It’s Not Too Late to Get Away
It’s right around the time of year when I hit my “Yikes! Where did the summer go!” phase. All of the ambitious plans I made at the beginning of the season — practice my Italian, go on a bike tour, learn how to golf — have still gone unrealized and soon the whole back-to-school, back-to-work attitude will be kicking in again.
But it doesn’t have to be that way. In fact, the fall and winter months can be an ideal time for an affordable adventure. We’ve found great vacation deals at home and abroad that will appeal to almost everyone, from eco-explorers to wine connoisseurs. There are even great opportunities for me to score una buca con un colpo solo!
Note: all rates are for two people, double-occupancy unless noted, and based on availability.
For the Serenity Seeker
Spa vacations are considered the ultimate of relaxing getaways for good reason. Here are ways to refresh your mind and body without depleting your wallet.
Skimp: The Sedona Mago Retreat, located between Sedona and Cottonwood, Ariz., offers tranquil casitas with views of the area’s stunning red-rock landscape. Their all-inclusive package features vegetarian meals, daily meditation groups and transport to and from Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport that starts at $114 per person.
Splurge: For a real splurge, what’s better than spending time at one of the “Best Spas in the World” according to Condé Nast Traveler? How about 40 percent off? When you book by September 30, 2014, for travel between October 17 and December 18, ocean-view suites with soaking tubs at the Seven Stars Resort on the Island of Providenciales, Turks & Caicos start at around $400pp, double occupancy. Call 866-570-7777 or email email@example.com and mention promo code ‘Fall EBB.’
For the Urban Sophisticate
Skimp: Enjoy a weekend jaunt in the world’s Tech Capital with an unusual package deal from the Stanford Court Hotel in iconic Nob Hill, San Francisco. For just $199 per night, you not only get a deluxe room with breakfast and complimentary cocktail, but also a set of Google Glass eye-glasses to explore the city with. The hotel staff will provide you with a Glass tutorial (as well as a guide that instructs on how not to be a "Glasshole”), and if you capture three photos of San Francisco landmarks using Google Glass and post them to Facebook, Instagram and/or Twitter with the hashtag #stanfordcourtsf, you’ll also receive a complimentary appetizer to go with that free cocktail.
Splurge: Discover some of China’s most vibrant cities with a 10-day trip to Beijing, Xian and Shanghai for less than $2,000 per person, including international and domestic airfare, hotels, tours and 12 meals. If you’ve ever wanted to walk along the Great Wall, see the world-famous Terracotta Soldiers, or stroll the picturesque Bund, here’s your chance. If you book by September 4, 2014, you’ll receive up to an additional $800 off per couple!
For the Sport-Spirited
Skimp: Ever heard of beach tennis? Even though it’s played with paddles and balls that don’t bounce, it’s a real sport that’s recognized by the International Tennis Federation and you can catch the championships on the white sands of Aruba this November. A specially erected sport village on the island’s Eagle Beach will host 800 of the world’s top players in a festival atmosphere with DJs, live bands and plenty of food and drink. Stay close by at the Divi Village Golf & Beach Resort where kitchen-equipped studios start at just $119 during the tournament. Call 888.367.3484 for reservations.
Splurge: Enjoy a whopping 63 holes of golf on historic Jekyll Island off the Georgia coast. The Jekyll Island Club Hotel, a glamorous idyll that once hosted the likes of J.P. Morgan, William Rockefeller, and Vincent Astor, features a Birdie Golf Vacation Package that includes a Queen or King room at the stunning resort, 18 holes of golf with a cart at Georgia’s largest public golf resort, and a free breakfast buffet in the Grand Dining Room for just $169 per person through November, and $159 from November 30, 2014 to March 12, 2015.
For the Eco-Explorer
Skimp: The Florida Everglades is one of the most fascinating ecosystems on Earth, and with the Gator Getaway package from the Lemon Tree Inn in Naples, Fla., there’s no reason not to see it for yourself. Through December 14, $440 gets you two nights at this boutique hotel just outside of Everglades National Park, as well as a scenic four-hour kayaking excursion through the Everglades with an experienced and trained team of professional guides. Call 888-800-LEMO (5366) to book.
Splurge: If you’re ready for a truly exotic adventure, La Selva is a sustainable eco-lodge in the heart of the Ecuadorian Amazon. Remodeled in 2013, the lodge features 18 suites with a butterfly farm and an observation tower that allows you to gaze over the jungle canopy. You can even experience cooking classes and indigenous lessons (like how to use a blow dart for hunting) in the village of the local Pilchi Indian tribe. All-inclusive rates with three nights/four days of accommodations, tours and meals start at only $1,100 per person.
For the Countryside Admirer
Skimp: Get a little bit of Europe without crossing the pond this year. The stunning Fairmont Le Chateau Montebello in bucolic Montebello, Quebec is a rustic yet luxurious Swiss-inspired resort and multiple-year Condé Nast Traveler Reader’s Choice Award winner with a current room rate of only $99 (that’s Canadian dollars, which means it’s actually about $90!). This also includes a dinner for two at the “Aux Chantignoles" restaurant as well as complimentary access to the sports center and indoor pool.
Splurge: Through October, experience the Texas Hill Country behind the wheel of a sleek BMW! The JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort & Spa is offering a daily spin in a BMW convertible, two-seater or sedan as part of the BMW Resort Driving Tour package that includes three hours of day- or five hours of evening driving (no tank fill-up required!) as well as luxurious lodging and $100 in resort credits. Rates start at $309 with a two-night minimum. Use rate code is RDPR, online booking code ZXO or call 210-276-2500.
