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Smile! There's a New Trend in Medical Tourism

smile

New evidence suggests dental tourism is skyrocketing, with a now estimated one million people traveling outside their home country for affordable dental treatments and enhancements. According to medical travel resource Patients Without Borders, most tooth tourists are from the U.S., with Europe a close second—with the majority seeking implants, crowns, root canals, and smile makeovers.

And while Hungary, Poland, Thailand, India, and Singapore are fast emerging as top spots for dental work, some are traveling to the U.S. for treatments. Call it Reverse Dental Tourism. And it makes sense, given Americans' worldwide reputation for flaunting mouthfuls of pearly whites. But these aren't your average bargain-hunting snaggle-toothed tourists.

Dr. Michael Apa, a partner in New York-based Rosenthal-Apa Group and pioneer in Facial Aesthetic Design, is one of the world's top cosmetic dentists. Beyond catering to celebrities such as Matt Dillon, Chloë Sevigny, and the Trumps, he also services many of the Middle East's royal families, who pay upwards of $30,000 for his mouth makeovers—and who decamp to New York City for weeks at a time. As a result, Dr. Apa not only helps people looks years younger with porcelain veneers and facial asymmetry adjustments, but his practice also acts as de facto concierge and travel advisor. He was recently honored with a Five-Star Diamond Award from the American Academy of Hospitality Science for being "One of the Finest Dentists Worldwide." Travel + Leisure recently caught up with the doctor in NYC:

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Young Travel Leaders Q+A: Evan Reece of Liftopia.com

Evan Reece of Liftopia.com

At last month’s PhoCusWright Conference, the travel tech industry’s much-anticipated annual event, some of the most exciting, buzz-worthy attendees were the wunderkinds behind travel start-ups and high-profile online products. Travel + Leisure sat down with select Millennial entrepreneurs—or maybe a better moniker is disruptors?—shaping the next generation of Travel:

Thirty-four-year-old Evan Reece is co-founder and CEO of Liftopia.com, the web’s go-to source for discounted ski lift tickets, equipment rentals, classes, meals, and activities at some 150+ resorts in North America, in addition to detailed resort profiles with trail maps and reviews from skiers and snowboarders. And while the company has been around since 2005, Reece and co-founder Ron Schneiderman (both former employees at Hotwire) didn’t start raising serious money until 2009. Liftopia.com is evolving rapidly.

Aside from its super-deep discounts (some tickets go for as much as 80 percent off!), the company is also working to change the marketplace overall by helping resorts manage and analyze inventory. It's working both the consumer and business angles, which we think is smart. And last year, they launched the Liftopia iPhone app. What’s next?

We sat down with Reece to ask him some questions:

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Taj Hotels' New Royal Treatment

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The heady scent of roses and exotic fruit tea is intoxicating as I enter the hotel suite. “We are so happy to have you,” says a smiling Indian gentleman in a perfectly pressed suit. His words are impossible not to believe.

Treating guests like royalty is a lofty goal that many hotels—too many—give much lip service to. Most properties, as we know, rarely live up to the promise. At New York City’s iconic Pierre hotel, which also happens to be the U.S. flagship for India-based Taj Hotels, a new butler service takes the challenge quite literally. Its “Royal Attachés” have tended to real-life kings and queens, as well as a who’s who of heads of state.

On a visit to the Pierre, I had the opportunity to taste, if only for a couple hours, the life of a Maharaja. Offered to Grand Suite guests, this level of Indian-style hospitality is the first of its kind in the U.S. For travelers who’ve experienced stilted, uncomfortably formal butler services near and far, the Taj Royal Attachés are a refreshing change. The overall service is, of course, as considered and detailed oriented as one might expect. But what’s unique—and what caught me off-guard—was the genuine warmth of the staff.

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PhoCusWright "Young Leaders" Q+A Series: Tristan Gatsby Mace of Want Me Get Me

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At this month’s 2012 PhoCusWright Conference, the travel tech industry’s much-anticipated annual event, many in attendance agreed that the Travel Innovation Summit, held on Day One, was, always, a highlight. (Read our conference dispatches here and here.)

It comes as no surprise that some of the most exciting, buzz-worthy attendees and presenters were the wunderkinds behind travel start-ups and high-profile online products. At the conference, they breakfasted together behind closed doors, networked, and schmoozed investors. Travel + Leisure sat down with select Millennial entrepreneurs—or maybe a better moniker is disruptors?—shaping the next generation of Travel.

