So you're midway into your summer and still haven't booked a family vacation? Here are three easy ways to snag an affordable U.S. getaway through Labor Day and beyond.
Save Up to 20% at DoubleTree Hotels Through September
For many families, summertime means vacation time. If hitting the road is on your agenda, DoubleTree by Hilton Hotels has a way to help you save money on your lodging expenses. The Great Getaway promotion offers discounts of up to 20% on stays at participating properties in the U.S. and Canada through Sept. 30. Traveling to Europe? You'll find discounts up to 40% at DoubleTree's European locations for the same period.
One Great Getaway property is the DoubleTree Hilton Hotel in Washington, D.C., near many must-see spots (think Lincoln Memorial and Smithsonian). When we price-checked the promo on a weekend stay in July for a family of four, we found a nightly rate of $159 for a double room. That's a savings of $40 off the hotel's best available rate of $199, which is a discount of 20%. If you want more space, you can get a two-room suite for $199 per night, reduced from $249.
This offer must be booked by July 23. Here's the fine print: the reservation must be fully pre-paid, is non-refundable, and cannot be changed. There are also minimum-stay and day-of-week restrictions that vary by location. Book online or call tel. 800/560-7753 and ask for the Great Getaway promo.
Third night free at Chicago's Four Seasons or Ritz-Carlton
Like luxury for less? Even though summer is high season in most places, it can be a great time to score an upscale city-hotel deal, when the business travelers are in lower supply. Case in point: the Four Seasons Hotel Chicago and The Ritz-Carlton Chicago (which is also Four Seasons property) is offering a Stay Longer Third Night Free offer that allow visitors to experience luxury for less.
Both hotels are on Michigan Avenue and are expert at treating kids like VIPs. The Four Seasons has a large indoor pool, complimentary use of Radio Flyer wagons, pizza-making sessions with the house chef, and even an Ice Cream Man, who will come to your room to fashion custom sundaes for $12 (for grown-ups, there is an on-call Martini Man). You're also walking distance to Oak Street Beach.
At the Ritz-Carlton, there is a Candy Man (a free amenity in which kids can create their own bag of sweets), as well as a Red Toy Wagon at check-in, cookie-baking daily with the pastry chef, and a Teen Concierge. If you book a suite at the Ritz-Carlton, you can even arrange for an in-room tent for the kids, and a welcome treat of s'mores.
The offer includes rates that start at an average of $266 per night at Four Seasons Hotel Chicago and from $233 at the Ritz-Carlton Chicago. When we checked some August dates, we found a $319 rate with the deal -- though the search engine put us in an executive suite (regularly $479 a night), rather than a regular room, which normally starts at $359 per night. The suite was still a better deal -- though the hotel assured us that the deal can apply to standard rooms, too, depending on availability.
The offer is good through Sept. 30. You can book the deal online or by calling reservations at tel. 312/280-8800 for the Four Seasons Chicago, or tel. 312/266-1000 for the Ritz-Carlton.
$92 Bailout Rate in Fort Lauderdale
Still feeling the effects of the recession on your travel budget? The Riverside Hotel in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., feels your pain -- even commiserating with folks by trumpeting a recent report that U.S. families' median wealth has dropped back down to 1992 levels.
The bright side? The grim report has inspired the hotel's Family Bailout offer: For stays of four nights or more, you can take advantage of rates that start at $92. You will also receive a $92 food and beverage credit at the two on-site restaurants. You even get half off the usual $23 valet charge.
The 75-year-old Riverside Hotel is in the heart of the city, and is the only hotel on the shop- and restaurant-lined Las Olas Boulevard. The 217-room also has a pool, a sundeck and awesome views of the yachts cruising by on the New River. As a family-friendly bonus, it's also close to the Museum of Discovery and Science.
When we checked some August dates, we found a regular rate of $159 for a room with two queen bed, making that $92 rate a whopping 42% discount.
The offer is good through Sept. 20. You can book it online -- click the Packages & Promotions tab, and then enter the access code 9250 -- or by calling reservations at tel. 800/325-3280. As usual, blackout dates and other restrictions may apply.
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