For those craving Caribbean sunshine along with kosher cuisine, USA-based Club Kosher is offering vacations in Punta Cana in the sun-soaked Dominican Republic next month. The holidays — for seven or 10 days from January 15-25 — are based at the Melia Caribe Tropical, a five-star beachside resort which offers, in addition to seven swimming pools, tennis, horse-riding, mountain-biking, windsurfing, sailing, snorkelling and kayaking. There is also a spa, gym, live shows and organized activities for children. A seven-day stay costs $1,999 (£1,353) per adult (based on at least two sharing); $1,599 (£1,082) for teens 13-17; $1,299 (£880) children 4-12 and $799 (£541) for toddlers; infants stay free. Price includes full-board accommodation in a deluxe junior suite (all meals and snacks and drinks, Orthodox-supervised), and activities, but excludes flights (001 203 799 7791; www.clubkosher.com
Tempting cut-price sunshine deals with El Al’s package arm, Superstar Holidays. The company is offering a week at Eilat’s four-star Royal Tulip Hotel at £499 per person (based on two sharing). It includes accommodation on a half board basis, return flights from Stansted to Ovda, and transfers. Package is available for January 1 departure, and for those looking for a pre-Chanucah fix of sun — also on December 15 departure (020 7121 1500 or 0161 834 6553).
UK-based cruise aficionados jealous that their American friends could get last-minute cruise deals at rock-bottom prices, can now log on to a UK site for a similar service. New UK cruise watchdog HolidayInsiders.com has linked with US site CruiseCompete.com to allow you to post info on the cruise you are interested in, and then compare prices as dozens of agents bid for your business (www.holidayinsiders.com
If you fancy escaping the Christmas-time chill, the Masseria Torre Maizza on Italy’s Adriatic coast is offering a special two-night rate. As well as comfy lounges with fireplaces for relaxing, there is mountain biking, horse-riding, excursions to markets plus Aveda spa and nearby golf courses. Two nights (December 24 to 26), cost €390 (£333) and includes breakfast, dinner on December 24 and lunch on December 25. There is also a three-night package for New Year, at €736 (£629) including gala dinner. Prices per person (based on two sharing), excluding flights (0039 080 482 93 10; www.masseriatorrmaizza.com
Or you could see in 2009 in Paris (and keep your plummeting pound safe) with Hotel Balzac’s Sterling rate Bonne Année package. Located just minutes from the city’s main festivities on the Champs Elysées, the hotel is charging £385 per double room per night and includes accommodation for two in a deluxe room, a glass of Champagne and cheese and fruit platter on arrival, buffet breakfast daily, celebratory gift and three-course New Year’s Eve dinner after which you can join the street party or see the dazzling fireworks from the comfort of the hotel. Rate is based on minimum three-night stay (www.hotelbalzac.com;
0033 144 35 1800).
Another alluring sunshine deal from Thomson Worldwide, which is offering 14 nights for the price of seven at the four-star-plus Heritage Golf & Spa Resort, in sun-drenched Mauritius from April to October. The price is from £1,885 per adult (based on two sharing) and includes half-board accommodation in a deluxe room, return British Airways flights and transfers. Extensive facilities include six restaurants, two bars, four pools, spa and gym, plus complimentary activities such as sailing, windsurfing, pedaloes, water-skiing, snorkelling, tennis and daily green fees at the 18-hole championship golf course (0871 230 2770; www.thomsonworldwide.com
With the weakening pound, New York may not be quite as appealing for shopping right now, but the sales are still likely to yield great bargains. And between shopping expeditions, it is worth making time to visit the Jewish Museum on Fifth Avenue which is offering family Chanucah activities on December 25. Its current exhibitions are Chagall and the Artists of the Russian Jewish Theater (until March 22), and The Dead Sea Scrolls (January 4). And if you are heading to New York in January, catch the New York Jewish Film Festival from January 14 to 29 (001 212 423 3200; www.jewishmuseum.org