Monday, November 17, 2014

Skip The Store & Score Cyber Monday Travel Deals

Black Friday has evolved into a Thanksgiving tradition of hitting the stores immediately after filling up on turkey and standing in long lines to save on the year’s best deals. However, with the simple click of a mouse, savvy in-the-know travelers can save big with the following Cyber Monday deals—no long lines required! 

Florida:
Hawks Cay Resort in the Florida Keys has launched a special Black Friday sale available for 72 
hours only starting on November 28. Travelers can save 25 percent off on guestroom and villa accommodations during stays of two nights or longer starting from November 30, 2014, through June 4, 2015. This offer is subject to blackout dates and is based on availability. To book, click here.

Hawks Cay Resort, a member of Preferred Hotels & Resorts and an AAA Four-Diamond award recipient, is the premier destination in all of the Florida Keys for outdoor fun. Alongside the emerald waters of the Atlantic Ocean, guests enjoy offshore, flats and backcountry fishing; diving; kayaking; kiteboarding and stand-up paddleboarding programs; the Cliff Drysdale tennis program; Segway tours; and the only resort-based Dolphin Connection program with complimentary daily viewings. The 60-acre resort boasts 177 guestrooms and 225 two- and three-bedroom villas, a full-service marina, four restaurants, saltwater lagoon, five swimming pools, kid and teen clubs and the award-winning Calm Waters Spa. For more information visitwww.hawkscay.com.

Caribbean:
On Cyber Monday only, Plantation Beach Villas in Tobago is slicing an extra 10 percent off already-discounted winter rates, resulting in a total savings of 20 percent. This offer is valid on stays from December 20, 2014, to April 30, 2015, and includes the first dinner and first breakfast as well as a fresh fruit basket, cold beers, soft drinks, juices and milk. In addition, Plantation Villas will also offer a 10 percent discount on the Island Girl Catamaran, plus a free day of car rental for every seven days booked from Sherman's Rentals through the hotel.  For more information, email plantationbeach@tstt.net.tt, call (868) 639-9377 or visitwww.plantationbeachvillas.com.

Castara Retreats in Tobago is cutting rates by up to 25 percent for bookings of eight nights or longer. Guests who stay in June or September 2015 will receive 20 percent off while guests staying in July or August 2015 receive 25 percent off. Castara Retreats is a highly-rated eco-resort located between the Caribbean Sea and the Rainforest Reserve on a hillside above Castara, a working fishing village on the northwestern coast of Tobago. For questions and booking information email Lorna atrelax@castararetreats.com or visit www.castararetreats.com.

Guests can stay three nights and get the fourth night free at Grafton Beach Resort in Tobago. For travel December 1 through December 20, 2014, rates start at $150 per night. For travel from December 21, 2014, through April 30, 2015, rates start at $188 per night. The 106-room resort features awe-inspiring views of the Caribbean Sea, a swim-up pool bar, an onsite dive center, a business center and four restaurants and bars. For booking information, email sales@graftontobago.com or visitwww.graftontobago.com and use booking code FBFREE5.

Tobago’s adults-only resort, Le Grand Courlan Spa Resort, is offering one night free for every two consecutive nights booked. Rates start at $188 per night for travel December 1 through December 20, 2014, and $225 for travel from December 21, 2014, through April 30, 2015. The 83-room luxury resort is a tranquil sanctuary featuring breathtaking views of Stone Haven Bay and a long stretch of soft, sandy beach. For booking information, visit www.legrandtobago.com or email sales@legrandtobago.com and use reference code FBFREE6.

This Black Friday through Cyber Monday, Viceroy Anguilla is offering guests the option to “linger longer” with a complimentary fifth night. The “Linger Longer” promotion is available for stays through September 20, 2015, and is subject to availability and blackout dates.
Situated on 35 acres, the Viceroy Anguilla boasts two white sand beaches, a glimmering saltwater infinity pool, and three resort pools. The resort features five dining options and a range of cuisines, including Middle Eastern, Asian, and American seafood and steak. Two-level villas of four and five bedrooms overlook the bay, while private residences offer the option to call Anguilla home. For further information or to book, visithttp://www.viceroyhotelsandresorts.com/en/anguilla/reservations/special_offers/linger_longer.

