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Celebrate and Save at Mardi Gras 2014

January 26th, 2014

Mardi Gras 2014

by Last Minute Travel and LMT Club Guest Blogger Daniel Fuller

Everybody loves a good party, especially when we’re talking about Mardi Gras in New Orleans. The famed multi-week carnival culminates this year on March 4 - also known as “Fat Tuesday” - and promises to end your winter blues with its unique brand of devil-may-care hospitality. Internally renowned for its one-of-a-kind parades, colorful costumes and beads, jazz rhythms, historical landmarks, and Cajun cuisine, Mardi Gras is the celebration to end all celebrations.

What’s the big deal about partying in the “Big Easy” during Mardi Gras? Plenty. You can bar-hop down the famed Bourbon Street. Dance to Zydeco at an out-of-the-way blues club. Sample jambalaya in the French Quarter. Shop on the eclectic Magazine Street. Or catch your favorite krewe marching in one of the numerous parades.

But one thing - you have to start planning today. Like now. New Orleans. is filling up fast for Mardi Gras. And that’s where we come in. Last Minute Travel and LMT Club can help you save during your stay with some pretty sweet deals on these New Orleans hotels through March 31, 2014.

Check out the Hilton New Orleans Riverside, which overlooks the Mississippi River and is only three blocks from the French Quarter. The hotel includes multiple on-site restaurants, and is also across the street from Harrah’s New Orleans casino. While the Intercontinental New Orleans offers a centralized location in the business district that is just minutes from the action. And don’t forget about the Hilton Garden Inn New Orleans French Quarter, which features a rooftop pool.

To fully experience Mardi Gras, your best bet is to arrive a few days early or stay a few days late. Once you get to know this beloved U.S. city, you may not want to leave. Book at these select New Orleans hotels, and you’ll save $35 on your hotel room (subject to availability, limitations apply). Reserve your room today, and then get ready for the party of your life!

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Love, as a journey

January 8th, 2014

Teresa Fritschi, Last Minute Travel and LMT Club Guest Blogger
Read more of Teresa’s posts on her blog at: http://teresafritschi.wordpress.com

I recently received an email from my friend Ken at Last Minute Travel and LMT Club – “Would you like to be our #TravelTweetChat guest for this week, the topic is travel and romance…” to which I replied, “Yes, I’d love to!”

11 months of meeting (all kinds of) men through OKCupid, years of thinking (and writing) about ‘happy endings’ as well as the promise of new beginnings, passion, intimacy, tenderness, romance, words to convey longing, reuniting, and love, exploring the world (largely alone) – maybe he wasn’t so far off with his subsequent words of “We need an expert on love and travel, that’s you!”

So to help you plan your Valentine’s Day travels, it’s time to roll up my sleeves!

Chansonnier de Jean de Montchenu, made in France, c.1475. This is an example of a cordiform (heart-shaped) manuscript. It contains 44 love songs by composers such as Dufay, Ockeghem, Binchois, and Busnois.

The romantic love (rather than relationships for political expedience or strategic alliance) as most of Western society understands it can be directly traced to the courtly love of 12th century France. The troubadours and their lyrical love poetry sung to the accompaniment of a lyre or lute, in nearly every instance this courtly love was directed toward a presumed married, virtuous and unattainable woman (an aristocrat surely and written of as a goddess on earth). The words were always of her being pined for by a younger man.  If he was sufficiently eloquent (and physically compelling) she might deign to take him as her lover – a grand passion, erotic love, in French called fin’amour (discreetly conducted, even if everyone knew) and, you should know, it was always HER CHOICE to call him to court or to her bedroom. So let our journey of love begin in France – but fast forward to Paris in the 20th Century and the scandalous affair that would be publicly condemned by the Vatican, result in two marriages but also two divorces of Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton.

