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Ringing in the New Year in Bermuda

Posted by Melanie Nayer December 30, 2012 08:32 AM

Bermuda_plane.jpgThe view of Bermuda on arrival to Hamilton International Airport.

It's the dreaded question that creeps up every year after Thanksgiving: "What do you want to do for New Year's Eve?" This year I planned ahead. I was prepared for the question and I had an answer, along with airline tickets and a hotel room. Within a week, I had two friends in tow. We were going to Bermuda to ring in the New Year.

And why not? It's a quick 2 hour and 15 minute flight (non-stop from Boston, thanks to Delta), the US dollar is 1:1 against the Bermudian dollar, the beaches are pink, the water is turquoise, and even in the winter it's still warm enough to swim in the ocean that surrounds this 22-mile long island. It's home to some famous faces (Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones, David Bowie and Iman, Ross Perot, to name a few), it's calm waters make it a great spot for water sports, and the hotels offer everything from golf lessons to spa services to breakfast on the beach.

For less than $350, I grabbed a round-trip ticket from Boston to Bermuda, booked a hotel room at The Mandarin Oriental, Elbow Beach, and was on the beach by lunchtime.

I'll continue to post about the happenings from this luxury boutique island over the course of the next few days but in the meantime, here are a few photos to get you thinking about booking a Bermuda vacation in 2013:

Bermuda_bedroom.jpgThe bedroom at Elbow Beach. All the 98 guest rooms are situated in "cottages" with ocean views, and range in price based on their location to the ocean.

Bermuda_beach.jpgThe on-the-beach view from one of the guest rooms at Elbow Beach.

Bermuda_kite.jpgBermuda has great waves for kite surfing. You can organize water sports activities with any hotel or resort on the island.

Bermuda_Marvin.jpgMeet Marvin, one of the bartenders at the Sea Breeze Terrace at Elbow Beach. He's famous for remembering the preferred drink choices of guests.

Bermuda-deck.jpgOcean view dining at Sea Breeze Terrace. Add a dark and stormy for the ultimate Bermuda experience!

Reset, rejuvenate at Mandarin Oriental, San Francisco

Posted by Melanie Nayer December 27, 2012 10:21 AM

san-francisco-spa-relaxation-tea-lounge.jpgThe holidays can wreak havoc on us all, so what better way to bounce back from the chaos than with a getaway meant solely for pampering. After all, the new year is about setting new goals and aspirations, and why shouldn't one of those be to treat yourself?

San Francisco was listed on our list of the top places to travel in 2013, so why not stay a few extra days and pamper yourself while you're here.

The Spa at Mandarin Oriental, San Francisco is offering a Reset Spa package that allows guests to retreat and let the stress melt away at the city’s newest luxury spa.


Boston Harbor Hotel kicks off the 2013 Boston Wine Festival

Posted by Melanie Nayer December 25, 2012 06:50 PM

Wine-bottles.jpgThe Boston Wine Festival rings in the new year with the launch of the event on Friday, Jan. 11 at the Boston Harbor Hotel. The 12-week series is filled with winemaker-hosted dinners, themed brunches and receptions.

The Boston Wine Festival will feature more than 90,000 bottles of wine, boutique and internationally-recognized wineries, and renowned chefs from around the world to cater to every palette. To help sweeten the deal, the Boston Harbor Hotel is offering a special Wine Festival rate for those who want to stay in the city and continue the tastings. The Boston Harbor Hotel's Chef Daniel Bruce celebrates the event by bringing top winemakers from Italy, France, Portugal, Chile, Oregon, Washington, Sonoma and Napa Valley, to wine tasters and buyers in Boston.

To sweeten the deal, Wine Festival ticket holders will enjoy an exclusive accommodations offer at the Boston Harbor Hotel, including a special Wine Festival rate of $220 per night. Additionally, the Spa at Rowes Wharf is offering some vino-therapy, pairing elements of wine and spa in treatments like the Chardonnay Body Wrap and a Chardonnay Body Butter Massage.

The 2013 Boston Wine Festival lineup includes some of the best wineries and top personalities from the world of wine. Sip and savor all winter long with Chef Bruce and notable winemakers. For additional information about events and to purchase tickets, please visit

Top places to travel in 2013

Posted by Melanie Nayer December 12, 2012 01:32 PM

san juan-1931.jpgAs the year comes to an end, it’s time to think ahead and start planning trips to all the places you put off in 2012. But where to go? The world is your oyster.

