package for just $159/night through February 28, 2009 that includes luxury accommodations for two as well as a box of Vosges chocolates to share.

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Romance on a Budget: Plan a Quickie

The time is right for an affordable Valentine’s Day getaway


As holiday gifts loom on the credit card and the country’s economic woes persist, consumers are seeking inexpensive options for romance on Valentine’s Day.

Good news: The calendar and recent trends of discount travel have aligned to make Valentine’s Day 2009 especially auspicious for a romantic weekend getaway.


This year, Valentine’s Day falls on the same three-day weekend as President’s Day. By choosing a nearby destination, travelers can plan a long-weekend escape without using additional vacation days.

Low gas prices and travel bargains sweeten the deal to help couples stretch their vacation dollars and keep romance in the budget.

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Rancho de San Juan discounts New Year

RANCHO DE SAN JUAN CELEBRATES ITS 15TH YEAR, OFFERS SAVINGS WITH “WALL STREET BAILOUT SPECIAL”


Rancho de San Juan, a luxury country inn and restaurant located between Taos and Santa Fe, is ushering in its 15th year with tremendous savings for February, March and April 2009. They are introducing their “Wall Street Bailout Special” which invites guests to take a vacation from the current economic crisis and experience their unique combination of European style and service mixed with Southwestern charm. All rooms and casitas are reduced $100 per night and if guests book three nights at the reduced rate, the fourth night is free.

In addition, Rancho de San Juan is extending a 10% discount on all 3-course dinners at the renowned Rancho de San Juan Restaurants for all guests during this time.

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$139 Red Mountain Spa - Neighbor Holiday Rate

Why travel to distant places this holiday when Red Mountain Spa takes you worlds away?

Find yourself between a rock and a soft place, in southern Utah’s red rock paradise with their friendly neighbor special offers. Experience great values for your own weekend getaway, or a comfortable and inviting place for holiday visitors.

  • Bed & Breakfast $139* per person - Enjoy a relaxing evening in the comforts of our deluxe accommodations, and wake to a healthy breakfast buffet. For a touch of rejuvenation, add a 50-minute Sagestone Swedish Massage for just $69!
  • Last Minute Super Deal $209** per person - A complete package in our Deluxe rooms includes 3 meals daily, hiking, complimentary bike usage, fitness classes and more. Add extra pampering with a revitalizing 80-minute massage for only $99. Upgrade to our luxury Villa for only $80 more per person.

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Kick Off Holiday Travel Season with $39.99 Rate and $3,000 in Orlando Discounts

Visitors looking to save some “dough” on a vacation to Orlando this November, December and January are in luck. Rosen Hotels & Resorts is kicking off the holiday travel season with an “Orlan-Dough Mega Value Package,” offering a nightly rate of $39.99, plus tax, per night (double occupancy), $25.00 in food and beverage discounts, and the “Orlan-Dough Mega Value Pack,” filled with discounts and offers for theme parks, attractions, dinner shows, restaurants, golf and spa worth a combined value of more than $3,000.

The offer is valid for travel from Nov. 17, 2008 to Jan. 31, 2009 at Rosen Hotels & Resorts four Orlando leisure properties - Quality Inn International, Rodeway Inn International, Quality Inn Plaza and Comfort Inn Lake Buena Vista.

Adding to the allure of fall and winter travel to Orlando, the “Orlan-Dough Mega Value Pack” coupon book provides a combined value of more than $3,000 in money-saving offers from the following:

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BestRomanticInns.com Announces Holiday Getaway Specials, 2008

Romantic Inns and Hotels (www.BestRomanticInns.com), the Internet’s highest rated romantic lodging directory, offers a list of holiday getaway specials in their November 6th newsletter. From a bed and breakfast Thanksgiving to a Christmas getaway in the city, these worldwide lodging specials offer up new ways to celebrate the holidays. View the Holiday Getaway Specials Newsletter online at: http://www.bestromanticinns.com/1/Getaway-Specials/Holiday-Getaways.htm

