Travel tips from Condé Nast Traveler magazine's Wendy Perrin.
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September 17, 2009

Save 50% at a Romantic Resort in Ixtapa, Mexico

Capella Ixtapa pool

Take a dip in the Capella Ixtapa's spectacular pool for half-price this fall.

by Kathryn Maier on Travel Deals

Daily deals Hey, water babies: Did "The World in Six Laps," our photo essay in Conde Nast Traveler's August issue, leave you yearning to take a plunge yourself? Here's your chance to loll firsthand in one of the featured pools for half the price: Capella Ixtapa is offering every second night free for stays through December 25.

The oceanfront rooms at this cliff-hugging resort on Mexico's Pacific coast start at $395 per night, or $506 once you add in tax and service charges. The complimentary nights are still subject to a 10% service fee, so a two-night stay averages out to $273 per night, including all taxes and mandatory fees.

Condé Nast Traveler
: The pool isn't the only thing you'll love about this property: Its dramatic setting and chic style landed it a spot on our 2009 Hot List

Book through: The hotel directly by calling 877-247-6688. Ask for the "Buy 1 Get 1 Free" offer.

August 07, 2009

Every Other Night Free in Mexico at The Tides Zihuatanejo

Tides zihuatanejo

Lounge in Gold List-style luxury at The Tides Zihuatanejo, on Mexico's Pacific coast.

by Kathryn Maier on Travel Deals

Daily deals Hey, folks, remember when we told you back in June that you could get every other night free at The Tides Zihuatanejo?  At that time, the deal was only good through the end of June--much to the chagrin of at least one reader--but we just learned via Travelzoo that the property has renewed the deal, this time for travel through the end of October.  As before, rooms start at $437 per night (including tax), which means your per-night price is really only $218

Book by: There is no book-by date for this deal.

For travel through: October 31.

July 31, 2009

Save 45% at the One&Only Palmilla in Cabo

One&Only Palmilla
Get Gold List luxury for less with this deal at the One&Only Palmilla in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.

by Kathryn Maier on Travel Deals

Daily deals If you, like us, are swooning over Wanwisa's dispatches from the One&Only Reethi Rah, but you haven't got the time or money to travel halfway around the world for a One&Only experience, here's something within easier reach: The One&Only Palmilla is offering a "Short Breaks" promotion which, along with the extras that it includes, amounts to 45% off the regular rate. 

This promotion is for a three-night minimum stay, and includes reduced nightly rates, daily continental breakfast for two, round-trip airport transfers, and a $300 resort credit per stay. The math breakdown: With this deal, a three-night stay in an Ocean Front Superior Room costs $1,901, including taxes and service fees. If booked separately at rack rates, the room, transfers, and resort credits would cost $3,516.

Book by and travel by: October 31, 2009.

Book through: Adamarie King, one of the Mexico experts on Wendy's list of top travel specialists. Thanks to her connections at the property, she may be able to snag you an upgrade if a better room is available.

July 21, 2009

Save 50% on 6 Beach Resorts in Mexico

Aqua Cancun Through December 22 the Aqua Cancun, which was on Conde Nast Traveler's Hot List last year, is half off.

by Kathryn Maier on Travel Deals

Daily deals

The deals south of the border just keep on coming.  Fiesta Americana, a chain of resorts in Mexico, is offering 50% off at six of its properties until just before Christmas.

If you're looking for a Conde Nast Traveler Hot List-style experience, pick the Aqua Cancun.  Rooms here ordinarily start at $379 per night; with this deal, they're from $194 (including tax and based on double occupancy).  If you're looking for a AAA Five-Diamond resort, consider the Fiesta Americana Grand Coral Beach Cancun, where you'll find rates from $216/night.

For more casual (and more family-oriented) value, turn to the other properties participating in this deal: the Fiesta Americana Grand Los Cabos, from $195/night; the Fiesta Americana Condesa Cancun, from $99/night, the Fiesta Americana Puerto Vallarta, from $109/night, and the Fiesta Americana Cozumel Dive Resort, from $71/night.

