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Elizabeth Gilbert’s New York Times bestselling travel memoir Eat, Pray, Love set off polarized opinions when it hit shelves in 2006. Some fans connected to the author’s midlife gap year, while others found the tale too self-serving. Readers on both sides of the fence, though, seem to agree that Gilbert’s journey through three countries and two continents – eating piles of pizza in Italy, praying in an Indian ashram, and falling in love on Bali’s beaches – was nothing short of enviable. With Julia Roberts starring in the big screen version of the memoir next month, a slew of travel companies are, not surprisingly, capitalizing on the film – even if they didn’t rank on Gilbert’s itinerary.
Consult with Ketut Liyer, the very medicine man who inspired Gilbert to embark on her sojourn in the first place, with the Four Seasons’s “Bali, Pray, Love” package. The four night Balinese journey for two is split between the Four Seasons’ Jimbaran Bay and Sayan properties and includes the personal appointment with Liyer; a private aphrodisiac cooking class in Jimbaran; a 90-minute couple’s massage; a copy of Love compendium, a travel guide to the most romantic spots on the island; all airport transfers; and daily breakfast for two. When paradise gets old, tack on a night in Florence, Milan, or Mumbai, where a personal concierge will provide a complimentary, one-day tour around the respective city. Rates start at $3,000 for this package, which is available through December 20, 2011.
Map out an exact recreation of Gilbert’s tri-nation trip with Lonely Planet’s online Eat, Pray, Love guide. The brief guide features quick tips for visits to Italy, India, and Bali, but the real value is the partnered giveaway with STA Travel. Enter the sweepstakes, for free, by August 27 to score a 21-day vacation to Rome, Delhi, and Bali, plus a suite of Lonely Planet guidebooks. The three-week trip includes all accommodations, airfare, and some city tours and meals – finding a soul mate is up to you.
Gilbert forgot the Alamo on her yearlong pilgrimage, but at least five San Antonio hotels are serving savings to line up with the film’s release. Top among the deals include the Hotel Valencia Riverwalk’s "Eat, Pray, Love in San Antonio" package, which offers guests a $50 dining credit at Citrus Restaurant, plus a copy of the bestseller (rates start at $189/night). Focus on the eating and loving portions of the book at the Hotel Havana July 31, when La Gloria Chef Johnny Hernandez hosts a one-night “Eat, Pray, Love Supper Club,” available for only 30 couples. For that night only, Hernandez dishes a romantic five course dinner for two to any guests who book the package (rates start at $250/night and include accommodations).