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 Steals & Deals

joe NOTABLE BARGAINS
FOR FEBRUARY, 2000


BY JOE BRANCATELLI

Flowers, Chocolates--and Travel--for Valentine's Day
Want to give more than just flowers and chocolate on Valentine's Day? Hotels are happy to oblige. The Embassy Suites in Orlando (407-345-8250) has a 2-night "Suite Rendezvous" package that includes accommodations, champagne, breakfast, a shuttle to the major theme parks--and the flora and candy. Prices start at $295 a couple. "The Sweethearts Package" at the Trump International Hotel (888-448-7867) in New York includes a night in a one-bedroom suite, a room-service breakfast, lillies--and a pair of personalized bathrobes. The price is $950 a couple; 72 hours advance notice is required to personalize the robes. "Rendezvous for Two" packages at Omni (800-THE-OMNI) hotels and resorts in North America offer overnight lodging with 5 p.m. checkout, breakfast in bed, a list of 12 romantic things to do, and a "romance amenity" that differs at each property. Prices start at $119 per couple. And, finally, from SAS Scandinavian Airlines (800-437-5804), a unique Valentine's Weekend promotion: two adults and a child under the age of 12 can fly to Europe for the price of one. For $558 roundtrip from Newark, $638 from Chicago or $770 from Seattle, the party of three can visit Stockholm, Copenhagen, Oslo, Paris, Rome, Amsterdam, Brussels, Geneva or Helsinki. You must travel together on all segments, depart February 7 to 11 and return February 14 to 17.

One-Time Wonders Around the World
Spectacular Sports Specials(800-451-5772) has packages that include the toughest tickets in sports: admission to The Masters golf tournament. Including practice rounds, this year's Masters runs from April 3-9 in Augusta, Georgia. Three-day package include admission to two rounds, lodging, hotel-to-course transfers; and daily breakfast. Prices start at $1,690 a person. Country Cottages (800-674-8883) has seven-night St. Patrick's Day packages that include exclusive use of a cottage in Ireland. Valid for travel from March 10-18, the packages also include a rental car and flights to Dublin. Prices start at $1,598 a couple. "Behind the Scenes at the Metropolitan Opera" in New York is sponsored by Smithsonian Study Tour (877-EDU-TOUR) and offers: daily lectures and backstage tours; two dinners, two lunches and four breakfasts; an opening reception; and three evening performances. Conducted from March 28 to April 1, the program costs $1,535 a person.

The Time of the Season for Discounts
Collette Tours (888-344-5578) has reduced the price of several March tours. The March 19 departure of the "California Coast" tour has been cut $50 to $1149 a person; the 9-day motorcoach itinerary includes lodging, 11 meals and tours of San Francisco, Yosemite National Park, Hearst Castle, Los Angeles, and the San Diego Zoo. The March 24th departure of the "Sicily: Land of Myths & Legends" tour has been reduced $100 to $1,049 per person; the 10-day itinerary includes lodging, 16 meals, and motorcoach touring around the island.

Last Exit to Vienna
Austrian Airlines (800-842-0002) drops its code share with Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines on March 25 and the next day joins the Star Alliance, headed by Chicago-based United Airlines [http://www.ual.com]. That means Austrian will end its Atlanta-Vienna flights and launch Chicago-Vienna service instead. And that explains why Austrian is offering an exceptional 3-night package from Atlanta for $553 a person. Included is roundtrip airfare on one of the last flights between Atlanta and Vienna, three nights of accommodations in the four-star Hotel Prinz Eugen and daily breakfast. Travel must be completed by March 25 (obviously!); tickets must be purchased by March 15. Taxes are extra and the price is based on mid-week departures.

This column originally appeared at skymalltravel.com.

Copyright 1999-2010 by Joe Brancatelli. All rights reserved.