Can’t get to Broadway? Try the West End


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There was a time in the not so distant past when you could see a top Broadway show for about or little more than the price of a dinner at a nice restaurant. It seems that today’s theater tickets top the cost of a luxury cruise.

No doubt that New York and Broadway are the center of the world of legitimate theater, but there are other locales where you can get your theater fix for a lot less. New York, New Jersey, Long Island, Queens all have great theater venues such as Queens Theatre in the Park and New Jersey’s famed Paper Mill Playhouse.

Granted that with the exception of a play’s tryout (Paper Mill produced “Newsies” before its Broadway run) virtually all shows at these theaters are second run or revivals.  But then, look at Broadway for the number of revivals treading the boards there.

One of the best options for the theater aficionado is to combine a vacation with a series of theater visits and the place to do that is London’s West End. London is an expensive destination, but actually is on a par with New York. There are ways to cut costs and one of those is to purchase theater tickets at booths located in the underground system or from ticket sellers throughout the city.

Aside from such options as the TKTS booth in Manhattan there is little opportunity to get a discount ticket for any of the better shows. In London that is distinctly not the case.

On separate visits great seats at sharply discounted prices were obtained for “Avenue Q” and then for “Jersey Boys.” Make no mistake about it…each of these shows was of top quality and easily as good as anything on Broadway.

Your hotel concierge is always a good last minute resource for tickets, but it’ll cost you. Chances are he’s going to the same outlet you could visit, but will charge you the premium difference between discount and full price and will expect a greased palm in addition.

The best suggestion here is to look up what is playing and then search for less expensive tickets. This site gives a complete rundown of all West End shows and offers the opportunity to book. Try the discount sites first and compare prices.

Combine a theater trip with some British culture…and what is more cultural that old Bill Shakespeare himself?

Following the hustle and bustle of the Olympics in London and the Queen’s Jubilee, London is still attracting visitors. The British Museum is presenting an exhibit: “Shakespeare-Staging the World.”

The exhibit provides a unique insight to the role of London as a world class city through the innovative perspective of The Bard’s plays. This is a modern exhibit of the classical, using digital and interactive performances.

To encourage visitors to the museum and to meet Shakespeare, the elegant townhouse hotel, The Montague on the Gardens, has put together a special package called “Celebrating William Shakespeare.”

The package includes two nights’ accommodations in the luxurious room of your choice, full English breakfast each morning, two tickets to the exhibition, which is literally around the corner from the Montague, and a Shakespeare cookbook (He was a cook?).

The cost is in line with accommodations in the city and is $330 p/p per night, based on two people sharing a room. VAT (the insidious Value Added Tax) as with any purchase in Britain, is extra.

The hotel is situated in the heart of Bloomsbury, one of London’s more beautiful and fashionable sections in the central part of the city and is in a Georgian Townhouse overlooking a secluded private garden square.

The four-star hotel is within walking distance of the West End should you desire to partake in the British Broadway’s offering of shows. Oxford Street, the famed shopping area, is a short walk as are the Eurostar Terminal at St. (pronounce that “Sint”) Pancras.

For information on The Montague, visit  www.montaguehotel.com.

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For something a bit more distant and exotic South Africa will always rank high on the list.  The country is one of the few remaining on earth where you can track a water buffalo or a rhino in the morning and relax in a luxurious hotel with a cool drink in the evening.

Bushman’s Kloof Wilderness Reserve & Wellness Retreat is one of those and has just recently won the prestigious Virtuoso Sustainable Tourism Leadership Award for 2012.  The award was given for outstanding leadership and commitment to sustainable tourism principles.

Over the years too many African nations have sacrificed natural resources to bolster sinking economies. Too many were involved in internecine warfare. South Africa avoided all that and has remained an example of peaceful transfer of power and a democratic haven in a tumultuous continent.

Bushman’s Kloof has remained family owned and part of the luxury Red Carnation Hotel Collection. The hotel was honored for its dedication to restoring and preserving the natural beauty of its 7,500 hectare reserve.

Located in the foothills of the Cederberg Mountains about 160 miles north of Cape Town, the resort combines its concern for the natural while still providing its guests with the ultimate in African experience.  There are majestic views, rock formations, open plains, outdoor activities and wild animals for the camera bug.

The resort is small by many standards, offering 16 rooms and suites.  For more information, visit www.bushmanskloof.co.za.