Summer Hotlist: Our Favorite Seasonal Travel Deals

From big city cultural events to island getaways, wandermelon’s shortlist of travel ideas perfect for last-minute 4th of July escapes and summer sojourns.

Now that Memorial Day and the Summer Solstice have made it official, everyone is thinking summer travel, including the editors at wandermelon. Here’s our shortlist to spark ideas and fuel your inspired travels. Happy Summer!

Last-Minute 4th of July Travel
We know! Everybody is saying the same thing… 4th of July snuck up on us like a powerful Mojito! Wasn’t it just Memorial Day?? Anyway, if you haven’t made plans yet but are thinking of a last-minute dash somewhere, Roomorama has you covered. They have a great portfolio of studios, apartments and other lodgings available in holiday-ready cities from Austin to Zurich (and over 200 other US and international locales). And the best part is you save 25 percent on ANY booking you make between now and July 4. Just enter the code RRJUL42K11 at checkout to get your savings. Click here to view special.

Alisal Guest Ranch

Alisal Guest Ranch in California's Santa Ynez Valley

West Coast Getaway
For a western-style adventure with a little California elan (think seafood BBQ’s and a serious California wine list), the Alisal Guest Ranch & Resort has remained a go-to getaway for over 60 years, especially for families.  A working dude ranch, the Alisal also offers more than 10,000 acres of recreational activities such as a weekly rodeo, horseback riding, archery, and nature walks, ensuring something for everyone. And although it gives you the feeling of being a world away, it’s located just two hours from Los Angeles. But for all it offers, it also makes a point of making sure guests know what it doesn’t have: in-room phones or televisions, giving families the chance to reconnect. The Alisal kicks off each week this summer with a Seafood BBQ on Monday nights that offers sunset boating and live music while overlooking pristine Alisal Lake. Also popular are the Breakfast Saddle Rides to the Old Adobe fort camp, where guests ride out either on horseback or in a haywagon. And on Wednesdays, there is the Alisal Country Fair and Rodeo, featuring events such as team roping and barrel racing, live country music and dancing, and a Western-style BBQ. To book or for more information, call 800.4.ALISAL (805-688-6411) or visit the Alisal Guest Ranch website.

East Coast Escape
Escape the city and get in your biking and beach time with a three-day biking getaway to Rhode Island’s Block Island. Offered by two-wheel tour operator Great Freedom Adventures, their Block Island, Rhode Island adventure takes care of all the logistics and gives you a green, low-impact alternative to enjoying this iconic New England destination. Even though Block Island is an easy ferry ride away, once there, it feels like you’re worlds away. Boasting long stretches of empty beaches, picturesque coves and hundreds of freshwater ponds, the island is also compact, so it’s an ideal destination for a shorter tour such as this one. Great Freedom Adventures is the only fully guided and supported bike tour company offering multi-day, multi-sport programs on the island, and prides itself on taking its guests to hidden beaches, trails and sites they would be unlikely to find on their own. Overnight accommodations include inviting locales such as the 20-acre Rose Farm Inn. Cyclists should be in reasonably good shape and plan on traveling eight to 15 miles a day on average. For additional information and itinerary check out the Greater Freedom Adventures website. Per person, double occupancy prices and dates are $1,295 for July 10-12 and Aug. 14-16 departures, and $1,225 for Sept. 11-13, 2011. A single supplement is $350. The program includes two dinners and all breakfasts. Other 2011 USA bike tours are six day /five night programs through New York’s Hudson River Valley, Vermont’s Green Mountains and Boston’s North Shore.

