-- With New York Fashion Week right around the corner (September 8 through 15), we got inspired to rifle through the racks and find some head-turning travel deals in five fashion capitals. Toss your Max Azria and Alexander McQueen into a carry-on. This collection of hotel and air discounts will leave you with more cash to blow in New York City, Montreal, Paris, Tokyo, and one emerging wildcard.
New York City
Every fall, Fashion Week draws some 100,000 style watchers to the exclusive runway shows at Lincoln Center's Damrosch Park. Didn't happen to snag a ticket? Rub elbows with designers, models, celebs, and fashion editors September 8 at the third annual Fashion's Night Out, an after-hours shopping extravaganza of discounts and in-store events. Bonus: Affinia and several other Manhattan hotels are running Fashion's Night Out package deals through the end of the year.
Rates start at $249 per night for Affinia's Passport to Style shopping package, which includes canvas totes, shopping snacks, and two in-room cocktails. The new Eventi, a Colum McCartan-designed Kimpton Hotel in Chelsea, is steps from the Garment District and posts deals under $200 per night on its website and Facebook page.
Quirky, colorful ensembles and cool confidence characterize Tokyo's exuberant street style. And the city's hipster kids manage to pull it off flawlessly. With the possible exception of Hello Kitty accessories, what's trending now in the Harajuku and Shibuya districts is constantly evolving. Thankfully, there's an affordable hotel a quick train ride away when you want to catch up on the latest craze.
The boutique Hotel Niwa Tokyo, a 2011 TripAdvisor Travelers' Choice winner, often goes for less than $200 per night and offers 25 percent off when you stay two nights. In the crowded hub near the Suidobashi station, the hotel combines modern amenities (and English-speaking staff) with elements of a traditional Japanese ryokan inn. Yes, you still feel like you're in Japan. And, with the Tokyo Dome's baseball games and concerts just two blocks away, there's hope for the significant other who's along for the ride.
Few things in life compare with the delicious seduction of Paris' wily couture ways. Not to worry. You can still be led handsomely astray without maxing out your credit cards. Go-today.com has a discounted Paris Escape air-and-hotel package starting at $899. It includes round-trip airfare, a four-night stay, and daily breakfast.
If four days isn't enough (is it ever?) for establishing a coffee ritual and discovering boutiques that house Chloé Sevigny collections, book an extra night or two at Hotel du Petit Moulin. It's a bit more than $200 per night but so worth the splurge. Designer Christian Lacroix unleashed his fantastical imagination in this 17th-century Marais district building, breathing a different personality into each of the 17 rooms. Some walls pop kitschy bright pink, while collage frescoes grace others—such a refreshing escape after a day strutting the streets in stilettos.
You don't have to jet abroad for foxy metropolis couture with a charming accent. Get your fix for less in Montreal. This UNESCO City of Design happens to be the first stop on a worldwide tour of the exhibitThe Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk.
Check out 140 Gaultier ensembles, some on animated mannequins, now through October 2 at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts. The exhibit marks the 35th anniversary of the designer's label and includes two of the iconic cone bra corsets he designed for Madonna's 1990 Blond Ambition World Tour.
Modest Latin Quarter B&B Auberge Le jardin d'Antoine offers one of the city's best Gaultier-and-stay package values for $149 per night. Also, throughout the year, Tourisme Montreal features hotel deals with other goodies thrown in, starting at $119 per night.
And here's the up-and-comer wildcard. Sure, Houston's got its share of 10-gallon hats, dusty cowboy boots, and fashion infractions. But this city's style scene was taking hold even before local Chloe Dao won Project Runway, opened her own Lot 8 boutique, and designed her own line. The Galleria was an early anchor with Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Betsey Johnson, and 372 other stores. Now Houston has its own Fashion Week with designers who've worked with A-listers including Heidi Klum and Angelina Jolie.
Hotels in Houston are much less expensive than other fashionable cities of similar size. The average room rate in 2010 was only $92. For stylish boutique hotels downtown like Magnolia and Alden, or the sexy Aloft at The Galleria, the rates are a bit higher but still under $200 per night.
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