Caribbean listed in CNN’s guide to off-season travel bargains

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GEORGIA, United States, Thursday July 31, 2014 – Writing in CNN’s “An optimist’s guide to off-season travel bargains,” travel writer Pam Grout noted “… every tourist destination has a flip side, a season when prices go down and savvy, flexible travellers can score big savings. Especially those who are good at spotting silver linings.

“No matter what your personality type, it’s important to remember this bargain basement credo: It’s always off-season somewhere,” she added.

Slotted between summer savings in Rio de Janeiro and the Florida Keys, the Caribbean’s low season fortunes appeared to be inextricably linked to the hurricane season in Grout’s eyes.

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In an extract sub-headed “Adventures in storm chasing,” she wrote: “During hurricane season (June 1 to November 30), resorts in the Caribbean, Mexico and the Bahamas slash their prices by 40 percent to 70 percent.

“And get this: the average number of named hurricanes in the Northern Atlantic is a mere 10.1 per year with fewer than half of them becoming actual hurricanes. Of those, only 2.5 become Category 3 or greater. So out of 183 days of official hurricane season, your odds are pretty good.

“On top of that, most of the islands in the Caribbean are relatively small. A hurricane making landfall is akin to finding the mini-bike key that floated out of your jean shorts when you swam into the ocean.”

Addressing the savings to be reaped, she said: “Discounts (in the hurricane zone) run across the board, so this is your chance to stay in a luxury hotel for the price of a Super 8.

“The Bahamas Atlantis, for example, starts at US$719 during peak season. Right now, during summer hurricane season, it’s US$179. The Ritz-Carlton Cancun, that, at peak, goes as high as US$659, is booking rooms for US$175.

“The silver lining: Because of the influx of Europeans this time of year, the atmosphere is more continental and cosmopolitan. Lift your pinkies.”

Heading the list for summer travel bargains, Arizona offered “great deals, if you can take the heat.”

According to Grout: “With average highs in the triple digits, Arizona’s weather, its calling card in the winter, drives those with disposable income to more temperate climes. That leaves the state’s fancy resorts, its abundance of golf courses and its ooh-la-la spas for the rest of us.

“The Arizona Biltmore Hotel and Resort offers a US$129 summer golf pass that allows the proletariat to play on five prestigious courses normally frequented by US presidents, foreign heads of state and Hollywood celebrities.

“The Phoenician, a ritzy resort that in high-season starts (and that’s if you’re lucky) at US$255, is offering US$149 rooms with a US$100 resort credit and a fourth night for free. For US$30 more, they’ll throw in unlimited golf,” she added.

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