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Group Dinners May Be Next for Airbnb Hosts

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Ultimate travel industry disrupter Airbnb is at it again—this time testing out a pilot program in San Francisco whereby hosts also make meals for their guests. According to a recent article in Reuters, one of the trial dinners was $25 per person for three courses; Airbnb would take a portion of the earnings. The company isn’t offering any details, stating only, “We are always experimenting with new ways to create meaningful experiences on Airbnb.”

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The National Center for Civil and Human Rights opens in Atlanta

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After years of anticipation, the National Center for Civil and Human Rights opens on June 23 in downtown Atlanta, adjacent to the Georgia Aquarium and the World of Coca. The 42,000-square-foot center by architect Philip Freelon is designed to start a dialogue and inspire visitors to think about how they can create a more unprejudiced world.

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New Business Class-Only Airline Will Fly Between New York and Paris

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La Compagnie, a new business class-only airline that will connect Newark Liberty International Airport and Paris's Charles de Gaulle Airport, was officially announced in New York this week, with flights starting July 11. Founded by industry veterans Frantz Yvelin (L’Avion) and Peter Luethi (Swissair; JetAirways), the carrier will offer four to five weekly flights this summer, building up to daily flights by the end of the year.

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Just Back from Charleston: Editor’s Picks

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One of my biggest regrets from my six years living in Atlanta was never hopping in my car and making the drive to Charleston. And last year, after T+L readers voted the charming Southern town the best city in the U.S., I started feeling that pull again and decided to take action, convincing two girlfriends to join me on a weekend getaway. Stephen Colbert recently shared his top picks from his hometown, so I thought I would do the same. My biggest regret now? Only staying for three days.

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Philadelphia's Franklin Institute Debuts Biggest Expansion in its History

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On June 14, Philadelphia's Franklin Institute debuts the $41 million Nicholas and Athena Karabots Pavilion—the largest expansion in the science museum’s history. The centerpiece of the new 53,000-square-foot space is the permanent Your Brain exhibit; through more than 70 interactive experiences, visitors will come away with a better understanding of the body’s most complex vital organ—from learning how we react to fear to seeing how the mind can be tricked through sounds, images, and other stimuli.

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IcelandAir Debuts Stunning Safety Video

Icelandair has joined the pack of airlines putting time and energy into their safety videos. (Click here for our slideshow of some of the best.) Unlike the humorous approach taken by the likes of Delta and Virgin America, this almost three-minute-long video is like a love letter to Iceland as a destination, following a traveler camping out to see the Northern lights, hiking across the country’s varied terrain, and kayaking the Fjadrargljufur gorge. Safety procedures are seamlessly drawn on top of the visually beautiful shots.

Brooke Porter
Brooke Porter Katz is an Associate Editor at Travel + Leisure. Follow her on Twitter at @brookeporter1.

Vacation Rentals Get a Boost with Launch of Villas.com and Funding for Tripping

201405-hd-villa-rentaljpgThe vacation rental industry has officially made it. Booking.com just launched Villas.com, a smart and streamlined site dedicated solely to vacation rentals, with more than 150,000 listings. Meanwhile, Tripping—the self proclaimed “world’s largest search engine for vacation homes and short-term rentals” and the brainchild of Expedia, Travelzoo, and StubHub veterans—just got a new round of funding, rumored to be between $5 and $10 million.

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Sydney Opera House is All Lit Up During Annual Festival

Every night through June 9, the sails of the iconic Sydney Opera House will be awash in colorful lights and 3D projections as part of Vivid Sydney, the largest light, music, and ideas festival in the Southern Hemisphere. The spectacle was designed by the creative agency 59 Productions, known for their work on the Opening Ceremony of the London Olympic Games.

Brooke Porter
Brooke Porter Katz is an Associate Editor at Travel + Leisure. Follow her on Twitter at @brookeporter1.

Destination Club Exclusive Resorts Launches Nightly Rates

exclusive_resortsjpgExclusive Resorts, a destination club with more than 300 villas around the world, just announced that it is expanding on its membership-only model with the launch of the Gateway card. The new initiative puts the company in the same category as regular villa rentals and even hotels—groundbreaking for a company that typically requires a 30-year commitment.

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World's Best Airlines for Food

airline food chefs

The winners, according to our annual reader poll.

Domestic

Virgin America 82.08
JetBlue Airways 74.18
Hawaiian Airlines 71.59

The demise of free meal service in economy class has meant the rise of better buy-on-board options. To wit: Virgin America earns raves for its on-demand dining via seatback touch screen and snacks from home-grown artisanal brands, such as San Francisco’s Humphry Slocombe ice cream. JetBlue is a favorite for its Terra chips and boxed meals (try the roast beef sandwich); starting in June, Mint seat fliers can sample a small-plates menu by New York’s Saxon & Parole. Hawaiian Airlines bucked the cost-cutting trend: it’s the only U.S. airline to still serve complimentary meals on domestic flights in coach. The onboard snack bar keeps it local, selling everything from Spam musubi to macadamia nuts.

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