The annual Glimmerglass Festivalon Otsego Lake, near Cooperstown, New York, has long mounted a vibrant four-opera summer season. But under Francesca Zambello, now in her fourth year as general and artistic director, it has broadened its purview to become an essential cultural destination.
Shanghai, China is a modern metropolis with thriving business and arts culture, as well as some of the World's Best hotels (http://www.travelandleisure.com/articles/worlds-best-hotels-2014). While in Shanghai for luxury travel conference ILTM Asia, T+L's special correspondent, Sarah Spagnolo, traversed the city from end to end to pinpoint the best of the glamorous properties on either side of the Huangpu River. From the Fairmont Peace Hotel’s historic touches to the glamorous and youthful Puli Hotel and Spa, there are hotels that suit every type of traveler.
Chile’s Atacama, China’s Gobi, Egypt’s Sahara, and Antarctica are widely considered the driest places on Earth—and they're all captured in Desert Runners, a documentary on the high-endurance 4 Deserts Race Series, which pits runners against salt flats, sand dunes, and snow drifts across the globe.
The "fun ships" are becoming healthier too: Carnival Cruise Lines announced this week that, starting October 9th, it will ban smoking on stateroom balconies, joining an ever growing fleet of companies restricting where guests can light up.
Cigarettes will still be permitted in designated areas—such as certain nightclubs, casino areas, and several outdoor decks. Why the new restriction? According to Carnival’s official statement, the shift comes in response to the “preferences of a majority of our guests.” It also brings Carnival in line with its sister companies Cunard and P&O, which updated their policies last August. Other brands owned by the Carnival Corporation, such as Seabourn and Holland America, still permit balcony smoking.
With airlines devaluing their loyalty programs left and right, the door is wide open for OTAs to benefit—and we’ve certainly seen them try. Orbitz has recently introduced a rewards system (enhanced by their credit card) that offers instant cash back on every purchase—as much as ten percent on certain purchases. Hotels.com offers a free night for every ten you book. And now Expediais jumping back into the game, with a refreshed loyalty program that aims to compete. But does it? Here are the basics you need to know.
As if airfare wasn’t expensive enough already, the TSA has just announced an increase in the federal Sept. 11 security fee—its first since the administration was founded in 2002. Effective on tickets purchased on or after July 21, the new fees are more than double the current ones.
You expect Marco Polo to round the corner at any moment. Pingyao is the very rare Chinese city, perhaps the last of the country’s great walled towns, to have escaped the successive waves of modernization that have swept China over the past 100 years—the 1911 Chinese Revolution, the 1949 Communist Revolution, the 1966–76 Cultural Revolution, and the rampant industrialization and globalization of the last generation. Its 72 watchtowers look out over a turbulent sea of tiled roofs, with curving eaves tipped with ceramic dragons. Red paper lanterns float over the pedestrian streets like so many autumn moons. The city is a time machine into the Chinese past and traditional Han culture. It’s all here, Pompeii before Vesuvius, a fine-grained, highly detailed, movie-set-perfect microcosm of traditional China, built during a seminal and flourishing period. The nearly one-square-mile town includes the ornate, tiered, three-story City Tower and numerous large Confucian and Taoist temple complexes, all part of one of the world’s best-preserved ancient cities.
Pingyao is 400 miles southwest of Beijing and accessible via train. The closest airport is Taiyuan.
Photo: Tony Law
When a three-hour flight to Denver turned into a seven-hour ordeal, a Frontier Airlines pilot decided the passengers deserved Dominos pizza.
Do air travel delays make you crazy? Here's our take on the rankings of the best and worst airlines for flight delays, according to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics 2014 report.
In the London neighborhoods of Soho and the South Bank, two properties with serious design pedigrees bring new forms and new thinking to the hotel landscape.
This summer, James Beard Award-winning chef Hugh Acheson adds yet another restaurant to his growing Georgia empire. Following in the footsteps of his four existing Peach State successes, The Florence, Acheson's highly anticipated take on Italian cuisine, opened this June in a former ice factory, just minutes from Savannah College of Art and Design's campus.
Serving a menu of contemporary Italian fare infused with Southern ingredients (think a Sicilian fisherman's stew filled with fresh Savannah seafood or Neapolitan-style pizza piled high with local cheeses), the restaurant is a welcome addition to the coastal city's growing food scene.
Below, the Top Chef judge fills us in on his favorite Savannah spots, travel tips for foodies, and what diners can expect from The Florence.
