Travel Savings Alerts Newsletter, June 2012 Issue
P.O. Box 91033
Columbus OH 43209
ISSN: 1542-801X, Copyright 2012
All Rights Reserved.
Editor: Nicki Chodnoff
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Packages for Members of the Military
|With many troops returning home from deployment, the Capital Hotel, the Clifton Inn, and The Jefferson, DC offers these brave individuals special discounts and packages.
The Capital Hotel in Little Rock, AR - 501/374-7474 - celebrates the sacrifice that members of the military make with the Stand Up and Salute package. From $166 per night, servicemen and women can stay one night with breakfast for two. Advance reservation and military ID are required and the package does not include tax and gratuity.
The Clifton Inn, in Charlottesville, VA - 434/971-1800 - honors servicemen and women by offering 25 percent off of the facility fee when they wed at Clifton. This for a Sunday to Thursday wedding and military ID is required.
The Jefferson, Washington, DC - 202/448-2300 - invites members of the military, past and present, to celebrate patriotic holidays in the nation’s capital with a Military package available on Labor Day, Independence Day and Veteran’s Day. The $295 per night package includes a king guest room, breakfast for two and an American Flag that has been flown over the United States Capitol to take home. Advance reservation and military ID are required. The package does not include tax and gratuity.
Timeshare Resale Scams
|Visa and the U.S. Federal Trade Commission are working together to raise consumer awareness around timeshare resale fraud typically occurring on payment cards. According to the FTC, the number of consumer complaints about timeshare resale the agency received has more than doubled in recent years.
Here's how the scam works: A timeshare property owner gets a phone call with an offer to sell a vacation property to a waiting buyer. The timeshare owner is asked to sign a contract and pay a transaction fee, usually with a credit or debit card, before the alleged sale can proceed. But after the contract is signed and the fee collected, the timeshare owner rarely is contacted again by the reseller. In most cases, the buyer never existed, and the contract was for advertising services only. When the timeshare owner realizes this and calls to get the fee refunded, the fraudulent reseller typically ignores the phone calls, denies any refund requests, or stalls to go beyond chargeback timeframes and evade acquirer and Visa risk controls. Information is available at www.VisaSecuritySense.com.
Visa supports law enforcement efforts to identify and prosecute fraud. Visa has alerted financial institutions to this issue and requires them to review the marketing practices of their merchants to ensure compliance with consumer protection laws and Visa Operating Regulations.
"If you own a timeshare, chances are you will hear from fraudsters pretending to be resellers, promising a ready buyer, top dollar, or a quick sale. This is timeshare hot air," said David C. Vladeck, Director of the FTC's Bureau of Consumer Protection. "The more pressure you get to pay fees before your timeshare is sold, the more likely it's a scam. Check out the reseller, and get all the details of the contract in writing. That includes the fees, costs, and services you'll get for your money. If the contract you get isn't what you expected, don't sign it and don't pay any money."
Vladeck noted that the FTC has taken enforcement actions to stop timeshare resale scams, and that under a recent court settlement, a Florida couple were permanently banned from engaging in timeshare resale services.
On Apr. 6, 2012, Florida Governor Rick Scott signed into law the Timeshare Resale Fraud Bill, which intends to protect timeshare property owners in the state from unscrupulous merchants. The Florida Attorney General's Office reported receiving nearly 9,000 consumer complaints about timeshare resale fraud in 2011, representing the highest complaint category.
Visa and the FTC offer the following tips to timeshare owners on how to spot a timeshare resale scam:
- Don't agree to anything on the phone or online until you've had a chance to research the reseller.
- Contact the Better Business Bureau, state Attorney General, and local consumer protection agencies in the state where the reseller is located. Ask if any complaints are on file.
- Before you sign a contract with a reseller, get the details in writing. The written contract should include the services the reseller will perform; the fees, commissions, and other costs you must pay and when; whether you can rent or sell the timeshare on your own at the same time the reseller is trying to sell your unit; the length or term of the contract to sell your timeshare; and who is responsible for documenting and closing the sale.
- Ask if the reseller's agents are licensed to sell real estate where your timeshare is located. If so, verify it with the state Real Estate Commission. Deal only with licensed real estate brokers and agents, and ask for references from satisfied clients.
- Ask how the reseller will advertise and promote the timeshare unit. Will you get progress reports? How often?
- Ask about fees and timing. It's preferable to do business with a reseller that takes its fee after the timeshare is sold.
If you think you are a victim of a timeshare resale scam and have not been able to resolve the issue y with the merchant, call your card issuer to dispute the charge, if the fee payment was made with a credit or debit card.
You can also report your experiences to the FTC and find additional information on timeshare resale fraud including Selling a Timeshare Through a Reseller: Contract Caveats and Time and Time Again: Buying and Selling Timeshares and Vacation Plans.
Information about other scams and tips for avoiding them .
Discounts at Chesterfield Palm Beach
|For the first time, through September 2012, the Red Carnation boutique hotel, The Chesterfield Palm Beach, offers a Florida resident rate to all. When calling the hotel, mention promo code Chester FL. Included in this Resident Special is continental breakfast for two each morning, free valet parking, and free Wi-Fi in-room and throughout the property.
The resident special starts at $157 for a Superior Queen room and $192 for a Deluxe King. This offer is not valid with any other promos or discounted rates. All prices do not include taxes and gratuities and are subject to availability.
Chesterfield Palm Beach or 800/243-7871.
Summer Saving at Barceló Bávaro Beach Resort
|Book a stay at the all-inclusive beachfront Barceló Bávaro Beach Resort in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic and treat yourself with a $1,000 resort credit and up to 25 percent off early reservations through December 2012.
