During the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, Queen Elizabeth II broke with hundreds of years of protocol and agreed to rent out the lavish rooms—or so-called “state apartments”—inside St. James’s Palace to various companies during the Games. Only holders of the Royal Warrant—companies with long-standing ties to the royal family—were able to take advantage of this once-in-a-lifetime offer.
Holding a Royal Warrant signifies that Her Majesty prefers that company—or brand—over others. And the list grows.
Just this week, for the first time in history, The Queen granted a Royal Warrant to a hotel. The Goring, the 103-year-old Edwardian property near Buckingham Palace in London's Belgravia neighborhood where Kate Middleton slept the night before her wedding, was honored. “To be able to display Her Majesty’s coat of arms is something that the staff will be enormously proud of. Without doubt this is the most important recognition,” claims Jeremy Goring, great-grandson of the hotel’s founder.
Shared plates and creative cocktails have replaced plumbing and electrical supplies at Laurel Hardware, a new West Hollywood haven for hunky men, leggy blondes, and the rest of the trendy Los Angeles crowd.
The city's hippest summer outpost opened recently in a former hardware store on Santa Monica Boulevard (nostalgic appliance-shoppers can take solace in the fact that the original sign and storefront remain).
The Olympics are here! To celebrate, T+L rounds up 22 fascinating facts and figures relating to everything London 2012. Behold our smashing pyramid of zany Olympic numbers.
• 1 Life-size inflatable replica of Stonehenge erected in London for the Games • 4 Skeletons removed from the site under the Zaha Hadid–designed Aquatics Centre • 37 Languages that the Bard’s plays will be performed in during the World Shakespeare Festival • 71 Age of Japanese equestrian Hiroshi Hoketsu, the oldest Olympian competing this summer • 150 Bat boxes and artificial otter holts installed in the 500-acre Olympic Park • 351 Average rate (in USD) of a hotel room in central London during the games • 1,500 Seats in London's temporary McDonald's outpost, which will serve 50,000 Big Macs • 4,000 Brand new BMWs ordered to escort dignities and officials to events • 10,500 Olympic athletes from 205 participating countries • 22,000 Pillows made available in Athletes Village • 150,000 Condoms made available in Athletes Village (that's 30 per...couple) • 203,000Pieces of luggage to be handled at Heathrow on August 13, the busiest game day • 1,000,000 Pieces of sporting equipment used during the Games • 5,000,000 Brits who now regret signing up to receive Games-related emails • 10,000,000 Free tickets available across thousands of events in the London 2012 Festival • 14,000,000 Meals served during the Games across 40 different London locations • 200,000,000 Viewers NBC expects to tune into the broadcasts (not counting Ann Curry) • 777,000,000 Cost (in USD) of Olympic security for taxpayers...this covers only the venues • 1,000,000,000 Expected visitors to London2012.com • 4,000,000,000 Original expected cost (in USD) of the London 2012 Games • 14,500,000,000 Current expected cost (in USD) of the London 2012 Games • 40,000,000,000 Cost (in USD) of the 2008 Olympics in Beijing—the most expensive to date
Briana Fasone is a New York City–based freelance writer. You can follow her on Twitter @brifasone.
Photo courtesy of London 2012 Organising Committee
For months T+L has been counting down to this summer in London, a city already pulsating with game-changing events and pioneering cultural festivals. Now, we’re adding another spot to your London itinerary: The Fringe 2012, a new pop-up members club that will offer ticket-holders some respite from all the Olympic buzz. Just a hundred yards from Olympic Stadium, The Fringe is housed in a converted Victorian stable house at Swan Wharf and will provide some of London’s finest food and drink (with Sweet&Chilli bringing their unique brand of creative cocktails to the experience). Olympic fans shouldn’t fret about missing any of the action—large LCD screens will broadcast all the main events.
The Fringe 2012 will officially pop-up on July 20th, a week before the Opening Ceremony, and operate through the Olympic and Paralympic Games until September 9th. Individual tickets start at $112 per day.
Briana Fasone is a digital editorial assistant at Travel + Leisure. You can follow her on Twitter @brifasone.