Book by: July 30.

For travel through: December 22.

Note: You can book directly through Fiesta Americana's reservations line at 800-343-7821, but if you want more than just a beach escape--if you want to explore some of the real Mexico and benefit from an insider's trusted travel advice--contact Adamarie King, one of the Mexico experts on Wendy's list of top travel specialists that just came out in Conde Nast Traveler's August issue.

April 07, 2007

Celebrating Easter Abroad

He's less cuddly than a bunny, but the Aussies love their "Easter Bilby."
Photo: Queensland gov. EPA

By Tara Kyle

In the spirit of Easter, I thought I'd highlight a few of the stranger ways the holiday is being acknowledged around the world.

Mexico City: The middle and upper classes in landlocked Mexico City typically spend Easter fleeing for the coasts,  but this year the city hosted the grand opening of a fake beach, according to Worldhum.  The idea of a spit of sand alongside a noisy road junction sounds pretty bizarre, not to mention that Reuters reports the government spent $200k on it. But I felt more sympathetic when I read Mayor Marcelo Ebrard's justification: "There are those upset by the artificial beaches. Perhaps they can get to other beaches, but this was built for the majority, and it's free."

Australia: TreeHugger reminds us that in Australia it's time to "get hopping" for the "Easter Bilby." This little furball is sadly endangered, and since 1999 has been the subject of a passionate "Save the Bilby" campaign.

London:  Chocolatier Thornton's built an 860-pound chocolate billboard for Easter week, Jaunted reports, only to watch passersby devour it within three hours of its Tuesday opening.

What are some other Easter traditions you've encountered?

March 31, 2007

Where To Stay In Puerto Vallarta

Hacienda San Angel in Puerto Vallarta
The terrace of the Celestial Suite at the Hacienda San Angel in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. Photo courtesy of the Hacienda San Angel.

by Wendy Perrin

Question from reader LSheppard:

"My friend and I will be visiting Puerto Vallarta in May and are looking for a VERY upscale resort that isn't for just couples or families.  Any recommendations?"

Lucky you. You'd probably feel VERY pampered at the Four Seasons Punta Mita, located 26 miles (45 minutes) north of Puerto Vallarta.  If you need to be closer to town, consider the Hacienda San Angel, which was on Conde Nast Traveler's Hot List in 2005, or Casa Velas, which is adults only but not couples only. Buen viaje!

January 23, 2007

Caribbean Deals For Passport Newbies

St. Lucia
St. Lucia
St. Lucia Tourist Board

By Wendy Perrin

Today's the day that many Caribbean and Mexican resorts have been dreading: From now on you need a passport to fly back into the U.S. from Mexico, Canada, or non-U.S. islands in the Caribbean. (You don't need one yet if you're returning by land or sea.)  The new rules are at For the low-down on rush fees or if you're looking for a passport expediting service, click here.

Many Caribbean and Mexican resorts, concerned the new regulation might scare off customers, are helping defray the cost of getting a passport ($97 without the rush fee) by offering special discounts and perks to U.S. citizens who arrive with brand-new passports. 

If St. Lucia is the first stamp in your new passport, for instance, the Ladera Resort will reimburse the cost of obtaining it and also give you a complimentary 30-minute massage at its spa (a minimum 5-night stay is required). Make Anguilla the first stamp in your passport, and the Arawak Beach Inn will give you a room for $120 per night (4 nights required) and throw in a "private day excursion to a secluded beach on an uninhabited island, including gourmet packed lunch."

Marriott and Renaissance properties throughout the Caribbean and Mexico are offering a $100 resort credit per room if you arrive with a new passport and stay a minimum of five nights.  And SuperClubs resorts will credit your passport cost toward your vacation package.   