In addition to the amenities included in a Barceló all-inclusive getaway, with a minimum four-night stay you receive a $1,000 resort credit per room. You can use your credit at on-site 16-store shopping promenade, at the Casino Bávaro or at Disco Bávaro. Golfers can practice at the all-new golf complex. Kids can splash at the new Pirate’s Island water park, while adults can get treatments at the spa. Or you can use your credit for off-site excursions from a daytrip to the nation’s capital, Santo Domingo, or a jeep safari.
On top of the $1,000 resort credit, reservations for travel through Oct. 31, 2012 will receive a percentage off the cost based on how early it’s booked. The earlier the vacation is booked – the greater the value.
- More than 120 days in advance – 25 percent off
- Between 90 and 119 days in advance – 20 percent off
- Between 60 and 89 days in advance – 15 percent off
- Between 31 and 59 days in advance – 10 percent off
The resort credit and early booking promotion is only valid for U.S. residents. Other restrictions may apply.
Barceló Bávaro Beach Resort or 800/BARCELO.
Spend four days vacationing at the Viceroy Riviera Maya and the resort will pick up your airfare.
The all-villa Viceroy Riviera Maya’s “Fly Free” program offers reimbursement of air tickets for up to three guests, the maximum occupancy in one villa, when you stay at least four nights. The reimbursement per villa ranges from $800 to $3500, depending on the season and the villa category you book.
Fly Free is offered for stays through Dec. 19, 2012. Buy your own airfare and then at check-in present your receipt. The resort will apply the ticket amount, up to the maximum allowance for the villa category, as a credit to your bill. The credit may be applied towards food and beverage and spa services, but not the gift shop, spa retail or outside activities.
The offer is subject to availability and blackout dates, and is not combinable with other promotions, offers or packages. It does not apply to group or corporate contracts.
The Viceroy Riviera Maya’s 41 villas feature a private patio and plunge pool, outdoor shower, and a high-ceiling, thatched-palapa roof. Fine dining is available as is workout equipment in the fitness center. The resort has its own pier where you can sunbathe, get massages, eat dinner, or be picked up by boat for snorkeling, diving and other excursions. The six-acre resort is on the Caribbean coast of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula 40 miles south of Cancun International Airport, and three miles north of Playa del Carmen.
Viceroy Riviera Maya’s sister property in Mexico, Viceroy Zihuatanejo, 866/905-9560, also offers a Fly Free program.
Viceroy Riviera Maya or 866/332-1672.
Insight Vacations offers $300 savings per couple ($150 per person) when you choose a vacation from its 2012/2013 Fall, Winter, Spring Europe tours including Christmas Markets. Book and deposit (plus applicable insurance) your 2012/2013 Fall, Winter and Spring Europe vacation by July 12, 2012, and save.
Travel must begin between Nov. 1, 2012 and Mar. 31, 2013. The savings are not valid to Greece, Egypt, Turkey, Jordan, Israel, Select Choices, and tours with cruise inclusions.
In addition to lower prices and less crowded destinations, parts of Europe are temperate between November and April, including Spain, Portugal, and Italy. For fairy-tale like snow-capped Alps, there are itineraries such as 'Magical Switzerland' that show off winter wonderlands of frozen waterfalls, cozy villages, snow-laden forests and imposing mountain ranges crowned by famous peaks.
New itineraries from Insight's 2012/13 Winter Europe and Eastern Mediterranean program include:
- Rome to London - 10 days from $2399 per person, land only, based on double occupancy. Visit Rome, Vatican City, Florence, Lucerne, Paris and London.
- Sicily with Malta Option - 9 or 12 days from $1675 per person, land only, based on double occupancy. Visit Taormina, Cefalu, Palermo, Monreale, Erice, Trapani Salt Marshes, Marsala, Agrigento, Ragusa and Syracuse.
- Highlights of Spain - 10 days from $1899 per person, land only, based on double occupancy. Visit Barcelona, Peníscola, Valencia, Granada, Seville, Cordoba, and Madrid.
Insight groups are limited to 40 passengers, the services of a tour director, and stays at hotels that are centrally or scenically located. Sightseeing is included as are many meals.
Insight Vacations or 800/582-8380.
Latest advice from European motoring body the FIA says that drivers of all motor vehicles, including motorcycle, will need to carry a breathalyzer kit in their vehicle when traveling in France.
From July 2012, all drivers need to carry a breathalyzer kit, as French drivers do. An 11 euro fine will be issued on the spot. This applies to all road users including motorcycles, but not mopeds.
The rules will apply to anyone traveling to or through France by motor vehicle, even just for a day trip. This measure won’t be enforced until Nov. 1, 2012, giving you time to prepare for the change.
Single-use breathalyzer kits satisfy the requirement. The legal limit in France and Germany is 50 mg per 100 ml of blood, lower than in the 80mg per 100 ml in the UK. France’s lower limit means it’s very easy to be over the limit the morning after as well.
Drivers in France who are found with a higher alcohol level face fines of 90 euros to 750 euros; drivers having levels above 0.08 percent face a fine of up to 4,500 euros and/or up to two years in prison.
One-time-use breathalyzers can be purchased for about 2 euros to 5 euros at gas stations, supermarkets and apothecaries in France, and at ferry and tunnel terminals for crossings to France from the UK. The kits are so you can test yourself to see if you are over the French limit.
Experts suggest carrying two breathalyzers at all times, so that if one is used you still have one to produce for the police if you are stopped.
Anyone driving in France is also required to carry a warning triangle and a fluorescent safety vest to use in an emergency. Motorcyclists should carry extra bulbs. Additionally, UK motorists and motorcyclists must display a GB plate, to advise local motorists that you are a visitor and as probably unfamiliar with their motoring conventions. Cars should have their headlights adjusted to the right.
Several of Amelia Island’s hotels, resorts and historic inns offer packages and specials. Packages are based on availability and cannot be combined with any other discount. Restrictions and black-out dates apply. Contact the individual properties for restrictions and to book a package.