The Surrey Hotel, New York

Lobby of The Surrey hotel, located in New York's Upper East Side

Big City Culture: New York and the Royal Shakespeare Company
An uptown sophisticate, New York’s Surrey Hotel & Spa invites culturally-inclined visitors to indulge themselves in special summer package that combines luxury accommodations, the Royal Shakespeare Company and artisanal cocktails. What’s not to love. tucked away in Manhattan’s Upper East Side, the Surrey’s Royal Shakespeare Company package includes two premium seats at a performance of Romeo and Juliet presented  by the Lincoln Center Festival and Park Avenue Armory. The performance takes place on Saturday, August 13, 2011 in the Armory’s soaring 55,000 square foot drill hall.  (Lincoln Center Festival and Park Avenue Armory, in association with Ohio State University, will bring the Royal Shakespeare Company to New York in July and August 2011 for an unprecedented six-week residency). The full  package includes: Overnight luxury accommodations at The Surrey; two tickets to see Romeo and Juliet at the Park Avenue Armory, performed by the Royal Shakespeare Company, on Saturday, August 13, 2011; exclusive Access to the VIP Lounge at Park Avenue Armory during intermission; and two complimentary cocktails on The Surrey’s private roof garden featuring stellar views of Central Park. Beginning now through August 13, 2011, guests can book the package for rates starting at $599 per night. For information and reservations: 1 (800) 978-7739 or visit the Web site.

Calabash Cove Resort & Spa

Rooms with a view: St. Lucia's Calabash Cove Resort & Spa

Tropical Getaway
If a sultry tropical escape is more your speed, St. Lucia’s Calabash Cove Resort & Spa is offering reduced rates for summer and fall. The beachfront boutique hotel, located on the northwest coast of the island, features 26 ocean view suites, all with Jacuzzis and many with private pools. Our favorite accommodations here are nine handcrafted teak and mahogany Water’s Edge Cottages replete with private plunge pool, outdoor rain shower, private Jacuzzi, and patio hammock. The hotel also features a full-service spa and fitness center, infinity-edge pool, restaurant, cocktail bar, library, and game room.
Beyond the property, guests can explore St. Lucia’s natural beauty and attractions. Activities here include scuba and snorkeling, golf, soaking in hot springs, world-class jazz, rainforest ziplines, authentic fishing villages, viewing exotic wildlife, rock climbing, searching for ancient petroglyphs, exploring a volcano or cooling off under a waterfall. Whew! For dates booked through December 23, 2011, Calabash Cove is offering reduced seasonal rates starting at just $370/night. Check out the Calabash Cove website for more details.

Sounds of Summer
If you’re heading to Europe this July, consider a stay at Lausanne’s Beau-Rivage Palace,an idyllic property set on 10 acres of private gardens. Make it your base while you enjoy the world-famous 45th Annual Montreux Jazz Festival, held this year from July 1st – 16th. Founded by Claude Nobs in 1967, the two-week festival showcases more than 1,000 musicians through concerts, workshops, film screenings, exhibitions, and special projects.

The Beau-Rivage Palace is offering a special “Jazz in Montreux” package that includes: One night’s accommodation in a superior or deluxe room with a view of Lake Geneva and the Swiss Alps, or garden view room; glass of champagne upon arrival; daily full buffet breakfast or in-room continental breakfast; two first-class tickets to a concert at the Montreux Jazz Festival with VIP welcome by Parmigiani, one of Switzerland’s leading brands of luxury watches; small plates and hors d’oeuvres in the Parmigiani VIP lounge after the concert; and complimentary access to the hotel’s Cinq Mondes Spa, fitness center and tennis courts. Based on double occupancy, the offer is priced from CHF560 (approximately US$659) per person.  Additional nights can be added to the package for an extra cost.  For more information, visit the Beau-Rivage Palace website; to book  package, email reservation@brp.ch


  1. Berlin Travel on August 1, 2011 at 7:09 am

    I have to say that St Lucia is absolutely idyllic, having said that though, in order to truely appreciate the place, you must travel there child free. It is peaceful, beautiful and the sand and sea is everything that you would want and expect from this type of holiday.

  2. Oliver on August 6, 2011 at 6:31 am

    Me and my wife of 10 years, went across to St Lucia on Honeymoon, I have nothing but wonderfully good memories of the place, the sea and beach were exactly as stated in the brochure.

  3. Jo on August 9, 2011 at 1:55 am

    I have to say that St Lucia is one of the nicest places I have ever had the fortune to visit. It is warm, sunny, has beautiful scenery as well as lovely white sandy beaches and clear water, I would recommend it to anyone!

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