Nancy Novogrod joined Bloomberg TV this morning to share 2014's top 10 travel cities in the world according to T+L readers.Check out the complete list of World's Best winners here.
While less than 2% of the world’s population has red hair, 13% of Scotland’s citizens are redheads, with the highest density of gingers clustered in and around Edinburgh.
See Edinburgh Castle in Beautiful Castles Around the World
Photo courtesy of T+L Photo Contest
Seattle, the second-most literate U.S. city in 2014, is also very literary: its Queen Anne neighborhood hosts 21 ‘Little Free Libraries’—boxes built by neighbors for book-sharing—and is hosting a competition for best LFL designs under $150.
Seattle in America’s Best Comic Book Shops
Photo courtesy of T+L Photo Contest
It's one thing to bring back souvenirs so terrible that they land you on your friend's blacklist, and quite another to tote home tchotchkes from overseas that send you straight to jail. To ensure you experience the warm fuzzy feeling that comes from hearing a US Customs agent say, "Welcome home" here are eight souvenirs you should absolutely not bring back with you.
Leave it to the efficient Germans: Düsseldorf Airport now uses a robot to park cars, rather than have travelers search for a spot on their own.
Ray, as the new robot is called, picks up vehicles from six drop-off "transfer boxes" near the terminal before leaving the cars in one of 249 parking spots available through the program—the first of its kind in the world.
There’s no shortage of five-star hotels here in Manhattan. Five-star hotels with top-notch spas—now, that’s another story. The Four Seasons New Yorkrecently upped its game with a complete design overhaul, replacing the crammed check-in area with a warm, silver-and-chocolate-toned lobby that feels both spacious and inviting.
British Airways knows the importance of a “good flight’s sleep,” which is why they began testing its ‘Happiness Blanket’ on passengers last week. Volunteers on board the BA189 Dreamliner service from Heathrow to New York were among the first to try out the hi-tech throw woven with neurosensors and fiber optics to monitor a user’s relaxation patterns.
Cool off with your family at one of these top affordable water parks.
Schlitterbahn, on Galveston Island, Texas, opened in 1966 and calls itself the world’s first “water resort”—but don’t write it off as old fashioned. The park opens new rides almost every year, and with more than 35 water attractions, family adventures, and thrill slides, there’s something for everyone. Teenagers will love the Cliffhanger, with drops of 81 feet and speeds approaching 40 mph, while younger visitors prefer the Treasure Island kids area, a shallow pool designed to entertain the smallest Schlitterbahn guests. Tickets for the park are $46 adults, $36 kids. Stay at the nearby historic property, The Tremont House, A Wyndham Grand Hotel, where rates start at $139 on weekdays and $199 on weekends.
The vast, epic landscape of British Columbia, from the Rockies to the Pacific coast, from backwoods encampments to wine country to the deluxe lodges of Vancouver Island--T+L embarks on a 750-mile Canadian road trip.
What are the best towns, cities, or regions in America for burgers or pizza? What about sports teams, beaches, or nightlife? We're devoting this week's Twitter chat to our popular America's Favorite #TLPlaces survey. We'll be sharing some current survey standings during the chat, so be sure to retweet if you agree or vote to change the results here.
Join our America's Favorite #TLPlaces Twitter chat on Tuesday, July 8th from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. EDT.
T+L's Deputy Digital Editor, Adrien Glover, @xoadrien
T+L's Senior Editor, Jacqueline Gifford, @jacquigiff
T+L's Assistant Editor, Nikki Ekstein, @nikkiekstein
How does it work?
2. Head over to http://twitter.com. Enter the hashtag #TL_Chat into the search bar and select the "All" search option to follow the chat in real time.
3. Remember to always add the hashtag #TL_Chat to your tweets.
4. We'll pulse out some questions for our expert panel to answer, but feel free to post your own responses. Or ask questions of your own!
All tweets are subject to our social media terms and conditions and may be used in any and all media including editorial. See full social media terms and conditions.
Gabrielle Blitz is Associate Social Media Editor at Travel + Leisure.
Photo courtesy of iStockphoto
Traveling abroad? Be sure to keep your gadgets fully charged. A new mandate by the Transportation Security Administration is asking airport security to pay special attention to travelers’ electronics, following reports of terrorist threats involving explosives concealed in phone look-alikes. While Apple and Samsung phones were specifically called out on the TSA’s memo, any electronics that can hold a charge—laptops, tablets, smartphones, etc.—are being screened. Those that don’t turn on will be confiscated, and their owners will be subject to further investigation.
