Exclusive Travel Deals for December

Pre-holiday splurges in Virginia, Charleston, and the Caribbean

By: Alice Shapin

It’s hard to believe, but the holidays and winter are almost here. Why not take some time for a little pre-holiday splurge? You can relax at a luxurious inn in Virginia or head to the beach and enjoy spa treatments—and off-season prices. We also have special travel deals in Charleston, the Caribbean, and the Allegheny Mountains.

AN OLD INN GETS NEW SPARKLE
Where: The Inn at Willow Grove, 14079 Plantation Way, Orange, Va.; 540-672-7001; www.innatwillowgrove.com
What’s special: The Inn at Willow Grove’s renovation—a complete overhaul of all rooms and facilities—is finished. There are now new suites, a new kitchen, a 50-seat restaurant and bar, and new outdoor fountains. Although the 232-year-old inn has been modernized, great care was taken to preserve the historic character of this landmark, which is on the National Register of Historic Places. The inn is beautifully furnished and features goose-down luxury bedding. Early reviews say that the service is impeccable, the property romantic, and the food superb. It’s a place where no detail has been overlooked. Nearby activities include tastings at local vineyards, hiking, and tours of historic sites including Montpelier, the former home of James Madison.
The deal: Enjoy a discount on a weekday stay, Wednesday through Saturday. The exclusive Washingtonian package includes accommodations for two nights, dinner for two people, and a chilled bottle of Champagne for $500. This deal is a 30-percent savings off normal rates. If you want, you can upgrade to any of the suites for only $100 more; the total of $600 for two nights is a savings of 60 percent.
When: Valid through December 31, 2010.

SOUTHERN GRACE, MODERN CHARM
Where: Charleston Place, 205 Meeting St., Charleston, S.C.; 888-635-2350.
What’s special: Located in the heart of Charleston, the Charleston Place hotel is within walking distance of the city’s historic center, with its gorgeous antebellum homes, horse-drawn carriage rides, shopping, and museums. The hotel blends gentility and Old World charm with a leading-edge spa, named one of the top hotel spas in the United States by Condé Nast Traveler magazine. A fitness center features an indoor/outdoor saltwater mineral pool, state-of-the-art equipment, and exercise classes. The on-site Shops at Charleston Place features luxury shops such as Godiva, Gucci, and St. John. Dining options include the Charleston Grill, a Mobil four-star restaurant; the Thoroughbred Club for tapas and afternoon tea; and Palmetto Cafe for breakfast and lunch.
The deal: Washingtonian readers who book a room at charlestonplace.com/washingtonian will receive a complimentary room upgrade With this deal, rates start at $235; a savings of $100.
When: Valid travel from December 1, 2010, through March 13, 2011.

UNWIND AT THE BEACH
Where: The Bellmoor Inn & Spa, 6 Christian St., Rehoboth Beach, Del.; 800-425-2355.
What’s special: Enjoy peace and relaxation by the beach at the Bellmoor Inn & Spa. The elegant lobby features Brazilian-cherry floors, inviting leather seating, quiet reading nooks with fireplaces, and a cheerful sunroom where you can enjoy a delicious buffet breakfast and afternoon refreshments. The spacious suites have marble bathrooms and luxurious bedding. You can work out at the fitness center or get pampered at the on-site spa, which offers an extensive menu of treatments. Afterward, take a short walk to the downtown shops and, if the weather permits, stroll the boardwalk and watch the ocean. The area also has many good restaurants for lunch or dinner.
The deal: Stay one weekend night in a Deluxe Room and receive two 50-minute Swedish massages plus a full American breakfast and afternoon tea for two, all for $329 plus taxes, a discount of 30 percent. You can add a second night for $99 plus taxes.
When: Valid November 5 through December 18, 2010.

HOLIDAY SPLENDOR IN THE MOUNTAINS
Where: The Homestead, 7696 Sam Snead Hwy., Hot Springs, Va.; 540-839-1966.
What’s special: Nestled in the Allegheny Mountains, this National Historic Landmark welcomed its first guest a decade before the American Revolution. Over the years, it has played host to presidents and princes. Today it offers first-rate amenities and accommodations with Southern hospitality. You can relax at the luxe spa, swim in the magnificent indoor pool, go bowling, enjoy afternoon tea, go rifle or skeet shooting with the shooting club, and, weather permitting, hike the trails, ice-skate, and ski both cross-country and downhill. Kids can get away from their parents at the Kids Club. Dining options abound, from fine to casual.
The deal: The Holiday Escape Package includes accommodations, a limited-edition glass tree ornament modeled after the Homestead’s historic tower, two passes for ice skating at the outdoor ink, and a hayride through the Homestead’s holiday light show. Washingtonian readers also receive a free upgraded room. To book your package, call 800-838-1766, select option 3, and mention the Washingtonian.com Readers Offer. Rates for the Holiday Escape Package start at $209 a night per room based on double occupancy, which is 50 percent off the items booked individually. The upgraded room is an additional $75 savings. Taxes and 15-percent daily resort charge are extra.
When: The package is valid November 22 through December 22, 2010, with blackout dates November 24 through 26.

SAND AND SURF IN THE CARIBBEAN
Where: The Reef, Grand Cayman; 888-232-0541.
What’s special: The Reef may not be the Ritz, but you still get a fabulous beach and a nice room with an incredible view—all for just $99 a night. The Reef is the only resort on Grand Cayman where all the rooms are beachfront suites. Every unit has sweeping views of palm trees, the white-sand beach, and the spectacular turquoise Caribbean Sea. Located on the island’s east end, the resort is away from the crowds and a serene tropical escape. The resort features a 1,600-foot stretch of beach with two freshwater pools, beach volleyball, tennis, and a spa. Guests can snorkel right off the beach, and Grand Cayman is known for its diving. US Airways has a direct flight from Reagan National and Dulles to Grand Cayman.
The deal: Take advantage of the Reef’s fall sale. Beachfront studios are available for $99 a night. Mention The Washingtonian when booking to receive a free upgrade to a deluxe studio suite.
When: Valid through December 20, 2010.

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