Summer packages on Amelia Island include:
The 86-room Amelia Hotel at the Beach, 877/263-5428, offers a “Sail Away” package that includes a two-night stay, private sailing lesson for up to six people, tote bag with water and fruit, and free breakfast buffet daily. The package starts at $545 plus tax and is available through Sep. 1, 2012. Use reservation code SAIL to book the “Sail Away” package.
The Addison on Amelia, 800/943-1604, offers “Dog Days of Summer Free Night” July 6 through Sep. 30, 2012. The offer includes a free night with a four-night stay, breakfast and happy hour daily.
Through Dec. 31, 2012, stay at the Amelia Island Hampton Inn at the Beach, 904/321-1111, and reserve two nights at $240 plus tax and receive a third night free. The offer is based on availability and not valid during special events. You must book by calling the hotel direct.
The Amelia Island Williams House, 800/414-9258, offers a “Summer Fling” package, available July 1 through Sep. 6, 2012, that includes a three-night stay; cookies and beverage upon arrival; snacks and beverages all day; social hour each evening; parking; horse-drawn carriage tour of downtown Fernandina Beach; and breakfast daily. The package starts at $525 for a deluxe room midweek and $575 on weekends.
Fairbanks House, 888/891-9881, offers discounted prices on their Romance package July 8 through Sep. 30, 2012. The package includes wine, dinners at local restaurants, breakfast daily, evening social hours with beverages and hors d'oeuvres, use of beach equipment and concierge service. Two to seven-night packages start at $435 for two.
The Omni Amelia Island Plantation, 800/874-6878, offers several packages through Sep. 3, 2012. The “Sand, Sun & Soul” package, from $265 per night, includes accommodations, reading material, yoga on the beach, in-room wine flight, $100 spa credit per adult, and a sleep set. The three-night “Pirates and Princesses” package starts at $245 per night and includes accommodations, pirate patches and princess tiaras, beach gear fun pack, in-room movie and popcorn, romantic parents-only dinner, a kids themed dinner party, beachside fire with s’mores, spa pedicures or bike and fishing pole rentals, and an adventure at the on-site Nature Center. Rates do not include resort fees or taxes and each package requires specific days for arrival.
The Residence Inn, 866/245-6099, offers several summer packages. From $169, the “Let’s Beach It!” package includes accommodations, breakfast, two beach towels, beach bag with waters and lip balm, discount at Sun Gallery, free shuttle to and from the beach, and two beach chairs and umbrella for one day. The “Historic Sunset Tour” package starts at $169 and includes accommodations, breakfast, split of wine, a carriage ride through Fernandina Beach, and a $25 voucher for Brett’s Waterway Café. The “Girlfriends Escape” package starts at $179 and includes accommodations, breakfast, two admissions to Sheffield’s Night Club and a bottle of champagne, two glow sticks, shot glasses and Residence Inn slippers.
Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island, 800/241-3333, offers a “Comfort You” package from $379 per night. The package includes accommodations, breakfast for two, and a $40 resort credit per night.
Additionally, 19 Amelia Island accommodations offer the third or fourth free night when you book a qualifying stay. The offer allows you to use the free night with your current stay or during a return visit.
Amelia Island Convention & Visitor’s Bureau or 866/439-7375.
FlyersRights.org expands its hotline from domestic service to international service. FlyersRights toll free hotline is a resource for airline passengers who have seen airline customer service nearly disappear. The organization's iPhone app helps you when stuck in an air travel nightmare, and lets you know your rights for compensation and other help from the airlines.
The toll-free, volunteer-staffed hotline to international service includes Alaska and Hawaii and you navigate airline customer service. It offers help to all air travelers who find themselves stranded and don't know their rights. The hotline has fielded nearly 30,000 complaints over the last five and a half years of operation.
The iPhone app informs passengers of all of their newly-regulated rights including DOT rules and laws recently passed by Congress. The 99 cent app includes a 'tarmac timer' that plays the theme from Jeopardy after three hours, notifying the flight crews that time is up, and they need to let you deplane.
FlyersRights.org is a non-profit airline passenger’s rights group with 50,000 members, a toll free hotline, and a website that contains the stranded passenger survival guide. FlyersRights.org is funded completely through donations.
FlyersRights or 877/359-3776.
Summer brings out the travel deals in Phoenix. Here are a few of the current deals.
The Arizona Biltmore all-inclusive golf "Play” package” starts at $669 per night and includes: upgraded accommodations in Biltmore’s "hotel within the hotel”; continental breakfast; lunch for two; dinner for two; 30 percent off spa services; free self-parking; two rounds of golf per room, per night; one Swedish massage or one facial per room, per night; unlimited tennis, use of the Biltmore putting course, fitness center and fitness classes.
The JW Marriott Camelback Inn Resort & Spa commemorates 75 years with a “Diamond in the Desert” anniversary package. The package starts at $214 per night and includes two nights in a casita-style room, $75 per day resort credit, two 75th anniversary signature cocktails, and daily breakfast.
JW Marriott Desert Ridge Resort & Spa’s “Family Fling & Swing” package, June 3 through Sep. 5, 2012, starts at $149 and includes a $50 daily resort credit, free golf on Faldo and Palmer golf courses, free meals for kids 12 and under, free daily appetizer, in-room Wi-Fi, 10 percent off retail purchases in the resort’s Marriott outlets, free parking and no resort fee.
The Boulders Resort Summer Romance package, valid through Sep. 9, 2012, starts at $249 per night and includes Casita accommodations, daily breakfast for two; access to the spa, fitness facilities, adult pool, steam rooms, sauna, and Niwa pool; and a bottle of sparkling wine or sparkling cider upon arrival.
Hyatt Regency Scottsdale at Gainey Ranch offers “Hyatt Free Time,” through Sep. 30, 2012. Rates start from $165 plus tax and resort fee. Stay two nights and receive the third night free. The package includes daily breakfast for two and a 20 percent discount on spa services. For a shorter stay, “Advance Purchase” rates give you 20 percent off the “Hyatt Daily” rate.
