avoid stress and prepare for ‘surprise’ hotel fees

July 30th, 2012

The end of your vacation should leave you feeling refreshed, relaxed, and ready to take on the world.  Don’t let checking out the hotel on your way home negate all of that hard-earned relaxation, especially when you find those pesky “surprise fees” on your bill! We’ve put together a list of the top “surprise fees” to prepare you for your next vacation and help you to avoid checkout woes. Here are our top fees to look out for:

– Some hotels charge an extra fee for the use of a minifridge, even if you’re using it to store your own food. An alternative:  Make your own mini-fridge by stocking up on ice from your floor’s ice machine and keep your items in this makeshift cooler!

– When staying in a big city or remote resort location, parking is a common issue.  However, some hotels use a mandatory valet service.  Your car may be more secure in the hotel’s garage; but if you don’t want to pay – look for independent lots in the area.

– It is uncommon today for a hotel not to have wifi.  But some will charge you for access to log into their wifi connections.  Our advice? It’s vacation! Maybe you can leave your laptop off and use the lobby computers for any emergencies.

Want learn about more hotel fees that may be added to your bill?  Click here to read what SmarterTravel.com’s Caroline Morse has discovered!

 

seasonal flights make travel to nantucket a breeze

March 21st, 2012

The season for direct service to Nantucket Memorial Airport is upon us! Starting May 17, JetBlue will offer direct flights from John F. Kennedy International Airport to Nantucket, and with roundtrip fares starting at $117, getting there couldn’t be easier.

Beginning May 27, Cape Air will offer direct, seasonal flights from White Plain’s Westchester County Airport, making that Boston layover a thing of the past. Delta and Continental flyers need not fret about layovers either. Starting June 7, Delta’s seasonal direct service from JFK to ACK begins, followed shortly thereafter by Continental, offering direct flights from Newark Liberty International Airport to ACK starting June 15.

Whether you’re heading to Nantucket from New York City, Upstate New York, or New Jersey, Nantucket’s seasonal flights mean you’ll be dining at TOPPER’S, sipping beer at Cisco Brewery, or plunging in the pool at White Elephant Hotel Residences in no time at all.

no white after labor day, but nantucket reds can stay

August 16th, 2011

After Labor Day we’ll be putting away all our summer whites but not so fast with those Nantucket Reds, they’re alright! While Nantucket conjures images of quintessential New England summers and those famed weathered-looking pants, we recommend donning the slacks this autumn and heading to the Grey Lady. Forget high season crowds, in the fall the masses have dispersed and the rates have dropped. If that alone is not reason enough, here are another 14 Reasons to visit Nantucket in the fall.

1.       Value

Fall rates at hotels on the island are greatly reduced in September, October, and November. For example, at the iconic White Elephant the lowest midweek July rate available is $550, while in September guests can stay overnight for as little as $375 with the Hot Dates, Cool Rates promotion.

2.       Nantucket Restaurant Week , September 26-October 2, 2011

For a small island, Nantucket has a wide variety of renowned culinary establishments that include the new Brick Bistro, award-winning TOPPER’S, and the harborside Brant Point Grill, home to the Lobster Bloody. During restaurant week, three course dinners will be offered at these and other top Nantucket eateries from $25 – $45.

3.       Nantucket Historical Association’s Harvest Fair, October 2011

Celebrate fall harvest at the Old Mill and learn about Nantucket’s agricultural heritage, play lively colonial games, and make traditional crafts such as cornhusk dolls or beeswax candles.

4.       The Nantucket Project, September 30-October 2, 2011

Unlike crowded, impersonal meetings-of-the-minds like TED and the Aspen Institute, the first Nantucket Project will gather amazing speakers including Ed Crane, founder and President of the CATO Institute, a libertarian think tank, and Craig Ventor, biologist and entrepreneur best known for being among the first to sequence the human genome, for an intimate weekend of stimulating lectures and conversation held at the White Elephant.