I have loved every experience I have have ever had in Paris – every single drop of the joie de vivre, the taste of Bellini’s and (multiple bottles of) Veuve Clicquot in Harry’s (American) Bar as well as the the Bar at the Hôtel Lancaster, where Liz and Dick would take over two of the eight floors of the hotel when they were in town, the exquisitely appreciative men whose words tried to seduce me into their arms whilst I simply climbed the stairs of Sacré-Cœur, the forgiving effect which my décolletage ensconced in a black lace bra made by Lise-Charmel peeking out from a Chanel jacket had while breathlessly repeating “Je me regrette, Je M’excuse, Je vous prie de bien vouloir m’excuser” in arriving to Palais Garnier et de l’Opéra bastille , alors!, late.  I have never stayed at the exquisite Shangri-La Paris mais oui, j’ai eu le coup a foudre!

The journey of love doesn’t require grandiosity – I know, I know, it’s lovely but romance can mean just as much when traveling in a late model van.  Skating on the Fond Pond in Boston Common? Followed by a dinner of lobster fra diavolo at The Daily Catch in the North End and cannoli at Caffe Paradiso is perfect in a settled-into-our-relationship-let’s-just-be-kind-of-way. And if you aren’t “in love” or not in a romantic relationship

is there a better city in America for sharing with a best friend of either sex? I  think not! I mean, Ray Kinsella and Terence Mann sitting in Fenway Park? Are you really going to tell me that their ‘bro-mance’ didn’t make you want to plan your own road trip to Kenmore Square to find your own Field of Dreams?

The Blue Cave (Modra špilja) is located at the Balun Cove on the eastern side of the island Biševo

I am falling utterly, ridiculously, in love with the people and country of Croatia. Like two of the other countries of the former Austro-Hungarian Empire I have visited (Austria and Hungary) this horseshoe shaped country is a compelling mix of people who truly appreciate living, who are, as the French would say, bien dans sa peau (comfortable in one’s own skin), an epicurean and oenophile dreamscape made real – found in Istria (adjoins Italy’s Province of Trieste) where Roman emperors regarded the wines amongst the best their empire had to offer, running south and east along the clear beautiful waters of the Adriatic with its 1,000-plus islands of the Dalmatian Coast and onto the music festivals and lifestyles of the rich and famous of Dubrovnik in high season and back to Zagreb – the land and the descendants of Bronze Age inhabitants are proving worthy of my heart.  If you can handle the F-bombs of Anthony Bourdain, see his reaction to the food, the wine and his experience from a year ago which aired in March 2013 and I hope you will take up my challenge to see world class musicians Luka Sulic and Stjepan Hauser as 2Cellos (oh gawd, you have to hear them play!) - just a sampling, to whet your wanderlust.


Helene Berman straw hat


There is, of course, a short, definitive list of romantic things that should accompany you as journey toward love (even if you decide to stay-cation)  - Neuhaus chocolates, J & E Atkinson I Coloniali hand cream, (as previously mentioned) Veuve Clicquot, a gorgeous straw hat (protection from peering eyes and the sun, a little mysterious and a bit of serious attitude to carry off), a white dress – not a wedding gown – that manages to convey ‘woman’ at the same time it is visually soft, massages, manicures and pedicures for two to make hand holding, kissing, spooning and love-making more tactically voluptuous (and yes, guys you can do

this without getting all metro-sexual), a bouquet of unusual flowers (oh, plueze not roses) such as mixed bunch featuring white peonies and stock; if you are reading this in NYC try my girlfriend Hannah Ling’s Gardenia Organic or if in Stockholm try Jemima’ Nylund’s Norr Mälarstrand Blommor (order REALLY early).

In closing, whether your version of love is Muse or Il DivoNi vous sans moi, ni moi sans vous,(Neither you without me, neither I without you) – Happy Valentine’s Day wishes no matter where you travel with your sweetheart!

Want to be a guest blogger? Email us on ken.herron [at] touricoholidays.com!