The Four Seasons Resort Scottsdale at Troon North “Very Important Kids” package, valid to Aug. 31, 2012, starts at $194 per night and includes: a $100 Resort credit for every two paid consecutive nights, “make your own snack mix” turndown amenity, one in-room family movie, and one voucher per child (up to two per room) for a poolside smoothie. The resort brings back the “Dive-in Movie” series, with free movies every weekend June through August.
The Buttes Sizzling Summer Advance Purchase Rate, through Sep. 3, 2012, is $99 per night. A 14 day advance purchase is required and is only valid on the weekends for a Friday or Saturday night stay.
Kimpton Firesky Resort & Spa’s “Sweet Escape” package, $109 through September 2012, offers two welcome cocktails, free dessert at a Kimpton restaurant, shopping discounts at Fashion Square, and 25 percent off a 60- or 90-minute treatment at Jurlique Spa.
Phoenix Convention and Visitors Bureau or 602/254-6500.
The Kona Golf Trail package at Keauhou Beach Resort in Kailua-Kona, HI is valid through Dec. 21, 2012. For a minimum of three nights you can play three rounds at select golf courses. The package costs $517 or $172.33 per night for one golfer and $677 or $225.66 per night for two golfers.
The package includes:
- Three-night stay in an Ocean View room
- Three rounds of golf per guest - one round of golf at each of the following courses: Kona Country Club, Makalei Golf Club and Big Island Country Club. You must book your tee times here.
- Daily buffet breakfast
- Cultural activities such as lei making, Hawaiian language lessons, ukulele lessons, makahiki games
- Free Internet access in all rooms and free wi-fi in the lobby
- Free local and long distance calls to mainland U.S. and Canada (first 15 minutes)
- Free use of in-room safe
- Free in-room coffee and tea
The offer is valid for new reservations only.
You can extend your stay at Keauhou Beach Resort for $119 per night, based on availability. The rate for extending your stay is for the room only and no golf rounds are included. Rates and specials cannot be combined with other offers and are subject to availability. Additional restrictions may apply.
Keauhou Beach Resort or 866/326-6803.
There's an abundance of Little Rock, AR attractions that offer free fun entertainment. If you're watching the budget, these free activities can keep you entertained.
The circa 1927 Gothic-style Central High School, 2125 Daisy L. Gaston Bates Dr., 501/374-1957, received international attention during the Civil Rights Movement, and the museum in the restored service station across the street. You can tour the "All the World is Watching Us" exhibit which tells the story of the nine black students who made civil rights history when they entered Central High in September 1957.
The Arkansas Arts Center, 9th and Commerce streets, 501/372-4000, recently expanded. The 42,000 square-foot museum includes a world-renowned art collection. .
The MacArthur Museum of Arkansas Military History highlights the state's military heritage from Territorial days to the present. It resides in the Tower Building of the old U.S. Arsenal. 503 E. Ninth St., MacArthur Park, 501/376-4602.
The State Capitol, One Capitol Mall, Capitol Avenue and Woodlane, 501/682-5080, designed in the Neoclassical style, was completed in 1915. Modeled after the nation's Capitol, the building features Arkansas granite plus six bronze doors and three chandeliers crafted by Tiffany's of New York. Free audio tours available. Virtual tour.
The newly renovated Old State House, 300 W. Markham St., 501/324-9685, is the oldest standing state capitol building west of the Mississippi River and houses a museum of Arkansas history. Bill Clinton announced his campaign for president and celebrated his victory there and it also displays his saxophone.
The circa 1881 Villa Marre, 1321 S. Scott Street, a Second Empire/Italianate home, gained fame in the 1980s when television producers Harry Thomason and Linda Bloodworth-Thomason used the home's exterior to depict the Sugarbaker design firm on the television series "Designing Women." Now a private residence, you can take photos of its famous exterior.
Bring your camera to the Peabody Hotel, Three Statehouse Plaza, 501/906-4000. Each day at 11 a.m., watch the famous Peabody ducks make their red carpet entrance from their Duck Palace to the fountain in the lobby. They frolic there until 5 p.m. when they ceremoniously retire for the day.
Climb a Mountain at Pinnacle Mountain State Park,11901 Pinnacle Valley Road, 501/868-5806, just west of Little Rock.
The water wheel that appears during the opening credits of "Gone with the Wind" is in North Little Rock. The Old Mill, at Lakeshore Drive & Fairway Avenue, 501/791-8537, is a reproduction of an 1800s water-powered grist mill and was built in 1933 by Dionicio Rodriguez. This three-acre site, officially known as the T.R. Pugh Memorial Park and Pugh's Mill, is commonly known as the Old Mill. The mill is surrounded by a road resembling an old wagon road and a rustic footbridge made of black locust tree limbs. Bring a picnic lunch. Open from dawn to dusk.
Mount Holly Cemetery, 12th & Broadway streets, was established in 1843 and features Victorian-era statuary ranging from angels, cherubs to two young sisters memorializing for dying in childhood. Buried luminaries include at least 10 Arkansas governors, three U.S. senators, five Confederate generals, 20 mayors, composers, newspaper editors, a Pulitzer Prize-winning poet and Quatie Ross, wife of Cherokee Chief John Ross, who died while traveling on the Trail of Tears.
The city's early history is in a nine-square-mile area known as the Quapaw Quarter, 501/371-0075. The area includes MacArthur Park Historic District featuring the city's oldest homes and the Governor's Mansion Historic District with homes dating from 1880 to 1920. The district's restored buildings are not open to the public. Three walking tour brochures are available at any visitor information center.