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East Coast Hotel Deals Popping Up in the Wake of Hurricane Sandy

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While some NYC hotel rooms are still occupied by those displaced from Hurricane Sandy (with FEMA even picking up the tab), there are still vacancies in New York City and along the East Coast—with a handful of fine properties flaunting noteworthy discounts and donations in the coming days and weeks:
 
New York City: The Surrey
Sandy Discount: $50 gift certificate to use for a future visit; $40 off spa treatments; and a glass of prosecco.
Sandy Donation: 5 percent of all spa packages go to the American Red Cross.
 
Newport, RI: Vanderbilt Grace (pictured, top)
Sandy Donation: $20 per person for Restaurant Week packages booked to the American Red Cross.
Sandy Discount: 2 nights accommodation; two champagne breakfasts; one lunch; one fine dining dinner; and wine upon arrival for $575.

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Notable Hotel Openings: Ritz-Carlton Vienna

Ritz-Carlton Vienna exterior

Travel + Leisure is having a minor love fest with the Austrian capital of Vienna these days—its buzzy contemporary arts scene, revitalized Biedermeier districts, proximity to an increasingly wonderful wine country, perennially spirited cultural calendar, and most recently, the opening of a new luxury hotel.

In grand Viennese style, the Ritz-Carlton property (the company's first in Austria, ninth in Europe, and 80th worldwide) is housed in not one but four 19th-century palaces along the elegant and centrally located Vienna Ringstraße. The hotel's exterior is classically opulent, yes, but it's the property's interiors that make it so special.

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Donate Your Points and Miles for Hurricane Sandy Relief

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Few would've imagined that this week’s storm with the friendly-sounding name could wreak such havoc and devastation along the East Coast. In the wake of 20,055 flights cancellations due to Hurricane Sandy and with infrastructure is slowly coming back online, there are still an estimated 7.8 million people without power, billions of dollars in damage, and many whose lives will never be the same. They need help. Here are some easy ways for you to help out:

Based on contributions to the Red Cross Disaster Relief, American Airlines is giving AAdvantage members one-time bonus reward miles, starting with 250 miles for a minimum donation of $50. Go here for donation details.
 
Other airlines with charitable initiatives:
Continental Airlines
Delta Air Lines
United Airlines
US Airways

And hotels:
Choice Hotels International, Inc.
Drury Hotels
Hilton Worldwide
Marriott International
Starwood Hotels & Resorts

Please consider making a difference to those who desperately need it and give today.

Photo credit: iStock

Calling All Gastronauts: Travel + Leisure and CNN Eat Like a Local

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We are thrilled to announce the launch of a delicious new multi-platform series—100 Places to Eat Like a Local—with CNN. Combining iReports from you, television spots, chef recommendations, editor finds, and more from our network of hungry globetrotters over the coming months, we’ll be spotlighting the best local food finds around the world. From secret oyster bars and pizzerias to beloved dumpling houses and farm-to-table restaurants, we want to know where you love to eat—and what places (and culinary experiences) are worth the trip. Stay tuned for more appetite-inspiring updates and travel ideas.

Photo credit: Marlow & Sons in New York City

Live the Dream: “EX-PATS” Debuts Fourth Episode on YouTube

If you haven’t checked out EX-PATS, the Reserve Channel’s new series on YouTube, you’re missing out—not only on great al desko daydream opps, but also on some truly inspiring stories of people who’ve dared to leave it all behind for a new life in a foreign country.

The fourth episode takes viewers to a jungle-filled archipelago in Panama, where a surfer and former medical salesman from San Diego, Neil Christiansen, founds the nonprofit organization GiveAndSurf.org to fund a pre-school for the isolated island children from Bahia Honda. Press “play” for a look at his inspiring story.

New Travel Site WantMeGetMe.com Turns Everyday Travelers into VIPs

WantMeGetMe.com

Launched in beta last week, the new hotel booking website with the memorable name, WantMeGetMe.com, challenges its growing list of top hotels to entice a new breed of traveler—wannabe VIPs—with luxe amenities, everything from complimentary Wi-Fi and valet parking to guaranteed upgrades and champagne.

This “Catch Me If You Can” approach is the first of its kind for a travel site, and given how many travelers nowadays already expect special treatment, the future of this free members-only site looks bright. But let’s take a closer look.

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