DEALS OF THE WEEK: LAST-MINUTE CHRISTMAS AND MILLENNIUM BREAKS

Despite predictions to the contrary, there is still plenty of choice for anyone who wants to go away for the millennium and hasn't yet made a reservation. If you wanted to go to a CenterParc, though, you will be disappointed: they have all been fully booked over the millennium weekend for the past 18 months! But there are plenty of less child-centred breaks still available, both in this country and around the world.

London

There is no need to go further afield than the capital, where there will be celebrations throughout the day and night of 31 December. The Ritz (tel: 0171-493 8181) will be celebrating in style, with dance bands, cocktail receptions and a millennium banquet that will include beluga caviar, lobster, truffles and various other delicacies. The price for two people, including overnight accommodation with breakfast, the banquet and fine wines, is pounds 2,800. If you want to prolong the pleasure, a three-night stay for two in a suite, with full English breakfast, afternoon tea, a magnum of champagne, the millennium banquet, and the services of a personal chauffeur for three days, will set you back pounds 7,950.

Egypt

The Imaginative Traveller (tel: 0181- 742 8612) still has places on a seven-night trip across the Egyptian desert, departing on 26 December. The tour begins in Cairo, and includes Alexandria and the Siwa Oasis, a remote spot surrounded by beautiful sand- dunes and tombs cut from the rocks. The price is pounds 275 for bed and breakfast accommodation in a two- star hotel, and transport by air-conditioned coach; bicycles are provided for a tour of Siwa. Flights to Cairo are extra, and start at pounds 245 from Heathrow airport.

Switzerland

Ski Mark Warner (tel: 0171-761 7002) has reduced prices on some of its remaining ski chalets. Seven nights in a chalet hotel in Verbier, with private facilities, departing on 26 December, now costs pounds 699, a reduction of over pounds 200 on the original price. The cost includes half-board accommodation, with afternoon tea, wine at dinner, celebrations on New Year's Eve and flights from Gatwick, Manchester or Heathrow. There is also availability at similar prices at the equally smart resorts of St Anton in Austria, and La Plagne and Meribel in France.

Majorca

A 14-night stay in Majorca with Thomson Holidays (tel: 0990 502555) departing 21 December has been reduced to pounds 230 per person. This is based on four sharing a one-bedroom, self-catering apartment; the bedroom has twin beds, and there are two sofa-beds in the living-room. The apartment is in the Fiesta complex in Magaluf. The price includes flights from Bristol to Palma.

Tenerife

Eight nights in a self-catering apartment in Malibu Park, in the Playa de las Americas resort with Thomas Cook Direct (tel: 0870 751 9927) has been reduced to pounds 239 per person. This is based on two people sharing, and includes flights from Gatwick on 30 December. Playa de las Americas is a lively resort and is a half-hour drive from the airport.

Seychelles

Elite Vacations (tel: 0181-864 4431) has availability at the Plantation Club, a former coconut plantation on the island of Mahe. Accommodation is in luxurious mini-suites, the complex is set in lovely grounds and there are several restaurants, a swimming-pool, and a casino. Five nights over the New Year period will cost pounds 1,715; this includes b&b accommodation, scheduled flights, transfer from the airport and free watersports.

California

Seven days' skiing at the Californian resort of Heavenly with Ski Safari (tel: 0171-740 1221) has been reduced to pounds 799. This includes b&b accommodation at the three-star Lake Tahoe Inn, scheduled flights, and car hire. The hotel has an outdoor hot tub and a casino, and there is a shuttle bus service to the ski area. Various departure dates are available between Christmas and New Year.

St Lucia

Caribbean Connection (tel: 01244 355 300) has reduced its prices in St Lucia, where a seven-night stay between 26 December and 6 January will cost pounds 2,651, a reduction of over pounds 400 on the original price. This includes accommodation in a superior room at the East Winds Inn, on an all-inclusive basis, as well as return flights with Virgin Atlantic and transfers to and from the airport.

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