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Airbnb Unveils Courchevel's Coolest New Accommodation

Courchevel Airbnb

Calling all ski bunnies: Airbnb is offering up the chance to spend a night in a decked-out cable car high above Courchevel, a full 9,000 feet over the Combe de Saulire peak. And no, you won’t be sleeping on metal benches surrounded by ski racks—Airbnb has outfitted the cable car with sheepskin rugs, a plush queen sized bed, and even fresh flowers. The only remaining clues you’re in a gondola are the rubber floors and metal ceiling (though even that’s spruced up with giant snowflake appliques).

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Love at First Sight: Leaning Tower of Pisa Cups

Pisa cups

Admit it, we’ve all considered purchasing that apron with the statue of David on it. Some of us—I won’t name names—even own one. If this isn’t quite your style, but you’re still craving a silly reminder of la dolce vita, take a look at these porcelain cups, which, when stacked on top each other, form a mini Leaning Tower of Pisa.

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London: Dinner and a West End Play, One Aldwych Style

london's one aldwych hotel

While it’s always a thrill to take in a West End play, the sacrifices one has to make—sharing your seat with your winter coat, lack of leg room, crowds, lines, London weather—can distract from the action onstage.

One Aldwych, a discreet and stylish boutique hotel in London’s Covent Garden, has devised a divine and sensible solution: Live at One. Every few weeks, the hotel opens its private screening room for a live broadcast of a current London production, and includes a three-course dinner before the show and a glass of bubbly.

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Hopper’s New App Throws Down the Gauntlet for Flight Predictions

Hopper app

Predicting when you should buy your airfare is always tricky business—and it’s something everyone seems to obsess over. We certainly do. But there’s a new game in town to help you figure it all out, courtesy of flight intelligence site Hopper, which determined last fall that searching for a flight deal—or holding out for one, anyway—usually costs consumers 4.5% extra. Their eponymous app is now available (albeit for iOS only), and we recommend you download it, stat. Here’s why we love it.

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Los Angeles Museums Offering Free Admission This Saturday

Free Museum Day

January 31 is the perfect day to get a dose of culture in Los Angeles, when the city is hosting the tenth annual Museums Free-For-All program. More than 20 museums will offer free general admission, including the Museum of Contemporary Art, the Craft Folk & Art Museum, and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

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Five Alternatives to Super Bowl Sunday

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Call me cynical, misanthropic, or even downright un-American, but I just can’t stomach Super Bowl Sunday (except for halftime when it features Beyonce killing it at the Superdome). The only benefit, as far as I can tell, is that some majorly touristy sites and places suddenly become peaceful and manageable right around kick-off time on the big day. So with that in mind, I humbly propose a handful of Super Bowl alternatives for heretics like me.

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Artsy Postcard: Singapore

We ditched the harsh New York cold and made our way across the ocean for Art Stage Singapore, one of the most important Southeast Asian contemporary art events of the year. The country’s largest contemporary art fair brings in exhibitors from around the world and functions as the core of the cultural happenings in Singapore. With a few days of exploring under our belts, Artsy curated a list of what not to miss in this extraordinary city.

Cad Cafe

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Just Back from Iceland

Iceland Landscape

Last September, my husband and I embarked on a road trip in Iceland, which took us west to the Snaefellsnes Peninsula (which I wrote about here), around the Golden Circle, and east to the glacial lake of Jökulsárlón. On our last day before heading back to Reykjavik, we stopped in Hvolsvollur and surrendered the driving to Siggi, the founder of South Iceland Adventures.

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Blizzard of 2015: Resources for Travelers

Satellite

Whether or not Juno lives up to the historic proportions that the Weather Channel and others are predicting, it has already had a huge impact on travel across the Eastern seaboard—and the problems will likely continue for the next few days. According to the flight-tracking website FlightAware, so far more than 6,000 flights into, out of, or within the United States have been cancelled for today and tomorrow, with D.C., Boston, and New York City airports bearing the brunt.

As previous storms have hit, we’ve amassed a series of winter-weather travel tips. (Remember Nemo and basically all of last January and February?) We’re recapping them here for any travelers caught up in this latest storm.

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Travel Trends Twitter Chat on Tuesday, January 27

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What's new in the travel world this year? We're talking Travel Trends on Tuesday, January 27th from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. EDT. Join our chat to find out all the latest trends, and share some tips of your own.

The Host:

T+L Trip Doctor: @TLTripDoctor

The Panelists:

Travel Channel: @travelchannel

Google: @google

The Points Guy: @thepointsguy

JoeSentMe.com: @joesentme

KAYAK: @KAYAK

Malama Honua Worldwide Voyage: @HokuleaWWV

 

How does it work?

1. Log in to Twitter before the chat starts at 2pm ET and be sure to follow @TravlandLeisure.
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.

