advertisement

With the best weather in the United States right now hovering around 80°, the sunny climes have a direct effect on tourism. Add to the mix a new casino location in Seminole country Ft. Lauderdale, South Florida; a weak dollar keeping Americans at home and luring foreign travelers to our shores; and some outstanding deals, and you've got he making of a tourism boom.

Recognizing the addition of a Hard Rock Hotel and Casino right off I-95 between Miami and Ft. Lauderdale, Liberty Travel (tel. 800/447-1353; www.libertytravel.com) is offering a three-night all-inclusive trip to the new Seminole Hard Rock from New York's JFK Airport for $549. Just book travel before March 16, 2005 with airfare based on Monday through Thursday departures. Other departure points around the United States are available such as Kansas City for $499 and Buffalo for $515. The new Seminole Hard Rock 1s an 86-acre resort with eight nightclubs, fifteen restaurants, a 5,500 seat live music venue and a four-acre lagoon-style pool. Sounds like a Spring Break paradise? It's more with a 130,000 square foot casino floor. Yalza.

If you're looking for something mellower than casino life, the Lily Leon Hotel on South Beach (tel. 877/762-3477; www.lilyleonhotel.com) has a four-night/five-day package starting at $585 per night. The Lily Leon is a 37-suite only boutique hotel one block from the beach on 8th Street and Collins Avenue. The suites are furnished with art deco furniture and deep, warm woods that welcome guests to a quiet, chic, romantic setting. An added bonus, the Lily Leon provides free airport transportation for its guests. From February 2 to March 4, 2005, Orbitz (www.orbitz.com) is offering rooms at the Lily Leon for $112.50 per night based on availability.

If you hit South Beach, be sure to check out the Pawn Shop Lounge (tel. 305/373-3511; www.thepawnshoplounge.com), Miami's newest hot club. The monstrous dance venue located in downtown Miami bills itself as a "creative playpen) containing a school bus, the interior of a 747, and a wide-body trailer all within its walls. Local bar purists need to hit long-time Miami staple the Mac's Club Deuce (tel. 305/673-9537). This place is as local as local bars go. Anything goes here, from tired house music fanatics to older gents sipping on Bloody Mary's. Nothing trendy about this place, except the neighborhood it lives in.

Just up the coast in Palm Beach, winter deals abound as well. American Airlines (tel. 800/433-7300; www.aa.com) just announced a "Net Saver" winter sale to Florida with roundtrip fares from Boston to Palm Beach going for as low as $130. That same $130 will get you there and back from New York City. Once in Palm Beach, even the exclusive hotels are offering up some nice packages. A mother-daughter extravaganza called "Like Mother Like Daughter" is available at the upscale Chesterfield Hotel (tel. 561/659-5800; www.chesterfieldpb.com). For $529 per night, (I know it sounds a lot, but they throw in the kitchen sink) you get a suite, breakfast, a facial or manicure, a free in-room movie, chocolates and champagne, dinner for two in a restaurant or your room, cocktails, a traditional afternoon tea, $50 to spend in the hotel gift shop, and picture album to house all your photographs of the weekend together. Now that's a package. Mother's Day can't come soon enough.

Comment on this column on our Florida Message Boards.