Skip the holiday shopping lines and box wrapping by giving a gift of fun in the sun. Ocean Club Resortslocated in Turks and Caicos, invites guests to take advantage of their Cyber Monday special. Guests who book from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. EST on December 1, 2014, will receive every fourth
night free on stays from May to August 15, 2015. Please note this offer excludes studio accommodations at Ocean Club West. To book, call 800-457-8787.
Ocean Club Resorts, comprised of two all-suite properties, is the perfect home away from home with spacious accommodations ranging from studios to three-bedroom suites. Guests can do as much or as little as they desire at the resort, from exploring the coral reef on a snorkel excursion to lounging under one of the resort’s signature pink beach umbrellas to learning how to stand-up paddle board. For more information, please visit www.oceanclubresorts.com 

Mexico:
The all new, all-suite Grand Residences Riviera Cancun is offering a Black Friday through Cyber Monday sale. Rates start from $259 for a Junior Suite, including taxes. Guests also receive one complimentary bottle of tequila, one massage for two, and
daily a la carte breakfast for two. This special offer is valid for stays from November 1, 2014, through December 18, 2015. The special rates are non-refundable and non-transferable. Blackout dates apply.

An affiliate to the prestigious Leading Hotels of the World collection, Grand Residences features sprawling suites designed as private residences, blending all of the comforts of home with the luxurious amenities of a five-star resort. Nestled in a private enclave between scenic Riviera Maya and bustling Cancun, this exclusive hideaway is ideally located between the world’s second largest barrier reef and a tranquil nature preserve. The resort sets the new standard in luxury beachfront living:  spacious suites, all with private outdoor terraces and many with private Jacuzzis; gourmet dining; a world-class spa and salon; personalized beach and pool service; and much more. Book online at http://www.royalreservations.com/resorts/grand-residences.php.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Travel + Leisure - America's Best Cities for Girlfriend Getaways

Travel + Leisure readers ranked the best cities for decompressing with your gal pals, while also
partaking in shopping, yoga, gallery-hopping-and perhaps a cocktail that tastes like a candy bar. 

The article featured yours truly, Casey Wohl, The Getaway Girl®!
Click here to read. 

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Girls Getaway to Carmel-by-the-Sea

A place with “by-the-sea” hyphenated in its name must be quintessentially charming. At least that
was my mindset visiting Carmel-by-the-Sea for the first time, and the miniscule Californian coastal town doesn’t disappoint. There are no spotlights or neon signs, no addresses and no postal delivery. On residential streets there aren’t even sidewalks, so we literally needed a flashlight to find our way back to our cottage.

Get to know Carmel
This haven for artists, writers and eccentrics has been home to John Steinbeck, Upton Sinclair, and Jack London. Presently, Doris Day and Clint Eastwood call Carmel home. Eastwood was even the mayor from 1986-1988. Thank goodness he overturned a law outlawing ice cream. I would have voted for him based solely on that! The town even requires that anyone wearing “shoes with heels which are in excess of two inches in height and less than one square inch of bearing surface upon the public streets and sidewalks” have a permit! Carmel-by-the-Sea has certainly remained trapped in time, as quirky as when it was founded in 1902.

Since Carmel is only one square mile, everything is within walking distance. The population of less than 4,000 supports a community of more than one hundred art galleries, 50 restaurants and as many cottages and inns to stay in. It’s no surprise that visitors from around the globe are the lifeblood for this precious town. You can undoubtedly uncover plenty to do just wandering on your own, but if you’d like a tour, Carmel Walks offers a great primer. For a more culinary-focused adventure, Carmel Food Tour features seven food and drink tastings in a three-hour walking tour. Our guide, Staci, was fun and engaging, and happy to provide recommendations for dining in Carmel outside the tour. Winos will enjoy the Wine Walk Passport, which allows you to try flights at any nine of 14 tasting rooms, including Scheid Vineyards and Caraccioli Cellars, a couple of my favorites. Pace yourself and do the wine walk over the course of two or three days or the imbibing will catch up to you!