Why You’ll Take More Road Trips in 2015 (and Beyond)

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Better mileage, zero- or low-emissions vehicles, and driverless cars—these three transportation trends add up to increased car travel in the coming months and years. That’s certainly the message that came through this month at the 2015 International Consumer Electronic Show in Las Vegas. Read on for the most exciting takeaways.

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Our Sad Farewell to SkyMall

Skymall.com

Say it ain’t so: SkyMall—the beloved inflight magazine filled with all those items that in turn filled you with desire and made you scratch your head in confusion—has declared bankruptcy. Before the time of iPads, streaming TV channels, and other forms of electronic entertainment, SkyMall was the one constant, that reliable bit of comic relief you could always find waiting in the back-seat pocket after the hell of boarding was over. In honor of the magazine, here are a few products that perfectly exemplify why we loved it:

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Americans' Favorite Destinations, State by State

Map of US States' favorite domestic destinations

(View larger)

Where do Mainers spend their vacations? Massachusetts apparently. Hoosiers head to South Carolina, and Alaskans flock to Hawaii. HotelsCombined.com used its bookings data to shed light on Americans’ travel patterns, and while some of the results are expected (New Mexicans book hotels in neighboring Arizona the most), there are few surprises.

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Relax: The World's First Water for Travelers

RELAX Skywater

Put down the Valium—there’s a new cure on the market for your in-flight fears. The first product by SkyWater, Relax, is calling itself the world’s first water designed specifically for aviophobia. Don’t roll your eyes just yet: the 2.5-ounce, carry-on friendly bottles are formulated to calm nerves and support your immune system with a proprietary mix of passion flower, valerian root, ginseng, and rose hips. New-agey as it sounds, this is a company with a sense of humor: the package promises to soothe symptoms of “Travel Suckiness” including crying babies, touchy-feely TSA agents, and Cell Phone Guy (their words, not ours). And the all-natural, science-backed formula doesn’t come with any side effects, unlike the anti-anxiety pills it aims to replace. But perhaps they wouldn't mind if we used it as a mixer for our baby plane bottle of vodka...

Relax is currently available exclusively at Amazon, where you can order packs of two or twelve.

ne_headshotjpgNikki Ekstein is an Assistant Editor at Travel + Leisure and part of the Trip Doctor news team. Find her on Twitter at @nikkiekstein

Photo courtesy of Amazon

Why We Have A Love/Hate Relationship With the New Google Translate

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Google Translate has long been one of our favorite translation tools, but its new itineration, released last week, seems like something from the year 2025. Without even a data connection, the app can now convert text seen through your camera lens from one language to another, in real time, right before your eyes. Like magic. But it’s not the year 2025, and the technology shows. Here’s why we’re at once obsessed with, and disappointed by, the app’s ambitious move.

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What To Expect On Regent Seven Seas' New Luxury Ship

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For their new $450 million ship, Regent Seven Seas Cruises is pulling out all the stops. The 750-passenger Seven Seas Explorer, which will begin sailing the Mediterranean in the summer of 2016, will have ten suite categories, the brand's highest space ratio, and a slew of enhancements.

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Author of the New "The Pizza Bible" Names Best Pies in U.S.

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California-bred Tony Gemignani, 40, knows more about pizza than you know about anything else: the chef became the first American to win Italy’s Campionato Mondiale della Pizza in 2007; has emerged as a dough-spinning mainstay on morning shows and the Food Network; and started an international pizzaioli school while running eight acclaimed pie joints.

His new cookbook, The Pizza Bible (Ten Speed Press), explores the myriad styles and techniques used around the world, but Gemignani has a special affinity for the less-heralded takes on sauce, crust, and cheese found right here at home. He takes T+L on a cross-country tour to unexpected places, proving that the U.S. pizza map runs farther afield than New York, Chicago, and San Francisco. 

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NYC Restaurant Where Piano Concerts Are the First Course

Ariana Grinblat

Ariana Grinblat realized a dream in opening her namesake restaurant in New York's Soho neighborhood last year. But the 28-year-old Russian American already has one successful career behind her—and would be easily recognized on the streets of Moscow. She’s a former teen pop star and six-time Russian Grammy winner. “I’ve been called the Slavic Britney Spears,” she told me over barrel-aged vodka martinis, with a laugh.

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TODAY Show: 5 Travel Troubles and How to Avoid Them

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Travel + Leisure International Editor Mark Orwoll shares his best advice for avoiding the most common travel problems.

Quirkiest Travel Jobs—And Even Better Ones We'd Like To See

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Leave it to those wacky publicists to figure out new and unique ways of getting their clients a plug. So hats off to the one who came up with the "quirkiest" travel jobs. We've listed a few of them below. And, as you might have guessed, we've also added a few of our own that we'd like to see.

