What happens when you add the romance of a South Pacific cruise to Valentine's Day? On Paul Gauguin Cruises, it means a $200 on-board spa credit and extra goodies too.
The cruise line's Valentine's Gift Package is good for cruises on the MS Paul Gauguin. The ship carries 332 guests and sails around Tahiti and other French Polynesia and South Pacific destinations.
The gift is good for those who reserve a cabin by Feb. 14 on any Paul Gauguin cruise through the end of the year. The $200 credit -- one per booking -- allows you to pick from spa treatments at the ship's Deep Nature Spa by Algotherm.
A glance at the spa's services online shows $200 would cover two 25-minute massages or two 30-minute body scrubs. Or you could spring for the 40-minute Aroma Steam Bath for two which costs a little more ($210).
Other extras include a bottle of sparkling wine and a box of chocolates.
Sample fare on the luxury cruise line: $3,995 per person, based on double occupancy, for a seven-night cruise to...Read more
Hawaii and chocolate may not seem like a natural pairing, but visitors to a Big Island cacao farm will find they go together nicely, especially if they sample the goods.
Participants learn that cacao is the name of the squat tree that produces the pods full of the beans that become cocoa after fermentation and roasting.
Co-owner Greg Colden takes visitors to his stand of cacao trees, picks a ripe pod and slices it open so the raw beans can be tasted. Later, in the factory, Colden demonstrates the cacao-to-cocoa transformation and shows how the beans’ chaff is used to make soap.
After the morning tour, guests can try a continental breakfast that includes chocolate espresso muffins and bars of Madre chocolate. Madre uses Hawaiian-grown beans, including those from Kokoleka Lani Farms, to create chocolate in its...Read more
As the clock ticks toward the Super Bowl matchup between the New England Patriots and the Seattle Seahawks, fans who will be spending the weekend in Las Vegas have a tantalizing decision to make: Will a humble hot dog be enough when dishes such as chili shrimp skewers and Grandma’s meatballs are available?
It will be a big weekend for sure: Last year, bettors in Nevada wagered a record $119.4 million on the Super Bowl. The Nevada Gaming Control Board said the combined earnings for sports books statewide totaled more than $19.6 million.
Because this is the big game, you’ll want to get the eating/drinking options right if you're in Las Vegas. Here are some good bets. I’ve even tossed in an option for the kids who obviously can’t sit next to Mom or Dad at an adults-only party.Read more
The quirky Wayfarer hostel in Santa Barbara and much acclaimed Ace Hotel Downtown Los Angeles have been cited as two of Gayot's 10 top new hotels in the U.S., according to the guide's website.
Gayot took stock of newcomers in 2014 and ranked those worthy of a tryout. The boutique Kinzie Hotel in Chicago takes the top spot for its location and Chicago map murals on the guestroom walls, according to Gayot's website.
Five of the 10 are in the West, and the New York City area and Florida claim two each.
The Wayfarer is the guide's budget pick for 2014. You can get a private or dorm-style room with "free breakfast, a terrific pool and a community kitchen worthy of the most discerning gourmet chef," Gayot says.
It's pretty hard to beat the sheer beauty of the 1927 United Artists building that Ace Hotel Downtown Los Angeles took over. The ornate theater, the Chapter restaurant and the rooftop pool put the hotel at No. 3. (Gayout liked the in-room acoustic Martin guitars too.)
Here's Gayot's...Read more
Big cruise lines are rolling out their 2015-16 itineraries on luxury ships -- and so are new super-small ones, which operate just one boat on cruises to Scottish islands.
Hebrides Cruises isn't the only single-boat cruise line that operates in Scotland but it is among the newest.
The company last year started taking visitors to the Hebrides islands off the west coast of Scotland.
This year it offers eight itineraries -- to places like Mull, Skye, St. Kilda, Mingulay, Shiants -- aboard the Elizabeth G, a former Norwegian rescue boat. It holds just 12 guests on four- to six-night sailings, and a naturalist and nature photographer come along too.
Prices range from 830 to 1,800 British pounds ($1,245 to $2,700).
Argyll Cruising launches this year with a converted wooden fishing boat that accommodates just seven guests. It debuts with four itineraries on three- to six-night cruises to destinations such as Arran, Ailsa Craig and the Mull of Kintyre, according to a statement.
Prices range...Read more
Question: I'm frustrated that airfares have not followed the decline in oil prices over the last few months. Airfares certainly followed oil prices as they rose last year. Have mergers eliminated competitive tension between the remaining carriers to the detriment of consumers?
Answer: In the L.A. area, we're paying about $1.11 less for a gallon of gas at the pumps than we were last year at the same time, according to AAA's Fuel Gauge report. When I'm filling the car, I'm tempted to shake my fist and say, "C'mon, airlines, you big bunch of …." You can fill in that last part.
Cursing those culprits might temporarily alleviate my angst, but experts remind me that it's not that simple. Nothing about airlines or airfares is.
Seth Kaplan, managing partner and an analyst with Airline Weekly, an industry publication, started realigning my thinking with this analogy: "It's just like if you're running a diner, and the prices of flour, butter and eggs drop. You don't just...Read more