Prominent LGBT rights group GetEQUAL issued its own Travel Alert to Mississippi today, as the state's legislature considers a bill that would allow business owners to discriminate for religious reasons.
Sound familiar? Just last week Arizona's governor vetoed a similar bill after massive public outcry, including several high-profile travel companies.
With Christie's auction house right around the corner and the Queen’s palace not too far away, Avenue restaurant on the posh St. James Street in the heart of Mayfair, has re-launched, bringing a distinctive Manhattan power-dining scene to London. Everything from the Prohibition era cocktails to the wine list to the menu to the portion sizes to the friendly service is done with a nod to England’s former colony across the pond. This trend toward all things American is not new in London. Every other opening recently has been some variety of burger shack, hot dog stand, or BBQ joint, but Avenue offers a more upscale take on Americana. You get two cornmeal crusted soft shell crabs for a starter and they’re crispy and lovely with the spicy mayo sauce that accompanies them. Meanwhile, the very large lobster macaroni and cheese is positively packed full of lobster meat and the aromas wafting from the “pig” loaf at the next table made me swoon. With reasonable prices and many more items on the list I’d like to try, Avenue made this American girl feel very much at home.
Sally Hurst is a chef and food writer based in London. You can follow her on Twitter at @chefsallyjane.
Until a few weeks ago, travel restrictions to Cuba were looser than they’ve ever been, thanks to President Obama’s 2011 policy allowing tour companies to apply for travel licenses for “people-to-people” educational and cultural trips. But that’s all come to a halt now that the one bank responsible for processing these visas—M&T Bank in Buffalo, New York—has decided to stop offering its services to diplomatic missions. As of yet, no replacement bank has been found, despite efforts from both sides.
Awhile back, pastry chefs at Ritz-Carlton hotels around the world were given a task: To create a cake to celebrate the hotel's founding and a dessert that distinctly represented the Ritz-Carlton brand. But there were a few requirements. Grand Marnier had to be an ingredient (Mr. Marnier La Postelle was a friend of Cesar Ritz and an investor in the original Ritz-Carlton hotel). Also, the cake must travel well.
The cake that, well, took the cake, is a moist Valrhona chocolate sponge cake layered with bitter caramel and orange ganache made from Grand Marnier by chef Yusuke Aoki from Toronto. We had the pleasure of tasting it over here at Travel + Leisure and it was gobbled up within minutes of opening the simple, yet elegant black cake box. The rich chocolate and orange cake is a crowd pleaser and would make great souvenir to bring back from your next stay at a Ritz-Carlton hotel.
Lyndsey Matthews is an assistant digital editor at Travel + Leisure
Miami’s SLS Brickell hotel won’t open its doors until 2015, but elaborate plans from designer Philippe Starck already have us obsessed.
Like Starck’s existing properties in Beverly Hills, South Beach, Las Vegas and New York, the SLS Brickell will flaunt a playful-but-polished vibe, attracting Lincoln Road regulars and an artsy crowd from the nearby Perez Art Museum Miami and upcoming Brickell CitiCentre complex.
After making waves with their incredible new business class cabins last year (lie-flat seats; multiple outlets; leg room galore), Lufthansa is upgrading its fleet once again. And this time, the news is in the back of the plane. Starting in November, you’ll find Premium Economy Class seats on the German carrier’s planes—not only with 50% more leg room than Economy, but a slew of luxe amenities as well. Passengers in Premium Economy will be greeted with a welcome cocktail, receive complimentary amenity kits (we’ve yet to learn what brands might be found inside), and will be served meals on porcelain tableware. Sound a little like business class? Good news: the prices will skew closer to Economy, with a return flight across the Atlantic carrying an average premium of $800 (that’s almost $2,000 less than the cost of your typical Lufthansa business seat).
Recognizing there's a better way to survive the Polar Vortex than hurling boiling pots of water into the air, modern-day Japanese warriors took to the battlefield recently in Hokkaido to hurl something else—snowballs. At each other. In a giant sanctioned snow war.