Experience the longest pedestrian and bicycle bridge, the Big Dam Bridge. The 4,226-foot bridge, elevated up to 90 feet above the Arkansas River, links 25 miles of bike-hike trails in Little Rock and North Little Rock, and connects two recreation areas, Murray Park and Cooks Landing. The bridge is part of the Arkansas River Trail, a pedestrian and bike trail from downtown Little Rock to Pinnacle Mountain State Park on the southern shore, and downtown North Little Rock to Cook's Landing on the northern shore. A 14-mile loop is created by the Big Dam Bridge and the new Junction Bridge.
Stroll through Riverfront Park and become enriched by the works of art placed along the path to the Clinton Presidential Center and Park.
Discover the people and places that shape Arkansas with the Arkansas Political History walking tour to 23 locations throughout historic downtown Little Rock. You can download a free audio tour.
The H.U. Lee International Gate and Garden is an oasis of Korean culture in downtown Little Rock. The gate and garden are tributes to Eternal Grandmaster H.U. Lee, founder of American Taekwondo Association.
Heifer Village is an indoor interactive exhibit that offers creative, hopeful and effective solutions to some of our planet's biggest challenges, ending hunger while caring for our environment.
Witt Stephens Jr. Central Arkansas Nature Center focuses on outdoor recreational opportunities. The location along the Arkansas River allows you to watch wildlife in an urban area. Water turtles, butterflies and migrating pelicans are common sights. The main building includes an exhibit hall, aquariums, gift shop, theater and educational programs.
Each Wednesday night in June and July go to the banks of the Arkansas River for a free movie in the park. Programs start at sundown in the Riverfest Amphitheatre. You can bring lawn chairs, blankets and picnic baskets.
Little Rock Convention & Visitors Bureau or 800/844-4781.
Live Aqua, Fiesta Americana Grand and Fiesta Americana resorts offer 30 percent off early reservations at six beachfront destinations including Cancun, Los Cabos, Cozumel and Puerto Vallarta.
New reservations made through Aug. 31, 2012, with a minimum four-night stay, to Live Aqua, Fiesta Americana Grand and Fiesta Americana resorts in Mexico receive 30 percent off. Travel is valid through Dec. 20, 2012.
In addition to a discount, you can also receive additional offers from select resorts including:
- Live Aqua Cancun All-Inclusive Resort – $400 resort credit with each booking at this adult-only, all-inclusive resort.
- Fiesta Americana Grand Coral Beach Cancun Resort & Spa – Free breakfast daily.
- Fiesta Americana Grand Los Cabos Golf & Spa Resort – $350 resort coupon with each booking.
- Fiesta Americana Condesa Cancun All-Inclusive Resort – Two children under 12 stay for free.
- Fiesta Americana Cozumel All-Inclusive Resort– Two children under 12 stay for free. All hotel bookings are subject to availability and must be made in advance. The offer is not valid for groups or conventions and may not be combined with other promotional offers.
Fiesta Americana Grand Resorts or 800/FIESTA1.
Submit your favorite shots for a chance to win Caribbean trips, travel gear and bragging rights in the pages of Caribbean Travel + Life magazine. The Caribbean Travel + Life Photo Contest 2012 is here.
How it works:
- Submit a photo - You can upload up to nine photos with an entry fee of $5 per photo.
- Describe your photo - Choose a category, from Anything Goes, Beach, Nature, People, or Scenic.
- Enter by July 8, 2012 – The magazine will choose one winner in each category and print their favorites in an upcoming issue.
Caribbean Travel + Life Photo Contest.
Alaska Airlines offers a Dream Suite Sweepstakes where you have a chance to win a trip to Disneyland Resort.
The sweepstakes runs through Aug. 7, 2012, and includes three monthly vacation prizes awarded in early June, July and August. Monthly prizes include roundtrip airfare for four on Alaska Airlines, a three-night stay in one of the Disneyland Resort hotels and four three-day Disneyland Resort Park Hopper tickets.
Enter online and register for a chance to win. You can enter each month throughout the sweepstakes for each of the monthly prizes. Entries that do not win the monthly prizes are counted cumulatively for the grand prize drawing, up to four entries per entrant. Winners of the monthly prizes are removed from the grand prize drawing and subsequent monthly prize drawings.
Click here for full details about the sweepstakes and complete terms and conditions. .
The monthly sweepstakes prize trip is based on availability and is valid from Sep. 1, 2012. Travel must be completed by Sep. 1, 2013, with blackout dates Nov. 16 to 26, 2012, and Dec. 20, 2012, through Jan. 2, 2013.
The grand prize trip is valid Nov. 7 to 11, 2012, and is subject to change without notice. Grand prize winner must be available to travel Nov. 7 to 11, 2012.
Travel is valid solely on Alaska Airlines flights. Changes to itinerary cannot be made without authorization from the airline and incur service fees. A $20 baggage fee will apply for each of the first three checked bags. Additional fees apply to check more than three bags and for overweight or oversized items. The trip does not count for frequent flyer miles and first class paid upgrades are allowed. The prize is void if bartered or sold.
From June 1, 2012, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines offers discounts to faraway destinations. The special offers are available for five days starting the first Friday of each month. Each one is linked to a specific type of holiday such as trips to sunny spots or travel to other continents such as Asia.
With these special offers, KLM aims to demonstrate its wide array of tourist destinations on every continent.
Discounts can be 30 percent off the basic airfare. Destinations may include Bangkok, New York and Curacao. The offers are part of a KLM campaign targeting travelers looking to go beyond Europe.
Through their new website, you can choose from 236 different destinations. Whether it’s a trip to a sunny spot, active holiday or a city trip, KLM has a destination for every kind of holiday.
KLM Royal Dutch Airlines
BOOK BY JUNE 6 - - Friendly Planet Travel offers a seven-day Captivating Costa Rica trip from $1,179 per person, based on double occupancy.
This leisurely-paced, independent tour includes stops at San Jose, Arenal, Monteverde, Arenal Volcano, Tobacon Hot Springs, and the Cloud Forest Reserve. There is an optional three-night extension to Manuel Antonio National Park.
