Categorized | Destinations

Top five off-peak destinations for winter 2011/2012…

Posted on 17 November 2011

  • Since the water in Bermuda gets too cool for swimming, travelers looking for a winter beach escape tend to overlook the island. And that translates to off-peak savings. Here, Hamilton, Jobson's Cove in June 2006.

Since the water in Bermuda gets too cool for swimming, travelers looking for a winter beach escape tend to overlook the island. And that translates to off-peak savings. Here, Hamilton, Jobson’s Cove in June 2006.



Enjoy a slice of island life without paying the high-season prices of the Caribbean. Bermuda, which lies north of the Caribbean and east of the Carolinas in the Atlantic, offers mild winter weather and plenty of leisure activities, including sightseeing and golf. However, since the water gets too cool for swimming, travelers looking for a winter beach escape tend to overlook the island. And that translates to off-peak savings.


Lower-season prices on accommodations become an even better deal with the island-wide “Compliments of Bermuda” promotion, which offers the third, fourth, or fifth night free at participating resorts. For instance, at the Grotto Bay Beach Resort, winter rates start at $195 per night for an ocean-view room, compared to $359 per night during the summer. Add a third night free to the equation and the price drops even more. Compliments of Bermuda also includes the Traveler’s Price Card, which offers discounted rates and special deals at more than 50 shops, restaurants, and activity providers. You’ll find everything from $50 off a charter sailing to a free rum swizzle.


Events throughout winter offer even more reasons to visit. The Bermuda Marathon weekend runs from January 13 to 15, the six-week Bermuda Festival of the Performing Arts begins on January 17, and whale-watching tours start in March.


Napa Valley


A slower pace of life settles over Napa Valley after the grapes have been harvested and the new wines are safely tucked away to age in cellars and caves. Winter is dubbed “Cabernet Season” because chillier temperatures inspire a turn to heartier cuisine and Napa’s red wines. A visit during the cooler months still yields the many charms of the valley, from wine tasting to soaking in thermal pools. But not only will you find a more intimate experience—one with fewer tour buses to battle and more room to linger over a tasting flight at a local winery—you’ll also be able to enjoy it all for less.


How much less? At the Napa Valley Marriott Hotel & Spa, average nightly rates during winter are $142, a sharp contrast from high-season rates of around $309 per night. Through the end of January at the Napa Valley Lodge in Yountville, weekday winter rates start at $195, including a complimentary bottle of wine at arrival, wine-tasting passes, and a Champagne breakfast buffet. Compare that to the $280 nightly price tag of a room alone in June and the value becomes clear. lists this and many other winter specials on its website.


Winter is yellow-mustard grass season in Napa, when the valley is blanketed in a vivid golden bloom. And January is Restaurant Month throughout the valley—a time to sample some of the valley’s world-renowned restaurants for a fraction of the usual price.


Olympic Peninsula, Wash.


The Olympic Peninsula may take center stage in the new Twilight movie, but in winter, the Pacific views and Olympic Mountain peaks fall under most travelers’ radars. This is a shame, since a warm hat and some waterproof gear are all you need to make the most of the region’s skiing, snowshoeing, kayaking, and hiking during the colder months. Steeply discounted rates add off-peak appeal to this gorgeous destination located just an hour from Seattle by car and ferry.


Lower winter rates are the norm around the peninsula. At the Chito Beach Resort in Sekiu, rates for beachside cabins range from $150 to $215 per night April through September and then drop to $120 to $160 per night from October through March. In Port Angeles, the Inn at Rooster Hill discounts rates from summer highs of $60 to $179 down to $50 to $149 per night.


In winter, visitors come for a taste of the wilder side of the Olympic Peninsula. Wildlife viewing can be spectacular as the local Roosevelt elk move to lower elevations, and on the Pacific Coast, big waves draw storm watchers.




If you want Paris in the spring, be prepared to pay for the privilege. However, Paris in the winter is an off-peak dream, with far fewer tourists and much better prices. It’s chilly, sure, but just consider it a way to perfect your effortless French scarf look.


Visitors can find cheaper prices on airfare, hotel stays, and air-and-hotel vacation packages. For instance, a six-night air-and-hotel package from go-today starts at $1,549 for July travel but runs only $849 in January. Similarly, a package that will put you in Paris on New Year’s Eve starts at $899 per person. Looking at hotel rates alone, a weekend-night stay at the Villa Pantheon in the Latin Quarter is currently going for $154 a night for a January stay and $211 in July.


From the end of November through early January, the city is awash in lights and other holiday trimmings. Winter also brings art exhibitions of works by Matisse, Cezanne, Picasso, Frida Kahlo, and Edvard Munch.




By the time the brilliant colors of fall are buried under the first dusting of snow, hotels in Vermont are already looking to entice travelers into exploring another season. Rates are, on average, about 30 percent less expensive in winter than they are during the busy fall foliage season, but savings vary.


Larger hotels, as well as those properties away from popular ski destinations, tend to offer lower winter rates. Around the state, savings are even more noteworthy on weekdays: This year, the Vermont Department of Tourism will again run its annual “Midweek Saver” promotion that offers discounted hotel and ski rates, plus specials at restaurants and shops between December 1 and March 15. It’s also worth noting that properties sometimes extend discounted rates to weekend nights for guests who book a midweek stay.


In addition to offering snow sports and opportunities to cozy up indoors, Vermont also has seasonal activities such as winter farmers’ markets, a chocolate festival in Norwich, and, at the tail end of winter, the Vermont Maple Open House in late March.

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