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"We're planning a big trip for our birthdays"
Buenos Aires & Santiago
Lan Airlines flights from Miami to Buenos Aires, all transfers, three nights at the Mansion Dandi Royal hotel, an onward flight to Santiago, two nights at the Hotel Principado, and breakfasts. Includes tango lessons, two half-day city tours, and visits to an estancia and a winery. When: Until June 17; Aug. 16-Dec. 9 ($1,099 per person, double). Other gateways: New York (add $150); Boston, D.C., Philadelphia (add $180); Dallas, Houston, L.A., San Francisco (add $200); Chicago (add $225). Contact: Escapes Unlimited, 800/243-7227, escapesltd.com.
Air from Miami, four nights at the Hotel Costa Verde, three nights at the Hotel Río Perlas Spa and Resort, a seven-day car rental, a half-day tour at Manuel Antonio National Park, a steam sauna, a facial, and breakfast daily at Río Perlas. When: Apr. 1-30 ($1,149 per person, double); May 1-June 30 ($996); July 1-Aug. 31 ($1,096); Sept. 1-Nov. 17 ($996). Other gateways: Dallas (from $1,022); New York (from $1,058); Chicago (from $1,089); L.A., San Francisco (from $1,097); Portland, Ore., and Seattle (from $1,197). Contact: Capricorn Leisure Corp., 800/426-6544, capricorn.net.
Singapore Airlines flights from L.A. to Tokyo, transfers, five nights at the Hilton Tokyo, a half-day city tour, bullet train to Hakone, and one night at the Hakone Nanpuso Hotel with full use of its onsen (open-air hot springs). The itinerary includes an afternoon tea ceremony with kimonos provided to guests, and a Kabuki theater performance. When: Until June 4; Aug. 21-Nov. 30 ($1,499 per person, double). Other gateways: None. Contact: Escapes Unlimited, 800/243-7227, escapesltd.com.
Air New Zealand from L.A. to Queenstown and five nights at the Heritage Queenstown hotel. Includes a cruise on Doubtful Sound and the "Awesome Foursome" challenge: riding a helicopter above Skipper's Canyon, jet boating through the Shotover River Canyons, bungee jumping on the Nevis Highwire Bungee, and white-water rafting. When: Aug. 1-Sept. 21 ($2,065 per person, double). Other gateways: None. Contact: Air New Zealand, 800/262-1234, airnewzealand.com/vacations.
Air from L.A. or San Francisco to Bangkok and a 12-day tour of Thailand with visits to Chiang Rai, Chiang Mai, and Myanmar. The itinerary includes a private tai chi lesson, tours of Bangkok and Ayutthaya, a Thai cooking class, dinner in a Thai home, a two-hour Lanna-style spa treatment, and more. When: Sept. 20, Oct. 25, Nov. 15 ($2,649 per person, double). Other gateways: New York (add $139); Dallas (add $189); Baltimore, Boston, D.C. (add $342); Atlanta (add $403); Chicago (add $510). Contact: Gutsy Women Travel, 866/464-8879, gutsywomentravel.com.
Air from New York; four nights at the Grand Hotel Palazzo Carpegna, less than three miles from Vatican City; a half-day city tour; and breakfasts. When: Nov. 1-6 ($967 per person, double; the $35 membership fee will be waived for Girlfriend Getaways readers). Other gateways: None. Contact: Women's Travel Club, 800/480-4448, womenstravelclub.com.
"We want over-the-top luxury, if only for a day"
Two nights in two rooms at the Watermark Hotel & Spa, dinner for four at Pesca on the River, specialty margaritas and a tequila tasting aboard a private barge on the San Antonio River that can stop at River Walk bars, two 50-minute spa treatments per person with lunch at the hotel's Rooftop Café, a custom pair of Lucchese cowgirl boots per person (see right), a round-trip limo ride to Austin with dinner for four at the Gristmill River Restaurant, beer at Gruene Hall, and tickets to a live music show of your choice in Austin. When: Until Dec. 30 ($1,500 per person, quad). Contact: Watermark Hotel & Spa, 866/605-1212, watermarkhotel.com.
Seven nights in a seven-bedroom villa overlooking Montego Bay. The villa comes with a staff of five, including a cook, housekeeper, maid/laundress, and two butlers; a private pool; guest privileges at the Rose Hall Resort & Country Club; a van with a driver for the whole week; an arrival-night barbecue; and a 45-minute massage per person. The cook will do all the food shopping, but the groceries are not included in the package. When: Apr. 15-Dec. 14 ($1,710 per person based on one person per room; two people in each room is half that amount per person). Contact: Villas and Apartments Abroad, 212/213-6435, vaanyc.com.
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