With departures July through December 2012, the tour requires minimal walking and is suitable for most levels of physical fitness. This tour also includes long scenic drives between destinations and may have limited rest stops.
The package includes roundtrip flights from Miami via scheduled carriers, including fuel surcharges, taxes and fees; all transfers in air-conditioned chauffeur-driven mini-vans; six nights’ superior hotel accommodations and breakfast daily.
For an added cost, departures are offered from Los Angeles, New York Kennedy, San Francisco, Washington Dulles, Philadelphia, Chicago, Dallas, Atlanta, Seattle, and Boston.
Friendly Planet Travel or 800/555-5765.
Go Today Travel offers a nine-night summer Best of Italy package. Use promo code DVIT2 for a $50 discount off of the regular $1649 price for prices that start from $1,599.
Take advantage of the Best of Italy package in December 2012, January or February 2013, and the price drops to $1399 per person, based on double occupancy.
The package includes airfare into Rome and return airfare from Venice, four-night hotel accommodations in Rome, three-night hotel accommodations in Florence, two-night hotel accommodations in Venice, second class reserved rail between cities, Continental breakfast daily, hotel taxes and service charges. The package does not include City Taxes as these are paid directly to the hotel at check-out time.
The trip starts in Rome where you can take optional tours to experience the city`s rich history. You continue to Florence, Italy`s cultural capital, known for its art treasures including Michelangelo’s David and ends in Venice.
Go Today Travel or 800/227-3235.
Cleveland was sucker-punched by the economy and man-handled by the media, named “the most miserable city in America” by Forbes Magazine.
Reports of the city’s demise seem to overlook Cleveland’s spunk and ability to reinvent itself. Despite the country’s economic woes, in a recent visit to Cleveland, I found make-over a more apt description than miserable.
Each time I’ve gone to Cleveland, I’ve not been disappointed. A can-do ethos envelops Cleveland and local entrepreneurs and dreamers are sinking roots and injecting life into previously rusted-out spaces. Go to some of the neighborhoods such as Tremont where steelworkers once filled the low-slung houses and you’ll see funky boutiques, offbeat art galleries and sophisticated restaurants.
During this visit, I concentrated on the classic things to do and see. Those oldies but goodies not only weathered the economic downturn but thrived.
I spent much of my time in University Circle, the area that houses many of the city’s cultural jewels. This city within the city has the most concentrated square mile of arts and culture in the United States. Think of it as culture on the cheap as many of the institutions offer free or moderately priced shows and exhibitions.
Culture on the cheap doesn’t mean cut-rate culture. These cultural institutions are world renowned, notables in their fields and still have their polish and shine.
Because many cultural and historic institutions are in University Circle, it is easy to spend an entire day in the circle and not make a dent in what there is to do and see. Here are some of the places I visited this trip, repeat visits for me, but well worth seeing again.
Cleveland Institute of Art – For more than 100 years, the institute has been educating students in the visual arts. The CIA is not just for students, their Reinberger Galleries host about 10 exhibitions a year that showcase students and faculty. Four shows are curated and the galleries commission new works. Free and open to the public the exhibitions may include lectures, films, or informal gallery talks. There are even shows that may feature internationally known artists as past shows included works by Andy Warhol and Ansel Adams.
The CIA’s Cinematheque, founded in 1986, is considered Cleveland's alternative art house theater. This is the place to see movies that will never make it to main stream theaters, classics and foreign art films in a single-screen theater without a concession stand. Don’t expect a megaplex screen as the CIA’s 616 seat Russell B. Aitken Auditorium screens 35mm artistically and culturally significant films. John Ewing, the director of the Cleveland Institute of Art Cinematheque is an advocate of 35 mm film projection. He calls it the gold standard when it comes to projected images on a screen with the 35 mm film print as essentially the original work of art. The smaller 100-seat Ohio Bell Auditorium shows videotapes and 16mm films. The selection of films shines: obscure foreign films, silent movies and other classics, documentaries and the occasional revival. If you’re a film nerd, you’ll fall in love.
Although I didn’t have the opportunity to visit the Cleveland Institute of Music, music lover should make a mental note. If you find yourself near CIM on the evening of a recital, treat yourself to this music venue. CIM regularly hosts mostly free classical music recitals by its students and faculty. Their faculty includes 38 members of The Cleveland Orchestra, many of whom are principle players. As an international conservatory, their graduates perform with acclaimed musical organizations. Consider this a win-win situation that easy on your wallet.
Within University Circle is Wade Oval, a park for public use. Given to the city of Cleveland by Jeptha Wade, one of the founding members of Western Union Telegraph, the seven acre park includes the Kulas Community Stage. WOW! Wade Oval Wednesdays are a series of free open-air concerts that run June 13 to Aug. 29, 2012. Performances are held 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., and concerts span the range from jazz to big-band to classical. Expect a crowd as the event drew nearly 22,000 people last year. In addition to the free entertainment, University Circle museums offer extended hours and discounted admission plus area restaurants offer samples of their cuisine.
In the winter, you can tame spending ice skating at Wade Oval. The first outdoor skating rink in Cleveland has faux ice. Its surface is a special polymer that does not require water or electricity to make it hard enough to skate on. The rink is usually open weekends December through January and weekdays just prior to Christmas through December 31. Admission is free and skate rental is under $5.
Playhouse Square Center - The second largest performing arts center in the U.S. (after Lincoln Center in New York City),) is in downtown Cleveland, between East 14th Street and East 17th Street, where the great Cleveland playhouses were located. Today, Playhouse Square Center consists of nine theaters in the Theater District: 14th Street Theater, Allen Theatre, Hanna Theatre, Kennedy's Theatre, Ohio Theatre, Palace Theatre, State Theatre, Westfield Insurance Studio Theatre and Star Plaza.
