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Travel & Escape

Seven affordable seaside getaways for this fall




A vacation to a beautiful seaside destination does not have to blow your budget. Travellers who plan their visit for the right time — shoulder or off-season, perhaps, or on a weekday — can find plenty of deals in oceanside locales known for their high prices.

When it comes to Europe, for example, Simone Amorico, an owner of Access Italy, said that the prices drop by at least 25 per cent in upscale spots like the Amalfi Coast after the middle of September. Besides the lower prices, there are other benefits to a post peak-season trip.

Visitors enjoy access to some of Brazil’s most beautiful beaches, steps from the UXUA Casa Hotel & Spa’s luxury accommodations.
Visitors enjoy access to some of Brazil’s most beautiful beaches, steps from the UXUA Casa Hotel & Spa’s luxury accommodations.  (UXUA CASA HOTEL & SPA / The New York Times)

“You have a higher chance of getting room upgrades and reservations at popular restaurants,” he said. “Stores also offer discounts because they want to get rid of their merchandise from the season.” Overall, Amorico said that travellers can look forward to a trip with fewer crowds and plenty of opportunities to interact with locals in a relaxed way.

Here are seven options for your own luxury beach escape.

— California Dreaming

In Santa Monica, Hotel Casa del Mar, an exclusive beach club in the 1920s with panoramas of the Pacific Ocean, has an offer where guests who book three nights get a fourth night free. A daily $75 (U.S.) breakfast credit is included and can be used toward room service or at the property’s Coast restaurant. Bookings start from $489 a night after the discount. The promotion is valid through the end of the year.

— A Long Weekend in Bermuda

Bermuda is less than a 2 1/2-hour flight from New York or Boston, and CheapCaribbean has an air-inclusive package to the British island territory from both cities. In addition to airfare, the package includes a three-night stay at the Fairmont Southampton, a nearly 100-acre beach resort full of coconut palm trees. Bookings are valid from Nov. 1 to Dec. 30, and start at $629 per person. The package is also available with flights from Washington, Chicago and Philadelphia with prices starting at $679 per person.

— A Brazilian Beach Escape

Located in the small beachside village of Trancoso, in Brazil’s Bahia state, UXUA Casa Hotel & Spa, a collection of 11 fishermen’s casas, offers three-, five- or seven-night Ultimate UXUA Experience packages, which include a welcome drink; a scenic boat trip to remote Espelho beach, considered to be one of the country’s most beautiful beaches; lunch at the property’s Asian-fusion restaurant, Silvinha’s; a private cooking class on Bahian cuisine; and a daily massage. Prices start at $475 a night for two people, and you can book at any time.

— A Private Couples Getaway in Bali

For those up for a far-flung seaside holiday, the Belmond Jimbaran Puri, in Bali, has a Suite Life promotion, which includes a stay in a villa with a private terrace and pool, butler service, breakfast, dinner for two at the property’s Tunjung restaurant, a couple’s massage and a one-way airport transfer. Bookings are valid indefinitely, and start from $550 a night for two people.

— Fun in the Mexican Sun

In Los Cabos, the Westin Los Cabos Resort Villas & Spa, which overlooks the Sea of Cortez and has three pools and a private beach, is offering the Los Cabos Getaway package. It includes accommodations in a two-bedroom villa, a private sunset sailing trip and a private tequila tasting. The promotion is valid through the end of the year, and bookings start at $169 a night.

— Wellness Options on the Amalfi Coast

Two properties on the Amalfi Coast are offering wellness-focused packages in October and early November.

Monastero Santa Rosa, a former 17th-century monastery perched on a cliff and overlooking the Gulf of Salerno, has the Health & Hike package. Included are three nights’ accommodations; a guided hike through the Amalfi hills; a picnic lunch prepared by the resort’s Michelin-starred chef, Christoph Bob; a cooking class on healthy Italian food; and an arnica body wrap treatment in the spa. The promotion is valid from Oct. 15 to Nov. 4, and bookings start at $2,835, all inclusive, per person.

Hotel Santa Caterina, in the town of Amalfi, situated among groves of lemons and oranges, offers the Sense of Well Being package, which includes accommodations, breakfast, a welcoming package that includes sparkling wine, a fruit basket and flowers, a low-calorie lunch and a massage for two. The promotion is valid from Oct. 7 to Nov. 3, and tickets start from 593 euros (about $675) per night.


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Travel & Escape

Why your hotel mattress feels like heaven (and how to bring that feeling home)




(NC) Choosing the right mattress is a long-term investment in your health and well-being. To make a good choice for your home, take a cue from luxury hotel-room beds, which are designed to support the sound sleep of tens of thousands of guests, 365 nights a year.

“When we’re shopping for a mattress, we do lab testing, identify the best materials, bring in multiple mattress samples and have our associates test them,” explains David Rizzo, who works for Marriott International. “We ask for ratings on comfort level, firmness, body support and movement disruption. It takes 12 to 18 months just to research and select materials.”

Here, he shares his tips to pick the perfect mattress for your best sleep:

Understand your needs. People have different food and exercise preferences, as well as different sleep cycles. So, it’s no surprise that everyone has unique mattress preferences. Not sure whether a firm or a soft mattress is better? Rizzo says the best gauge is to ask yourself, “Do I wake up with aches and pains?” If the answer is no, you’re golden.

Foam versus spring. All mattresses have a core that is made up foam or innersprings or a combination of the two. Today’s foam-core mattresses contain memory foam — a material engineered by NASA to keep astronauts comfortable in their seats. It’s special because it retains or “remembers” its shape, yielding to pressure from the sleeper’s body, then bouncing back once the pressure is removed.

