Thursday, December 27, 2007

Thinking about Mexico? Try Guanajuato

More and more Americans are discovering how far their dollars go on house rentals and buys in Mexico. Guanajuato, not your typical American-filled tourist city, is a historic town in the north central part of the country founded in the 16th century, with silver mines and Spanish colonial-era architecture. (It's also the birthplace of painter Diego Rivera.) We note that the VRBO newsletter spotlights a 2-BR luxury Guanajuato casita as great for empty-nesters. Cost: $400 a night, $2100 a week. Both and list additional Guanajuato places for prices beginning as low as $50 a night for an apartment.

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Monday, December 24, 2007 Plugs Condos, Vacation Home Rentals

The Website is playing up vacation homes and condos more in addition to its usual hotel/motel listings, Steve Dumaine, director of specialty lodging, told me recently. A survey by has identified a "huge untapped pool of travelers who have never rented a vacation home property," he said. Instead they tend to think exclusively about hotels. "From a value standpoint, it's important for them to understand that with a 3-BR condo, versus 2 or 3 hotel rooms, you're getting a lot more," Dumaine said. When travelers to a classic market such as Orlando or Hawaii try and enjoy the well-chosen vacation home or condo, they are very likely to become repeat customers.

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Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Whiteface Lodge: First Adirondacks Fractional

The luxury of a private residence club is now available to lovers of the Adirondack mountains in upstate New York. Whiteface Lodge in Lake Placid, which was completed in June 2005, is selling both full and fractional ownership in 86 suites. For a 1/12 share, members get 4 weeks minimum a year on a rotating schedule. The prices range from $80,000 for a one-bedroom suite to $450,000 for a 4-bedroom suite. Whiteface Lodge calls itself the first PRC outside Manhattan in New York State. With what it describes as the "rustic sophistication of the Adirondack Great Camps," the Lodge features an indoor/outdoor pool, skating rink, canoe club, spa and other amenities. Another enticement: private jet service for members and guests, and charter plane service to and from major and regional airports into Lake Placid.

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Monday, December 17, 2007

NY Upstate Weekend Houses Still Affordable

Metro New York and New Jersey residents still hunting for affordable vacation homes in "upstate" New York can still find decent deals in Columbia County and Rensselaer Counties, with properties that are no more than three hours of so from Manhattan. For example, the Kinderhook Group real estate agency lists a 3-BR 2-bath "customized cape" style house in Canaan, in upper Columbia County not far from the Massachusetts state line for $379,000, and a 3 BR 2-Bath Sand Lake house (Rensselaer) for $309,0000. Now is a good time: winter is slow season for most RE brokers.

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Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Fly Like an Eagle-- as in EGE

Word to the wise vacation home owner, renter or guest heading for Aspen, Vail or Beaver Creek -- Eagle Airport is a dream compared to DEN (you know, the one with the white prairie schooner motif and a security screening center that sometimes resembles Times Square on New Year's Eve ). And it's way bigger than Aspen's private-jet parking lot. I flew out of EGE last week on American to La Guardia in NYC via Dallas; like punching Staples' red "Easy" button. EGE is clean, big and fairly empty. No endless security lines snaking around the lobby..... much less risk of bags lost.... Closer to Vail than DEN (30 minutes max via rental car or shuttle bus) ... and a longer but reasonable shuttle run to Aspen. If you've come to hate what I call "flying the unfriendly skies of Greyhound," look for EGE flights. During ski season and summertime there are nonstops from many hubs.

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Saturday, December 01, 2007

Why Not Rent Villa in Spain Rather Than Hotel?

Americans unhesitatingly rent vacation condos and private homes in stateside resorts so why not do the same in Europe? Marta Staples, Italian Specialist for Doorways, Ltd. says nothing compares with a luxury farmhouse in Tuscany or an exquisite apartment in Rome and its easy when you deal with an American experienced in handling these arrangements. Her firm has an inventory of sweet homes in France and Spain (like Mas Talaia near Barcelona, shown) as well. Another company I met at a recent European travel expo, the Zurich-based Interhome, has sumptuous properties for rent in 19 countries-- from Florida to the Swiss Alps. It's worth comparing these services with villas offered for rent by owners.

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