Luxe Life
The pinnacle of luxury in this laidback oasis is L’Auberge Carmel, a charming Relais & Chateaux property first built in 1929. I’m greeted with frothy rooibos-infused iced tea before crossing the courtyard to my antiquated but homey room. Supple caramels on the desk seem like an apropos welcome to Carmel.

Aubergine is hands down the most exquisite dining experience in town. The table next to me was a couple from Mexico celebrating their 25th anniversary. They weren’t even staying in Carmel but drove two hours from San Francisco, which doesn’t exactly have a shabby dining scene.

At Aubergine, I had the best abalone of my life – tenderized and served with briny seaweed, sea foam
and smoked avocado – capturing the essence of the ocean in each bite. Other seafood highlights included kumamoto oysters with ossetra caviar and Japanese snapper served simply with baby bok choy and blood orange sauce. Executive Chef Justin Cogley and Chef de Cuisine Aaron Koseba are masters at procuring the best fish and complementing it with simple, bold accents to let the ingredients speak for themselves.

Relax – live in the moment
The Refuge offers a zen-like experience that is very different from a traditional spa. You can get a massage here, but no facials, body treatments or nail services. Instead, the focus is on the health benefits of a hydrothermal cycle and there is a silence rule throughout the facility to encourage deeper relaxation.

You begin by heating up in a Eucalyptus steam room or Finnish dry cedar sauna for five to 10
minutes before plunging briefly into a cold pool, then relaxing for 15 minutes near the outdoor fire pits or in a zero gravity recliner before exploring the thermal waterfall pools. It’s rare to be given step-by-step instructions on how to behave at a spa – I’m used to freely exploring on my own. However, the cycle did get my heart rate up and I felt invigorated after repeating it a couple of times. Plus, the cycle relaxes muscles, flushed toxins from the body, boosts the immune system and is even supposed to increase metabolism. What’s not to like?

With a now lightning fast metabolism, head to Grasings for dinner. The abalone here is delicious as well, served over a vibrant salad of mixed greens, haricot verts and pomegranate seeds and scallops and wild-caught sea bass are deftly prepared too. For somebody as environmentally conscious about seafood as myself, it’s a dream to be eating local seafood in Monterey, where chefs are just as careful about sourcing.

For breakfast or lunch the next day, La Bicyclette, a bustling, rustic European café, is a sure bet with
a weekly rotating menu of specials. The wood-burning oven pizzas are a staple and although flavors may change, the butternut squash purée with arugula and speck ham and the local mushroom and caramelized onion pie are to die for.


Although there is so much to do to keep you busy, take some time to relax and live in the moment. If you see a passageway and you wonder where it leads to – take a wander. Give yourself time to sit on one of the many benches scattered around town and soak up the sun and people (and dog) watch. Frolic on the beach and wiggle your toes in the Pacific Ocean. Don’t turn on the news, leave your worries at home and feel the joy of being alive.

Author Amber Gibson is a Food/Travel Writer, Model & Actress from Chicago currently contributing to the Girls Getaway Guide. To find out more about Amber, visit www.AmberGibson.com. 

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Macy's Thanksgiving Parade Getaway

Ever thought about attending the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade?  The NYLO NYC’s Parade Pack makes that trip easy and fun! Ideally located within walking distance of all the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade action, the Upper West Side boutique hotel is offering a complimentary Parade Pack for all guests staying with them from November 26-27, 2014.

The perfect take along snack pack for anyone attending this year’s parade, the NYLO Parade Pack includes:
  • A NYLO-branded thermos filled with guests’ choice of hot cocoa or hot cider
  • A variety of breakfast treats, including fresh apple cider donuts, KIND Bars, apples and more
  • HotHands hand and feet warmers
  • A map of NYC, highlighting the parade route and designated balloon blow-up locations
For guests that wish to take a Parade Pack with them to watch the balloons be blown up the evening before the parade, all Parade Packs will be available for pick-up at the front desk beginning at 3pm on Wednesday, November 26.

