Austin is proudly weird, proudly Texan (it is the capitol after all) and a rare splotch of blue in a mostly red state. As most of the country is getting colder this fall, Austin's temperatures remain temperate. For an overview, the city's Convention & Visitors bureau is a good star for travelers (tel. 866/GO-AUSTIN; www.austintexas.org). As home to the University of Texas, the state capitol, famed music clubs on Sixth Street, great restaurants and world-class spa retreats, Austin offers opportunities for both festive and restive vacations. Whether you want to travel soon and take advantage of fall color, or head to Austin in the winter, we've found fare sales, hotel specials and package deals tailored to your needs.
For regional travel, Southwest Airlines (tel. 800/I-FLY-SWA; www.southwest.com) is running a system-wide fare sale to all kinds of destinations, from $49-$159 each way and an intra-Texas sale, priced from $49 or $79 each way. You must book by October 19 and travel by March 9, 2007 and a 14-day advance purchase is required. Cities that are part of the Texas destinations sale include El Paso ($79), Houston ($49) and even Tulsa ($79) and Little Rock ($79).
Expedia (tel. 800/EXPEDIA; www.expedia.com) has a Texas Flights & Cars sale running with mid-week flights available starting at $192 from Seattle and $244 from Los Angeles. Car rentals are available from San Antonio from $35, making it easy to plan a trip to Hill Country and fly into and out of San Antonio and see two Texas cities.
For packages, Expedia has some deals that bundle airfare and a three-night stay in Austin, which are available from $346 for the Best Value Inn, a budget hotel, to the Hawthorn Suites, located near the Austin Airport, from $427. (It's worth noting that unlike New York or San Francisco, the airport in Austin is not far from downtown.) Travel dates and departure cities will change what's available, but quick searches for departures in mid-week, in mid-November from Seattle start around $362 per person, and from $450 per person from Newark, New Jersey, for airfare and three nights' accommodations.
Orbitz (tel. 888/656-4546; www.orbitz.com) has a fall fare sale that runs into the winter, valid for travel through February 13, 2007. Some blackout dates apply. Sample fares to Austin include Los Angeles, $296; Washington, D.C., $365; Nashville, $274; Albany, $296. Additional taxes and fees apply to the fares the site lists, and there is either a 14 or 21-day advance purchase requirement.
Hotels and Resorts
The Barton Creek Resort and Spa (tel. 800/336-6158; www.bartoncreek.com) has a seasonal special called "Hill Country Hiatus," which starts at $214 per room, per night, and includes with breakfast daily and either a round of golf or a spa treatment, such as a hot stone massage, facial, or pedicure. The offer is only good for October 25, and October 29-31.
Although it feels like it's far off, Christmas is only a little over two months away. The Four Seasons Hotel Austin (tel. 512/478-4500; www.fourseasons.com) is running a special for those who want to make a getaway during the holidays. Rates start at $215 per night and are available from December 15 through January 7, excluding New Year's Eve.Â Â During the holidays the hotel offers complimentary hot apple cider upon check-in, festive music, Christmas trees and a gingerbread village.
Hotwire (tel. 866/HOTWIRE; www.hotwire.com) shows you the star value and approximate location of your hotel, but won't tell you the name, so sooking requires a leap of faith in exchange for savings. Right now there are hotels available from $43 per night for a two-star hotel in North Austin to $232 for a four-star hotel in downtown Austin that's rated as a customer favorite. Hotwire's prices reflect three-night stays between October 21 and October 24.
The award-winning Lake Austin Spa Resort (tel. 800/847-5637; www.lakeaustin.com) is offering a "Fall Blooms Special" that enables guests to save up to $500 when they book one of its resort, spa refresher or ultimate spa pampering packages in premier accommodations for four or five nights. If you opt to stay six, seven, or ten nights, you can save up to $1,000. The booking deadline is October 31 for stays through December 10. The four night "resort package," for example, is priced at $1,690 per person and include gourmet meals and unlimited fitness classes. The "refresher package" is priced at $2,095 and includes the amenities of the aforementioned package, but with a $460 spa and fitness allowance.
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