Exclusive GloboMaestro Video: A trip to the library may not be high on your to-do list this summer—unless you find yourself in New York City. At La Biblioteca de Tequila, books are replaced by bottles of Mexico's finest, which line the shelves of this legendary subterranean tequila bar. The library concept doesn't stop there: customers are free to "check out" their favorite brand by purchasing their own bottle, which is then stamped with an ID card and subsequently locked away for safe keeping. Tequila isn't the only menu item (though you'll have your pick from about 400 bottles): Chef Richard Sandoval's creative Latin-fusion street food—like the special tuna wanton tacos—is another reason to stop in.
Briana Fasone is a digital editorial assistant at Travel + Leisure.
Exclusive GloboMaestro Video: Say hello to the new New-York Historical Society. For years New York City's oldest museum was perhaps best known for the placement of a hyphen between "New" and "York" in its title (a common usage during the museum’s founding in 1804). While steadfastly holding on to its own history, the New-York Historical Society has transformed into a cultural powerhouse thanks to a recent three-year $70 million renovation. Exhibitions are enhanced by shrewd uses of new technologies, from touch-screens to state-of-the-art video projections. Paintings, photographs, maps, and documents have never looked more attractive. It'll make you fall in love all over again with Gotham.
Briana Fasone is an editorial assistant at Travel + Leisure.
Exclusive GloboMaestro Video: Few cinemas are as iconic as the films they show, but The Paris Theatre, America's oldest continuously operated art-house cinema, is itself a celebrity. The cinema, located just a stone's throw away from The Plaza Hotel, was opened by Marlene Dietrich in 1948 and remains one of the New York's last single screen theaters. You won't catch this summer's blockbuster here (the theater shows only movies shot on film), but you'll be sure to see some of the finest independent and foreign films. While only one flick is shown each week, this cinephile wonderland never ever plays any pre-show ads.
Last Saturday, the Olympic Torch relay set off in Great Britain and began a 70-day journey through the United Kingdom that will end on July 27 at the opening ceremony of the 2012 London Olympic Games. The countdown has begun.
Set on making it across the pond this summer? It’s not too late—but you must act now! To inspire you procrastinators to begin booking, we present our last-minute get-to-London guide.
The good news: flights to the city’s hub airports (Heathrow, Gatwick, London City) are still available. Right now, a search of round-trip fares from major U.S. cities range from $1,100 to $1,500. Departing from Chicago, you’ll fork over about $1,200 for a round-trip economy ticket on Virgin Atlantic Airways (a seat in the carrier’s newly revamped Upper Class cabin will cost you $2,800).
These fares are steep—and getting steeper—but they aren’t higher than this time last year. “I don’t think airlines are price gauging,” says George Hobica, founder of AirfareWatchdog.com, a site that monitors ticket prices. “It’s still the summer season and we’re seeing reasonable fares for this time of year.”
You may have heard the news: Spirit Airlines, one of the first carriers to implement a carry-on fee, will charge up to $100 per bag starting November 6.
That’s up from $45, the current carry-on cost for customers who wait and pay at the departure gate. Even if you plan ahead, you’ll still have to fork over a fee: the carry-on price at the airport kiosk will increase to $50 from $40. (Spirit considers carry-ons to be luggage stored in the overhead bin—passengers will still be entitled to a free personal item that can fit under the seat.)
What can you do to avoid a carry-on crisis the next time you travel?
Saturday is the last day to vote in the 2012 World’s Best Awards Survey!
All respondents will be entered to win a $10,000 dream trip, among other trip prizes.
Go to TLWorldsBest.com and tell us which hotels, resorts, spas, cruise lines, airlines, travel companies, and destinations you love most. We’ll feature your favorite places in the August 2012 issue of Travel + Leisure.
NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. The 2012 World’s Best Awards Sweepstakes is open to legal residents of the 50 United States and the District of Columbia age 18 or older. To enter and view complete Official Rules, which govern this Sweepstakes, visit TLWorldsBest.com. Sweepstakes begins at 12:01 a.m. Eastern Time (ET) on 12/01/11 and ends at 11:59 p.m. (ET) on 03/31/12. Sponsor: American Express Publishing Corporation.
Briana Fasone is a digital editorial assistant at Travel + Leisure.