For the Adventure Traveler
Skimp: The Appalachian Mountain Club (AMC) has been introducing travelers to the beauty of the Northeast wilderness since 1876, and their Fall Foliage tours are ideal for hikers looking for real backcountry adventures in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. A three-night, four-day all-inclusive guided itinerary starts at only $599 ($505 for AMC members) for bunkhouse lodging (private lodging may also be available) and features free use of gear from their L.L.Bean Gear Room.
Splurge: If hot springs and volcanoes are more your speed, you can enjoy a five-day, four night expedition to the wilds of Iceland — including hotels and all international and domestic airfare — for less than $2,000 per person. If you’re a “Game of Thrones” fan, you’ll recognize the magnificent landscape of surreal lava rock formations, waterfalls and bubbling mud pools that comprise the “Land Beyond the Wall” around Akureyri; an overnight stay in the capital, Reykjavík, is also included.
For the Aspirational Foodie
Skimp: You can eat your heart out with a two-night orgy of gumbo and beignets in the gourmet capital of New Orleans. The Loews New Orleans Gourmet Getaway inclusive package starts at $389 per night and includes a stay in a luxurious grand king room, complimentary welcome cocktails, $100 credit at Commander's Palace for the famous jazz brunch, $100 credit at Café Adelaide, $70 credit at Pêche Seafood Grill, $20 credit for drinks at SoBou, $10 credit at Café Du Monde, two $20 gift certificates to the Wine Institute of New Orleans for wine tasting, and a swag bag filled with food-inspired goodies including an In The Land of Cocktails recipe book, an apron and measuring spoons from Fleurty Girl and beignet mix from Café Du Monde. Whew!
Splurge: Or, surprise your significant other with a whirlwind gastronomic adventure to Tuscany at the Villa le Barone, a luxury hotel on a wine and olive oil estate in the heart of the Chianti region. Staring at around $1,300 total for three nights, the “Enjoy Wines and Tuscan Gastronomy” package in September and October includes fresh flowers and a bottle of Prosecco to welcome you, wine tasting, delicious Tuscan dinners, a chance to explore the region and more. For an additional 100 Euros (about $130), you can take a two-hour cooking Tuscan class and enjoy the meal that you just prepared.
For the Craft Beer Aficionado
Skimp: Denver is a beer buff’s heaven, and tooling between Mile-High-City’s more than 200 craft breweries is even more fun on a vintage bicycle. Starting at $261 per night, the Hotel Teatro Craft-Brewery-By-Bike Experience includes welcome beers and gourmet snacks, a curated map of Denver's craft breweries with insider tips from locals, a hearty “Hair of the Dog” breakfast-in-bed, and, of course, beautiful vintage bikes for exploring.
Splurge: If beer and bicycles sounds like a fun combination, how about beer and boats? In late October, Maple Leaf Adventures is offering an incredible tall ship expedition around Canada’s Vancouver and Southern Gulf Islands that’s all about brew. For five nights on a historic schooner with British Columbia’s top brewing expert, you’ll explore more than 50 local microbrews matched with chef-prepared meals while enjoying the lush landscape and wildlife (think porpoises and sea lions) of the Inner Passage. Starting from Vancouver, this all-inclusive adventure starts at about $2100 per person.
For the Wine Connoisseur
Skimp: The MSC Splendida "On the Wine Routes" tour is not your average booze cruise. For eight days/seven nights in December, you’ll sail around the cities of Genoa, Civitavecchia, Palermo, La Goulette, Barcelona and Marseille on this very comfortable cruise ship. Each stop includes an excursion to a vineyard or wine cellar, along with a tour of the city; unlimited wine during lunch and dinner dining and dedicated on-board vino-related activities by the Masters of Wine starting at just $1,166, excluding airfare. For reservations, call 877-665-4655.
Splurge: From Monet-inspired gardens to innovative Napa Technology wine-sampling stations, the Mirbeau Inn and Spa in the heart of Central New York's Finger Lakes wine region is a great option when you can’t make it to Napa itself. Through early October, their Finger Lakes Wine Tour Package includes two nights at the charming French country-style resort, a 6-hour wine tour through the Finger Lakes with a picnic lunch, a 50-minute spa treatment per person with wine-inspired Vinothérapie treatments by Caudalie, a four-course dinner in Mirbeau's award-winning restaurant and full breakfast each morning, as well as all taxes and gratuities, for $1590. Call 877-MIRBEAU (877-647-2328) to book.
For the Sun Worshipper
Skimp: Ready to just lounge in the sun with that trashy beach read you never got to this summer? Take advantage of the grand opening of the Wyndham Grand Jupiter, along Florida's Intracoastal Waterway just north of Palm Beach, Florida. The hotel opens in October and, until the end of the month, you can enjoy southern sunshine, local beaches and their rooftop pool with rates as low as $179 per night.
Splurge: If your aim is all-beach and minimal effort, why not consider an all-inclusive resort? Through October, you can get up to 40 percent off at the all-inclusive Barceló Bávaro Beach Resort in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic and receive a free airport to hotel transfer if you stay a minimum of five nights. Rates at this adults-only resort start at around $200 per night and feature a PGA-rated golf course and even cigar-rolling lessons.