OmerG Featured, Travel , ,

Featured Hotel: Edinburgh Tune

April 2nd, 2013

Edinburgh is one of Europe’s most beautiful cities, draped across a series of rocky hills overlooking the sea. It’s a town intimately entwined with its landscape, with buildings and monuments perched atop crags and overshadowed by cliffs - in the words of Robert Louis Stevenson, ‘a dream in masonry and living rock’. From the Old Town’s picturesque jumble of medieval tenements piled high along the Royal Mile, its turreted skyline strung between the black, bull-nosed Castle Rock and the russet palisade of Salisbury Crags, to the New Town’s neat grid of neoclassical respectability, all columns and capitals, porticoes and pediments, the city offers a constantly changing perspective. And it’s all small enough to explore easily on foot.

Edinburgh Tune Hotel

One of our favorite hotels in Edinburgh is the Tune Hotel Haymarket, which is directly across the road from the entrance to Haymarket Rail Station and centrally located to all the main attractions in the city. Tune Hotel Haymarket is just a mere 15 minutes’ walk to Edinburgh Castle and Princes Street which is the main shopping street in Edinburgh. Other attractions include Edinburgh International Conference Centre (only 7 minutes’ walk away), Murrayfield Stadium and Edinburgh Zoo is just a short 8 minutes’ drive away.

Edinburgh Tune Hotel

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Atlanta Hotels

March 19th, 2013
Atlanta hotels offer everything a savvy traveler would want while preserving the traditions of a bygone era. The Georgian Terrace, for instance, is a fine example of historic Atlanta hotels and of great value for your money. Its construction dates to 1911 and while boasting old world ambience it affords guests all the modern conveniences. It’s situated across from the fox Theater, not far from the Centennial Olympic Park or the downtown area. If you’re in Atlanta for other than leisure, the hotel’s business center will come in handy. And in the rooms, you’ll have access to all the necessary perks such as high speed Internet. You may relax by the rooftop pool or work out at the fitness center. If you have any requests, the concierge will be happy to assist you. And feel free to bring your pets. Like in many Atlanta hotels, they’re invited too.

The Hilton Atlanta is another hotel that boasts a central location in the heart of downtown Atlanta. It’s within a walking distance of some of the best attractions in the city, including the Georgia Aquarium, CNN Center and the Georgia World Congress Center. Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport is just a 15 minute drive from the Atlanta hotel.

Hilton Atlanta

The Comfort Suites are yet another excellent choice in inexpensive Atlanta hotels. It’s within a short distance of popular attractions like Six Flags Water Park, the Georgia Aquarium, Cumberland Mall and underground Atlanta. Most two star Atlanta hotels keep the frills to a minimum without compromising on comfort or service. But at the Comfort Suites, you’ll be delighted to know that all accommodations have wireless Internet, microwave oven, refrigerator and cable television. There’s an outdoor pool and business center as well.

Grand Hyatt Atlanta in Buckhead is set within the upscale uptown neighborhood of Buckhead. Renovated guestrooms include state-of-the-art Internet access, and sleek flat screen HDTVs with Roomlinx interactive iTV. You can also enjoy views of the Japanese Zen Garden.

But if staying in one of the luxurious Atlanta hotels is what you desire, the selection is truly impressive. The Omni Hotel at the CNN Center, for example, recently underwent a one hundred million dollar renovation. It’s one of the Four Diamond Atlanta hotels and is situated in the heart of the city. It connects to the Phillips Arena and Georgia World Congress Center. It’s also the only one of the Atlanta hotels to enjoy close proximity to the Georgia Dome. This award winning establishment welcomes visitors with elegant rooms and suites. They’re fitted with the best amenities and serviced with the highest level of attention in the industry.

Atlanta hotels are everything you can possibly want and more.

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LastMinuteTravel.com Travel Temptations Sweepstakes Kickoff

September 7th, 2010

SeaWorld Orlando's Manta Roller Coaster

Last Minute Travel is giving away free hotel nights at popular locations across the country. To qualify, just follow @LMTTweets on Twitter and RT (re-tweet) the contest Tweets as instructed. Then, those who follow and RT will be entered into a random drawing for those free hotel nights. We’ll have a new RT promo about every two weeks, so be sure to check back for new hotel packages and additional chances to win.