If you need some help narrowing down your options, I’ve pulled together some of the top destinations to visit in 2013, based on my own research and travel, and with the help of some of my expert travel friends.

Whether you choose to stay stateside or explore far away villages in foreign countries, make 2013 the year you discover (or rediscover) a new favorite destination.

PHOTOS: Top destinations for 2013

International tourism record: 1 billion travelers in 2012

Posted by Melanie Nayer December 10, 2012 08:42 AM

greatwall.jpgThe Great Wall of China. Photo copyright:

Did you travel this year? If so, you were part of the record 1 billion people who traveled (or will travel before the year is up) across an international border as a tourist in 2012, according to the World Travel & Tourism Council.

The London-based council calculates that the 1 billionth traveler will cross an international border by Dec. 13. What border? Where will they be? Who will they be? We'll know in three days. In the meantime, the council is predicting that China will continue to be a top traveled country, and that the U.S. and France remain the two largest destinations for world travel.

The United Nations World Tourism Organization cited Paris, London, New York, Turkey, and Singapore as top five destinations in the world.

So what's behind this boost in travel? Travel experts say it's a combination of things, including the perceived perception of a more peaceful world, and the prosperity of people in Asia, who have lifted their incomes above middle-class levels in the past year.

Readers: What was your favorite place to visit in 2012? Where are you planning to travel to in 2013?

Source: The HuffingtonPost

New York Hotel Week in second year with $100, $200, and $250 room rates

Posted by Melanie Nayer December 5, 2012 12:06 PM

hotelroom-view.jpgThe Gansevoort Park Avenue NYC, one of the hotels participating in Hotel Week NYC
The second annual Hotel Week NYC™ takes place Jan. 4 - 20, 2013. The blow-out event is one of the best ways to stay in some of the city's most coveted hotel rooms at a fraction of the price.

Hotel room rates of $100, $200 and $250 are available at a variety of hotels––some of which typically charge upwards of $500 a night. The Gansevoort Park Avenue NYC, The Jade Hotel. The GEM Hotel Chelsea, and the Cosmopolitan Hotel – Tribeca, are just a few of the hotels joining this year's Hotel Week NYC lineup.

The premise is pretty simple: 24 hotels (in conduction with Nancy J. Friedman Public Relations) offer a set amount of rooms on sale for 17 days. The rates are priced at $100, $200 and $250, per room on a hotel-tiered basis. Taxes and additional fees aren't part of this rate, but in some cases, hotels are throwing in extras like a free continental breakfast.

The full list of hotels and their prices can be found here. My advice: book now! These rooms sell out fast.

Virgin Atlantic counts down to Christmas with daily Twitter giveaways

Posted by Melanie Nayer December 2, 2012 07:18 PM

virgin-atlantic-inside.jpgThe entire month of December is worthy of gifts, according to Virgin Atlantic. The airline will celebrate the holidays by gifting one of their Twitter followers something special everyday.

From Friday, Nov. 30, the airline will announce each day’s giveaway on their US-based Twitter fan handle, VAAintheUSA. Followers will be asked to Tweet the airline, along with the hashtag #VAAGiftaway with the reason they deserve the treat of the day. Gifts from the Virgin Atlantic present pile include everything from branded merchandise and gift baskets to frequent flyer miles, Clubhouse access and upgrades to spa treatments, and round-trip flights to London.

Whether you're planning a trip in the near future or not, you're going to want to get in on some of this. The airline recently opened brand-new Clubhouses at both JFK and Newark, both of which have spa sections and boutiques. Virgin Atlantic's fashion magazine, RUNWAY, offers some of the best beauty and style tips in the industry for travelers (some recommended products and merchandise might just be part of the giveaway).

To see what’s on the countdown calendar, check the Virgin Atlantic site daily from Friday, November 30. And to be eligible to win one of Virgin Atlantic’s 31 holiday gifts, follow VAAintheUSA and tweet why you should win the daily present with the hashtag #VAAGiftaway.

About the author

Melanie Nayer is a travel writer who spent many years in the newsroom before jetting off to see the world. Her goal is to bring readers the best insider information More »

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