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A Travel Blog from the Editors of T+L

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Making a Splash: The New Park Hyatt New York

Park Hyatt New York

In Manhattan, where light and space are luxuries, the 25th-floor pool at the new Park Hyatt New York seems all the more indulgent. With its three-story windows and rippling marble walls, this sun-flooded aerie feels at once soaring and intimate. So does the hotel itself, thanks to the generous scale of the rooms and their residential-style details: a hand-painted mini-bar; a walnut desk-that’s-actually-a-desk. “We imagined a family of art collectors, native New Yorkers with confidence in their taste,” says Glenn Pushelberg of design firm Yabu Pushelberg. “Where would they live?” Apparently right across from Carnegie Hall—location being the ultimate luxury. $$$$

Hotels
$ Less than $200
$$ $200 to $350
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Peter Jon Lindberg is Travel + Leisure's editor at large. You can follow him on Twitter @PeterJLindberg.

Photo: Adam Friedberg

Why Are We Obsessed With Taking Travel Photos?

travel photos

Peter Jon Lindberg shot 10,438 photographs in the past 12 months alone. Now he wonders where our obsession with travel images is taking us.

The summer I turned 11, my parents and I spent three months traveling around Europe, driving a tiny Peugeot from Rome to Amsterdam. It was one of the seminal trips of my life, though I don’t really “remember” it in the visual sense.

We took not a single photograph.

My parents didn’t even pack a camera. They owned a camera; they just decided not to bring it. Recently I asked my mother why.

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What to do in Johannesburg, South Africa

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Don’t think of it as just a stopover; Johannesburg deserves serious exploration of its own.

Because downtown is back. For ages, visitors have sought refuge in the gated suburbs north of town, but inner-city crime rates are dropping and young urbanites are moving in. Walk down lively Juta Street in gritty-but-safe Braamfontein, where Dokter & Misses sells hand-cast ceramics and Afro-Deco furniture, then join the crowd for retro cocktails at the 108-year-old Kitchener’s Carvery Bar (27-11/403-0166; $).

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Zambia: Q&A with Grant Cumings

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This month’s T+L includes my feature story on Zambia, which some (like me) are calling Africa’s next great safari destination. One key reason: the lodgings themselves. While big-name international safari companies have made inroads in Zambia, the field is still defined by intimately scaled (and decidedly un-corporate) bush and river camps, which hew to a more authentic, back-to-basics feel, while still offering a “luxury” level of service. Many of these properties are owned and/or operated by native Zambians, who bring a decidedly personal touch to the endeavor. Case in point: Andy Hogg, co-founder of the Bushcamp Company, whose six stylish camps in South Luangwa National Park are profiled in my story. Then there’s Grant Cumings, whose family runs two excellent properties, Chiawa and Old Mondoro, in Zambia’s Lower Zambezi National Park.

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Zambia: Packing for Safari

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As I prepared for my Zambian safari last fall, it wasn’t so much the hippos and crocodiles that worried me; it was the prospect of fitting everything I’d need (clothing, boots, camera gear, binoculars, etc., etc., etc.) into a single 25-pound duffel bag. That’s the typical (I say cruel and unusual) baggage limit on the tiny planes that deliver you into the African bush. And if you already suffer from a chronic overpacking disorder, the whole predicament can send you into flop sweats. After much worrying and winnowing down, I somehow made it work—with 2 pounds to spare, no less. (See below for my packing list.)

My other concern on safari? Looking like a total dork. As any veteran can tell you, there’s not exactly a surfeit of stylish options for safariwear (good lord, the very word). It’s a bland-on-beige world of elastic waistbands, unflattering pleats, and “patented anti-wicking fibers” the texture of Hefty bags. Then again, wearing a J. Crew polo and jeans on a bush walk makes you look (and feel) even sillier. Surely there was some happy medium—comfortable, practical safari clothing without the doofus factor?