“A culinary greatest hits of the world.” That’s how best-selling author David Joachim describes his 40th cookbook, Cooking Light Global Kitchen: The World's Most Delicious Food Made Easy(Oxmoor House; $29.95), which hit shelves this week. It’s a compendium of 150 recipes—including 120 pulled from Cooking Light’s 25-year-old archive developed by the likes of Lidia Bastianich and Rick Bayless.
If you’re searching for an activity more interesting than the average tourist attraction while traveling, skip the guidebook and log onto eventseeker. The event recommendation engine—available to all Android users as of last week—uses your social profile and music applications to create a hyper-local, personalized list of suggested activities. It even shows you which friends may be attending.
Since it launched last year, eventseeker has been steadily expanding its global reach. Aside from its ubiquity across all smartphone platforms and social networks, the app now has a presence in more than 2,000 cities worldwide. Partnerships with 150 ticketing agencies have provided access to an unprecedented database of events, ranging from nearby festivals to rock concerts or educational programs.
The next time you're touring a new town, or simply looking to expand your neighborhood knowledge of affairs, let eventseeker do the searching for you.
Melanie Lieberman is an editorial intern at Travel + Leisure.
To me, the phrase “Orient-Express” is synonymous with luxury travel: train rides through the Veneto, 16th-century retreats in Cusco, exotic cruises along Myanmar’s Irrawaddy River. That's why I was so surprised to see that the company of the same name, which counts 45 alluring hotels, rail lines, and river cruises in its collection, is changing its moniker to Belmond starting March 10. According to the group, the decision was made in order to “strengthen our brand architecture” and “increase consumer recognition in the marketplace.” The ultimate reason? They never actually owned the name. The trademark had been licensed through SNCF, France’s national railway company, and the group felt that having a name they could call their own might lure more property owners to invest in the brand. Following the change, only the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express train will keep its title.
In this special installment of T+L's promotional partnership with luxury adventure operator Cox & Kings, readers can join Luke Barr, Travel + Leisure Features Director and author of PROVENCE, 1970: M.F.K. Fisher, Julia Child, James Beard, and the Reinvention of American Taste, for a once-in-a-lifetime epicurean journey to Provence, France.
In his new book, Barr—the grand-nephew of legendary food writer M.F.K. Fisher—tells the behind-the-scenes story of a seminal moment in the history of American gastronomy.
• A tour of the farmer's markets, bakeries, and charcuteries described in the book, including those where Julia Child once shopped; a visit to the Fragonard perfume workshop; and a historical tour of Nice
• A visit to La Roquette village, lunch in Moulin de Mougins garden, admission to the Picasso Museum, and a cooking class with a Michelin-starred chef in Nice
• A visit to Saint Paul de Vence, the Matisse Museum, and a 14th-century wine cellar in Vence; a Provençal cooking class at La Pitchoune, on Simone Beck's former estate, in Nice
• Tastings at two vineyards, including Domaine Tempier, followed by a sommelier-led wine dinner in Aix-en-Provence
• Olive oil and wine tastings, a tour of Roman sites and the Les Halles market, and dinner at the iconic Hiely Lucullus, in Arles
Virgin Group founder Richard Branson—the knight best known for his planes, trains, and spaceships—is turning his sights to the cruise industry.
Branson recently told The Nationalhe has been interested in launching his own cruise company since he was in his twenties. Now 63, he’s seeking $1.7 billion to finally develop a premier fleet of Virgin liners.
Fat Tuesday marks the end of Mardi Gras in New Orleans, but we’re still reminiscing about the flaky slices of King Cake and over-the-top parades. These numbers, officially crunched by Facebook, show the most popular bars, hotels, and neighborhoods in NOLA from 2013, based on the volume of and increase in Facebook check-ins during the week leading up to Mardi Gras. Only check-ins within a 15-mile radius of the city center made the cut, so vicarious revelers couldn’t skew the stats. Read on to see how many of your 2014 party spots racked up against last year’s.
If you don’t mind putting your hotel plans on the auction block, check out the innovative new booking platform, Bidroom.
Less than two months ago, London-based startup Bidroom created a service that could both save customers money on a hotel room, as well as spare hoteliers the enormous commissions they’ve been coughing up to OTAs.
Instead of traditional booking websites, which ask customers to input their dates and destinations in order to generate a database of fixed-rate rooms, Bidroom asks hotels to bid on guests.