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Twitter Chat Recap: Miami Food

If you missed our latest Twitter Chat on Miami's hot new food scene, here are the day's best tweets describing where to eat and what to order from Miami Beach to Brickell, and everywhere in between.

 

Richard Branson's Virgin Hotels Debut in Chicago

Richard Branson

Sir Richard Branson just wants a damn cup of tea. Is that so hard to find?

When the 64-year-old tycoon is on the road, the answer, apparently, is yes. “Most hotels don’t serve a decent cup of tea at any hour, let alone after breakfast,” he says. How apt, then, that Branson’s new hotel serves breakfast—and properly made tea—23 hours a day.

The 250-room Virgin Hotels Chicago, which opened Thursday, occupies the Old Dearborn Bank Building, a 1928 Deco tower in the Loop. It’s the first property from the new Virgin Hotels brand—or, rather, the opening salvo. Hotels are a natural next move for the conglomerate three decades after its first foray into travel. It’s easy to forget what an outlier Virgin Atlantic was in 1984: a cheeky interloper in a room full of staid grown-ups. As Branson puts it, Virgin’s knack is for “entering stale markets where customers are being ripped off.” (Of note: the company just announced plans to launch a cruise line, too.)

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Around the World With Zynga’s New Game

If you’ve never played Zynga’s mindlessly addicting games (Farmville, Words With Friends), chances are they’ve cluttered your Facebook feed. Now there’s reason to join the movement—the company’s latest release, Words On Tour, takes on a travel theme, while finding a middle ground between Hangman and Boggle.

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Over-The-Top Omnia Nightclub Comes to The Strip This Spring

Omnia Las Vegas

Following on the heels of the world’s swankiest Ferris wheel and a series of other extravagant Las Vegas debuts is Omnia Nightclub, Hakkasan Group’s glitzy new party center at Ceasars Palace.

This spring, a cushy rooftop lounge, color-shifting light shows and interactive LED displays will summon ravers everywhere to the multimillion dollar renovation of the outdated PURE Nightclub.

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Moomin Mania Pops Up in Hong Kong

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Eating out alone can be an intimidating venture for some diners. In Hong Kong, a plus one at the lunch table isn't a problem at the quirky Moomin Café. A chain of restaurants inspired by the Moomins —a classical Finnish animation series featuring a hippo-like family— has patrons dining with the cartoon icons. 

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New Luxury Rentals in South Africa

Ellerman House

From Cape Town to the bush, villas and private estates are the latest way to splurge in South Africa.

Luxurious new rental properties are making it easier than ever to create an extended-family dream trip in South Africa. The Oppenheimer clan turned one of its getaways into Tarkuni ($$$$$), in the Tswalu Kalahari Reserve, the largest private game reserve in the country. The five-suite property has a dedicated chef and a Land Rover for tracking black rhinos and Kalahari lions.

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February Vacation Deals

February Deals

Tel Aviv: 46% off from Brown Urban Beach House

Mediterranean Surf package includes:
• Four nights in a Deluxe room.
• Daily surf lessons at nearby Banana Beach.
• 30 minute massages after each surf lesson.

Cost: $1,600 ($400 per night), double, April 15 – June 15.

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How to Find Your Dream Vacation Rental

Vacation rental

Most of the large booking sites don’t vet all their inventory, so it’s up to you to approach each listing with a critical eye. Below, T+L’s tips for searching intelligently.

Cast a wide net

Start with an aggregator like Tripping.com, which searches more than 2 million listings on partner sites that include FlipKey, HomeAway, and 9Flats. Once you find a rental, see if it’s run by an owner or a management company. The latter can usually respond more quickly and reliably than an owner, who may not have a handyman on call. Note that some properties appear on multiple sites— and rates can vary greatly between them. For example, we found listings for the same house in Palm Springs, California, that ranged from $2,088 (VRBO) to $3,470 (Airbnb) for a week in June.

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Twitter Chat Recap: Cruises

Twitter Cruise Chat

Missed our Cruise Twitter Chat? See what's buzzing in the cruise world with the day's best tweets, here:

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Advising the Curators of the New Museum Triennial

New Museum

Mumbai-based curator Diana Campbell Betancourt travels the world in search of promising new artists. Now she’s one of 14 advisors helping to assemble the roster for the New Museum Triennial, which opens on February 25 in New York City. We asked her about the experience.

Q: How did you get involved with the Triennial?

A: Travel is at the heart of my practice—I’m not an armchair curator. I'd done studio visits in Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, and Myanmar for the Samdani Art Foundation and the Dhaka Art Summit. Lauren Cornell, one of the Triennial’s main curators, liked my work in Bangladesh, and then the invitation came.

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