5.       Nantucket Conservation Foundation’s Cranberry Festival, October 8, 2011

Visit Nantucket’s famous cranberry bogs, generally closed to the public but open for a short time in October just when the berries are harvested. Partake in bog tours, hay rides, sheep-shearing, and, of course, fresh berries and delicious cranberry confections.

6.       Golf

Nantucket’s top-notch Sankaty Head Golf Club’s coveted ocean views and links-style holes are usually only available to members. In the off season (October-May), for a fee, anyone can tee off.

7.       Nantucket Slam, Cystic Fibrosis Benefit, September 11-13, 2011

This all-inclusive, two-day, competitive catch and release tournament is two days of competitive fishing for Bluefish, Bonito, Striped Bass, and Atlantic Bonito/False Albacore. To get a “Slam,” one must catch three of a designated species in the same day. All proceeds benefit the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

8.       Scenic Hiking and Biking

Rent a bike and roll down the recently resurfaced 6.4 miles of bike paths of Nantucket and check out the beautiful fall foliage. Bike rentals typically cost around $30/day; complimentary bikes are available for guests of White Elephant Hotel Residences, The Cottages & Lofts at the Boat Basin, and The Wauwinet.

9.   Spooky Halloween at haunted Jared Coffin House

Every year kids can dress up and go trick-or-treating at the shops and stores lining Main Street. Enjoy a super spooky stay on Nantucket at the Jared Coffin House, said to be haunted by the ghost of the successful 19th century ship-owner after whom the house was named. Other ghosts are rumored to roam the halls and rooms of this historic property – room rates start at $125 October 23-31.

10.   ACK Pink with Nantucket Island Resorts for Breast Cancer Awareness Month, October 2011

For the month of October, Nantucket Island Resorts will be donating $1 from every room night bought to the American Cancer Society’s Making Strides against Breast Cancer charity.  In addition, guests booking a stay during the weekend of October 14-16 will have the opportunity to participate on the Nantucket Island Resorts-sponsored team during Nantucket’s Making Strides against Breast Cancer Walk on Sunday, October 16. Nantucket Island Resorts has committed to a $1000 donation for the Breast Cancer Walk. Those who join the team will receive a complimentary team tee-shirt. Additionally, proceeds from themed cocktails and treats on offer at The Wauwinet, the White Elephant, the White Elephant Hotel Residences, and Jared Coffin House will be donated to the cause.

11.   Inexpensive Airfare

Think getting to Nantucket is difficult and pricey?  Phooey!  Fly Jet Blue direct from New York City to Nantucket starting at $69 this September.

12.   Romance

If you took the kids to Nantucket this summer, come back in the fall without the little ones and stay at the romantic Wauwinet (open until October 29).  The 32-room inn doesn’t allow children under 12, so there’s no chance of having a screaming baby just down the hall.  Rates at this luxury inn start at just $225 in October.

13.   Traditional New England Thanksgiving

Visit the state where the original Thanksgiving took place.  The White Elephant’s Brant Point Grill hosts a special Thanksgiving buffet with all the comfort foods you’d expect at your grandmother’s house without all the cooking and dirty dishes. Brave souls can participate in the 10th Annual Turkey Plunge on Children’s Beach, where hundreds jump into cold Nantucket Harbor on Thanksgiving morning.

14.   Fall isn’t all… Come in December for Christmas Stroll! December 2-5, 2011

Nantucket Island celebrates the entire holiday season with Nantucket Noel, a month-long celebration organized by the Nantucket Island Chamber of Commerce that runs November 25-December 31. The highlight event is the Annual Christmas Stroll Weekend.  Stores, shops, and restaurants open their doors for holidays shoppers, carolers sing favorite holiday tunes, and Santa Claus arrives via a Coast Guard Vessel.  This is an authentic experience not to be missed! Several Nantucket Island Resorts properties are open for the Stroll Weekend, including the historic and centrally located Jared Coffin House, the iconic White Elephant, and the luxurious White Elephant Hotel Residences.   These properties offer a variety of cozy accommodations for visitors to the island.

happy birthday to the real 007

June 1st, 2011

Ian Fleming, creator of James Bond, would have celebrated his 103rd birthday on May 28 (had he not passed away in 1964). After a WWII mission brought him to the Caribbean, Fleming returned to “paradise on earth” and built his dream villa, GoldenEye.

