Winter travel deals: Beaches to the slopes

From the Caribbean to the Canadian Rockies, winter travel deals abound. Photo: Gstaad Palace

WASHINGTON, December 11, 2012 — Whether you are looking to escape to a sandy beach with the Caribbean sun warming your soul or whether you’re looking to immerse yourself in the season amid snowy mountains, winter travel deals abound. Here are a few of the season’s best:

Ski the Swiss Alps

Switzerland’s Gstaad Palace is the quintessential winter wonderland, the storybook version of the perfect winter vacation. Winter activities at this resort include snowboarding, ice-skating, ice climbing, snowshoeing, sled rides, cross-country and downhill skiing at the only glacier ski area in the Bernese Oberland. Gstaad Palace’s signature restaurant, La Fromagerie is only open for the winter season and features its signature dish Champagne and Black Truffle Cheese Fondue.

On select dates this winter season Gstaad Palace is running a special package deal: Chopard Luxury Journey (Valid from December 16-20, 2012, January 13-February 6, 2013, and from March 3-10, 2013) includes a 4-night stay in a Double Deluxe Room with a view of the Swiss Alps, breakfast buffet and dinner at Le Grand Restaurant for two, a helicopter flight from Gstaad to Fleurier and VIP tour of Chopard Watches followed by lunch, access tothe Palace Spa with indoor swimming pool, saunas, steam baths, outdoor pool with Jacuzzi. The package per person runs approximately. $3,695.

London Luxury

Be the first among your friends to stay in the new Royal Suite at the InterContinental London Park Lane, which celebrates the hotel’s location on the site of 145 Piccadilly, Queen Elizabeth II’s former childhood residence. Make this glamorous Mayfair perch home while celebrating the holidays in London.

Soak in the Knightsbridge skyline while sipping champagne in your private dining area, work (or attempt to work, if you’re not distracted by the postcard perfect view of Hyde Park) in the study or relax in the canopy bed in the spacious master bedroom. Rates begin at 10,000 pounds. Book the suite from Jan. 1-Feb. 28, and receive a limited edition giclée prints by Ann Carrington, who created the Royal Jubilee banner for the stern of the Royal Barge.

Royal Suite at the InterContinental Park Lane London/Photo: Will Pryce


Vintage Vail

The Sebastian was recently ranked No. 2 in Travel + Leisure’s World’s Best Awards for Top Resorts in the U.S. Perched at the base of Vail Mountain, the resort has one of the area’s most popular après-ski bars called Frost Bar. The Sebastian is offering as special winter deal through ski season called “Vintage Vail, ” which includes two 50-minute spa treatments, $50.00 to Frost, and $5.00 lift tickets per person per day. Rates start at $450 per night.

Authentic Maui

Immerse yourself in local culture on Maui with a stay at Ka’anapali Beach Hotel. It prides itself on delivering local island touches, like traditional Hawaiian quilts on the beds and tropical furnishings. Guests can tap into the deep knowledge of the staff, the majority of which are Hawaiian natives. In addition to sunset hula shows, lau (leaf) printing, ukulele lessons, poi pounding, hula classes, guests receive a kukui nut lei when they depart.

The resort is running a special four-night package for two people until January 4, 2013, which includes accommodation in an Ocean View room, a compact rental car, one lunch for two at the poolside Tiki Grill, a daily buffet breakfast for two, a logo cooler bag and two Hawaiian design beach towel and a choice of either snorkel gear rental or the use of an umbrella and two chaise lounges for two persons for three days. This package runs $1,349.

Christmas in the Rockies

Vacations By Rail is currently offering a unique family vacation deal. Families can spend the holiday season traveling through the gorgeous Canadian Rockies from Vancouver to Calgary. There is a mix of indoor activities like visits to museums and cultural sites and outdoor excursions like hikes to see frozen waterfalls, tobogganing, skiing, and ice-skating. One night aboard Canada’s premier overnight train, The Canadian is part of the package. Price, including all meals, starts at $2,745 per person.

New on Nevis

A new and improved Montpelier Plantation & Beach reopened on the intimate island of Nevis. Montpelier has added a new culinary experience with the complete redesign of Indigo, the poolside bar and restaurant. A new menu features dishes infused with local flavor that relies on island fruits, herbs and vegetables.

The bar now showcases Montpelier’s extensive rum collection, which includes a selection of homemade spirits that are infused with locally grown ingredients. To celebrate the reopening, the chic 19-room Relais & Chateaux boutique hotel is welcoming guests with a $500 resort credit package good for five-night bookings through January 1, 2013.

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Andrea Poe

Andrea Poe is a veteran journalist, whose work has appeared in thousands of publications, including Town & Country, Marie Claire and Entrepreneur.  She is the author of several books and her work has appeared in many others, including anthologies and college textbooks. 

Andrea serves as editor of the Travel & Food section at The Washington Times Communities.  Her love of travel has led her to cover everything from remote villages in the Andes to her hometown of New York, from Paris to Pittsburgh, from Beijing to the Bahamas.  No matter where she travels, she likes to uncover the unusual and share with readers those often-overlooked aspects of a place and its people.  She dubs her column Raven’s Eye as a nod to her illustrious (and, yes, infamous) relative, Edgar Allan Poe, a writer who knew more than a little something about the quirky and unique.  

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In addition to her work as mother, writer and traveler, she is the founder and president of Media Branding International, a consulting firm that helps individuals and organizations craft and promote their image in media outlets around the globe.

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