Mobile, Alabama has the oldest annual Carnival celebration in the U.S.; it dates back to 1703. But these days, this destination just two hours northeast of New Orleans is blissfully under-the-radar, with 19th-century mansions, Spanish moss, and a beautiful waterfront. Where to Stay: The Victorian mansion Fort Conde Inn (above) puts you in a bygone era with in-room fireplaces and claw-foot tubs; you’ll still get modern day comforts like free WiFi and L’Occitane bath products. Visit the Mobile Museum of Art, which is hosting a Mardi Gras exhibit this fall. Price: from $157 a night, including breakfast. Book now.
What are the go-to apps and websites for hotel research and booking? Which hotel brands are the most innovative in personalization? We're discussing hotel strategies with the experts this Tuesday, March 4th from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. EST. Join along and ask them for their insider advice!
In an expensive city that all too often tears down its architectural heritage, it’s refreshing (astonishing, really) to find a massive discount at a historic hotel. But that’s exactly what you’ll discover at Midtown Manhattan’s Hotel Wolcott, which this month celebrates its 110th anniversary.
From March 1 to March 31, travelers can book a standard room for just $110 a night (a savings of more than 50 percent), including breakfast, for travel throughout 2014. Reservations must be made at the Wolcott’s anniversary web page. The landmark Beaux Arts-style hostelry, three blocks from the Empire State Building, has hosted such guests as Mark Twain, Edith Wharton, Henry Miller, and Buddy Holly.
Mark Orwoll is the International Editor at Travel + Leisure. Follow him on Twitter at @orwoll and "like" him on Facebook.
If, like me, you’ve been rushing around before Sunday’s star-studded event to see this year’s batch of Academy Award-nominated films, then perhaps you’re craving a vacation. These five trips—all affordable and in the U.S.—are inspired by films nominated for Best Picture this year.
The T+L Trip: Suburban Massachusetts and Boston
The real life ABSCAM sting operation took place in New York and New Jersey, but much of David O. Russell’s crime drama was actually filmed in suburban Massachusetts. That dry cleaning branch? It’s Reliable Cleaners, between Natick and Framingham; Irving Rosenfeld’s modest house that he shares with wife Rosalyn is in tiny Medford. Boston’s Fairmont Copley Plaza makes a cameo (it’s where Irving and Lady Edith Greensly celebrate their newly launched London Associates partnership), and to mark the Academy Awards, the hotel is offering the Oscar Party Package. Rates from $759 include a stay in a one bedroom suite, popcorn snack, in-room champagne, and Red Carpet Bingo—or just pop into the hotel for a drink and a self-guided tour.
We're loving this map of the country's largest bikeshare programs of 2013, from the Washington-based blog BeyondDC.
It shows the to-be-expected large players—Boston and DC—plus debuts from New York and Chicago, but while those cities dominate the map with their massive programs, it's the smaller dots that tell a more interesting story.
Whether you’re flight was cancelled, you didn’t get the room you paid for, or an airline lost your luggage, we have the solutions to your travel nightmares.
The Situation: Your plane has to make an emergency landing due to a mechanical issue and lands in a city that’s not your destination. Instead of finding another plane for the flight, the airline instead asks you to call an 800 number to rebook. What do you do?
Travel + Leisure’s Sarah Spagnolo presents easy weekend getaways from Savannah on the Weather Channel’s Wake Up with Al. Check out the video here.
1. Small Town Charms: Beaufort, South Carolina
On lists that rank the best small towns in America, Beaufort is always close to the top. Just 40 minutes north of Savannah, the enclave attracts former New Yorkers who love the relaxed vibe and Gothic architecture. Where to Stay Try the Rhett House Inn, set in a 190-year-old mansion, for the outdoor terrace where a complimentary southern breakfast (pictured) is served. Price $189 night, including breakfast, afternoon tea, bike rentals, pies for dessert, and more. Book Now www.rhetthouseinn.com
For as long as there have been pants stitched with pockets, there have been people trying to pick 'em. They scheme in every city—skills sharp, techniques tested, methods honed to a science—for ways to separate unsuspecting tourists from their cash. And the only way to keep them from ruining your big trip is to beat them at their own game; here's your guide to their secrets.
