Luxury vacations now within reach through new travel service

For many travelers, a luxury vacation is a thing for which to save, splurge on for a special occasion, or hope to do some day. Adventure travelers often do not even have luxury vacations on their radar and are more apt to grab the backpack than to hit the road. But luxury vacations do not have to be for just the rich and famous. An online source for discounts on luxury is bringing that world within reach.

Luxury Link is an online destination for deals on luxury vacations at desirable destinations like Fiji, Hawaii or Tahiti as well as the cultural capitals of Europe or cities in Asia.

Luxury Link packages vacations then offers two ways to buy, sort of like eBay or Priceline, via auctions or offers to “Book Now.”

One significant difference when comparing Luxury Link to eBay, Priceline, or other similar options, is in the offerings. Luxury Link partners with upscale hotels, resorts, villas and cruise lines, to offer deals, many of which we don’t find anywhere other than on their own websites.

Luxury link boasts savings of up to 65%, “often including complimentary extras, amenities and activities for the best value available anywhere,” says the Luxury Link website. That’s just sales talk to catch our attention. All online travel sellers do it. Most buyers who frequent sites to research travel probably do not pay a lot of attention to those claims, nor should they.

But also differentiating Luxury Link is the notion that top-shelf hotels, resorts, cruise lines and others want to entice luxury travelers to their product, but often have a hard time making contact with them. Partnering with Luxury Link to create unique vacation products, they are offering something not available elsewhere.

That can be good and bad.The good part is that the move suggests the operators of those vacation options are looking to establish a long-term business relationship with luxury travelers. In other words, they are not in it to fill up some hotel rooms at the last minute where any warm body will do. We don’t see that a lot with online sellers of travel.

The potentially bad part is that those uniquely created vacation packages are difficult to compare with other deals causing buyers to not have a sense about the value being offered. They simply do not exist from any other source.

Still, Luxury Link does have some outstanding values, including a clean report from the Better Business Bureau, and might very well enable luxury travel dreams.

Flickr photo by Andy_Mitchell_UK

Sustainable or just plain weird? Accor hotels sell their used furniture on eBay

This week French hotel brand Accor launched

reBorn, an online store through eBay that will sell the hotel giant’s used furniture.

What can you snag? Everything from Luis XVI bedside tables to bronze chandeliers to 1980s wing armchairs, minibar furniture and even safes. About 2,500 items are on the site in total, with prices listed in Euros.

“The reBorn project satisfies a current social trend that gives new value to second-hand items in good condition by creating new circular economy models. Just look at the success of garage sales, second-hand swaps and bargain websites,” Sophie Flak, Accor’s executive vice president for academies and sustainable development told Hotels Magazine.

What do you think? Would you buy used hotel furniture online?

Delta gives the gift of free in-flight WiFi

This holiday season, Delta has partnered up with eBay and Gogo to offer travelers 30 minutes of free in-flight wireless Internet on all WiFi-enabled aircraft through January 2.

Connecting is super simple: just open your browser, enter your email address on the promotional page, click the “Give Me Free WiFi” button, and boom — enough free connectivity to check your email and reconfirm your hotel reservation.

While outside websites will shut off after the first half hour, web surfers can continue to shop on and interact with throughout the course of the flight, a part of the promotion obviously geared toward last minute holiday shoppers.

Delta currently has more than 2,500 daily flights on WiFi-outfitted planes, and inflight wireless service generally costs around $12 for a 24-hour pass. Let’s hope next year they feel extra generous and grant us free connections all year ’round.

For Sale: one tropical island in Fiji

Do you have 25 million Euros burning a hole in your pocket? (That’s $33 million for U.S. readers!) Then perhaps you’d consider bidding on your very own tropical paradise, which is up for auction on eBay. The 225-acre island is located near Fiji, and is approximately 1 mile long and 1/3 of a mile wide. It reaches elevations of 150 feet and is surrounded by a 5000 acre lagoon that promises underwater visibility to 200 feet and year round temperatures of 80ºF.

That’s not all you’ll get for your hard earned money however. The island is also home to a “world class” resort. Well, it will be a world class resort when it is finished. It is currently about 80% complete, with another six to nine months of construction time necessary to finish it all up. The resort offers some nice amenities however, including a dining pavilion, full spa, and 21 guest villas, complete with fancy furnishings and hot tubs for two. Access to the island is gained via a 3400 foot long airstrip, which runs right by the 9 hole golf course.

Adventurous travelers will find plenty to do on the island, as the waters are excellent for diving and snorkeling, and there are nine caves available to explore should you choose to go spelunking. Prefer to just sit on the beach sipping a fruity drink? You can do that too, while spotting local wildlife, which includes the leather back sea turtles and rare coconut crabs.

Seems like quite the deal if you’ve got the spare change available. Sadly there is no “buy it now” discount on this eBay item.%Gallery-65115%

Own the Curtis Hotel in Denver for one night

The Curtis Hotel in downtown Denver is not your typical hotel. Staying here is all about having fun. And what could be more fun than owning an entire hotel, even if only for one night?

Through its Won Night Only promotion, the Curtis is offering up the whole hotel for one night – December 31, 2009 – to the highest bidder.

Up for grabs is a package that includes occupancy of each of the hotel’s 330 rooms (2 people per room, max), including the Rolling Stone suite and the British Invasion suite. The winner, and about 600 of his or her closest friends, will also enjoy a rock-star worthy New Year’s Eve bash with cocktails and hors d’oeuvres, dinner, drinks, late night munchies, live music, the services of a DJ and a professional photographer, and limo service.

The current high bid on eBay is $50,000 (but the undisclosed “reserve” has not been met). Bidding ends on October 11, 2009.

While I’ve never seen a promotion quite like this, it fits right in with the style of the Curtis. The guest rooms themselves are sleek and luxurious, but the rest of the hotel is decked out in whimsical touches that appeal to the kid in each guest.


Each floor has a theme that’s evident in quirky touches like movie posters and colorful silhouettes decorating the wall. Guests can stay on the “dance floor”, a scary movie floor (appropriately located on floor 13) or other floors themed around pop culture. Each room has a flat screen tv, iPod dock, and free wireless internet.

There’s a fitness center, 24/7 business center, and the lobby features a kitschy “five and dime” that sells classic candy. The lobby also has a Wii system and classic board games for guest use and is decorated with Lite-Brite art . Even the bathrooms are a surprise, with silly sayings painted on the stall doors.

The hotel restaurant, The Corner Office, serves an eclectic menu that’s reasonably priced (the $15 lobster macaroni and cheese is delicious, with big chunks of lobster meat, and the $3.50 desserts like peanut butter crepes and espresso creme brulee are worth every calorie). The Curtis also accepts pets with a $15 daily fee.