FareCompare 4×4: Luxury Summer Travel Tips

Tiffany Dowd is a regional hotel inspector for an international luxury hotel guide, so she gets to spend much of her time reviewing the most stylish hotels and resorts in North America and the Caribbean (ed note: we are all very jealous). Tiffany also writes Tiffany Travels.

We chatted with Tiffany (via email) and asked her to help us plan the perfect luxury summer vacation…

1. Where-to-Go

What are some must-see summer luxury destinations?
Airfare Mistakes lead to cheap flights
I love British Columbia in the summer. Vancouver in particular is one of the most amazing and beautiful cities in the world. The hotels are cosmopolitan and the shopping on Robson Street is first-class, and what’s not to love about a romantic stroll through Stanley Park!

The family-run boutique Wedgwood Hotel is a personal favorite for its cozy atmosphere and old-world charm. I also love watching the sea planes land in the harbor from the iconic Pan Pacific Hotel. Vancouver is known as Hollywood North, so you’re likely to spot a celeb having drinks in the Gerard Lounge at Sutton Place Vancouver.

Daniel Bouloud’s Lumiere Restaurant is excellent for fine French dining or try db Bistro Moderne right next door for a more casual option. Don’t miss dim sum and my favorite Cha Siu Bow (steamed BBQ pork buns) in Canada’s largest Chinatown. I have a weakness for Japadog, a cult hit Japanese style hot dog stand on Burrard Street. For nightlife, I head to the Opus Bar at the stylish Opus Hotel Vancouver in trendy Yaletown.

Granville Island Public Market has interesting Native American arts and crafts, aromatic baked goods and fresh produce. I never miss the peanut brittle making demonstrations at Olde World Fudge.

It’s easy to take the ferry from Vancouver to Victoria where I often stay at Villa Marco Polo, and of course have afternoon tea at the fabled Fairmont Empress. This year I’m also heading to Tofino on Vancouver Island to stay at the Wickaninnish Inn and take a surf lesson on Chesterman Beach. If you’re up for the ultimate summer adventure, stay at the Sonora Resort or in luxury wilderness tents at the Clayoquot Wilderness Resort. Tell “Red” (my favorite horse) I said hello.

2. What-to-Do

If a summer traveler could take advantage of just one luxury travel perk, which perk should they choose?
Airfare Mistakes lead to cheap flights
Complimentary luxury car service is an excellent perk offered by a many luxury hotels including the Four Seasons Beverly Wilshire in Beverly Hills and Fifteen Beacon Hotel in Boston. Use the service to go shopping, to the theater or even out for a late night bite. If you see a napkin in between the smooth leather seats that says Pink’s Hot Dogs or Regina Pizzeria, it might have been left by me!

3. When-to-Fly

What is the best time for luxury summer travel?
I’m a huge fan of the Caribbean in the summer where the best deals can be found between June and mid-December. Where is everybody else? They are crowded on the beaches of Cape Cod, the Hamptons and the Vineyard while you are relaxing on a quiet beach with a frozen mango drink and a pocket full of free nights.

Parrot Cay in Turks and Caicos is offering the 4th night free through December 20, 2010; save on a spectacular Honeymoon at Jade Mountain in St. Lucia with their 4th & 8th nights free offer if you book by May 31st for stays between July 1 and October 3, 2010; rates at the luxury all-inclusive Curtain Bluff in Antigua include all meals, drinks and water sports and the 5th night free for stays through the end of July; CuisinArt Resort & Spa in Anguilla again has a great Friends & Family package: 50% off second suite with a 5 night minimum.

4. How-to-Shop

Any tips on how summer travelers can enjoy a bit of luxury for less once they arrive at their destination?
Get to know the hotel concierge. They’ll hook you up. They are the eyes and ears of the city, plus you’ll get preferential treatment wherever you go because of their tight network. Ultimately you’ll save both time and money by having the right experience the first time!

Airfare Mistakes lead to cheap flights
Follow Tiffany on Twitter @LuxeTiffany.

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Published: May 12, 2010