In addition to the Parade Pack, NYLO NYC is offering a variety of packages during the Thanksgiving holiday, including:
  • Dog Days @ NYLO in partnership with Rachael Ray Nutrish, which waives the $40 dog fee and includes a package of Rachael Ray Nutrish Mini Soup Bones, a bag of Rachael Ray Nutrish Savory Jerky, a NYLO-customized bone shaped bag holder, toy and a map of the best dog-friendly activities and parks in the neighborhood

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Fall Travel Deals

Now is a great time to take a trip...before the holiday season.  Here are a few recommendations:

Fall in Love Promotion at South Seas Island Resort (Captiva Island, FL)
Framed by the tranquil waters of the Gulf of Mexico, South Seas invites couples to enjoy a romantic escape this fall with their “Fall in Love with Captiva…Just Escape” package. As part of the promotion, couples receive a $100 credit to be used on anything from a relaxing visit to the spa to a romantic dinner. In addition, couples enjoy daily breakfast for two at the resort’s signature Harbourside Bar & Grill overlooking the Yacht Harbour and Marina. Those looking for additional savings may take advantage of the included resort voucher booklet for exclusive savings on cabana rentals, rounds of golf, water sports, island cruises, and more. Package rates start at $169 per night, and are available now through December 18, 2014. www.southseas.com

$199 Rates at Boca Beach Club, A Waldorf Astoria Resort (Boca Raton, FL)
For those looking for a chic beachfront escape this fall on the sunny Atlantic coast of Florida, fall rates start at $199 a night at Boca Beach Club, A Waldorf Astoria Resort, a savings of 20%. Located in the heart of South Florida’s Gold Coast, the Boca Beach Club provides endless ways for guests to enjoy the water, sand and sea. Coming this fall, guests can ride the wave at South Florida’s first FlowHouse as a complement to the resort’s comprehensive surf school, Surf Boca. In addition, young travelers experience all the fun of the resort’s new Quest Club, a daily-supervised recreational program, featuring everything from kids’ beach boot camp and yoga to stuffed Mizner monkey making and themed treasure hunts. www.bocabeachclub.com

Mexican Independence Day Promotions at Grand Velas Riviera Nayarit (Riviera Nayarit, Mexico)
In celebration of Mexican Independence Day on September 16, the “Beyond All Inclusive, Beyond All Compare” Grand Velas Riviera Nayarit on Mexico’s Pacific Coast is offering families two special promotions when traveling by Dec. 11, 2014. Inclusive of complimentary stays for two children ages 2 through 12, and a 50% savings on teens sharing their parent’s suite, the Pool View Special includes a 10% savings at the resort’s boutique and a $50 spa or golf credit that can be used at the resort’s Leading Spa of the World, Marina or Vista Vallarta Golf Courses. Valid during the month of September only, guests receive a third night stay complimentary, in addition to all the offerings of the Pool View Special, with the 3rd Night Free Promotion. Also included is one Dolphin Encounter per adult per stay with Vallarta Adventures. Nightly entertainment offerings at the resort for the national holiday include a Mexican Fiesta, Themed Dinner Show, DJ, Mariachi, Mexican folkloric night with live music and native arts and crafts, and more. Nightly rates start at $375 per person with the 3rd Night Free Promotion, and at $281 per person with the Pool View Special. A minimum of three-night stay applies to both packages. www.vallarta.grandvelas.com

Splash into Fall at El Conquistador & Las Casitas Village, Waldorf Astoria Resorts (Fajardo, Puerto Rico)
Dramatically set atop a 300-foot cliff overlooking the Caribbean Sea and Atlantic Ocean, it’s always summer at El Conquistador Resort & Las Casitas Village, Waldorf Astoria Resorts in Puerto Rico. Splash into fall with the resorts’ Summer Splash Package, that includes four passes to Coqui Water Park, the resort’s state-of-the-art aquatic playground, plus a $50 resort credit per night. The resort credit can be used toward any number of resort activities, such as rounds of golf on the renowned Arthur Hills 18-hole golf course, spa treatments at the Waldorf Astoria Spa, watersports on the resort’s 100-acre private island, and more. An easily accessible sun-drenched vacation – no passport needed – the Summer Splash package is available through Dec. 18, 2014. Nightly rates start from $169 at El Conquistador Resort and from $219 at Las Casitas Village. www.elconresort.com www.lascasitasvillage.com


Sunday, August 24, 2014

Labor Day Weekend Getaways

Labor Day means hanging out with friends and family for barbeques, beaches and fun in the sun before the Wyndham Hotel Group, the world’s largest hotel company, has compiled a list of the top Labor Day getaways that will ensure you and your loved ones have one more hurrah for the last weekend of summer.
start of school and cooler months arrive.