Director Ritesh Batra’s debut feature film, The Lunchbox, a charming epistolary romance set in Mumbai, is steeped in nostalgia. As it traces an unlikely relationship between a curmudgeonly widower, Saajan (Irrfan Khan) and a neglected housewife, Ila (Nimrat Kaur)—all triggered by a delivery mistake, courtesy of the city’s supposedly foolproof lunch couriers, or dabbawallahs—the film also showcases the many faces of Mumbai: a frenetic, resilient, and monsoon-pelted metropolis.
While The Lunchbox has already captured hearts outside its native India, thanks to a splashy international premiere at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival (it also screened at the Sundance Film Festival last month), it hits select theaters in New York and Los Angeles tomorrow (February 28th).
T+L caught up with Batra, who regularly shuttles between Mumbai and New York, to discuss his adventures in filmmaking.
Carnival—the final soiree before Lent when people fast, avoid indulgences, and refrain from partying—culminates over the next week with vibrant costumes, wild dancing, and self-expression, found worldwide this year until March 4th. For many, Carnival is a fun way to let go, whether you're family road-tripping to Louisiana or a couple jet-setting to Italy. In case you don't have a chance to join in the revelry, here are a few colorful Carnival-inspired experience that caught our eye:
Just steps from St. Mark’s Square, the historic Luna Hotel Baglioni(above and below) will be prepping its guests for festive balls with private costume fittings—including embellished masks and cloaks—by Atelier Flavia. Traditional gowns will grace the ballroom floor during the hotel’s Grand Baglioni Party this Friday, February 28, and the Gran Carnivale Party on Saturday, March 1,where guests can sit back and enjoy the “Dance & Opera Show,” or join in on the display themselves. Housed in a Venetian palace, the hotel's stately ties to the past reach from its proximity to Piazza San Marco—where celebrations first began during the Middle Ages in 1162—to inside the Marco Polo Ballroom, where original fresco paintings of the XVIII Century of the School of Tiepolo adorn the walls.
JetBlue makes headlines again with the announcement of their new GoPacks; bundles of 6 or 10 one-way tickets to some of the nation’s most frequented destinations.
If you’re getting ready to book your family summer vacation, or coral a group of friends for spring break, grab a pack to take advantage of the unmatched rates.
GoPack trips can be booked from March 31 through June 17 travel, and are eligible for True Blue miles.
While flights from New York to Orlando, and JetBlue’s Intra-California package between Long Beach and the Bay Area scream easy getaways, the $939 stack of tickets for travel between Boston and Washington, D.C. or the GoPack of northbound flights from JFK may be the perfect option for large business trips.
Melanie Lieberman is an editorial intern at Travel + Leisure.
A growing chorus of prominent travel companies, including American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Southwest, and Marriott International, are pressing Arizona Governor Jan Brewer to veto Senate Bill 1062, the recently passed legislation that would allow businesses to deny service for religious reasons. The bill is meant to protect religious freedom, but would effectively legalize discrimination of religious minorities and LGBT individuals.
Both American Airlines and Marriott International—joined by the Arizona and Greater Phoenix Chambers of Commerce—have written letters (see here and here) to Governor Brewer outlining their concerns over the bill. Delta issued a statement yesterday, available here.
Marriott's regional Vice President Steve Hart and Director of Government Affairs Thomas Maloney believe that if enacted, SB 1062 would “undermine—or worse, counteract” the brand's efforts to boost revenue, particularly from business travelers.
If you’ve ever wondered how Kimpton hotels gets their beds to look so darn inviting, the staff at the Hotel Monaco Chicago is here to show you how. While we've already showed you our step-by-step approach, we have to admit this video turns the often-loathed chore into an exciting dance-fest. Time to grab five of your fellow hotel geek friends and start corner folding!
Maria Pedone is a Digital Editorial Assistant at Travel + Leisure. Follow her on Twitter at @mariapedestrian.
What part of the ongoing $90 million renovation of the St. Regis New York do we love the most? The expanded King Cole Bar & Salon, with tables spilling into the hall, eclectic bites from chef John DeLucie, and a new global Bloody Mary menu that pays tribute to the hotel’s signature cocktail.