The history of five of these theaters extends from the 1920s. The Ohio, State, Hanna and Allen theaters were opened in 1921 while the Palace opened in 1922. They were a major draw to downtown life showing movies, plays and vaudeville acts. It’s a common sad story, with suburban sprawl fewer people ventured downtown at night and by the 1960s, the theaters were plagued by vandalism. By 1969 only the Hanna remained open.
While some tried to raze the buildings, others fought to save them by forming the non-profit Playhouse Square Association. The theaters underwent massive restorations in the 1980s and 1990s and the Playhouse Square Association now owns all five original theaters from the 1920s.
Different theaters cater to different types of performances offering plays contemporary and classics, concerts, dance, experimental theater, comedy and improv.
Severance Hall - Amazingly, Clevelanders have supported a world class orchestra for more than 100 years. Today, it is the world-famous Cleveland Orchestra clevelandorchestra.com and they call one of the great concert halls home. Severance Hall, the home of the Cleveland Orchestra, delivers as it is regarded by some as America's most beautiful concert hall. A $36 million renovation in 2000 melded the hall's interior with the art deco style of its exterior, making the performance center as pleasing to look at as it is to listen in. The 2,000-seat concert auditorium and a 400-seat chamber hall, was opened in February 1931 and named for Elisabeth Severance, the wife of John Severance, the president of the orchestra's board. Looking like a Greek temple, hand-painted murals, gilt ceilings and marble wainscoting have been restored, and the main stage was refurbished. If you can’t make it to a performance, you can admire Severance Hall on a free public tour. Free tours are offered on select Sundays at noon and 1 p.m. during the Severance Hall season, which typically runs October to May. Although tours are free, reservations are requested.
Cleveland Museum of Art – Across the street from Severance Hall, the Museum of Art makes a statement even before you step inside its doors. Like an impressionist painting, you see the museum’s shimmering reflection in the lagoon complete with its attendant ducks and geese. The Cleveland Museum of Art is the only major art museum in the U.S. that still offers free general admission. Entry fees are charged for a few special exhibitions.
Clad in alternating bands of marble and granite, the East Wing links the museum’s original 1916 building. The CMA’s permanent collection includes more than 43,000 items including paintings, textiles, sculptures, photographs, and drawings. Known for its holdings of Egyptian mummies, the museum offers Old Masters and kid-friendly armor, classical sculpture, Asian treasures, and an original casting of Auguste Rodin's The Thinker.
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum - Detroit may be known for the Motown sound, Nashville is a little bit country, but Cleveland rocks. The sleek I.M. Pei building along Lake Erie that houses the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum is an interactive musical tour that chronicles rock and roll. The six-story gem holds hundreds of artifacts. If you get tired of looking at the rock legends' family photos, Jim Morrison's letters to his mom, Janis Joplin's 1965 Porsche, Keith Moon’s platform shoes or Elvis Presley’s white jumpsuit, there are many interactive exhibits.
One of the museum’s strong points is the revelations about rock and roll’s heyday, the 1950s. Today it is almost comical to learn about the hysteria created by preachers and politicians and how they warned of our youth being subverted by Communists or propelled to wanton sexuality. In that context it shows artists' careers, culture, and the social influences of music.
You may ask, why Cleveland? In 1951 disc jockey Alan Freed hit the Cleveland airwaves with his Saturday night “Moondog” show. Freed howled and banged on a cowbell and urged listeners to embrace the music that he called “rock ’n’ roll,” because it seemed like you rolled to the surging beat. In the 1980s the city’s movers and shakers heard about the campaign to create a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum and they wanted to make sure it landed in Cleveland. Clevelanders generated a petition with 660,000 signatures and flooded a USA Today newspaper poll with 110,315 phone calls nominating their city for the site. In 1986, Cleveland was named the winning location. In 1995, the Rock Hall became reality. Though Alan Freed died in 1965, his ashes are enshrined in the museum since March 21, 2002.
West Side Market - This fantastic public market, one of the nation’s preeminent farmer markets, symbolizes farm fresh. Many of the city’s chefs go here to stock their own kitchens with produce, meats, sweets and flowers showcased in two turn-of-the-20th century buildings. Here, you can see the city’s diversity through what the locals eat. Browse the 100 or so vendors that sell meats, cheese and produce and you’ll find a shop that sells only pierogi, an Asian spice shop and a falafel shop. You can’t miss the market’s signature 137-feet tall clock tower that advertises it location in Ohio City. The arched NeoClassical/Byzantine buildings turn 100 in 2012. Only open Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday.
A Christmas Story House – In the Tremont section of Cleveland, there’s a living monument to Christmas: The “A Christmas Story” house. If you ever viewed the now cult-classic 1983 movie, “A Christmas Story,” the house is set up 1950s-style and you can see where a bespectacled Ralphie triumphed over seemingly insurmountable obstacles and got his dream gift of a BB gun. If you’re a fan, you’ll keep thinking “You’ll shoot your eye out, kid!” After you leave the house, you’ll definitely want a leg lamp. And you can buy one, along with other movie memorabilia, across the street at the official A Christmas Story House Museum, which features original props, costumes and memorabilia from the film, and hundreds of rare behind-the-scenes photos.
Along Martin Luther King Highway, just north of University Circle in Rockefeller Park, are small gardens that form a larger parkway called the Cleveland Cultural Gardens. The park land was donated to the city by John D. Rockefeller in 1896 as a part of Cleveland’s first centennial celebration.
There are 36 gardens in all, each themed to a nationality that represents Cleveland's immigrant population. Many are striking and elaborate and reflect the massive amount of work put into them.
The British Gardens or Shakespeare Garden was the seed that led to the Cultural Gardens. Inaugurated by Leo Weidenthal in 1916, the Shakespeare Garden was renamed the British Cultural Garden in the 1930s. Weidenthal was one of the creators of Poet's Corners which consisted of the Hebrew, German and Shakespeare amphitheater Gardens. The name was changed to Cultural Gardens when the gardens were expanded to 13 nationalities.
