Tuesday, August 22, 2006

10 Luxe-for- Less Vacation Tips

Our last Hurrah of Summer consisted of a sweet spot of time in a luxury resort at bargain rates. I love Disney, but for less than the cost of a one-day visit to an amusement park, we covered luxury accommodations, meals, entertainment and transportation.

10 Luxury Get-Away Traveling Tips

1. Luxury Resort
We looked for a high-end resort, with off-season prices. We also searched for other discounts, including Florida resident rates and Triple-A membership discounts.

The off-season rate at the Grove Isle Hotel & Spa is $199, with the local resident discount rate of $149. That's a lot less than the peak season nightly rate of at least $529, excluding tax, tips, parking.

2. Creative Meals

Our family of five spent less than $85 on a total of four meals during our vacation. The room was equipped with a frig; we brought our own food and a sandwich press ( a mini grill).

The room came with complimentary coffee. We brought our own cake.

For special treats, we purchased cafe lattes, smoothies and other goodies from Starbucks and other little stores.

Our big-ticket meal expense: We spent $53, plus tip at a very nice kosher restaurant called the Gourmet Carrot. It was an elegant way to end our trip.

3. Avoid the wet bar in the room

Faced with lofty price tags of $60 a bottle, we avoided the little bar/hotel stock in our room. Very pricey stuff, with fine labels. I even managed to avoid the little boxes of Godiva chocolate, which were richly priced. Very tempting. (We purchased a large bar of high-end chocolate later at regular retail prices. It was worth the wait.)

We did, however, break down and open three cans of sodas from the bar stock. (We forgot to pack beverages.) To avoid the high charges, we replaced the sodas with low-priced (exact) duplicates from a nearby convenience store.

Here are other strategies we used.

4. Stay local to avoid costly road trip.

5. Explore quaint, old historical neighborhoods that we rarely visit.

6. Find a local resort (on a small island) that feels far from home.

7. Stay at a resort that has complimentary Internet and a free business center. (I've paid hefty fees to log-on and use the computers/faxes/equipment at some hotels and resorts)

9. Select a resort with a free fitness center. Some places charge you extra to use their spa and fitness center areas. (High-end spa treatments were extra.)

10. Get tips about local points of interest from residents or experts. Stay near an area with a vibrant night life. Once we left our little island, there was lots to do in the Coconut Grove shopping district.


MoneyDummy said...

The mini-bar prices always stun me! Mr. MoneyDummy's boss stayed at a hotel in Vegas in which the minibar was equiped with lazer sensors which charged the product to guests' bills the MINUTE the bottle was lifted from the case.

Frugal Duchess: Sharon Harvey Rosenberg said...

Wow! Thanks for the tip about the laser sensors.

I'll have to be on the alert for that technology.