6 Unbeatable Spring Hotel Deals
There's no better way to shake off a long winter than taking a spring trip. Plus, springtime is shoulder season, which means your wanderlust dreams can come true at slashed prices, some with savings of more than 50 percent. Before the crowds descend for the summer, beat the rush—and the high-season surge pricing—with these six spots during the month of May.
The deal: Score a room for $134 per night before the summer rates kick in, from $266, seacrestbeachhotel.com
Why go: Think classic Cape: long walks on the hotel’s private Old Silver Beach, a spin on two wheels on the trails of Shining Sea Bikeway, and keeping the kids busy on rainy days at the indoor swimming pool. Nearby, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute and Marine Biological Laboratory and Nobska Lighthouse make for great educational excursions.
Fort Lauderdale Marriott Pompano Beach Resort and Spa: Fort Lauderdale, Florida
The deal: Rates drop as much as 38 percent to just $143 per night, marriott.com
Why go: The boutique-style resort calls Pompano Beach home. The up-and-coming locale boasts some of Florida’s best diving, offering prime views of sea creatures, reefs, and wrecks. The nearby South Florida Diving Headquarters offers training for beginners, so it's ideal for all levels. After a dive, chow down and kick back with a craft cocktail at the property's Prohibition era–themed McCoy’s Oceanfront.
Harbor View Hotel: Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts
The deal: Snag a room for $159 per night, compared with $319 in the summer, harbor-view.com
Why go: Join the storied property in celebrating its 125th anniversary. You’ll feel like an insider on Martha’s Vineyard before the summer crowds set in, since that’s when you can get the best access to the top beaches, boutiques, galleries, and restaurants, including the hotel’s new eatery, Lighthouse Grill, serving contemporary New England fare.
1000 Islands Harbor Hotel: Clayton, New York
The deal: Rates start at $129 per night in May, which is 24 percent off the June rate, 1000islandsharborhotel.com
Why go: A boater’s dream, the hotel is in the Thousand Islands region, right next to the newly completed 49-slip Transient Dock Facility. For a nautical adventure, charter a yacht for a private cruise down the St. Lawrence, or rent a fishing charter or boat. Once you’re back on dry land, the river village offers quaint shops, museums, vineyards, and plenty of outdoor activities to keep you entertained.
Kelley House: Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts
The deal: The typical $252 starting summer rate is slashed to $117 per night, kelley-house.com
Why go: Location, location, location. Kelley House is tucked into an historic home right in the heart of Edgartown, one of the most elegant and charming towns in Martha’s Vineyard, and houses Wave Pool Bar, a hot spot on the island. Take a rental bike to explore, go golfing at one of the nearby clubs, or visit the Kelley House Gallery to see local artists' work.
Palm Beach Marriott Singer Island Beach Resort and Spa: Palm Beach, Florida
The deal: Prices drop up to 58 percent to $207 per night, palmbeachmarriottresort.com
Why go: Private beach. Need we say more? The luxury all-suite resort features condo-style rooms with kitchens and a washer/dryer, so it’s perfect for families. While Mom and Dad are at the beach, at SiSpa, or relaxing poolside in a cabana, the little ones can have fun at the Kids Club. They also offer Parent’s Night Out on Fridays and Saturdays, with a long dinner at 3800 Ocean.
Why I Took a Road Trip for My Honeymoon
Despite what Pinterest would have us believe, weddings are stressful. Even “carefree” moments are scheduled with military precision. In travel and in life, I don’t love that kind of structure. So when it came to my honeymoon, I wasn’t inspired to race around airports, making connections. All I wanted was to unwind, wear hoodies, and eat carbs. My husband, Andrew, and I have always shared a love of road trips: the flexibility, the spontaneity—the simple pleasure of serendipity. California makes an especially good backdrop for such an easygoing journey, with its dramatic shifts in landscape; drive a few hours and you’ve crossed from desert into lush greenery, from the shore into mountains. Andrew and I took our time getting hitched, exclusively dating in L.A. for years beforehand. By our wedding, we had driven as far south as Rosarito, Mexico, and as far north as Portland, Oregon. So, for us, there was an implicit romance to this honeymoon concept: As anyone who has ever driven cross-country knows, road trips represent a kind of shared freedom. We decided to do this one like the “adults” we suddenly felt we