Real Deals

For the one you leave off your gift list: You go!

San Diego's Hotel del Coronado gets all decked out for the holidays. San Diego's Hotel del Coronado gets all decked out for the holidays.
Email|Print| Text size + By Richard P. Carpenter
Globe Correspondent / November 25, 2007

If you're giving the gift of travel for the holidays, consider including yourself on the list. Who better deserves a break in this hectic season or a chance to recuperate after the festivities? Here are a few ideas, with more to come next week:

San Diego's famed Hotel del Coronado is all dressed up with Victorian holiday decor and 100,000 glittering lights that illuminate the resort and an oceanfront ice-skating rink. A Sea & Skate package, available through Jan. 1, features accommodations, a daily breakfast buffet for two, one skating session for two adults or one adult and two children, including skate rental, and a commemorative Del snow globe gift. Rates begin at $348 per night.

Visit or call 800-HOTEL-DEL (800-468-3533).

It's a breeze to get that Christmasy feeling in New Hampshire's White Mountains. At the Cog Railway in Bretton Woods, the Santa Train runs twice daily at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. each Saturday and Sunday until Christmas. Tickets are $31 for adults and $26 for children; ages 3 and under ride free on an adult's lap. Reservations are recommended.

Visit or call 800-922-8825 or 603-278-5404.

On the other side of Crawford Notch, meanwhile, a jolly old elf shouts, "All aboard!" at the Santa Claus Express at the Conway Scenic Railroad. Trains depart each Saturday and Sunday at 11:30 a.m. for a one-hour round trip to Bartlett and at 1:30 p.m., for a 55-minute journey to Conway. Naturally enough, Santa will be onboard and will have a small surprise for each child. Bartlett coach fares are $18.50 for adults, $12.50 for children ages 4-12. Conway fares are $11.50 and $8.

Visit or call 800-232-5251 or 603-356-5251.

How about a jail break? From Dec. 16-30, Boston's Liberty Hotel - formerly the Charles Street Jail - will have a nightly rate of $199. Guests staying two or more nights get a complimentary upgrade to a Spectacular Room, overlooking the city skyline and the Charles River.

Visit or call 617-224-4000 or 866-507-JAIL (5245).

Cruise ships get into the holiday spirit, too. For instance, Royal Caribbean International puts on holiday shows and has cookie decorating classes, a parade with Santa and his elves, Hanukkah sing-alongs with games and food, plus holiday movies, decorations, and music. Cruises start at $459.

Visit or the luxury travel network Virtuoso at or call Royal Caribbean at 866-562-7625.

Gift certificates are available for the One & Only Boston Chocolate Tour, which runs every Saturday through April 26 and is presented by Old Town Trolley Tours. The narrated, three-hour trolley trip features visits to Top of the Hub Restaurant, the Omni Parker House Hotel, and the Langham Hotel Boston. Tickets are $75 a person, and reservations are required. Call 617-269-7010.

A Getaway Gift Card from gives the recipient a choice of nearly 4,000 B&Bs in the United States and Canada. The cards can be customized and are sold online in amounts from $25 to $2,000, and in many Costco, Wal-Mart, CVS, and Rite Aid stores in $50 and $100 denominations.'s holiday sale is underway, with discounts of up to 40 percent on hotels in top vacation destinations. The properties can be booked at sale prices until Dec. 10 for travel now through Dec. 31.

From Expedia's home page, click on the Holiday Sale banner.

Book selected Walt Disney World vacations by Dec. 23, and you can have Mickey Mouse phone with the news on Christmas morning. Vacation rates, including theme park tickets, start at $58 per person per day based on a six-night stay for a family of four in a standard room at a selected Disney Value Resort.

Visit or call 407-W-DISNEY (934-7639).

There are Macy's stores everywhere, but the one connected to the Fairmont Chicago calls itself the second-largest department store in the world. At Macy's on State Street, there are more than 800,000 square feet of couture designers and one-of-a-kind shops like Thomas Pink, Levenger, Merz Apothecary, and the only FAO Schwarz in the city. The Fairmont's Shopping at Macy's on State Street Holiday package includes overnight accommodations for two, a $100 Macy's gift card, and a visitor savings pass, as well as a Macy's tote bag, Martha Stewart Collection holiday ornament, and a box of candy cane Frango mints. Rates begin at $269.

Visit, then click on Hotel Packages and look for the holiday shopping package under Special Offers, or call 800-526-2008.

Meeting on China trip

An informational meeting on a $1,699 trip to China will be held Wednesday from 5:30-7 p.m. at Exeter High School, 315 Epping Road, Exeter, N.H. The trip on March 14-22 is sponsored by the Exeter Area Chamber of Commerce.

For more information, call 603-772-2411 or visit

When not included, hotel taxes, airport fees, and port charges can add significantly to the price of a trip. Most prices quoted are for double occupancy; solo travelers will usually pay more. Offers are subject to availability and there may be blackout dates. Richard P. Carpenter can be reached at

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