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Holiday travel deals near and far

Posted by Paul Kandarian  November 25, 2013 10:15 AM

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By Paul E. Kandarian, Globe Correspondent

Most of us will likely spend more than we probably want to on other people this holiday season. But there are a bunch of travel deals this time of year where the money you spend will at least be on yourself. And OK, on those you love, if you take someone along.

Down in DC, The Mayflower Renaissance Hotel’s Edgar Bar & Kitchen celebrates its first Thanksgiving with a holiday menu conceptualized by Chef Andrew Morrison, formerly of the Fairmont Pittsburgh, and Maison Blanche and Le Mistral in our nation’s capital. Edgar opened last December, and the Thanksgiving menu features, naturally, turkey, and some more creative things like butternut squash and apple bisque, along with themed drinks such as “Pass the Turkey,” with Wild Turkey 101, cider, cranberry jelly, sage and thyme. Dinner is $45 per person, and the hotel (named after the historically famous ship that led to our nation’s very first thanksgiving), is running a “Stay for Breakfast” package as well for the weekend, rates starting at $139. For info, visit www.RenaissanceMayflower.com, and for info on Edgar check out www.edgarbarandkitchen.com

Up in New Hampshire, travelers can kick off the shopping season with deals at hotels and shopping centers throughout the state, including at the Centennial Hotel in Concord (Black Friday rate of $109 a night and free breakfast); Saco River Motor Lodge in Center Conway, rates from $69; the historic Wentworth by the Sea Hotel and Spa in New Castle, with rates from $209; and a shopping spree contest that will dole out three $500 sprees, including two-night lodging and dining. For all info, check out www.visitnh.gov.

Martha’s Vineyard off season is less crowded – and way cheaper. The historic Harbor View Hotel, sitting atop a picturesque bluff in Edgartown, is running a deal for those booking stays between Nov. 29 and Dec. 2. You can save 20 percent off room rates on one- or two-night stays and 30 percent on three-night stays for travel between Dec. 1 and July 10. The hotel is noted for Water Street, its signature restaurant with smashing water views, and Henry’s Hotel Bar. Visit www.harbor-view.com for information.

The Big Apple has seasonal deals, too, notably The Muse Hotel and 70 Park Avenue, with The Muse’s extended Cyber Monday package for travel throughout January and available for booking Dec. 2-15, offering 20 percent off the best-available room rate; and the “Power Shopper” program at 70 Park Avenue, which offers car service to shops, unlimited coffee from the hotel’s new Silverleaf Coffee and Tea Café, where you also get two wind-down cocktails after all that shopping,  and a 30-minute stretching session. The package is available through the end of December and rates run from $629 a night. Visit www.themusehotel.com and www.70parkave.com for details.

New Year's Eve goes Latino over in Boulder, Colo., where the St. Julien Hotel and Spa has a New Year's special starting at $424, available for Dec. 31 (21 and older), and gets you lodging, the local Latin band Quemando in the ballroom, two drinks, Cuban street food stations, champagne toast and ball drop at midnight. Visit www.stjulien.com for info.

If you’re thinking warmer, and this time of year, who isn’t, there are deals to be had in toastier climes including at Abaco Beach Resort and Boat Harbour Marina in the Bahamas, with its exclusive 24-hour offer from midnight Dec. 1 to Dec. 2, which nets you the resort’s new “Turtle Crawl” experience with a minimum four-night stay, a $500 value. The offer is valid for travel through March 31, 2014. For information, check out www.abacobeachresort.com

A deal can be had at Ocean Club Resorts in Turks and Caicos in the Caribbean, where if you book at www.oceanclubresorts.com and use promo code “CYBER,” you get 20 percent off all room categories and a $200 hotel credit for stays of five or more nights from Jan. 3-Feb. 7, or 25 percent off junior, one-, two- and three-bedroom rooms and $200 credit for five or more nights from May 1-Dec. 18. Ocean Club was named among Travel + Leisure’s Top 500 Best Hotels in the World, which also named it the top hotel for Caribbean locations. Ocean Club has two properties in Turks and Caicos, a mile apart from each other on Grace Bay Beach, where guests at one can use the services and amenities of the other as well.

Over in Bermuda, travelers get a third, fourth or fifth night free on stays booked through April 25, for stays Dec. 1 through the end of April. Third-night free hotels include Clearview Suites & Villas, Elbow Beach Bermuda, and Rosewood Tuckers Point Resort, among others. You can get a fourth-night free deal at Cambridge Beaches, Pompano Beach Club and The Reefs Resort & Club, and a fifth night at Mazarine by the Sea, Rosedon Hotel Bermuda, The Royal Palms and Coral Beach Club. For all info, visit www.gotobermuda.com

Also in the Bahamas, Nassau Paradise Island hosts the third annual Bahamas Speed Week Revival Dec. 4-8, a unique event showcasing some of the world’s most iconic race cars. This year, racing returns to Nassau for the first time in nearly 50 years with the running of a Formula Junior race, and Austin Healey race, a classic/vintage mini race and an “All-comers” race. In addition to racing other cars, enthusiasts can race the clock in the Fort Charlotte Hill Climb overlooking Nassau Harbor. When booking an air-inclusive minimum four-night stay at any of Nassau Paradise Island’s participating hotels, visitors get $250 in instant savings. Select properties also offer other promotions during speed week. Bookings must be made before Dec. 2. For information on racing stuff, visit www.bahamasspeedweek.com, and for lodging, www.nassauparadiseisland.com

Last year, I spent New Year’s at Panama City Beach in Florida, and joined the Panama City Beach Biggest Loser RunWalk. And I wasn’t alone: About 40,000 folks gathered for the New Year’s Eve Beach Ball Drop alone. This year, the run-walk happens Dec. 29, the ball drop, Dec. 31, and other events will include the 2013 Run for the Redfish Half Marathon and 5K on Dec. 7; the “Optimist Christmas Parade” Dec. 14; and New Year’s Sail Dec. 31 where you relax on a boat offshore watching fireworks. Hotel deals can be had at the Bay Point Wyndham Resort, with 20 percent off regular rates; Edgewater Beach and Golf Resort, with rates running from $79 a night from Dec. 27-Jan. 2; and the Watercrest Resort with rates from $169 a night through Dec. 31. For all info, lodging and deals, visit www.visitpanamacitybeach.com  

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