New Hampshire - Lakes, Ashland - The Glynn House Inn

An English Christmas in New Hampshire
Imagine celebrating Christmas in an elegantly furnished Victorian home filled with delightful holiday decorations. Spend your days skiing, taking romantic walks or go for a sleigh ride. Return to the Inn and relax by a romantic fire. Soak in a bubbling whirlpool bath. Enjoy gourmet breakfasts and specially prepared English Christmas treats each afternoon plus evening wine and seasonal hors d’oeuvres.
Rate: $149.00-$279.00
Valid Through: December, 28, 2008
Web: www.glynnhouse.com, Email: theglynnhouseinn@yahoo.com
Phone: (603) 968-3775, Toll Free: (866) 686-4362

Arizona - Central, Scottsdale - Fairmont Scottsdale

Five Diamond Holiday

This holiday season enjoy luxurious accommodations with breakfast for two, transportation to fabulous shopping at Kierland Commons and a $100 Westcor gift card (plus complimentary gift delivery to your guestroom) with the Lux Holiday Shopping Package at the AAA Five Diamond Fairmont Scottsdale.
Rate: Rates start from $289 per room, per night
Valid Through: December, 31, 2008
Web: www.fairmont.com/scottsdale, Email: reservations@fairmont.com
Phone: (480) 585-4848, Toll Free: (800) 441-1414

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Triple Creek Ranch Offers 20% off Winter Packages and Rates

MONTANA’S TRIPLE CREEK RANCH OFFERS A RARE DISCOUNT ON 3 ALL-INCLUSIVE PACKAGES OVER SELECT JANUARY AND FEBRUARY DATES

20% Off Room Rates Also Offered
 
 
Triple Creek Ranch, Montana’s beautiful Relais & Châteaux hideaway in the Bitterroot Mountains of Montana, has long been the favored luxury getaway of couples who appreciate a perfect balance of rest, romance and Rocky Mountain recreation.   Now, the award-winning resort will offer a 20% discount on three all-inclusive, five-day/four-night packages over selected dates in January and February 2009.  For guests wishing to extend their stay or looking for a short visit that is not part of a package, room rates are also discounted 20% during January 3 – 13, 2009; January 24 – February 17, 2009; and February 20 – 28, 2009).
 
Whether couples opt to snowmobile alongside bighorn sheep, ski cross-country or downhill at Lost Trail Powder Mountain or revel in their romance, each packages includes accommodations in a luxury log cabin with private hot tub and fireplace; all meals, snacks and beverages (including gourmet breakfasts and multi-course candlelit dinners with house wines and cocktails), horseback riding in the snow, snowshoeing, cross-country and downhill skiing; and two – one hour massages.
 
Special rates and available packages and dates include:
 
Romantic Paradise in the Mountains of Montana — Priced $3,420 per couple on the following dates: February 5 – 17 and February 20 – 28, 2009
Also includes Champagne and Godiva chocolates on arrival, couples’ massage followed by Champagne, use of all on-ranch facilities (horseback riding, hiking, snowshoeing and exercise facilities)
 
Winter Snowmobile Adventure Special — Priced $4,200 per couple on the following dates: January 3 – 13, 2009, January 24 – February 17 and February 20 – 28, 2008
Also includes two days snowmobiling for two, freshly baked cookies and a bottle of wine on arrival and use of all on-ranch facilities (horseback riding, hiking, snowshoeing and exercise facilities)
 
Ski the Mountains of Montana — Priced $3,320 per couple on the following dates: January 3 – 13, 2009, January 24 – February 17 and February 20 – 28, 2008
Also includes a day of downhill skiing at Lost Trail Powder Mountain for two with lift tickets and equipment rentals, a day of cross-country skiing at Chief Joseph Pass for two with equipment, freshly baked cookies and a bottle of wine on arrival and use of all on-ranch facilities (horseback riding, hiking, snowshoeing and exercise facilities)

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Save with New 2009 Little Dix Packages