must be. This wouldn’t be some haphazard slog to worn-down shacks labeled “cottages.” We’d still hold fast to our money by eating inexpensive snacks on the road—albeit high-end Kettle Chips and coconut water this time around—but since we were saving on airfare, we would splurge on the high-end hotels I’d always fantasized about visiting. On a crisp fall day in early November, with The Clash blaring, we rode that tailwind of change up the 5 freeway, away from the past year’s stresses. As is often the case with memories, when I look back on the trip, I am rewarded with ephemeral impressions: crisp breezes carrying scents of salty sea and rosemary, bucolic walks through what felt like enchanted forests, strolls in impossibly quaint towns sampling olive oil and coconut sorbet, a perfect song erupting from the radio, laughter as we relived our wedding or happened upon a pen of adorable baby fainting goats. Still, one experience from each leg of the journey stands out—four in total. They are the chapters of my storybook dream trip, hard-won with budgeting, and savored to this day, the edges gilded in my mind. I. Sausalito We landed first on the other side of the bridge from San Francisco in lesser-known Sausalito at Cavallo Point Lodge, a hotel converted from a onetime U.S. Army post, Fort Baker (cavallopoint.com). To me, it was the embodiment of the Golden State’s signature relaxed luxury: at once historic and contemporary, organic and geometric, pampering and utilitarian. I have gauzy memories of enjoying our spa treatments and nature hikes. But the moment that crystallized for me was just after we arrived: Alone in our impeccable, earth-toned room, we peeled off our jackets and looked, spellbound, out the large windows. The Golden Gate bridge loomed orange above us; its lights twinkled as the sun went down. II. Point Reyes Our next stop was Point Reyes, where oyster farms line the foggy, protected shoreline. At Manka’s Inverness Lodge, high-end log cabins sit nestled among redwoods and firs (mankas.com). Open since 1917, the hotel had recently lost their lauded restaurant to a fire. As a result, simple yet transcendent meals were brought to our room. The kitchen culled all their ingredients from within a couple of miles, and you could taste it. One morning, we opened our front door to find a tray waiting. We carried it to our dining nook, where we unwrapped impossibly fresh yogurt, homemade granola, local apples, and hot cinnamon buns made from scratch, served straight from the oven. It was the best breakfast of my life. III. Napa Valley At Calistoga Ranch, the Napa Valley wine country stop on our journey, our room felt like the world’s most lavish treehouse (calistogaranch.aubergeresorts.com). Tucked amidst greenery, an actual oak grew through the sun deck beside an indoor/outdoor fireplace. We adored the bathroom: Beyond two distinct sleek sink areas opposite each other (what Andrew and I consider “living the dream”), an outdoor shower and garden awaited. We hardly wanted to leave the room, but eventually, we made it outside, accidentally happening upon quirky Prager Winery and Port Works (pragerport.com). My only previous experience with the sweet drink involved stealing it from a friend’s parents’ liquor cabinet when I was a teenager. But here we swirled it, inhaled it, really tasted it. Andrew ended up falling hard for a tawny port, tucking it into our trunk before continuing to our final destination. IV. Big Sur We had spent enough time in Big Sur in years past to hear buzz about Post Ranch Inn (postranchinn.com). We couldn’t wait to try it for ourselves. The rumors were true: Our room was extraordinary, massively windowed and overlooking rolling hillsides where wild turkeys roamed. In the brisk fall evening, Andrew suggested that we throw on plush robes, grab wine, and hustle to one of the hot plunges embedded in the cliffside. I was initially resistant because of the chill, but as soon as we climbed into the warm water, I knew he’d been right. The moon was full and bright. Gazing out over the dramatic cliffs, we passed the ambrosial wine back and forth, swigging from the bottle. Just when it seemed like the moment couldn’t get more idyllic, we turned to find a deer regarding us calmly from just feet away. It was as though a fairy godmother herself were designing our own personal fable. When the sun rose on the final morning of our honeymoon, we were melancholy, of course. The afterglow of a hotly anticipated journey is bittersweet. But as we wound through peaks and valleys on our way home, luckily we weren’t on anyone else’s schedule…and we took our sweet time. Nora Zelevansky is the author of Will You Won’t You Want Me? (out April 19) and Semi-Charmed Life.
