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Beer and Chocolate: Valentine's Day's Delicious New Dream Couple

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Valentine’s Day is approaching fast and clinging hard to its cliché menu of red wine and milk chocolates served inside a heart-shaped box. There’s not much mystery—or much travel—involved to fulfill this V-Day ritual. And personally, I’m much more likely to swoon over a rich, frothy stout than a glass of pinot noir. Thankfully, Beer Dreamer is breaking the norm for hop-lovers like myself by pairing craft beers from around the globe with artisanal foods. In light of Valentine’s Day, their Beer and Chocolate Box ($75) will send your taste buds on a world tour. Two brews—a crisp, raspberry-infused lambic ale from Belgium and an imperial coffee stout from San Diego, CA—come paired with truffles from Charles Chocolates in San Francisco and a single-origin Ritual Chocolate Costa Rica Bar, respectively.

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Berlin's Gourmet Pet Deli Receives Howling Reviews

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Berlin has gone to the dogs (and cats)—or at least its restaurant scene has. Pets Deli, Germany’s first eatery specifically for choosy canines and felines, recently opened over the holiday season and offers gourmet treats and meals from three to six euros ($4-8) a pop. Pets can chow down on high-quality beef, turkey, or kangaroo (!) meat from metal bowls in the restaurant, or take snacks like animal-approved cupcakes to go. Sides include broccoli, berries, rice, pasta, and potatoes, and all products pass store manager and animal nutrition expert Katharina Warkalla’s test.

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Airbnb Offers One Night Discount Deal for First Time Bookers

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Beginning today until January 17, first-time Airbnb users will receive up to $300 off one night’s stay at any location across the globe. If you’re like me and have all of your 2014 travel resolutions planned out, the discount deal is the perfect excuse to start booking. You’ll have to travel by March 31 (a date far enough away to plan, close enough to spark excitement) for at least two days, which seems easy enough to swing since the rental site lists about 500,000 properties worldwide.

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2014 Travel Trends Twitter Chat This Wednesday, Jan. 8th

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It’s a new year and T+L is already scoping out the most popular travel trends of 2014. From the hottest destinations to the latest in tech travel and hotel perks, we've got you covered. Join us for a one-hour Twitter chat this Wednesday, January 8th from 2-3pm EDT for an inside look at what's new in travel this year.

The Host:

Amy Farley, News Editor, @TLTripDoctor

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Sharks in Australia Are Now Showing Up On Twitter

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Sharks in Western Australia will now be making their way from the sea to your social news feed. Over 300 great whites, whaler sharks, and tiger sharks have been tagged with acoustic transmitters by government researchers, says NPR, which monitor exactly where the animals are swimming.

Once any of the 338 sharks come within a half-mile of the beach, its tag automatically sends out a tweet from the Surf Life Saving Western Australia (@SLSWA) Twitter account. Included in the alert is the shark’s size, breed, and approximate location—really giving away any attack plans for poor Jaws. While this is a truly innovative way to protect the area’s surfers and sunbathers, not every shark out there is tagged. Just because you don’t see it on Twitter, doesn’t mean a great white isn’t lurking close to shore. Our advice? Look both ways (and below) before diving in.

Maria PedoneMaria Pedone is on the digital team at Travel + Leisure. Follow her on Twitter at @mariapedestrian.

Photo credit: Macduff Everton/Corbis

Instagram Releases The Most Photographed Places Around the World

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Instagram has released their latest list of the most-Instagrammed locations for 2013. In our October issue, we mentioned the top nine around the world, with Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport beating out spots like Disneyland Park in Anaheim, CA, and Times Square in New York City for the #1 spot. Since then, the busy Thai airport has plummeted to #9, with another Bangkok location, the Siam Paragon shopping mall (pictured), taking its place. Other additions to the list include the Bellagio Fountains in Las Vegas, Disney World in Florida, and New York’s Central Park. Which of these top ten spots can you check off?