FOUR NEW YEAR-LONG PACKAGES FOR 2009 UNVEILED BY ROSEWOOD LITTLE DIX BAY

Luxury, Spa, Romance, and Getaway Packages Offer Savings of up to 15%


Rosewood Little Dix Bay on Virgin Gorda in the British Virgin Islands is offering four luxury packages at special prices available January 3 - December 17, 2009. The four packages - The Best of LDB, 5-Night Spa Sojourn, 7-Night Romance Escape, and Simply Little Dix - are the perfect way to experience the resort’s private half-mile crescent beach; superb water sports; Sense, A Rosewood Spa; multiple dining choices; and a program of excursions including the highly popular boat drop-offs at selected Virgin Gorda beaches. All packages are priced based on double occupancy and include full daily breakfast, airport transfers, government taxes and 10% resort fees.  Packages are based on availability; blackout dates apply.

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Coconut Bay Beach Resort & Spa Fall Package Offers

The best-of-both-worlds is now even better at St. Lucia’s all-inclusive Coconut Bay Beach Resort & Spa. To further cater to guests the resort has launched the “Harmony” and “Splash” wings and introduced several upgrades including redecorated rooms, a new adult pool bar, theme nights, fun snacks and the Caribbean’s first paintball facility.

To introduce the upgrades and launch Harmony and Splash, Coconut Bay is offering value-added packages with special prices for travelers seeking fall, winter and holiday savings.

Between December 1-20, 2008, guests can choose from three packages: 


Fall Romance Getaway for $115 including a Champagne Arrival Reception, complimentary Bubbles-in-Bed (turndown service), 1/2 hour couples’ massage, introduction to kite surfing or windsurfing class. Rates are per person, per day based on double occupancy in a deluxe ocean view room.

Kids Stay Free with Fall Family Frenzy from $99 and receive a round of paintball for the entire family, introduction to kitesurfing or windsurfing class (everyone over age 12), a CocoPack for each child under 12 (backpack, water bottle, hat and t-shirt) and a thirty-minute couple’s massage for mom and dad. Rates are per person, per day based on double occupancy in a deluxe garden view room, kids under 18 stay free (max. 2 kids per room).

Inaugural Premium Package for $149. Complimentary Continental breakfast room service, bottle of preferred drink in room, couples’ private beach picnic, Couples’ oceanfront dinner and preferred dinner reservations. Rates are per person, per day based on double occupancy in a premium ocean view room.

Over the holidays guests have the option of celebrating Christmas or starting the New Year: 
Christmas for $199. Rates are per person, per day based on double occupancy in a deluxe garden view room. Valid December 21-31, 2008.

Bring in the New Year for $157. Rates are per person, per day based on double occupancy in a deluxe garden view room. Valid January 1-21, 2009.

For reservations or more information call 866-978-6226 toll free from the US or 758-456-9999 or email: reservations@cbayresort.com. Space is limited and must be booked by 10/15/08.

 


Source: Coconut Bay Beach Resort & Spa

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Explore Australia’s Shipwreck Coast Without Wrecking Your Budget

Goway Travel’s Five-Day “Shipwreck Coast Explorer” Package With Rental Car and Charming Hotels, Just $824

 
 
Travelers in Australia owe it to themselves to drive Victoria’s Great Ocean Road, one of the world’s most magnificent scenic routes.  A breathtaking stretch of astonishing seascapes, landscapes and seaside towns, the road unfolds spectacular surf beaches, sophisticated resorts and quiet fishing villages.  It’s a trip back in nature and time, leading to colossal rock sculptures on the southern coast and whitewashed cottages of seafaring towns like Port Fairy.


It’s easy to do from cosmopolitan Melbourne in Goway Travel’s comfortable, well planned self-drive along the Great Southern Touring Route linking Victoria’s key destinations of Melbourne, the Great Ocean Road, the Grampians and Ballarat – all just three hours’ drive from each other.


Each journey along the Great Southern Touring Route naturally begins and ends in Melbourne - the arts, restaurant and sports capital of Australia.  Here, you can enjoy the latest exhibit at the National Gallery of Victoria, stroll through the Queen Victoria Market (the largest open air market in the southern hemisphere) and dine on authentic Aboriginal fare at Tjanabi in Federation Square, the architectural center of town.


