Deals For Tax Day: Hotel And Restaurant Specials Around The County

It’s tax day, which, for many Americans, marks their least favorite day of the year – unless, of course, you’re Uncle Sam. Whether your wallet is hurting or you’re flush with a little bit of cash from an unexpected refund, we’ve got a list of hotels and resorts around the country that are offering special deals and packages designed around the “holiday.”

Get A Deal in DC
The JW Marriott, Renaissance and Marriott hotels of Washington, DC are offering a tax day discount. Guests who book by April 22 will receive 25 percent off best available weekend rates for stays May 2 through September 9, 2013, using code SPJ at booking on Marriott.com.

A Room With A View in Chicago
C-View, an outdoor rooftop terrace and indoor lounge located on MileNorth, A Chicago Hotel’s 29th floor, is offering 15 percent off tabs of $15 or more during the entire month of April. Filers can also enjoy the refreshing “Taxed” libation mixed with Crown Royal, Peach Tree, Red Bull and a splash of cranberry juice.

Life’s a Beach in Nassau
The Sheraton Nassau Beach Resort & Casino‘s “1040 De-Stresser” offers some post-taxation relaxation. Book four nights from April 5 through April 30, 2013, and enjoy a one-time rate of $1040 for four nights (inclusive of tax and resort fee), a half-day dolphin encounter for two and a guaranteed upgrade to an ocean-view room. Book online with code SN1040.

Nice Deal in NoLA
Sheraton New Orleans is offering two tax-themed cocktails for those looking to relax and unwind after filing their returns. Available on April 15 at the hotel’s Pelican Bar, travelers can enjoy a Tax Revolution or Show your W9…I’ll Show Mine cocktail, complete with Mardi Gras beads, for only $10.40 each (specially priced after the 1040 form). As an added perk, those willing to show their W9 will receive one of these fun cocktails free.

Let the CPA Handle it in Boston
At Onyx Boston, a Kimpton Hotel, a CPA will personally come to your hotel and file your return for you. This last-minute package includes a “Money Maker” cocktail, overnight tax-free accommodations and a late checkout. The code to book online is PFILE.

Tax Back in Sint Maarten
Sint Maarten’s Sonesta Resorts’ new, “Tax Back? You Bet!” promotion, offers a 46 percent savings on any all-inclusive vacation booked during April, valid for stays through 2013. The hotel is offering an additional 21 percent off (symbolizing the amount of tax and service) on the resorts’ already low “advance purchase rate” – for a total of 46 percent savings off published rates. The promotion is based on a four-night minimum stay, double occupancy and must be fully pre-paid at the time of booking. Enter booking promo code: TAX13 when booking on the hotel’s website.

Drown Your Sorrows in Hawaii
Whether you are drowning your sorrows or rejoicing your hefty return, JW Marriott Ihilani Resort & Spa offers a special cocktail to suit your needs. Priced at $10.40 after the famed 1040 form, the “Drown My Sorrows” and “Filthy Rich” drinks (the first on fire, the latter bright green) will soothe your thirsty soul.

[Image Credit: Marriott Hotels & Resorts]

The 10 Best Travel Apps For Flight Attendants

1. FAAWait – During a creeping weather delay a flight attendant who also works part time as an air traffic controller told me about FAAWait. It’s his favorite app. One click and we knew which airports across the country were also experiencing delays, how long the delays were averaging, and what had caused the delays.

2. MyRadar: Recently a fearful flier on board one of my flights spent three hours watching the weather light up his iPad screen: blue, green, red – wow, so much red! He knew exactly when to expect turbulence, how bad it might get, and how long it would last. Knowing this kept him calm. At one point he even turned around in his seat to let the crew know it would be smooth flying from here on out. Two seconds later the captain called to tell us the exact same thing, it was safe to get up and finish the service. Since then I’ve been recommending the app to anyone who mentions they’re afraid to fly.

3. WhatsApp: An Emirate’s flight attendant from Bosnia based in Saudi Arabia told me about this app on a flight from Miami to New York. WhatsApp makes it possible to send text messages to friends and family out of the country free of charge. There is virtually no cost to stay in touch with loved ones. You can even share audio and video messages.

4. Twitter: Still the best way to get breaking news! You don’t need to “get it.” Just learn how to use the hashtags to find information as it’s happening. For instance, not too long ago I was at an airport that was being evacuated and no one knew why. That was my cue to search the airport code – #DFW. That’s how I found out there was a bomb threat on an incoming flight. I learned this from passengers who were actually on board the flight and tweeting about it as they taxied to the gate.