Our first week will give away a 2 night stay at the Hilton Orlando located in Downtown Disney at the Walt Disney World Resort. We choose Orlando because it has so much to offer both families and business travelers. Beyond the must-see theme parks, there are dozens of roadside attractions, air tours, and dining opportunities. At Last Minute Travel we have the deals on Orlando transportation and activities that you won’t find anywhere else like our Orlando Superpass.

Learn more about Orlando at our destination guide for the city.

For complete “Travel Temptations” official sweepstakes rules click here.

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Last Minute Travel profiles summer deals on Good Day LA

August 4th, 2010

A quick trip to Good Day LA from Lauren Volcheff, Last Minute Travel’s Vice President of Marketing, and we were able to share some great tips for securing deals on last minute summer vacations. Here’s the clip:

(via)

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Behind the Magic - By The Numbers

May 18th, 2010

Wondering who the people are behind LastMinuteTravel.com? We are a swiftly growing division of Travel Holdings, Inc.

Travel Holdings - By The Numbers.

  • 16 years in operation
  • 32 locations serving 97 source countries across 6 continents
  • 400 employees providing support in 23 languages
  • $40 million invested in proprietary technology since 2002
  • 17,000 direct hotel contracts
  • $2.5 million in sales per day
  • 3.5 million passengers/year resulting in 1.19 million bookings including 3.99 million room nights and other services such as flights, cars, cruise, activities and transfers
  • 36% growth in sales year to date 2010 and 480% growth in the last 5 years*
  • Positive EBITDA of 5.4% and growing

With numbers like this Travel Holdings, and LastMinuteTravel.com, are poised to provide you excellent travel options for years to come. There is a lot more to come.

*All numbers are from 2009, except this fact from May 2010

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The James Chicago - Best Value

February 8th, 2010

I noticed this morning that one of those ‘Private Sale’ websites is having a flash sale for The James in Chicago. A beautiful luxury boutique with an apartment living feel right off the Magnificent Mile, The James provides the personalized feel that’s perfect for a getaway or a business trip. When I did a quick price comparison with our rates, I noticed that if you book with us you can still save 20% off the price offered to their invite only members. (Valid February 2010 and most nights in March 2010)

There are two ways to book, you can visit LastMinuteTravel.com and search our “Undercover Hotels” for 5 star Chicago Luxury hotels. We have a couple with very good rates. Or you can join the Last Minute Travel Club where we have private sale prices all the time and you see all the details up front before you book. If you spend two nights at The James, you’ll save more than the club membership, plus you’ll get 5,000 TripleDip loyalty points when you become a member and access to all the great discount travel prices on the club.

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How to Avoid Baggage Fees

January 13th, 2010

With the news this week that Delta and Continental have raised the price of their baggage fees (again), it’s time to look seriously at alternatives to checking in luggage.

Loyalty has its rewards - many airlines will wave or discount baggage fees for its rewards club members. Check and see if you have enough points to qualify. If you’re close, consider taking some last minute travel and joining the world of Frequent Flyer hypermilers. You know those folks who think nothing of booking an extra flight to France to keep that Elite status. Well, they share their secrets on websites like FlyerTalk.com and FrequentFliers.com

Pack fewer things - If everything fits in your carry-on luggage, then there are no fees. Once you get over only having two pair of shoes on your trip, you can follow the advice of other travel experts who have learned to whittle down their packing list. Some good places to start are websites like Onebag.com and Travelite.org.

Ship it - Even if you are able to fit everything into your carry-on luggage, there are still certain items you can’t carry through security. For that you can use the USPS Priority Mail Flat Rate box. You can fit a lot of clothes and travel kit items in the 12″ x 12″ x 5-1/2″ flat rate box. The cost of 2-3 day shipping is less than $15, which is less than the cost of checking that extra bag. Just make sure you’re not shipping anything the USPS prohibits and that your destination will hold packages for future arrivals.

Leave it there - Are you a frequent visitor to one destination? Use a service to store your goods and deliver them to your hotel for your arrival. In Orlando you can use Owner’s Locker. They pickup, store, and deliver whenever you come to play at the theme parks.

Photo Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/striatic/ / CC BY 2.0

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