October 17, 2006

The Oscars Of The Travel Biz

Conde Nast Traveler's bash last night at New York's Museum of Natural History
Photos: Patrick Butler

By Wendy Perrin

What are the world's best islands?  The Maldives.
What's the best city in Europe?  Florence.
What's the world's best resort? The Four Seasons Bali at Sayan.

We learned all this and more last night at Conde Nast Traveler's annual Readers' Choice Awards ceremony, which honors the destinations, airlines, hotels, cruise lines, et al., that the magazine's well-traveled readers have rated the world's best. The award ceremony will be televised on the Travel Channel on October 25 at 8 pm E/P, but instead of making you wait, I'll share some of my favorite moments:

The actor Liam Neeson, a dedicated flyfisherman, told this story before handing out the award for best airline:  He enjoys discovering rivers off the beaten track and was once fishing in Patagonia with a 9-year-old river guide in a remote spot so "pure" that not only had the boy never heard of Paraguay, he'd never even heard of New York.  LOVE that!  The winner of the award for best U.S. airline, by the way, was JetBlueSingapore Airlines beat out Cathay Pacific and Emirates for best foreign airline--which surprised nobody, since Singapore has won for 18 of the last 19 years. Everyone laughed when Singapore's head of North American operations accepted the award and said, "In the words of Madonna . . .  'lt's just like the very first time.'"

I also enjoyed when Marcia Gay Harden, who was presenting the awards for best Mexican resort (La Casa Que Canta in Zihuatanejo) and best Atlantic Ocean resort (One & Only Ocean Club in the Bahamas), recalled how she was first smitten by the travel bug: As a child, she and her 4 siblings flew to Japan. (Harden's mom deserves a red badge of courage.  Can you imagine taking 5 kids between the ages of 9 and 2 on a 15-hour flight?!)  The flight attendant gave Harden a pen and a coloring book, and she couldn't have been happier. Ever since her first moments in Japan, she said, "I've loved looking for the next best place to go."

The comedienne Sandra Bernhard, who makes no secret of her lesbian leanings, announced,  "I'm proud to be bi. . . coastal" and then handed out the award for best city in the Americas (outside the U.S.): Vancouver. The Vancouver award accepter quipped that yes, it's true, in Vancouver "you can ski and golf in the same day. . .but only if you come back early from sailing."

Ivanka Trump said that one of her most meaningful vacations was when she spent two weeks traveling in Patagonia alone and learned a lot about herself.  The cruise-line awards she handed out were perhaps the biggest upset of the evening. Crystal Cruises, which has been rated the best large-ship cruise line for the last 11 years, was edged out by Regent Seven Seas by 1/10 of a percentage point.  As for best small-ship cruise line, Sea Dream Yacht Club (click here for my recent post about it) snatched the honor away from longtime favorite Silversea.

The complete award results can be found in the November issue of Conde Nast Traveler (and at starting Oct. 24).  Or you can tune in to the Travel Channel on October 25.

Natasha Richardson in the green room before presenting awards onstage at the Conde Nast Traveler 2006 Readers' Choice Awards ceremony, Oct. 16, 2006

October 06, 2006

More Travel Health Advice

San Miguel de Allende

By Wendy Perrin

So this week we've learned that when heading to countries where the food can't always be trusted, some travelers pack baby food, others take freeze-dried camping meals.  A third suggestion came in from reader Liz Duffy:

"Some locals in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, advise their visiting house guests to begin taking acidophilus two weeks before arriving to help boost the good intestinal flora in the stomach that helps weather potentially funky foods."

Great tip, Liz.  I've never packed acidophilus myself, but now I realize there's another reason to do so: Antibiotics often cause stomach trouble that is relieved by acidophilus.  Since I usually pack an antibiotic -- I've learned the hard way that in remote, exotic places you must be your own doctor -- I should pack acidophilus too.  Here's a fun anecdote from a traveler in Asia who needed both.

Anyone else have a travel health tip to share?  Just click on "Comments" below.