Adjoining the Cultural Gardens is the Rockefeller Greenhouse, the oldest civic horticultural center in the country. There are seasonal indoor exhibits and four acres of outdoor gardens. Inside you will find tropical plants, fruit trees, water gardens, and cacti. Outside you can stroll through the Japanese Garden and the English Garden or go through the talking garden for those with visual impairments where you can touch and smell the plants and flowers. Parking and entrance are free.
This eclectic mix of things to see and do will give you a sense of Cleveland’s commitment to the arts, no matter the economy. Few cities offer so much for so little money.
Cleveland Convention and Visitors Bureau or 888/246-4459.
Ways to Save - Cleveland Plus Pass
Cleveland has a card that'll make your trip even more affordable. A Cleveland Plus Pass gives you admission to 10 major attractions and other traveler discounts in the region.
Purchase your pass for two, three or five consecutive days. It allows a one-time admission to each of the participating attractions. The pass is activated the first time it is scanned at any participating location and will remain active for the number of consecutive days you have chosen.
Participating attractions include: Children's Museum of Cleveland, Cleveland Botanical Garden, Cleveland Metroparks Zoo, Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland Museum of Natural History, Holden Arboretum, Lake Metroparks Farmpark, Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage, Museum of Contemporary Art, Cleveland and Western Reserve Historical Society.
Many Cleveland Plus venues offer additional discounts and specials when you show your Cleveland Plus Pass.
- A two-day - adult pass is $24.95, senior (60+ years) pass $19.95, youth (2 to 12 years) pass $14.95
- A three-day – adult pass is $34.95, senior pass $24.95, youth pass $19.95
- A five-day - adult pass is $49.95, senior pass $39.95, youth pass $34.95
Cleveland Plus Pass
A Place to Stay: Doubletree by Hilton Tudor Arms Hotel – Located next to the Cleveland Clinic, the former Cleveland Men's Club is now the Doubletree Tudor Arms. The hotel retains the dignity and charm of an exclusive men's club while the updated contemporary rooms are fresh and beautifully appointed. The onyx shower and hardwood floors were an unexpected delight. The staff is pleasant and helpful; and the lounge and restaurant were first-class. And the warm cookies are always a treat.
Sergio's in University Circle, 1903 Ford Drive, In a 'quaint' former carriage house, the casual restaurant is a convenient choice if you are taking in Cleveland's cultural playground. It is close to Severance Hall and other University Circle venues. The restaurant describes its fare as cross-cultural Mediterranean, with a definite bent towards Italian with lots of seafood and pastas. The flavors are bright and with local, organic, and seasonal items as often as possible. The service is casual and professional.
Named for the jewelry store that occupied the space, Cowell & Hubbard, 1305 Euclid Ave., is the right restaurant if you are making it a night out at PlayhouseSquare. Even with a strict time schedule, the servers got us in and out and we still had time for dessert. Characterized as Contemporary French cuisine, the menu offers vegetarians dishes with flair such as tofu au poivre, butternut pizza and vegetable Bourgogne.
Grumpy’s Café There is nothing grumpy about Grumpy’s Café, 2621 West 14th St., in the Tremont neighborhood. It’s a cross between art gallery and neighborhood coffee shop serving southwestern specialties and comfort food. The menu is rich with options both healthful (buckwheat pancakes and Veggie Benedict) and sumptuous (chocolate French toast and pumpkin pancakes).
Forever Resorts’ houseboat destinations offer prices that reward travelers who start their vacation on a weekday, book longer stays or travel during the off-peak season.
For example, book a 10-passenger, 59-foot XT houseboat at Callville Bay Resort & Marina at the Lake Mead National Recreation Area on a Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday in July and receive daily rates $30 lower than selecting a Thursday, Friday, Saturday or Sunday departure. Stay five days, and your daily rate decreases by another $50; stay seven or more days and the daily rate drops by another $30.
For greater savings consider a getaway during the off-peak but still temperate month of October. Depending upon length of stay and day of departure, daily rates on the same 59-foot XT houseboat at Callville Bay may be as much as $230 lower during off-peak months than during the summer season, Memorial Day to Labor Day.
Forever Resorts’ overall peak summer pricing in 2012 is lower than it was in 2007. Prices and savings vary by lake and marina.
Sample comparisons of peak summer pricing:
- The 59' Deluxe for a four-day weekend at Callville Bay on Lake Mead: $299 less than in 2007
- The 59' XT for a four-day weekend at Cottonwood Cove Resort and Marina on Lake Mohave in the Lake Mead National Recreation Area: $199 less than in 2007
- The 59-foot Deluxe for a four-day midweek vacation on Lake Don Pedro: $303 less than in 2007
- The 59' XT for a 4-day weekend on Trinity Lake in the Shasta-Trinity National Forest: $495 less than in 2007
Each Forever Resorts houseboat comes equipped with open living areas featuring fully equipped kitchens, dining tables and chairs, breakfast counters, wet bars, top-deck sun canopies, private staterooms, swimming platforms, waterslides, outdoor barbecue grills and boats sleep eight to 12 passengers. In addition, top-deck hot tubs are offered on the largest houseboat models.
Before you go out on a houseboat, operational training and a personal orientation by marina staff teaches you how to pilot, dock and beach a houseboat, plus boating safety rules of the lake.
Destinations served by Forever Houseboats include: Antelope Point Marina (Lake Powell, Ariz.); Pleasure Cove Marina (Lake Berryessa, near Napa, CA), Lake Oroville Marina (75 miles north of Sacramento), Lake Don Pedro Marina (east of Modesto, CA), Trinity Lake Resorts & Marina in the Shasta-Trinity National Forest (near Redding, CA); Lake of the Ozarks Marina in Missouri; Callville Bay Resort & Marina (Lake Mead, NV) and Cottonwood Cove Resort & Marina (Lake Mohave, NV).
Forever Resorts or 800/255-5561.
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