Shipwreck Coast Explorer

Equipped with a mid-size Hertz rental car and a co-pilot kit (stocked with a detailed itinerary, daypack, and discount coupons for the road), head south on the Great Southern Touring Route towards Apollo Bay, with a full day ahead for a leisurely exploration of all the sights along the Route beginning in Werribee Park.  Meander through the 1870’s Mansion and Victoria State Rose Garden before discovering the Open Range Zoo, where exotic animals roam freely on 225 hectares of grasslands.


After a visit to Geelong’s historic waterfront, explore Torquay (Tor-KEY) and beyond, home to some of the nation’s best surf beaches including Bells Beach, where the Rip Curl Pro is held every March.  Have lunch in Lorne, a beautiful seaside town with a Mediterranean feel, before arriving in Apollo Bay on the edge of the Otway National Park.  This afternoon enjoy bushwalking, kayaking or learning how to surf before turning in for the night in a deluxe studio at Chris’s Beacon Point Villas, set high in the Otway Ranges overlooking the Bass Strait and the Great Ocean Road.
 

After a complimentary breakfast, journey west along the dramatic Great Ocean Road – also known as the Shipwreck Coast – for views of the Twelve Apostles (limestone formations rising from the ocean) and other landmarks including Loch Ard Gorge, the Arch and the London Bridge, all accessible from the road.  As the name suggests, more than 160 ships have met their fate along the rugged coastline, such as Marie Gabrielle (1869) and the Fiji (1891), whose anchors remain embedded at Wreck Beach.  Whale watch near Warrambool, the Shipwreck Coast’s only city, before spending the night in a queen suite at Hearns Cottage Suites in Port Fairy, a busy fishing port home to over 50 classified National Trust nineteenth-century buildings.


On day three head north from Port Fairy to the Grampians mountain range – famous for some of the most spectacular scenery in Australia.  En route visit Tower Hill Reserve, a haven for wildlife, a fascinating ecological site and a showcase for local indigenous culture in the crater of a dormant volcano.  Once in the Grampians National Park, ascend to the top of majestic MacKenzie Waterfalls for lookouts over the impressive mountain ranges, and explore native bushland full of regional flora and fauna.  More adventurous types can rock climb or abseil amongst the largest collection of Aboriginal rock art in Victoria.  Overnight in Cavendish’s Glenisla Homestead, a traditional style homestead built from colorful Grampians sandstone, where guests are welcome to lend a hand on the superfine wool farm of 5000 Merino sheep.


With bellies full from an Australian farm-style breakfast, the return east to Melbourne is an historical adventure via Ballarat.  Built with the wealth of the gold rush, much of the opulence of the era is still on display in the city’s grand public buildings, hotels and historic streetscapes.  Ballarat was the site of the world’s largest deposit of alluvial gold and is showcased in Sovereign Hill – a re-creation of life in the 1850’s where panning for gold or riding a horse-drawn carriage in a town of over 200 volunteers dressed in period costumes is the norm.  Perhaps the strongest draw to the area is the evening “Blood on the Southern Cross” light and sound show depicting the Eureka Rebellion of miners against government forces.  Spend the night in a studio at the modern Oscars Hotel Ballarat after the evening’s performance before the morning’s short drive back to Melbourne.


Per person prices for Goway Travel’s five-day “Shipwreck Coast Explorer” package start at US$824 per person (based on double occupancy) through March 31, 2009 and includes four nights accommodation, a co-pilot pack (detailed itinerary, backpack, discount coupons), five day mid-size automatic Hertz car rental, and a dinner and “Blood on the Southern Cross” show.


For more information or to book, visit Goway Travel website at www.goway.com or call toll-free (800)-387-8850.

For more information on the Great Southern Touring Route visit www.greatsoutherntouring.com.au.  For more information on Melbourne, visit Tourism Victoria’s website at www.visitmelbourne.com.   

 

 

Source: Spring O’Brien & Co. 

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