Where's Tommy package includes:
• 2 nights in a king room at the Jefferson, a Beaux-Arts gem near the White House
• Jefferson-themed tour of the capital, stopping at the National Archives and the Library of Congress
Cost $598 ($299 per night)
Book now for travel through August 31.
For more information or to book, please visit the Jeffersonand mention Travel + Leisure.
The 4th of July Travel Forecast
People are feeling good. Job numbers are up today; consumer confidence is rebounding. That means more people spending on travel. AAA Travel projects that 41 million Americans travel 50 miles or more from home this holiday weekend. That's a 1.9 percent increase from last year. The majority are hitting the road, with more 34.8 million driving. But if you’re flying, the goods news is that you probably paid five percent less for your ticket than last year, according to AAA.
Some advice for drivers: A lot of people start heading out right about now so expect heavier traffic from about 6pm tonight through tomorrow.
According to AAA, more than 34 million Americans will hit the road this holiday weekend. If you’re still planning your getaway, watch T+L’s Sarah Spagnolo share five iconic American drives, along with some affordable hotels, on the Today Show.
There’s been an overwhelming amount of news following the Google I/O conference last week, but one of the things we’re most excited about is the search giant’s big acquisition of music service Songza. Why? Unlike Pandora or Spotify, Songza ditches the algorithm-based method of suggesting tunes that riff on your existing preferences. Instead, it learns about your circumstantial preferences—where you are, what the weather is like, and so on—to offer up beats that fit for the time and place. And if that sounds interesting for travelers, you’d be right: Songza has a music conciergethat helps you explore the world through regional music. (Ireland? Italy? Brazil? They’re all there.)
When Iron Springs Resort re-opened three summers ago, it was cause for celebration. The storied resort, on a remote and windswept section of the Washington Coast, had been a popular retreat for Seattle and Portland families for decades, but had fallen into disrepair. Rather than see it crumble from neglect, longtime regulars Doug and Bill True and their spouses Janet and Ruth bought the property and renovated it from head to toe. (Brothers Doug and Bill had been coming since they were boys in the 1960's.)
Last week, Delta introduced three Boeing 757-200 aircraft to its fleet, which come complete with fully reclining flat-bad seats in the BusinessElite cabin. For now, they’ll connect JFK and Los Angeles; as of summer 2015, the seats will be on all flights between JFK and Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Seattle. Arranged in a 2-2 configuration, they have an average bed length of 76 inches and feature personal 16-inch video monitors.
Brooke Porter Katz is an Associate Editor at Travel + Leisure. Follow her on Twitter at @brookeporter1.
Photo courtesy of Delta Air Lines
With an unintentional Radiohead reference for a name, and a rapidly expanding fan base that includes the prime minister of Ireland, The Gloaming is not your typical world music chart-topper.
In just the past three years, the five-man, Irish/American group (Dennis Cahill on guitar, Martin Hayes on the fiddle, Caoimhín Ó Raghallaigh on hardanger fiddle, Thomas “Doveman” Bartlett on piano, and Iarla Ó Lionaird providing vocals) has played to sold out crowds at international venues like Dublin’s National Concert Hall, won the approval of mainstream critics at The Irish Times and The New Yorker, and most recently, put out a debut album that simultaneously pays homage to Celtic melodies and innovates Irish folk music for the modern ear. Bag pipes and Riverdance, this is not.
We enjoy discovering great new travel brands, companies, and products—especially ones that incorporate great design and do good.
There are so many reasons to like Kammok. Initially crowd-funded, the innovative outdoor brand launched in 2010 with the “Roo,” a smart closable bedding solution to help people in malaria-stricken countries. The lightweight flexible hammock easily attaches to two trees, works in tight spaces (like camp cabins and orphanages), and is even being used in yoga studios and on city terraces. Not surprisingly, word about the high-tech, comfortable hammock spread.
Which city has the best artisan food markets in America? That’s up for debate in our America’s Favorite Places survey right now. But my vote—at least for this summer—is with New York City, thanks to a new pop-up store debuting today at Gotham West Market. Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream, the cultishly beloved small-batch producer from Columbus, Ohio, will be peddling their signature sweets from the Midtown West marketplace for the next two months. If you haven’t tried Jeni’s signature ice creams yet, run there tonight (when scoops will be free!) and order the Salty Caramel or Milk Chocolate Bombay (a NYC exclusive). Take it from this Jeni’s aficionada—you’ll never want any other ice cream again.
Nikki Ekstein is an Assistant Editor at Travel + Leisure and part of the Trip Doctor news team. Find her on Twitter at @nikkiekstein.