Plus, if you book your stay at a participating Wyndham hotel at least seven days in advance, you can receive up to 25% off the best available rate and 500 Wyndham Rewards points - now that’s something to celebrate!

Additionally, the Wyndham Hotels and Resorts® brand recently announced three more reasons to book that trip right now: free breakfast, free Internet and 2,000 bonus Wyndham Rewards® points!

·         Miami Beach, FL – Spend your holiday weekend enjoying all the Miami Beach has to offer - soak up some sun on its seven miles of sand, take a bike ride along to shore or indulge in great food and shopping along Collins Avenue and Lincoln Road!
o   DEAL ALERT: Book a stay at Dream South Beach, Ramada Plaza Marco Polo Beach Resort or Days Inn Miami Beach at least seven days in advance and receive 20% off!

·         Virginia Beach, VA – Enjoy live bands while you tan at the American Music Festival, which takes place every Labor Day weekend. If you get tired of the music, take a stroll along the boardwalk or partake in beach activities like hand gliding or paddle boarding!
o   DEAL ALERT: Book three nights at the Wyndham Virginia Beach Oceanfront and receive 20% off your stay!

·         West Yellowstone, MT – Skip the beach and spend time at one of the nation’s most celebrated
national parks. Enjoy the scenic foliage while hiking, or view the dozens of different wildlife the park is home to. Be sure to take the drive to the Wyoming side of the park to view one of Old Faithful’s eruptions.
o   DEAL ALERT: Book your stay at Days Inn West Yellowstone and receive the best available rate plus 1000 Wyndham Rewards points!

·         Sonoma, CA – For an adult weekend away, take a trip to Wine Country! During Sonoma Wine Country Weekend, learn about the wine-making process and taste the area’s best food and drink, which brings together 200 of the areas wine makers, growers, and chefs.
o   DEAL ALERT: Stay at the Travelodge Healdsburg-Sonoma Wine Country for 3 consecutive nights and receive 20% off!

Friday, August 15, 2014

Make Waves (and Memories) Family Getaway to Naples

We decided to take our first family vacation with a 9-month-old baby (Yale) to the Naples Bay Resort & Spa as the resort invites guests to get outside and on the water with the Make Waves getaway.  It pairs the spirit of adventure with the resort’s nautical muse, and the desire to explore the brilliant waterways of the Paradise Coast.  The Make Waves getaway includes a 24’Hurricane deck boat for each night of stay, in any room type, and two complimentary cocktails at BlueWater Grill.  


Rebecca and Zoe invited us to join them for a weekend getaway just a few hours away.  Yale was mesmerized as he was driven via stroller into the hotel lobby.  We (parents) were thrilled to find a wonderful room complete with kitchen, two bathrooms, living area and balcony overlooking the water.  Plus, they have the best 'Do Not Disturb' hangers ever!


A comfortable and modern retreat set on the banks of the picturesque Intracoastal waterway, the Naples Bay Resort offers all the posh you’d expect from Florida’s Gulf Coast. This pet-friendly resort combines yachting and recreational activities with an Italian-motif boutique hotel featuring spacious accommodations, incredible amenities, including a wide range of pools (including one just for adults); an intimate spa, a high-tech fitness center and a friendly pool bar and grill. 

We had a wonderful day by the pool in our private cabana complete with libations and lunch.  While Yale took a nap, Zoe and I enjoyed the Lazy River pool and made tie-dyed T-shirts, which was just one of the activities the resort offers throughout the day.  In the evening, we indulged in the delight of ordering gourmet meals through room service so we could enjoy our meal without entertaining Yale at dinner or having to clean up.  The breakfast buffet was incredible with everything from made-to-order omelets to fresh fruit to delicious crepes.

If you are looking for one more vacation before the holidays, check out The Make Waves Getaway, which is valid through October 31, 2014 and cannot be combined with any other promotional offers. Based on availability. Cost of daily fuel usage not included. For reservations, please visit www.naplesbayresort.com or call 866.605.1199.