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Crowne Plaza Adds Smart New Sleep Innovation to Guest Rooms

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Big innovation can come from tiny tweaks—at least, that’s what Crowne Plaza has found as they designed their next-generation guest room.

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Westin Launches Sleep Sensor Lending Program

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It’s been a full fifteen years since Westin introduced the Heavenly bed—an icon so popular it’s since been adopted by Delta and sold to consumers worldwide. To mark the occasion, the brand is now introducing a sleep sensor lending program in collaboration with wearables company Lark Technologies—the latest in a series of wellness-related innovations by the Starwood brand.

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The Sleeper Scarf: Weird Mash-up or Necessary Object?

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Seemingly every day, we hear about the new “must-have travel accessory.” Sometimes they’re brilliant—Power solutions! Noise cancelling earbuds!—and some just miss the mark. Then somewhere in the middle are items we debate about furiously—like this Sleeper Scarf. Designed by a self-proclaimed frequent flier, the loop-style scarf (which comes in any of four colors) has a U-shaped neck pillow tucked into a hidden pocket. Blow it up and deflate it easily with a few breaths, or take it out of the scarf to cut the excess bulk.

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New App Reserve is the Uber for Restaurant Reservations


The founders of Uber have already disrupted the taxi industry worldwide—now they’re taking on the restaurant space with standalone app Reserve. The debut product by start up studio Expa (created by Uber founder Garrett Camp), launches today with service in New York City, Los Angeles, and Boston. Here’s how it works.

The Basics:
Reserve will be the everyman’s digital concierge. Plug in basic parameters such as the time, date, and party size for your reservation, and it will offer a curated list of vetted restaurants that may fit the bill. Select the ones that interest you, and it will seek out tables on your behalf, updating you by text message along the way. 

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Apple Announces New iPad Air 2

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If you were one of the thousands who lined up for a shiny new iPhone 6 last month, get ready to queue up again: Apple is back at it with next-gen iPads that are bound to become instant travel tech classics. Here’s everything you need to know about today’s big news.

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Apple Pay Launching Monday

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Last month Apple revealed Apple Pay, a mobile payment system that riffs off the same NFC-based technologies first used by Google Wallet. Today, as part of a larger announcement by Apple, it was announced that Apple Pay will be coming online starting this Monday—with a slew of travel-related partners that are impossible to ignore.

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Lufthansa Introduces Premium Economy

Economy class

Lufthansa is the latest airline to introduce premium economy. T+L takes a look at what your money buys, based on sample fares from Chicago to Frankfurt.

Economy: $1,300*

At 17 to 18 inches, economy seats are standard for the industry, and have a seat pitch of 31 inches. Hot meals are served on long hauls, including freshly baked bread. As for the entertainment: nine-inch seatback screens offer access to on-demand movies, TV shows, and live sports. Every other seat has a set of power outlets.

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Skype Launches New Video Messaging App, Qik

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Ten-plus years after Skype was first made available for download, the ubiquitous app is gaining a sibling—Qik, Microsoft’s first foray into video messaging. Available now for iOS, Android, and Windows Phone, the free, stand-alone app allows users to send short video messages, up to 40 seconds in length, to anyone in your phone book with the tap of a button. Cheeky name aside, it’s a great solution for travelers—the videos are shared almost instantly, cutting out traditionally long relay times, and don’t use up precious phone storage space.

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Shopping for Rare Books in Portland, OR

Edwins

Portland, OR was recently voted the best city in America for bookstores. The rare-books section at Powell’s—the largest bookshop in the U.S.—is worth the pilgrimage for these extraordinary selections.

De Bello Judaico
Flavius Josephus, $12,500
Bound in parchment and decorated by hand, the oldest book at Powell’s dates to 1480—30 years after Gutenberg invented the printing press.

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Just In: New GoPro Action Cams

Calling all adventure travelers: GoPro has launched an update to its cultishly beloved action cameras, just in time for the upcoming ski season. The new flagship? The Hero4 Black($499, available now), which doubles the performance of its year-old predecessor and adds 4K shooting capabilities, auto low light modes, an ultra wide-angle lens that offers the “most immersive field of view available,” and twice the dynamic range for audio quality. Also fun: time lapse, manual controls for ISO limits and exposure, and a Quick Capture mode that let you start recording with the push of one button. The physical shape and size will feel familiar—and thankfully, old mounts will still be compatible with new models.

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