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Hotel packages make reunions easier to arrange

THE BALTIMORE SUN

If holiday time makes you nostalgic, remember that reunions don't have to be confined to the basement family room or the high school gym. I know travelers who catch up with old pals at annual weekend or weeklong get-togethers at resorts from Long Island to Mexico.

They rent a condo, beach house or ski chalet or take over a wing of a city hotel. The lodgings might run from a few hundred dollars a week to thousands of dollars a day, but when you split the rate six or eight ways, you can buy a lot of value.

Some resorts are more conducive to such group getaways than others, offering suite or villa accommodations. Hotel- and B&B-reservations; services also are helpful in coming up with creative options for small groups. San Francisco-based Bed & Breakfast International lists hundreds of options in California and Nevada, including a houseboat in Sausalito, Calif. (about $200 a day for four people). Call (800) 872-4500.

If your fraternity brothers are scattered nationwide, a central location such as Chicago may be the answer. Through Sofitel's "Hotel Baron for a Weekend" package, you can reserve an entire floor -- 30 rooms -- for $2,975 a day on a Friday or Saturday. That's less than $50 per person, assuming at least double occupancy. Call (800) 221-4542.

Golfers can indulge their hobby at Hilton Head Island, S.C., through a wide range of lodgings from private homes and villas to luxury oceanfront resort hotels. At Sea Pines Resort, per-person daily rates start at $82 until Feb. 13 based on four in a two-bedroom villa. Each guest gets 18 holes of golf daily and free tennis. Call (800) 925-4653.

Prefer the beach? A private villa in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, is $74 a day per person through mid-March for a group of eight. Call Creative Leisure, (800) 426-6367.

Inter-Continental Hotels has a program called "Leisure Options" that offers a choice of five bonuses, including a 50 percent discount for an adjoining room or a free upgrade to a suite (you choose one). It's available at 11 Inter-Continental and Forum hotels in the United States and Canada and at seven North America Global Partner hotels. Through May 27, rates start at $89 a day per couple, at the Portofino Hotel & Yacht Club in Redondo Beach, Calif. The Maui Inter-Continental Resort's "Ultimate Options" runs through 1994. It includes an additional choice: a free night for each three consecutive paid nights. Fees start at $169 a day per couple. Call (800) 327-0200.

Almond Beach Club Barbados has a number of all-inclusive packages in two-bedroom accommodations starting at $800 a day for four persons, $900 for a group of five Dec. 18 through March 31. Call (800) 425-6663.

The new Grand Suites complex at La Cabana All Suite Beach Resort & Casino in Aruba has scheduled all-inclusive rates starting at $614 per person for a three-night stay, $784 per person for four nights, $1,297 per person for seven nights through April 3. Call (212) 251-1710.

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