Travel tips from Condé Nast Traveler magazine's Wendy Perrin.
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September 21, 2009

Free Nights and Upgrades at the Swank New Waldorf Astoria Orlando


Follow a class act: Save 25% on this Deluxe Room at the brand-new Waldorf Astoria Orlando.

by Kathryn Maier on Travel Deals

Daily dealsThe legendary Waldorf Astoria hotel, an official New York City landmark, has been synonymous with luxury for decades, hosting heads of state, foreign dignitaries, and celebrities alike. Starting this fall, the new eponymous hotel brand moves beyond the Big Apple.

The Waldorf Astoria Orlando, the brand's first outpost, opens on October 1, and it's offering a great introductory deal: The fourth night of your stay is free, plus stays of five nights or longer receive a one-category upgrade.

This new property is more a resort than a city hotel. It's got indoor and outdoor treatment rooms at its Guerlain Spa and a Rees Jones-designed golf course -- facilities that it shares with next-door-neighbor The Hilton at Bonnet Creek. Rooms at the Waldorf Astoria Orlando start at $224 per night (including tax). So, with the deal, a four-night stay costs $671 instead of the usual $896. That's just $168 per night. Note that when booking, it will appear as though you're being charged for all four nights; one will be removed from your bill at check-out. 

As for the upgrade, you'll go from big to even bigger: The lowest category room, the Deluxe Room, is a generous 448 square feet, while the next level up, the Deluxe Suite, measures a whopping 945 square feet.

Book by: October 31, 2009.

For travel from: October 1 through December 24, 2009.

August 08, 2007

Keeping Cool With Kids in Atlanta

Atlanta's new World of Coca-Cola provides oversized balls, frisbees, and horseshoes to occupy kids while their parents wait in line to get in. That's Doug, my 3-year-old, on August 3, 2007.

by Wendy Perrin

Just back from Hotlanta, where my family and I spent several days trying to beat the heat with a variety of air-conditioned indoor, and the breeziest possible outdoor, activities.  Four train/tram rides, three 4-D movies, two trained-animal shows, and one planetarium later, I can assure you that the best thing to do with kids in Atlanta is still The Georgia Aquarium.  Since I reported on that last summer, however -- and Stephan just added his report last month -- instead I'll list the top three other activities I'd recommend to families with more than one day to kill and preschoolers in tow:

1. Ride the Ducks at Stone Mountain Park.

The "Ducks" are actually DUKWs -- 1940s-era amphibious trucks used in World War II.

You start out riding through the park and then splash into Stone Mountain Lake, where each kid onboard gets a turn in the driver's seat. That's Doug and me, August 1, 2007.

Every rider gets a duck necklace that quacks loudly when you blow into it. You get to keep it as a memento. My kids accidentally "lost" theirs (ha!) soon after the ride ended.

Continue reading "Keeping Cool With Kids in Atlanta" »

February 26, 2007

Just Wild About Harry and the Natives

Roadside restaurant in Hobe Sound, Florida
One of my favorite Florida hangouts is on U.S. 1 in Hobe Sound. Feb. 25, 2007

By Wendy Perrin

As I sit here in snowbound N.Y.C. dreaming of the Sunshine State I just left, I realize I neglected to post photos from Harry and the Natives, one of my favorite roadside breakfast and burger joints. I'm no food critic--colorful local atmosphere matters more to me than gourmet cuisine--so for a reliable review you can read TCPalm or PalmBeachPost. (Why there's only one measly mention of Harry's on Chowhound is a travesty.)

1950s Ford pickup truck transformed into barbecue grill
At Harry's they've transformed the hood of a 1950s Ford pick-up truck into a barbecue grill.

Continue reading "Just Wild About Harry and the Natives" »

February 24, 2007

Courtyards of Palm Beach

Palm Beach courtyard
The alleys and courtyards of Palm Beach, Florida, have always reminded me a bit of Capri's (with Venetian-style architecture and Iberian-style tile thrown in).

By Wendy Perrin

Now we're farther up Florida's Treasure Coast, visiting my friend Mary near Palm Beach. Mary and I were crazy enough yesterday to take the kids window-shopping in the Italianate courtyards off Worth Avenue.

