Travel News: End-of-Summer Deals

A last-minute trip to the Bahamas, discounts at local hotels, and a travel rant—just for kicks

By: Sophie Gilbert

It’s August, Washingtonians! This means if you haven’t booked your vacation yet, you’re either chained to your desk all summer or you have a rooftop pool. But either way, don’t give up hope because there are plenty of last-minute deals. Like a fully inclusive, four-night trip to the Bahamas for $299. When we say fully inclusive, we mean meals, unlimited piña coladas, the lot. You even get travel insurance.

Today’s the last day of Virgin America’s unbelievable sale on direct flights to Los Angeles from Dulles, but you can still snag the $119 each-way fares if you act quickly. Travel is valid through October 6.

We don’t usually use travel news to pursue personal vendettas against airlines, but we scoffed this week while reading Eileen Ogintz’s recent travel piece, When in Rome . . . Make Time to Relax. We were recently in Rome but didn’t have the greatest chance of relaxing after US Airways changed our flights three times, diverted us to Munich, and then lost our luggage. After more than two days of international phone calls trying to track down our belongings (and more than 200 Euros spent on toothbrushes, clean underwear, and sunscreen), and only bland responses from US Airways representatives telling us that our bags were still “missing,” we went to Rome’s Leonardo da Vinci-Fiumicino Airport at the advice of our concierge. There, we were shown into a vast room full of thousands of bags gathering dust and told to find our bags ourselves. They were there, thankfully, but we haven’t forgiven CEO Doug Parker yet, particularly when US Airways lost our bags again on the flight home.

Shermans Travel recently voted DC’s Donovan House Hotel pool as the fourth-best “urban pool” in the country. The Manhattan-esque rooftop watering hole has a wooden deck, views of Thomas Circle, and a full-service bar, naturally. Unfortunately it’s open only to guests, but with nightly rates currently running as low as $119, that needn’t be too much of a problem.

Kimpton Hotels recently launched a new Friday Frenzy site, offering weekly savings on hotels and restaurants in Washington and Baltimore. The deals are posted every Friday morning at 9 and stay up until 5 or whenever they sell out.

And finally, should Michelle Obama have picked her holiday spot more judiciously? Shortly after the First Lady and daughter Sasha arrived in Marbella, the State Department was forced to change embarrassing parts of its Web site warning travelers of “racist prejudices” in Spain. We guess when you have a Secret Service detail, communicating with the locals isn’t so much of a problem.

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