While we can’t all spend the rest of our days soaking in the Jamaican sun like Commander Fleming did (although we wish we could), why not celebrate his birthday with a trip to the birthplace of James Bond. There’s no better time than now with summer rates starting at just $448 per night for a Lagoon Suite. If you’re in the mood to party, grab the whole gang for a blow out bash and rent the Fleming Villa with rates starting at $4,400 per night. When not swimming in the turquoise lagoon or lounging on the beach, be sure to chat up Ramsey Dacosta, resident historian of GoldenEye, having worked at the property since the days when Fleming was in residence. He certainly has some good stories to share…

Trade in your martini (shaken, not stirred) for a red stripe and your tuxedo for a new bathing suit and toast to our Commander in Chief’s 103rd birthday!

daffy for daffodils

March 15th, 2011

The countdown to warm weather is on! The first little crocuses are peeking out with their green leaves, and soon to follow will be the bright yellow heralds of spring, daffodils!

Daffodil Weekend

Nantucket honors the trumpeted bloom with its annual Nantucket Daffodil Festival Weekend. From April 29-May 1, the island celebrates with activities such as the Window Decorating Contest, the Antique Car Parade, the Children’s Parade, and the Daffy Hat Pageant, all culminating in the Annual Tailgate Picnic. Also be sure to eat at Jared Coffin House’s new Brick Bistro – opening just in time for the festival weekend. 

In honor of the weekend, Nantucket Island Resorts has a special package available at the White Elephant,

The Cottages, and the Jared Coffin House.

Inclusions:

  • Transportation to and from the Annual Daffodil Tailgate Picnic, with chairs and a blanket
  • Prepared picnic from Brant Point Grill for two with a bottle of wine
  • Two official butter yellow baseball caps with an embroidered Daffodil Festival logo

Rates (based on two-night stay)

  • White Elephant: $500 per room
  • The Cottages: $450 per room
  • Jared Coffin House: $370 per room

For more information, please contact janet@alicemarshall.com, 211 861 4031.

all abu dhabi

February 16th, 2011

Essential Abu Dhabi Plane

Etihad Airways and the Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority (ADTA) are inviting visitors to experience all that Abu Dhabi has to offer with the Essential Abu Dhabi campaign.  After flying Etihad’s new three class A330-300 aircraft featuring the new Diamond First Class, simply show your boarding pass at participating hotels, restaurants, shops, adventure parks, cultural attractions, and sports facilities – including one of our favorites, Ferrari World – for exclusive offers and deals.

After all the essential action in Abu Dhabi, unwind at Qasr Al Sarab Desert Resort by Anantara located just ninety minutes outside the city in the heart of the Liwa Desert. The landscape is home to some of the world’s tallest sand dunes, and was built from the vision of celebrating the traditions of the Emirate and celebrating the culture of the Bedouins. Enjoy a pampering treatment at the spa featuring a real hammam, a camel ride through the desert, or the 2,500 museum-quality Bedouin artefacts sourced from all over Arabia throughout the resort.  It’s hard to know what’s more relaxing, the resort or Diamond First Class – let us know your findings!

sloth bowl

February 4th, 2011

Penthouse Pool

If the Super Bowl were Balinese instead of American, maybe we’d be watching sloths instead of puppies!

Parties for this Sunday abound, and every event planner (amateur or otherwise) knows that finding the venue is key. Forget the awesome band or to-die-for hors d’œuvres. If the location is lacking, everything else won’t seem quite as special. Don’t let that scare you, though! Anantara Seminyak Resort & Spa now has the best of venues for your Bali bash!