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Zambia: Africa’s Next Great Safari Destination

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This month's Travel + Leisure includes my feature story about a 10-day safari in Zambia that I experienced last fall. I’ll be posting additional material on my trip all week here on the blog—and you can visit T+L’s Facebook page to see a slideshow of my safari photos.

I’m grateful to have a pretty great job here at T+L, traveling the world and writing about it and whatnot, but I have to say: I can’t recall a journey I full-out loved as much as this one. Zambia was my first safari—my first visit to Africa as well—and I’m now kicking myself for not having done it sooner. Since returning home I’ve driven my wife and friends crazy by raving 24/7 about Zambia and how amazing it is. Forgive me. It’s hard to come down from a trip like that.

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Editor Obsession: Mangosteen

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It was in Phuket, Thailand, that I first encountered a mangosteen, years ago, in an otherwise ordinary hotel fruit basket: a curious object the size of a billiard ball, its leathery shell as purple as a bruise. The snow-white, segmented flesh recalled a lychee crossed with a clementine: tart and tangy, generously but not garishly sweet, bursting with juice and tropical sunlight. The mangosteen has since ruined me for all other fruits—hell, for all other foods, period. Grown primarily in Southeast Asia, they were barred from import to the U.S. until 2007, for pest-control reasons. It’s still hard to find fresh (not frozen) specimens stateside—unless, like me, you troll the back alleys of New York’s Chinatown looking for a guy who might know a guy. But never mind. It would be worth flying 18 hours in coach to Thailand to savor a single bite.

Photo by Kerem Uzel

Tours Gone Wild

Segway tour

Here at T+L we’re increasingly concerned about the sanity and judgment of certain tour operators. Ever in search of novelty, they’ve lately stumbled upon some questionable gimmicks. We’ve seen a spike in sight-jogging tours (“Okay, folks, we have exactly four minutes and twenty-seven seconds to see the entire Left Bank—now GO!”) along with the highly suspect, deeply embarrassing trend of guided Segway rides (c’mon, people, is this actually any easier than walking?). Meanwhile, some jokers are even offering motorcycle-sidecar tours of Beijing. Terrific! As if the traffic and smog weren’t bad enough in a car, let’s go out in a tiny, exposed vehicle where we can get a front-row view of the city’s exhaust pipes while chain-smoking drivers ash on us out their windows. Sorry, but we’ll take the sidewalk.

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Peter Jon Lindberg is Travel + Leisure's editor at large. You can follow him on Twitter @PeterJLlindberg.

Photo by iStockphoto

Farm-to-Table, Hawaiian Style

beets at MA'O farms

One of the highlights of my recent trip to Hawaii—reporting this month’s feature on the new wave of Hawaiian food—was a visit to MA’O Organic Farms, on Oahu’s west coast. (I’m not alone: Michelle Obama was evidently smitten with the place during her own visit to MA’O last November.)

The farm unfolds over 24 acres in the fertile Lualualei Valley, within the relatively remote community of Waianae (“WIE-a-nie”). The variety of MA’O’s bounty is impressive enough, ranging from kale, beets, and fennel to bananas, mangoes, and papaya (there’s also an experimental blueberry patch). All this is sold at Oahu farmer’s markets, and also to a handful of groceries and restaurants around the island. (As I mentioned in my article, MA’O’s ethereal salad greens play a starring role at Town restaurant in Honolulu.)

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Hawaii's Artisanal Cocktails

cocktail from Town restaurant, Hawaii

Okay, Friday’s here at last—you deserve a drink. How about two?

As promised in the current issue of Travel + Leisure (check out our feature story about the new wave of Hawaiian cuisine), here are two knockout cocktail recipes from the bar staff at Town restaurant in Honolulu, where the inventive drinks go way beyond the standard mai tais, incorporating fresh, island-farmed herbs and produce to delicious effect. The pair that follow were created especially for T+L by Town’s own Jordan Edwards—try them at home tonight. Made with fresh greens and vegetables, these are two cocktails that could actually be good for you.

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