Do the Numbers
Travel-rewards programs (frequent-flier miles, hotel and rental-car points, credit-card miles) have become so complex that it's nearly impossible to figure out who will honor your points and miles, or what they're really worth. Here's a brand-new tool that cuts through the tangle. RewardCafe's "Reward Calculator," linked to Bloomberg.com, works like a currency converter: Decide which program's points you want to "spend," and the calculator will determine the exchange rate between the various hotel, airline, credit-card, and car-rental companies that participate. The up-to-the-minute information even alerts you to bonus-miles promotions, so you'll know who's currently offering the greatest value for your points. (Go to Bloomberg.com; click on "Travel Center," then "Reward Calculator.")
It's no secret that Caribbean resorts slash prices during the rainy summer season. What may come as a surprise is that off-season rates are already in effect this year, even though the heavy rains don't start until August. The "Spree Package" at St. Barth's Hotel Guanahani offers five nights for two at $2,115 (normally $2,500), plus freebies that include two meals daily, a rental car, and two of the following: jet-ski rentals, a facial, and windsurfing, tennis, or scuba-diving lessons (590-590-27-6660). Guests at the Hyatt Regency Cerromar in Puerto Rico get a fourth night free, plus toss-ins like daily breakfast and one free round of golf (rooms from $265; 800-55hyatt). Rooms at Cotton House on Mustique (pictured below) start at $530, down from $750 (877-240-9945); and at the Ritz-Carlton, Cancún, ocean-view rooms start at just $219, including breakfast (800-241-3333).
Beauty and the Beach
While many day spas have opened on the East End, Gurney's Inn has long been the only place on Long Island where you could check in for a spa visit and stay overnight. Now the North Fork's year-old Greenporter, a converted fifties' motel with retro accents, is planning to debut its own destination spa. Funkier and smaller than Gurney's, the Greenporter will offer the standard array of massages, from hot-stone to couples' sessions, and will play on its proximity to neighboring vineyards by featuring vinotherapy treatments (exfoliations, lymphatic drainage wraps) that use grape seeds. Medi-spa treatments like Botox and collagen injections will also be available as well as yoga retreats. Until the spa opens later this season, you can content yourself with the hotel's thirteen additional rooms (available in June), and La Cuvée, the French bistro and wine bar, which opened last fall (631-477-0066; rates from $190).
-- BETH LANDMAN KEIL
Deal of the Week
Santa Monicas Hotel Oceana, a recently renovated 63-suite hotel steps from the beach, is offering New York Magazine readers 25 percent off, when you book in May and stay before July 1. Savings start at $100, and discounted rates range from $290 to $600. Call 800-777-0758 and mention this page.
- Weekend Update The 130-year-old Harbor House Village hotel on Nantucket has just completed a major renovation; updated rooms are styled like traditional summer cottages, with pine and wicker furniture. Through May 31, book two nights and get a third night free (866-325-9300, doubles from $170).
- Let It Ride Atlantic City's Harrah's Hotel & Casino has a new $200 million look, which includes refurbished guest rooms and suites, a new 25-story hotel tower, and, of course, more gambling space (800-harrahs; rooms start around $150).
- Cook's Tour In between snorkeling and spa appointments, guests at the Four Seasons Resort Bali at Jimbaran Bay can now experiment with a tandoori oven, wok range, and noodle boiler at the resort's fledgling cooking school. Classes include "The Art of Balinese Entertaining," "Indonesian Cuisine," and "Spa Cuisine," and cost $90 each (62-361-701-010; doubles from around $750).
- Hair Today First it was Hermès. Then Kiehl's and Aveda. Now it's Frédéric Fekkai, whose products are the most coveted hotel-room amenities. The salon's shea-butter goodies made their hotel debut last week at the new Ritz-Carlton Central Park, and will soon be disappearing from hotel-bathroom shelves across the country.