1. Siam Paragon shopping mall, Bangkok, Thailand

2. Times Square, New York

3. Disneyland, California

4. Bellagio Fountains, Las Vegas

5. Disney World Florida

6. Staples Center, Los Angeles

7. Central Park, New York

8. Dodger Stadium, Los Angeles

9. Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK), Bangkok, Thailand

10. The High Line, New York

Check out the best Instagram photos of the year from our T+L community here.

Maria PedoneMaria Pedone is on the digital team at Travel + Leisure. Follow her on Twitter at @mariapedestrian.

Photo courtesy of @2grace02

Kobe vs. Messi Make a Hilarious Comeback in Turkish Airlines' Latest Video

Turkish Airlines loves taking the stage for viral videos. Last year, its commercial featuring Kobe Bryant trying to outdo Barcelona soccer player Lionel Messi scored big on YouTube (over 106 million page views and counting). The hilarious campaign also earned them a T+L SMITTY award for Best Overall Use of Social Media in the global airline category.

Now, Turkish Airlines is attempting to recreate the magic with their latest video, once again featuring Bryant and Messi in a face-off, quite literally. In “The Selfie Shootout” the two athletes send pictures of themselves while traveling the globe (walking the Great Wall of China; scuba diving in the Maldives) to one another—the takeaway being that Turkish Airlines can help “widen your world.” With a video this funny, we can’t disagree.

Maria PedoneMaria Pedone is on the digital team at Travel + Leisure. Follow her on Twitter at @mariapedestrian.

Merry Christmas from America's Sweetest Hotels for the Holidays

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Aside from more affectionate holiday themes like peace and joy, Christmas to me means one thing: sweets. Whether it’s fresh-baked fruitcake, intricately iced gingerbread cookies, or chocolate squares straight out of an Advent calendar, Santa’s not the only one indulging this season. But hotels are pushing the candy-coated envelope when it comes to desserts this holiday. A festive take over at the Bellagio’s Conservatory & Botanical Gardens in Las Vegas (above) includes an eight-foot-tall reindeer coated in chocolate and a life-size candy house, while an elevator lined in gingerbread bricks at Chicago’s Trump International Hotel & Tower shuttles guests to and from the property's Michelin-starred restaurant Sixteen. Read on for more of America’s Best Hotels for Christmas.

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Business Travel Tips from T+L

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Business travel may be more hectic than your average getaway, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be every bit as enjoyable. T+L gathered all of our top tips on how to make your work trip easier on our business travel page, from packing a suit to ordering wine with dinner—to save you time while on the road—or in the air. We’ve uncovered the best apps and the worst airports for flight delays to help you arrive on time to that next big meeting. Every Tuesday, we’ll also highlight the hottest trends in business travel on our blog. Look for pieces by Scott Mayerowitz, airline reporter for The Associated Press. Scott shares his take on the latest news, from new hotel check-in processes to updates on the Global Entry program.

Maria PedoneMaria Pedone is on the digital team at Travel + Leisure. Follow her on Twitter at @mariapedestrian.

Photo credit: ColorBlind Images / Blend Images / Corbis

Hemingway Bar Takes to the Skies With the Ritz Paris and Air France

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Guests of the Hotel Ritz Paris are still waiting to enjoy a drink at the renovated Hemingway Bar—a two-year plus makeover is scheduled to last until the end of 2014. But a unique partnership with Air France is giving impatient fans of the watering hole something to look forward to. “Bar Hemingway in the Sky,” will feature head bartender of Hemingway, Colin Field, pouring his signature cocktails at 30,000 feet. Field’s first airborne drink was concocted this November 19th between Paris and New York, and a schedule for the New Year is soon to follow. Destinations will include major hubs across Asia (Hong Kong; Shanghai; Seoul; Singapore), Europe (Moscow) and South America (Sao Paulo). Of course, this high-end poison comes with a price: only those seated in La Première or Business Class will be able to sip on Field’s creations—but we wouldn’t expect anything less of the Hemingway’s infamous crowd.

Maria PedoneMaria Pedone is on the digital team at Travel + Leisure. Follow her on Twitter at @mariapedestrian.

Photo courtesy of Ritz Paris

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