I had to look at this one several times before I realized I was, indeed, reading it correctly. Gate 1 Travel (tel. 800/682-3333; www.gate1travel.com) is offering a five-night trip to Spain's Costa del Sol at a starting price of $729, with round-trip airfare.
The key word in the description of this vacation is "value." The $729 base price for this package includes a choice of two tourist/budget-class hotels: Hotel Las Pirámides, which is a high-rise in Fuengirola near the beach with a large pool, an indoor heated pool, plus rooms with side views of the beach. The other hotel option is Sol Principe, in Torremolinos on the Promenade opposite Playamar Beach, close to the city center, and not far from Malaga (8 miles away).
The weather in southern Spain in January and February is sunny and mild (50-60 degrees Fahrenheit). Although the beaches are part of the attraction, Costa del Sol also has amazing golf courses -- a fact which may surprise you. Nevertheless, there's plenty to explore on the southern coast of Spain. From Fuengirola and Torremolinos, you're not far from the Andalusian "White Town" of Mijas and of course the historic city of Malaga.
The careful reader may note that the deal, as described on Gate 1's website, under "dates and prices," shows that the Melia Costa del Sol is advertised for a "reduction of $100." We weren't sure why $629, then, wasn't advertised as the base price. Gate 1 Travel tells us that the price is only valid for the Dec. 28 departure, and for every other departure date it's an upgrade.
Trip Type: Air-inclusive; independent
What the Quoted Price Gets You: Round-trip flights from New York City to Malaga, Spain; five nights' hotel at either Las Piramides or Sol Principe; breakfast daily; and airline fuel surcharges.
What Else You'll Have to Pay: Government and air taxes may total up to $146.
When: Jan. 11, 18, 25, Feb. 1, 2011 ($729); higher prices are available for departures through March 25, 2011
Book-By Deadline: As soon as possible to ensure availability
Other Details: Upgrades to a few other hotels are possible, starting from an additional $40 for Cervantes Hotel in Torremolinos. Check with the tour provider for prices for other gateways.
All prices are per person and, if lodging is a component of the package, based upon two people traveling together (unless otherwise noted). The prices listed are general starting rates; see "What Else You'll Have to Pay" for details about associated taxes and fees. Base-prices, taxes, and fees can vary based on point of departure and time of travel. Blackout dates may apply. Trip add-ons like sightseeing tours and meal plans may also increase the price. Check with the tour operator for additional gateways and any single supplements, which is the extra cost that a solo traveler would pay to book the deal.
Talk with fellow Frommer's travelers on our Spain Travel Forum.