Palm Beach courtyard and fountain
Doug checking out a fountain in a Venetian-style courtyard, Feb. 23, 2007

The kids got a kick out of the "dog bars" that are a signature of this elegant winter beach resort.

Dog bar in Palm Beach
Only on Worth Avenue.

Continue reading "Courtyards of Palm Beach" »

February 23, 2007

Children's Museum in Fort Lauderdale

Dc9 cockpit at Museum of Discovery and Science in Fort Lauderdale
Inside the cockpit of a DC-9 at the Museum of Discovery and Science in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Feb. 22, 2007

By Wendy Perrin

Regular readers of this blog know that the kids and I rarely miss a children's museum. Yesterday we hit the Museum of Discovery and Science in Fort Lauderdale. The highlight for Charlie and Doug was the MarsQuest exhibit, on display through April 30:

Continue reading "Children's Museum in Fort Lauderdale" »

February 22, 2007

Fort Lauderdale's Waterways

House and boats on Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway
Plying the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway and its canals in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Feb. 20, 2007.

By Wendy Perrin

Now THIS is my kind of cruise!

Life is easy and breezy here in Fort Lauderdale, where the only way to sightsee is by boat. Sailing along the city's canals, you see  . . .

Fort Lauderdale house with playground on Intracoastal Waterway
. . . gorgeous house after gorgeous house . . .

Helicopter on yacht on Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway
. . . gorgeous boat after gorgeous boat . . .

House with gorgeous tree on Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway
. . . and gorgeous tree after gorgeous tree.

Continue reading "Fort Lauderdale's Waterways" »

December 09, 2006

Cruise-Ship Cuisine And Cocktails

Me and a "Seafood Martini" at the restaurant Barton G. in Miami Beach.

By Wendy Perrin

How many calories can one consume in a day?  If you're judging a Bacardi Bartender & Chef Cruise Competition in Miami, about 10 million.

Continue reading "Cruise-Ship Cuisine And Cocktails" »

November 15, 2006

Tax-Free Shopping For Foreign Visitors

By Wendy Perrin

Question from a reader:

"I read that when shopping in certain countries abroad you can get a Value Added Tax (V.A.T.) or Goods & Services Tax (G.S.T.) refund. Does the United States have any similar tax refunds for visitors to the U.S.?"

Louisiana is the only state I know of that offers tax-free shopping specifically for foreigners. Anyone know of other states that do?  Please educate me by clicking on "Post a comment" below.

Of course, foreigners can buy from duty-free stores at U.S. airports.  And certain U.S. states and cities promote tax-free shopping for everyone, including locals.

To learn about getting a V.A.T. or G.S.T. refund when you travel abroad, click here.

August 23, 2006

Aquarium with a View

By Wendy Perrin

I see in the news that one of Atlanta's biggest conventions, which starts today, will draw close to 43,000 attendees because of the huge tourist lure that is the new Georgia Aquarium, the largest in the world.  Atlanta-bound and angling to be fully awed by the world's most gobsmacking fish tank?  Here's a tip:

Go at 8:00 a.m. (the Aquarium is so popular that you must buy tickets in advance for a specific entry time) so you're among the first visitors to enter the building.  Head straight for the Ocean Voyager exhibit to the right, but enter via the exhibit's exit rather than its entrance.  The exit is an unmarked passage just to the right of the restrooms.  It leads to the Aquarium's piece de resistance: a 61-foot-wide by 23-foot-tall glass (well, acrylic) viewing wall--one side of a tank that holds 6 million gallons of salt water and 100,000 sea creatures.  Talk about a room with a view.  And last month, when Tim and the kids and I strolled into this room at 8:05 am, we had it entirely to ourselves!

Charlie and Doug at the Ocean Voyager viewing wall

By 8:20 the room had grown crowded and noisy, its majesty diminished, so we left for the exhibit's entrance: a 100-foot-long underwater tunnel that runs below the giant tank. Here again we gawked at the four whale sharks (the world's largest fish species), hammerhead sharks, stingrays, and giant goliath grouper.

Me and the kids in the underwater tunnel