Daily Pampering: Condé Nast Traveller names top spa in the U.S.

If a little relaxation and rejuvenation, and a lot of pampering, is on your task list for 2010, Conde Nast has a place for you: The Spa Solage.

Readers of Condé Nast Traveller voted Spa Solage, at Solage Calistoga, the “Favourite Overseas Hotel Spas: The Americas and Caribbean” in its seventh annual “Readers’ Spa Awards 2010.” This recognition follows on the heels of Spa Solage’s number two spot among the “Top 25 Hotel Spas: Continental U.S. and Canada,” in Travel + Leisure Magazine’s “World’s Best Spas 2009” awards.

The spa is located on 22-acres in Napa Valley and is known for its eco-friendly services including mineral pools, mud-treatments and organic menus. You can spend the day or stay the weekend in the one of the resort’s suites, which start at $320/night.

Want more? Get your daily dose of pampering right here.

Sign up for flash-sale alerts with Jetsetter.com

Want to be in the know about deep discounts and deals on luxury travel packages and top-tier hotels? Well then you need to wrangle yourself an invite to the Jetsetter.com email list (or just surf on over to Wendy Perrin’s post and use her “exclusive link” for readers).

According to Perrin, Jetsetter is a “flash-sale site that negotiates with noteworthy hotels, cruise lines, and other luxe travel suppliers to offer slashed rates unavailable to the general public.” Those who get on the email list will receive a notice of the next days’ sales each night at 8pm. Each sale lasts just two days, or until the availability runs out.

Sounds pretty cool, right? I used Perrin’s link to sign and up and browse some of the current….um, sales, and found that there are some deep discounts offered here. But remember, this is a luxury travel site. Half off of $800 is still way out of my price range. Budget travelers may have a harder time finding a deal they can afford….but it’s not impossible. One deal currently being offered is a Superior Queen Guestroom at the West Hollywood Sunset Tower for $129 (as opposed to the usual $225-$275). The discounted, but still $650 a night, Asia cruise is probably a little less affordable for most people.

Perrin was able to offer the exclusive sign-up link through Conde Nast’s new partnership with Jetsetter, which is a member of the Gilt Groupe. Each month, Jetsetter will offer special deals on products and services sold by some of the magazines advertisers.

Dates for 2010 Travel Blog Exchange Announced

Last July, travel writers and bloggers from all over the world came together in Chicago for TBEX, the Travel Blog Exchange. It was a day to meet people in the industry, to learn from other writers and bloggers, and most of all, to start a conversation about the business of travel blogging.

Topics covered at the inaugural event included “Creating a a Lively and Successful Travel Blog”, which was led by Bootsnall’s Sean Keener, Nomadic Matt, Micheal Yessis from Worldhum, and Gadling’s own Heather Poole (who did a stellar job explaining how she keeps her own blog stocked with informative and entertaining posts). There was a session on working with PR people, one on podcasting and video (featuring Chris Martin from the Indie Travel Podcast and Chris Elliott from National Geographic and MSNBC) and a panel on the difference between travel journalism and blogging, led by Conde Nast’s Wendy Perrin and Jen Leo from the LA Times. Between sessions there was plenty of time for networking.

I had the chance to attend the 2009 event and was glad I did. I learned a lot, got to meet several people whose blogs I have been following, and made some valuable connections. As soon as the event was over, I signed up to be alerted with news about the 2010 Travel Blog Exchange.

Today, the dates and locations for next year’s TBEX were announced. This year’s event will be held June 26 and 27, 2010, and sounds like it’s going to be even bigger and better than last year. It will be held in New York City, is an extra day long, and will offer more in-depth session for niche discussions. Plus, Gadling is going to be one of the sponsors.

Speakers have not been confirmed yet, but based on the experts assembled last year, I’ve no doubt that next year’s attendees will be treated to an all-star panel. Early Bird registration (before January 1, 2010) is just $40. After that, it’s only $80, making this one of the cheaper blogger conferences available and well worth the money. You can sign up now to attend in person, or stay tuned to the TBEX page for information on watching the event via live stream.

Conde Nast Traveler Rates Books for (Armchair) Adventurers

The September issue of Conde Nast Traveler offers a list of literature that will hopefully whet your adventure appetite. The magazine is touting the list of books due out this fall as “new classics,” although it includes Jack Kerouac’s re-released On the Road (original scroll in book form).

You don’t have to get seasick to follow Marco Polo’s explorations or tales of a Viking woman who “sailed the seas 500 years before Columbus.”

For more great travel literature, check out Gadling blogger Kelly Amabile’s One for the Road series. Grab a blanket, make a cup of tea, and travel away in your mind.

[via USA Today]

Conde Nast Contest

Sample entryOooh…I love easy contests. The only problem with them is that if they’re too easy, lots of people will enter them, and my chances of winning go down. Oh well.

To celebrate their 20th Anniversary, Conde Nast is sponsoring one of those easy contests. All you have to do is upload a photo that captures a “memorable travel moment” and include a brief explanation of why it’s memorable. (I told you it was easy!) Once you submit an image, it becomes part of an online gallery, on which other people may comment and vote. (Let us know if you add an image, and we’ll head over and vote for you. It’s not against the rules!)

The grand prize is a $20,000 dream trip to anywhere on earth! However, each day the contest is open, a winner will be selected to win another, smaller — but still great — prize. The contest runs until April 22, which gives you plenty of time to read the rules and upload several images. Good luck!