St. Petersburg Times Economy pushes Florida's resorts to offer discounts, deals

By Si Liberman, Special to the Times
In Print: Sunday, March 1, 2009



[Associated Press]


Normally, peak season brings peak prices at Florida resorts. Not this winter, though. Hotels, theme parks and restaurants are offering their own stimulus packages in the form of price breaks to drum up business.

>> Beginning May 1, the seven-room Sabal Palm House in Lake Worth, the only bed and breakfast inn between Orlando and Miami with a four-diamond AAA rating, will award a third night free to guests arriving with a bag of nonperishable food or personal care products for the local food bank. "Just mention 'food for room' when making the reservation," co-owner John Rinaldi says. Rates go from $145 to $245 a night.

The B&B ( is located across the Intracoastal Waterway from Palm Beach and less than a mile from the Lake Worth Municipal Golf Course.

>> With attendance down more than 4 percent, Disney World ( has unveiled a sharply discounted promotional package for a family of four. If booked by March 29 for four nights at the resort, the family can get three free additional nights' hotel accommodations and admission tickets.
Prices of the four-night, four-member family packages range from $1,271 to $2,611, depending on the hotel/admission category selected. Savings range from $450 to $1,320, according to Disney spokesman David Herbst. In addition, guests traveling on the four-night family package between March 17 and April 4 will receive a $200 gift certificate as a bonus.

>> At the nearby Universal Orlando Resort (www., a comparable four-night, three-free-night on-site, hotel/admission deal for a four-member family is available until March 29 for $1,144, a $400 savings. Unlimited admission to both Universal theme parks is permitted. And if willing to accept a Universal-arranged hotel reservation outside of the theme park, the family price is $789.

>> Palm Beach's palatial, 560-room Breakers Hotel (, which recently was awarded AAA's coveted five-diamond rating for the 13th consecutive year, is giving $100 and $200 credits plus shopping, dining and golf discounts to guests booking rooms priced between $499 and $5,700 a night.

>> In Naples, the Ritz Carlton (, also a AAA five-diamond oceanfront resort, offers a $140 credit to couples booking its $589 per night Reconnect Package that includes breakfasts.

>> By paying full price for a double room when registering, Miami Beach's landmark, 1,504-room Fontainebleau Hotel (, which reopened in November after a $1 billion makeover, will rebate 15 percent. Room rates start at $349 and are nonrefundable under the promotion.

>> Two nights at $369 a night in a double room at the Fort Lauderdale Harbor Beach Marriott ( qualifies for a third night free until April 1. And as a recession perk the resort's bar has reduced its heavily promoted $11 Down and Dirty Martini to $5 and renamed it the Down(turn) and Dirty Martini.

>> A weeklong stay at the 790-room Loews Miami Beach Hotel ( where double rooms and suites go from $299 to $435 a night qualifies guests for a $500 food and beverage credit usable at any of its seven restaurants. In June and July when rooms are scheduled for renovations, rates will range from $139 to $199, according to Loews spokeswoman Sarah Murov.

>> With occupancy off 4 percent so far this winter, the Marco Island Marriott Hotel ( has come up with a Consumer Bailout Package promotion. Booking a $554 deluxe double room will earn guests a $200 resort credit per night between March 28 and April 17. The credit can be used at its golf course or one of its restaurants. Double room rates run from $139 to $599.

Retired newspaper reporter and editor Si Liberman splits his time between Palm Beach and New Jersey.

Sabal Palm House
Bed and Breakfast

Circa 1936
109 N. Golfview Road

Lake Worth, FL  33460



Innkeepers:  Colleen and John Rinaldi

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