This week, our publisher’s Top 20 picks include that rarest of things, a luxury Dubai deal that’ll leave you with change from £1000, and two very different ways to experience the States
£63 -- NYC: Times Square Hotel, 40% Off
Here’s a deal so enticing we almost need say nothing more. Hotel rooms in the Big Apple (hang on -- does anyone actually call it that?) are rarely found for under £100, and if they are, they’re likely to be the kind of bathroom-adjacent shoebox your author found himself in when returning to the city of his birth for the first time some years ago. Instead, we’ve found the Milford Plaza, once the biggest hotel in the city and now pulling in the crowds again following a refurbishment, with some extremely come-hitherish deals. Speaking of which, a stroll from Times Square, the Milford offers a peerless position from which to observe how this great metropolis has changed in recent decades. When I was born in New York, Times Square was a no-go area of hookers, hustlers and thieves; now, reflecting the wider cleansing of the city, it’s aglow 24 hours from giant neon signs encouraging you to indulge in all sorts of more conventional kinds of commerce.
£799 -- 5-Star All-Inc Dubai Break w/Upgrade, Reg £1220
You can’t call yourself a traveller nowadays, I’d argue, until you’ve been to Dubai. Some people might sneer at the place as being like one of David Beckham’s more lurid materialistic fantasies made flesh, but it probably represents the future of tourism with unparalleled accuracy. Besides which, if you’re interested in no-holds-barred and -- yes -- somewhat Beckham-ish luxury, you can find pretty much everything your heart should desire within a couple of square blocks in Dubai. You can even -- and this is rare -- do it on the cheap. We’ve tracked down a seriously substantial taster of Dubai indulgence that will leave you with a chunk of change from a grand. For £799, you get Virgin flights to the emirate, plus five nights in a very well regarded 5-star hotel. You’re even shipped out to a beach club every day but -- our tip -- don’t let that stop you making an excursion to old Dubai, the fascinating remainder of the original pearling town almost completely subsumed in only a couple of decades by the luxury hotels and office towers by which everyone now knows the city.
£1299 -- 14-Nt Caribbean Cruise w/Memphis, New Orleans Stays
Promising a very different taste of America from NYC, we’ve stumbled upon a Deep-South-themed cruise of such good value it should soon have you plucking happily on a banjo and contentedly eating shrimp and grits. At £1299 all-in for a fortnight, you could conceivably spend more over an indulgent two weeks in the UK. The tour starts at Elvis Presley's Heartbreak Hotel, in Memphis, just in case you forgot the King hailed from there. (You might want to start watching those grits at this point, lest you turn into a rhinestone rhino like Memphis’s favourite son.) You then take a train along the Mississippi to New Orleans, to see how this deeply characterful, richly musical city has recovered from the floods that nearly killed it. Then it’s time to board the Carnival Conquest cruise ship for a tour of the Caribbean: It’s a curious name for the vessel given Europe’s historical interaction with the region but you’ll soon forget all that with a piña colada in hand and Grand Cayman, Cozumel and other exciting ports to come.