European Style for $17/Night! Hip Hostels to Open in Amsterdam, Stockholm, and Rome
Dreaming about visiting Europe this year? We have good news that might encourage you to hit that "book" button, especially if you're a solo traveler. Design-focused Generator, a line of chic, affordable European hostels, is opening three new locations in Amsterdam, Stockholm, and Rome, just in time for the peak season. Millennials especially dig this brand—with locations in trendy neighborhoods in Paris, Barcelona, Dublin, and Berlin, to name a few—and the way each property blends local culture, art, events, music, and food with interactive guest experiences, a.k.a. getting to know your fellow travelers instead of just passing them in the hallways. Read on for details about each new location. Which will you visit first? Generator Amsterdam When it's opening: March 16 What it'll cost: From about $17 for a dorm bed in a shared room, $72 for a private room, $111 for a luxury suite Where it's located: In the uber-hip East Amsterdam 'hood, right next to the newly renovated Oosterpark. Cool perks: It will be the only upscale hostel in the city. Housed in an historical building built in 1908 as the University of Amsterdam’s science department, the hostel is celebrating its DNA by keeping the lecture hall and science lab aesthetics while giving the space a modern twist. The main common space, named Nescio after a famous Dutch writer, has a café with locally-sourced dishes that’s open daily for breakfast, brunch, lunch, and dinner; a day-to-night lounge that was once an auditorium, with the professor’s desk serving as the bar; and a library with shelves filled with bright orange books and wood heritage accents intact to impress Ron Burgundy. Activities like beer tastings, coffee master classes, Vanmoof bikes, and movie screenings keep guests busy, and for those who want to splurge, there’s a luxury Sky Suite Apartment with views of Oosterpark and two bedrooms, a kitchen, living room, and TV. Later this year they’ll open an underground speakeasy bar in the former boiler room. Generator Stockholm When it's opening: June 2016 What it'll cost: From about $24 for a dorm bed in a shared room, $77 for a private room Where it's located: Just a five-minute walk from Drottninggatan, a must-walk street dating back to the 1600s. The pedestrian boulevard is lined with boutiques and restaurants running through downtown Stockholm. It’s also close to Central Station. Cool perks: This is a large property, with 11 floors and 244 rooms and a lobby café that doubles as a work space. The bar and restaurant offer both Swedish and international eats. For those traveling with a group or staying longer, luxury suites are available. Generator Rome When it's opening: Summer 2016 What it'll cost: From about $20 for a dorm bed in a shared room, $77 for a private room Where it's located: In the heart of the Eternal City, on Via Principe Amedeo near the Mercato dell’Esquilino, the bustling market famed for its fresh international produce. The 78-room property is also close to many prime attractions, including the Roman Colosseum. Cool perks: Mangia at the industrial-style Bistro, or take in views of the Apennine Mountains while you're perched up in the rooftop lounge, seven stories above the city.
$69 Flights to Caribbean Paradise? You Bet!
When it’s this cold outside, all we can imagine is lying on the beach with coconut trees as shade, sipping on delicious local rum. And now Norwegian Air is making our tropical paradise dreams come true, releasing a crazy-good deal for flights as low as $69 each way to Martinique, one of our Where to Go in 2016 destinations. That's 10 bucks lower than rates we reported just a few weeks ago. What's more, Norwegian is offering additional flights: up to eight nonstops every week out of the U.S., including just-added flights on Sundays in April out of New York City's JFK airport. Once you touch down, the island's currency is the euro, and with the dollar still going strong, you’ll get a lot of bang for your buck. Budget Traveler-–friendly perks aside, we love the French Caribbean island for its varied landscape: Rain forest preserves and black-sand beaches in the north, plus white-sand beaches in the south make it perfect for adventurers and beach bums alike. Two-thirds of the island is protected parkland, so it's no surprise it was nicknamed the Island of Flowers by the Caribbean Indians dating back centuries. Get up close and personal with the island’s greenery at The Balata Botanical Gardens, which is home to more than 3,000 species of tropical plants and flowers, including Instagram-worthy ponds dotted with lilies and lotus blossoms (admission about $15, jardindebalata.fr). And the selection of French and Creole restaurants—ranging from street food to elegant dining—makes Martinique perfect for foodie travelers.
Icelandair’s New Buddy System Will Team You Up With a Local—For Free!
If you thought free in-flight movies and unlimited snacks were a major perk, Icelandair is really raising the stakes for airline amenities. Their new Stopover Buddy program provides you with a pal to show you around the country. All you have to do is book a flight across the Atlantic and opt to stay in Iceland—our top pick for Where to Go in 2016—for up to seven days on a layover, which won’t run you any extra airfare. Then they’ll team you up with a pal who shares your interests (food, adventure, nature, etc.) for one of the days. The only cost is paying for your new friend’s food, admission, and whatever else you decide to do that day. That’s an excellent deal considering you're getting your own personal tour guide who has the local scoop. The airline will match you with a buddy who is all about your personal tastes and knows the region well. Icelandair employees are as varied as the people who visit their country, spending their time doing everything from swimming in the ocean to mountain biking, heli-skiing, cross-country running, and knitting, and they want to share it with you. For example, there are Adventure Buddies for a day on the ski slopes; Culture Buddies who will take you beyond the museums; Food Buddies who know the culinary hotspots and just might bring you to catch your dinner; Health Buddies for bike rides, runs, and other athletic expeditions; Lifestyle Buddies to lead you on mountain climbs and volcano explorations; and Nature Buddies who will put you in the saddle on an Icelandic horse. You can even opt to go backcountry skiing with Icelandair’s CEO, Birkir Holm Gudnason. Icelandair will help you schedule a time and meet-up point, and then you’re all set. But keep in mind that travelers have to be 18 years or older, and must stop in Iceland before heading to their final destination. Also, the Stopover Buddy program won’t last forever—it’s only now through April 30—so now's the time to make a new friend overseas.