An innerspring mattress has an encased array of springs with individual coils that are connected by a single helical wire. This wire creates continuous movement across the coil that minimizes disruption if the mattress is disturbed, such as by a restless sleeper. According to Rizzo, the innerspring is “bouncier.”

Temperature preference. Consider how warm or cool you like to sleep, and factor in the construction of the mattress to find one with a temperature that suits you. The air space engineered into an innerspring mattress promotes ventilation, which some people find keeps them pleasantly cool. To accomplish the same purpose with a foam mattress (or the foam layer of an innerspring) it may be infused with metal, usually silver or copper, to help dissipate heat and humidity.

Need to test out the right mattress for your needs? Find the right fit during your next trip by booking your stay at

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Travel & Escape

How to make the most of summer travel




(NC) One of the best parts of our short Canadian summers is the opportunity to enjoy them a little bit extra on long weekends. If you need ideas, check out these creative things to do whether you decide to stay in town or go away.

Do a dinner crawl. Pub crawls are fun for couples, friends and also families with older kids. For an exciting twist that stretches your dollars and lets you taste food from several spots before you get too full, try a dinner crawl. Eat apps at one restaurant, mains at another and dessert at another.

Go on a mini getaway. You don’t need to go very far to enjoy a vacation – exploring a Canadian city over a summer weekend is great way to treat yourself to a holiday. Whether it’s checking out the museums in Toronto or the parks in Vancouver, there’s something for everyone. For upgraded benefits, special experiences and the best rates guaranteed, join Marriott Bonvoy and book direct on

Host a potluck. Perfect whether you’re staying at home or going to your cottage, gather friends and family together for some food and fun. A potluck is an easy and affordable way to host a big get-together and lets everyone try something new and swap recipes. Make the festivities extra special with a fireworks potluck, too – ask everyone to bring some fireworks or sparklers and put on a light show. Just be sure to follow local regulations for consumer fireworks.

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Travel & Escape

Lottoland: Here’s why Canadians love it!




Lotteries have been in existence for many centuries now and it’s an open secret that most people enjoy playing a good lottery.

Asides from gauging your own luck, the thrill of playing, the anticipation of the results and the big wins every now and then is something most people look forward to. Since 1982, the lottery has been in Canada, but now there is a way to play both the Lotto and other international lotteries from Canada, all from the comfort of your home.

With Lottoland, all you need to do is register and get access to numerous international lotteries right from their website. The easy-to-use interface has all the information you need, and great amount of care has been taken to ensure that the online experience is similar—and even better—than if players were to visit each location personally.

The Powerball and Mega Millions lotteries are hitting record highs with their prize money, in what the organizers claim to be the largest jackpot in the history of the world. However, the U.S. has gambling laws that are state controlled and buying your ticket through an online broker can be considered gambling.

“No one except the lottery or their licensed retailers can sell a lottery ticket. No one. Not even us. No one. No, not even that website. Or that one,” Powerball’s website says.

Therefore, to stand a chance to win the $1.5 billion-dollar lottery jackpot it means you have to purchase your lottery tickets directly from a licensed retailer such as Lottoland.

Since 2013, Lottoland has been operating in Canada, rapidly growing in popularity amongst Canadians. Due to its easy of use and instant access to lotteries that were previously considered inaccessible—as Canadians had to travel all the way to the U.S. to purchase tickets in the past—Lottoland has attracted lots of visitors.

Currently, there about 8-million players on Lottoland, a figure that points to the reliability of the website.

One of the core values of Lottoland is transparency and that’s why a quick search on the website would show you a list of all of their winners. Recently, a Lottoland customer was awarded a world-record fee of $137 million CND.

Also, due to the incredibly slim chances of winning the grand prize not everyone would take home mega-dollar winnings, but there are substantial winnings every day.

Securing your information online is usually one important factor when registering on any platform and as the site explains, “Lottoland works very hard to verify your information.”

The site has a multi-verification process that will ensure that you confirm your identity and age before giving you a pay-out. However, in the rare case that a player has immediate luck and wins a lottery before completing the verification process, Lottoland will hold on to the winnings until they complete your verification.

While this might seem like a tedious process, it is very important as these safety features would ensure that your information wasn’t stolen and ultimately your winning routed to another account.

Lottoland is licensed with the National Supervisory Bodies For Lotteries in several countries such as the United Kingdom, Italy, Sweden, Ireland and Australia—where it is called a wagering license. Typically, most gaming companies don’t establish insurance companies as it entails that their activities have to be transparent and the must be highly reputable in the industry.

Nonetheless, Lottoland has no issues meeting up to these standards as they have established themselves as the only gaming sector company who has its own insurance company—an added advantage for new and existing users.

Lotteries aren’t the only games Canadians enjoy playing and Lottoland recognizes this by providing players with other types of gaming. As an industry leader, video designers of online games often make them their first choice when it comes to publishing their works.

Online games such as slots, blackjack, video poker, baccarat, keno, scratchoffs, roulette and many others are always on offer at the Lottoland Casino. There’s also the option of playing with a live dealer and a total of over 100 games.

Lottoland has received numerous rave reviews from its growing list of satisfied customer and their responsive customer service agents are always available to answer any questions users may have, along with solving challenges they may have encountered.

More and more Canadians are trooping to Lottoland in droves due to the unique experience of going to a casino without having to leave the comfort of their homes.

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