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Six Things We Hope Don't Change at Kimpton Hotels

Luxury behemoth Intercontinental Hotels Group went out and got itself a sexy Millennial hotel brand, dishing out $430 million in cash for Kimpton Hotels on Tuesday. As IHG remains mum on its future plans, fear that our favorite little boutique collection’s soul will be corrupted is washing over us at T+L. Here, six things we hope don’t change at Kimpton.

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Ludlow Street Redux: The New New Renaissance on New York's Lower East Side

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I still remember the thrill of walking into the old Max Fish when I first moved to New York in 2007. The Ludlow Street indie rock bar was one of the last remaining holdouts of a fabled era on the Lower East Side, one marked by edgy music venues, Velvet Underground burnouts, and downtown hipsters before hipster was a look sold in SoHo retail windows. Heaps of trash and roving dope dealers still gave the block an authenticity that was under siege from frat bros and cheesy lounges—hallmarks of the modern LES. Inside, Max Fish was far removed from its '90s heyday, but vestiges of its bohemian glory remained, like the legendary jukebox and graffitied bathrooms. It smelled of stale beer, cigarettes, and sweat. It was gritty. It was perfect.

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Chefs Team Up For Taste of Waldorf Astoria

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Eggs benedict, red velvet cake, Waldorf salad, Thousand Island dressing—the world is a better place thanks to these foodstuffs. Seriously, red velvet cake could end wars. And eggs benny? Sunday might just be Monday-like without it. All four were born at the Waldorf Astoria New York.

Now, thanks to a partnership with the James Beard Foundation, the hotel brand hopes to bequeath civilization with another culinary hit—or at least something super delicious. Five young James Beard-nominated chefs will be dispatched to properties around the globe, partnering with master chefs with Michelin chops to cook up a new recipe for the Taste of Waldorf Astoria.

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The Best Craft Vodkas

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Since the 8th century, flavorless, ethanol-esque vodka has been a means to an end (see serfs, Russian), and rightfully so—the stuff just isn’t that good. But a new band of global distillers is shaking up (ahem) the scorned booze with inventive ingredients and high-quality methods, transforming it from soda-with-lime afterthought to a sip-worthy nightcap. Here, in honor of National Vodka Day, seven craft bottles worth putting on your shelf.     

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What Your Instagram Filter Says About You

What Your Instagram Filter Says About You

A picture may speak a thousand words, but a filter is a look into a traveler’s soul. Here’s what you’re projecting with your choice of special effects.

Earlybird
To blazes with hard-edged modernity! You yearn for the softly faded era of steamer trunks and hot-air balloons. Jules Verne is your Virgil. Your ideal evening starts with a Delmonico steak and an oyster roast, and ends at the kinetoscope. In your luggage: a hoopskirt and a stovepipe hat.

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We Love Urban Cowboy Bed and Breakfast in Williamsburg

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On a Thursday night in June, the open-air communal living room at Urban Cowboy—a new four room B&B on a leafy Williamsburg, Brooklyn, block—is echoing every stereotype about a borough that’s now considered the universal fulcrum of cool.

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Q+A: Singer (and Soon to Be TV Star) LeAnn Rimes Talks Travel with T+L

After teaming up wtih LeAnn Rimes to DJ the performance of her new single, "Help Me Make it Through the Night," Wednesday on The View, I sat down with the Grammy Award-winning singer to get her travel picks. And don't miss the debut of LeAnn & Eddie, airing tonight at 10:30 p.m. EST on VH1.  

Q: You guys are on the road so much. What’s an ideal Saturday when you’re home in L.A.?
A: Riding Eddie’s Harley to Malibu, then ending the day at Moonshadows, a waterfront spot with freshly caught seafood, or Malibu Country Mart. There’s an amazing Greek restaurant there called Taverna Tony—we always get the roasted baby lamb!

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Photographer Ben Watts Captures Australia's Byron Bay

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Photographer Ben Watts trains his lens on Australia’s hippest beach colony.

Two hours outside Brisbane, Byron Bay is a long way to travel—its remoteness edits who comes here. The hippie-chic spirit is similar to other bohemian outposts: Bali, Ibiza, Montauk. One of my favorite things is the diverse mix of people—everyone from artists to backpackers to celebrities.

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How to Ride a Vespa Like an Italian

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So you think you can just scooter around Rome like a carefree Audrey Hepburn or Gregory Peck? Think again. Mastering the iconic bike—not to mention the traffic—requires serious know-how. Claudio Sarra of Bici & Baci, which provides Vespas to the St. Regis hotel ($$$$), gives us tips on safe navigation.

1. Driving in Rome can be dangerous. Put on a helmet, fasten the chin strap, and slide the visor down to protect against oncoming insetti.

2. Lift the Vespa off the kickstand before starting the engine and giving it gas, or risk losing control and launching it unpiloted into the street (a common mistake).

3. Avoid aree pedonali (pedestrianized zones) and bus lanes, which are marked with yellow paint. Everywhere else is fair game. Well, not sidewalks.

4. Romans hardly follow routine traffic laws, let alone use hand signals; be hyper-attentive for other scooters veering in and out of gridlock, and bypass the busiest intersections.

5. With such narrow frames, parking is a breeze—and free (even in metered spots). Be sure to take your belongings with you, and don’t forget to lock up.

Travel Tip Video: Rome Made Easy

Related Links:
T+L's Definitive Guide to Rome
Europe's Best Places to Eat Like a Local
How to Learn a Language

Illustration by Michael Hoeweler

Neighborhood Buzz: Nashville's 12 South District

12 South: Imogene & Willie

Music City’s once-gritty 12 South district is on the rise, with 1920’s bungalows reimagined as locavore restaurants and stylish shops. T+L walks the line.

Go full Willy Wonka at Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream, an Ohio import where the wackadoodle flavors include Riesling-poached pear and goat cheese with red cherries. Worth two scoops: “biscuits & peach jam,” inspired by the classic dish at nearby Loveless Café. 2312 12th Ave. S.

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