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Spas & Pampering

Decoding the Deals

Is your spa package really a bargain? Here's how to read between the lines.

1. Room
The package is priced per room, not per guest, a crucial detail that can make or break a budget. But beware: The "garden" view could mean a lush, bougainvillea-draped courtyard or a lone palm tree swaying in the parking lot.

2. Perks
Some deal descriptions are padded with items you'd get with any stay. This offer's free martini and private cabana are real perks, but the basket of spa products could just be the free set of toiletries found in every room.

3. Meals
If the breakfast buffet is included in all stays, it adds no value to the deal. Since lunch and dinner aren't covered, ask to see menus from the resort restaurant (with current prices). If there's nowhere nearby to grab a cheap meal, you might rack up a hefty food bill.

4. Services
Are you getting a 30-minute chair massage or an hour in a spa suite? (And do you even want a side-by-side massage with your best friend?) Look for deals that let you choose from the most popular treatments rather than less-expensive services like pedicures. Our fictional package doesn't specify the type or length of massage, so you'd want to get more information before booking.

5. Extras
Resorts often tack on vague service charges as well as state and local taxes. These—not to mention gratuities and transportation costs—can almost double your bill.

6. The bottom line
If paying for the components separately wouldn't add up to a higher cost than the package price, you're not getting a deal.

Note: This story was accurate when it was published. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.



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