The one-of-a-kind rooftop Penthouse suite promises distinct glamour and cool with an open pool and contemporary indoor-outdoor spaces. Attendees can enjoy views of the beach, local temples and mountains while sipping signature cocktails and enjoying live music. For when the music dies down, the suite offers two bedrooms with beds suspended on marble and stuffed with down. It will be easy to sleep off the party’s effects! Catering for 30 and hosting up to 70 is available beginning at $2,000. Now that’s a touchdown.

hotter dates and cooler rates

February 4th, 2011

Nantucket Island Resort’s Hot Dates, Cool Rates are back!  Guests who book Nantucket vacations by February 18 not only get their first choice of Hot Dates but also receive the lowest rate of the season with the Hot Dates, Cool Rates Guarantee.

Other benefits to booking early include a dinner credit ($25 on $100 spend, or $50 on $150 spend) and two $25 spa treatment credits.

The Hot Dates, Cool Rates for 2011:

  • Jared Coffin House from $125 | Relax just steps away from Nantucket’s Main Street in this historic inn’s newly decorated guest rooms.
  • The Cottages & Lofts at the Boat Basin from $175 | Enjoy the views of the harbor from the docks, where The Cottages are located on three wharves jutting out into Nantucket Harbor.  *Named Best Resort Location in the U.S.  on Condé  Nast Traveler’s 2011 Gold List*
  • White Elephant from $195 | Sip on delicious cocktails on the lawn overlooking the harbor (Lobster Bloody Mary, anyone?)  *Voted #1 Resort in Massachusetts in Travel + Leisure’s 2011 World’s Best Awards*
  • The Wauwinet from $225 | Play a game of tennis, take a boat ride on The Wauwinet Lady from late-June to mid-September, or engage in a cooking class with Chef Kyle Zachary in the kitchen of TOPPER’S restaurant.  *Named 3rd Top U.S. Small Hotel in Condé  Nast Traveler’s Readers’ Choice Awards*
  • White Elephant Hotel Residences from $350 | Enjoy all of the complimentary extras that the Residences offers, including access to the hotel’s private swimming pool (in season) with daily fruit and ice cream service.

Nantucket Island Resorts also offers add-on packages at any of their hotels to make your Nantucket experience as unforgettable as possible – these include family, couple, babymoon, girlfriend, and golf packages, or more “Uniquely Nantucket” activities like scalloping, lobstering, and seal- or whale-watching.  Or choose to visit during one of Nantucket’s annual festivals including Daffodil Festival weekend (April 30-May 1), Wine Festival weekend (May 18-22), and the Nantucket Film Festival (June 22-26).

To book online, visit the website of the Nantucket Island Resorts property of your choice and enter the booking code GTDLOW, or call 800.ISLANDS (800.475.2637) or 508.325.1000 and mention booking code GTDLOW.


big band, big plans

February 4th, 2011

Dominick Farinacci

jwpjazz.com

Harlem is visiting the Himalayas tonight… or that’s what they are saying at the Rubin Museum of Art. Starting at 7 p.m., Aaron Diehl and the NJMH Allstars featuring trumpeter Dominick Farinacci will play at the Rubin for an intimate crowd. It’s the perfect opportunity to enjoy Big Band music in a contemporary setting. Tickets are $20 ($16.20 for members) and can be bought at the door. No excuse for no plans tonight!

blue valentine

February 2nd, 2011

Presidential Suite Bathtub

If you’re still in need of Valentine’s Day plans, the package from Park Hyatt Washington, D.C. will certainly make you swoon.  Couples will receive overnight accommodations in the Presidential Suite, a dedicated butler, welcome amenities including traditional champage, chocolate and strawberries, an in-suite massage with monogrammed robes, a five-course tasting menu with a live pianst, a rose petal drawn path, and breakfast in bed.

However, if you think that’s extravagant, the list continues. As icing on the lavish cake, couples can expect a $2,000 shopping spree at Tiffany’s, chauffeured transportation in Park Hyatt Washington’s BMW7-Series sedan, and a private moonlight tour of the city’s famed monuments. It will be hard not to feel the love with such a sweet package!

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