5. HappyHourFinder: Flight attendants don’t make a lot of money. In fact new hires start out making less than $18,000 a year. And yet we’re subjected to overpriced hotel and airport food on a regular basis. This is why we take advantage of happy hour specials, particularly ones that include half priced appetizers, which might explain how I ended up at Vince Neil’s Bar, Tres Rios, in Las Vegas two hours after learning about the app in the crew van on our way from the airport to the layover hotel.6. Instagram: Because when you travel there are just so many beautiful things to photograph. The app not only makes your pictures look ten times better, it’s easy to text and email your photos or post photos straight to Facebook or Twitter. What I enjoy most about the app is following people whose photos inspire me to travel, like @Lax2Nrt or even @Umetaturou who shares hilarious pictures of a Border Collie named Sora who can balance anything on his head. One of these days I’m going to fly to Japan and walk that dog!

7. Postagram: Remember when you used to send postcards to family and friends from around the world just to let them know you were thinking about them? Now you’re too busy to think, let alone search for just the right card to send. Not to mention all that time it takes to address and stamp it. With Postagram you can turn your cool photos into postcards by using pictures from your phone, Facebook or Twitter. Write a short message and Postagram will take care of the rest.

8. Yelp: Whenever I find myself at a layover hotel in a new city, the first thing I do is pull up Yelp just to see what’s nearby. I might use it to find a great place to eat, check out a tourist attraction, or locate a pharmacy within walking distance. Users post reviews and photos to help narrow down the search so you can determine whether or not it’s worth it to leave your hotel room.

9. HotelTonight: If you’re a commuter like me, this app will save your life one day. At noon each day HotelTonight offers great last minute deals on a couple of hotels near your current location. Get a $25 credit with your first booking, $25 for each friend who signs up, and $25 when a friend makes their first bookings. So … who wants to be friends?

10. GateGuru: Enter an airport code and up pops everything you could ever want to know about food, shopping, and any services offered, along with reviews, ratings and maps. Enter your flight number and access flight status, delays and weather conditions all in the same place.

Live Blogging Hurricane Sandy: Current Hotel Closings And Special Offers

hurricane sandyReporting live from your Storm Team headquarters in Washington, D.C., we’re aiming to bring you the very latest on Hurricane Sandy and its associated hotel and travel related closings and special offers.

We’ll update this so long as we have power, so check back in for updates throughout the storm.

HOTEL SPECIALS
The Setai, New York

By using their backup generator, the hotel has a complimentary charging station set up on the corner of 5th and 36th. (h/t The Setai Facebook)

Kimpton Hotels (Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C.)
Use rate code SANDY for 20% off the best available rate at ALL Kimpton properties in the Northeast and Mid Atlantic. This rate is available through 10/31. Book here or call 1-800-KIMPTON for reservations. They have also waived cancellation fees for all properties (updated 10/30).

The Ritz-Carlton, Georgetown, Washington, D.C. and Pentagon City
The Washington, D.C. and Georgetown properties are offering a $229 special including Wi-Fi and parking. The Pentagon City property is offering a $299 rate, but the attached Fashion Center at Pentagon City is closed Monday.

The Jefferson, Washington, D.C.
The Jefferson hotel is catering to hurricane-stranded (or powerless) travelers with rates starting at $295 for standard guest rooms and $595 for suites. At 6 PM, guests will meet with the managing staff as the storm intensifies. Guests will enjoy complimentary muffins and coffee in the morning, hot apple cider in the afternoon, and a light supper of hors d’ouerves and cocktails in the evening as part of the room rate.

The Four Seasons, Washington
The hotel is fully operational and offering special rates for locals with a Maryland, D.C. or Virginia ID. Please call the hotel directly at 202-342-0444 to book.

Hyatt Regency Washington
The hotel has rates from $179 for stranded or powerless travelers.

The Mandarin Oriental, Washington, D.C.
The hotel is fully operational (including a movie room with snacks!) and rates start at $335. The hotel also allows for two pets (up to 40 pounds each) so you can even travel with Fido or Fifi.

Hyatt Hotels
Hyatt Hotels and Resorts have waived cancellation fees at many of its East Coast properties, the Hyatt blog reported.

Park Hyatt Washington, D.C.
The hotel is offering a special “neighbor”rate of $229 this week for those stranded because of Sandy. It includes overnight parking in our garage and free WiFi. They’re pet friendly and it is a one time fee of $150, no weight limit. h/t Elizabeth Thorp of Poshbrood.com, a curated catalog of upscale, mom-tested family-friendly accommodations and Virtuoso travel advisors.

