The Real Deal: Round-trip airfare on a major carrier, six nights at a hotel, breakfast daily, and a full-day sightseeing tour of Ronda, from $699 per person—plus about $115 in taxes and fees.
When: Jan. 13, 20, 2009. Add $50 for Jan. 27, Feb. 3, 10, 17, 24, March 3, 10, 17, 24.
Gateways: New York City; add $109 for St. Louis, $128 for Boston, $179 for D.C., $203 for L.A., $216 for Chicago, $232 for Miami, $251 for Atlanta, and $308 for Seattle; additional cities available.
The fine print: Includes fuel surcharges and hotel taxes but not about $85 per person in airport taxes and a $30 per person booking fee. Based on double occupancy; single supplement starts at $184. Read these guidelines before you book any Real Deal.
Book by: No deadline; based on availability.
Contact: Gate 1 Travel, 800/682-3333, gate1travel.com.
Why it's a deal: A recent Kayak search produced a $509 round-trip flight between New York City and Malaga, Spain, departing January 13 (Continental). The Sol Príncipe Hotel costs about $72 per room per night, or $432 for a six-night stay. If you booked airfare and hotel on your own, you would pay about $740 per person with all taxes. For $74 more per person including taxes, Gate 1 is throwing in the full-day sightseeing tour of Ronda and taking care of all the booking for you.
Trip details: The 8 Day Costa del Sol Value Vacation begins with an overnight flight to Malaga International.
Travel about eight miles southwest from Malaga to the beach resort town of Torremolinos. Airport-hotel transfers are not included. Book them through Gate 1 at $45 each way. Alternatively, a taxi will cost about $20. A train ticket is about $3.
Stay for six nights at the Sol Principe, a 623-room hotel on a promenade overlooking Playamar Beach. The hotel offers great views, restaurants, and three swimming pools. But upgrades to other hotels are available from $50 per person for the Meli¡a Costa del Sol to $500 per person for the Gran Melia Don Pepe.
Included in this package is a one-day trip into the mountains to Ronda, a city of about 30,000 residents with evocative bridges from Moorish and ancient Roman times. The tour covers Santa Maria de la Encarnacion la Mayor, a cathedral built in the 1500s, the Puente Nuevo (a pretty bridge that spans the 200-foot chasm that splits the city), and the Ronda bullring, which is said to be the oldest in Spain. (The bus will pick you up from, and return you to, your hotel.)
As for weather, expect a mix of sun and clouds, with temperatures in the 60s Fahrenheit.
For more information, visit the official tourism site of Costa del Sol.