Willard InterContinental
The hotel has space, electricity and are dog/pet friendly. Rates begin at $259 a night. They are also offering some fun activities for families today and tomorrow:

  • Willard: cooking demonstration with 3-Michelin star chef Antoine Westermann at Cafe du Parc from 5:30 to 6:15.
  • Pumpkin carving contest – guests will judge at Round Robin Bar from 5:30-7:30
  • Free movie with dinner ordered through room service. (h/t Elizabeth Thorp)

The Fairmont
The hotel is offering a $225 Hurricane rate. Happy hour until midnight, and a family movie with popcorn, sodas and candy. Call 202.429-2400 and ask for the Hurricane rate. (h/t Elizabeth Thorp)

HOTEL CLOSINGS

Sandals Grande Riviera Beach and Villa Golf Resort & Beaches Ocho Rios
The Sandals is closed for new arrivals until November 2, and Beaches will postpone its planned re-opening until November 15 due to hurricane damage, Travel Weekly reports.

New York Marriott Downtown & Ritz-Carlton Battery Park
The hotel has been closed due to evacuations as a precautionary measure against potential flooding, Hotel News Now and USA Today report.

Atlantic City
Casinos in the city have been closed since Sunday afternoon, the Press of Atlantic City is reporting.

Le Parker Meridien New York
Evacuated earlier today. h/t Barbara Delollis.

AIRPORT CLOSINGS

We’d suggest you check directly with your airport or airline for closures and delays, but many airlines are offering waived cancellation and change fees or travel refunds for those affected by the storm.

[Image credit: NASA Goddard Photo and Video]

Aspen’s Little Nell Hotel Offers Free Fly-Fishing And Biking Now Through October 15

fly fishingColorado is a big state, and most of it remained unscathed during June’s wildfires. The Aspen region in particular is known for its knockout scenery, which includes the twin peaks of the Maroon Bells, wildflower-festooned meadows, shimmering aspen groves and crystalline rivers.

With fall foliage (if you’ve never witnessed the turning of aspens, it’s worth seeing) just around the corner, The Little Nell is offering complimentary fly-fishing or road/mountain biking, available exclusively for those who stay three nights or longer through October 15, 2012. Both activities are valued at $400.

Aspen’s beloved “Nell” is justifiably famous for its luxe standards and excellent food and wine, as well as its thoroughly unpretentious staff and atmosphere. You can even bring your furry friend on vacation with you (that means your dog, not your hirsute significant other)

The Fly-Fishing Package includes a three-hour guided trip, drinks and snacks from the Nell’s pastry chef, transportation to and from a custom-selected fishing destination, gear and gratuity. Custom add-ons include a streamside picnic lunch with wine, or (ahem) helicopter excursions to secluded fishing grounds. Guests are permitted to keep their catch, and have it prepared by the Nell’s chef.

The “Bike to Nirvana Package” includes two Orbea bike rentals (with Garmin GPS) for one day. Add-ons include guided tours, custom fitting, training and instruction from Aspen’s top athletes – featuring championship cyclist Scott Kasin – and custom lunches served off-road or trail.

Aspen doesn’t shut down in “shoulder season” like many Rocky Mountain resort towns, either. There’s AspenFILM and the farmers market, which runs through mid-October, and excellent dining (and imbibing) options abound. Bonus: Fall guests who stay at the Nell for two nights receive a third night free, based upon availability.

Aspen/Pitkin County Airport has daily non-stop flights from Los Angeles, Dallas, Denver and Chicago.

Come on Irene: Hotel hurricane specials in DC and NYC

hurricane irene - the setaiThe rain is just beginning as Hurricane Irene makes her way up into the mid-Atlantic, but if you look at the grocery stores, you’d think the apocalypse was near. If you lose power or need to evacuate, what better way to ride out the storm than at a luxe hotel with a generator and room service?

One of our DC favorites, the 99-room Relais and Chateaux property The Jefferson, is offering the 30% off Friends and Family rate through the weekend (and more than 800 books in the library to keep you busy). The slightly more cost-effective Grand Hyatt Washington is offering $99 rates through Sunday night.

In New York, find sanctuary at another of our favorites, the luxe Setai Fifth Avenue, where guests will get a $359 rate with code “IRENE” ( a 30%) discount for rooms through Monday. Soothe your frazzled nerves at the Bar on Fifth in the hotel, featuring nightly jazz and a complimentary “Dark and Stormy” cocktail.

Know of any other great deals? Leave them in the comments.

*Update, 3:28 PM. Writer Melanie shared this update on Twitter, saying that there’s a $139 rate through August 30 at The Fairmont Washington DC as well.