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TBT: Badrutt's Palace Hotel, St. Moritz 1930

It's Throwback Thursday, and with freezing temperatures still gripping much of the country, it seems only fitting to look back at one of the world's top winter destinations—St. Moritz, Switzerland. This 1930 video from the iconic Badrutt's Palace Hotel has us ready to hit the slopes in style.

Who can blame a woman for doing yoga in heels (see 0:37) when she's staying at the classiest hotel in the Alps? Badrutt's Palace has just the kind of atmosphere that makes morning back bends an excuse to feel fancy.

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Naked Tourists and New Restrictions at Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu

Some silly news from Machu Picchu—on the growing trend of foreign visitors stripping down for photo-ops—led us to more important news regarding the ancient Incan citadel: To combat overcrowding (of clothed and unclothed tourists) the Peruvian government has announced new regulations for the UNESCO World Heritage Site.

What's in store for travelers to the ancient citadel? According to a policy draft obtained by local newspaper Peruvian Times, here are some of the major changes:

• Everyone must visit the site with a guide
• Guides must follow three official circuits through the ruins
• Visitors can spend no more than three to five minutes at key points, including the temples of the Sun and Condor
• (And, yes, nudity is still strictly prohibited)

The T+L Take? New regulations are certainly needed to cope with the ridiculous overcrowding—for the benefit of travelers and of the fragile site itself. It's hard to contemplate the sacredness of Machu Picchu when sharing the peak with 4,000 other tourists. That said, these and other recent regulations harm the visitor experience by all but eliminating the possibility for self-reflection. If seeing one of the New Wonders of the World is on your to-do list, by all means venture to Machu Picchu. If contemplating Incan ingenuity and the meaning of life is what you're after, opt for the less-visited but no-less inspiring sites Llactapata and Choquequirao.

Peter Schlesinger is a research assistant at Travel + Leisure and a member of the Trip Doctor news team.

Photo by iStockphoto

Ritz-Carlton, Rancho Mirage Now Accepting Reservations

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The Ritz-Carlton, Rancho Mirage will begin accepting reservations today for the property, set to reopen on May 15th.

Closed for seven years, the resort sits high above Palm Springs on a bluff in the Santa Rosa mountains. Guests will choose from 244 rooms and suites, each featuring Frette linens and Asprey amenities. Natural stone, wood, and a muted color scheme dominate, embracing the desert surroundings and blurring the line between inside and outside—a smart design choice, given the resort's enviable location and many outdoor activity options. The resort is also within easy striking distance of dozens of world-class golf courses.

Also on site will be a double-decker spa and two new restaurants—one a test kitchen, and the other a luxe steak and seafood spot. For reservations, which go on sale today, visit the hotel's website.

Peter Schlesinger is a research assistant at Travel + Leisure and a member of the Trip Doctor news team.

Courtesy of The Ritz-Carlton, Rancho Mirage

Buy 2014/2015 Ski Passes Now and Save Big

ski deal in Yosemite

Now is the time to purchase next year's ski passes, with early bird specials promising hundreds of dollars in savings.

With Vail Resorts' Epic Pass, holders gain unlimited access to the company's major U.S. resorts (Vail, Breckenridge and Northstar), and for the first time ever, five days at Japan's sprawling Niseko United. At $739, and $379 for children, it makes up its value if users spend more than a week on the slopes during the year.

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New Visit Britain Tourism Video Hits all the Right Notes



This YouTube clip from VisitBritain.com is too good to skip through.

If you're like me, you watch the timer count down until you can skip the disruptive advertisement and get to the video you actually want to watch. Not so with this new ad.

From the tea pouring and the crispy papadum to the taxicabs tooting their horns in an oh-so polite way, the video smartly showcases the diverse sounds of Great Britain—hitting all the right notes along the way.

Peter Schlesinger is a research assistant at Travel + Leisure and a member of the Trip Doctor news team. You can follow him on Twitter at @pschles08.

LGBT Rights Group GetEQUAL Issues Travel Alert to Mississippi

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Prominent LGBT rights group GetEQUAL issued its own Travel Alert to Mississippi today, as the state's legislature considers a bill that would allow business owners to discriminate for religious reasons.

Sound familiar? Just last week Arizona's governor vetoed a similar bill after massive public outcry, including several high-profile travel companies.

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America's Bikeshares Mapped Out By DC-Based Blogger

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We're loving this map of the country's largest bikeshare programs of 2013, from the Washington-based blog BeyondDC.

It shows the to-be-expected large players—Boston and DC—plus debuts from New York and Chicago, but while those cities dominate the map with their massive programs, it's the smaller dots that tell a more interesting story.

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Travel Companies Urge Arizona Governor to Veto Religious Freedom Act

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A growing chorus of prominent travel companies, including American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Southwest, and Marriott International, are pressing Arizona Governor Jan Brewer to veto Senate Bill 1062, the recently passed legislation that would allow businesses to deny service for religious reasons. The bill is meant to protect religious freedom, but would effectively legalize discrimination of religious minorities and LGBT individuals.

Both American Airlines and Marriott International—joined by the Arizona and Greater Phoenix Chambers of Commerce—have written letters (see here and here) to Governor Brewer outlining their concerns over the bill. Delta issued a statement yesterday, available here.

Marriott's regional Vice President Steve Hart and Director of Government Affairs Thomas Maloney believe that if enacted, SB 1062 would “undermine—or worse, counteract” the brand's efforts to boost revenue, particularly from business travelers.

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State Department Issues Travel Alert Updates for Thailand and Ukraine

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The State Department has updated its travel alerts for Thailand and Ukraine, responding to an uptick in politically-charged violence affecting both countries.

In Ukraine, demonstrations have flared up after the government opted for closer economic ties with Russia rather than with the EU. Since Thursday, over 100 individuals have died in the Kiev street riots. And anti-government rallies in Bangkok claimed their twelfth casulty—a police officer—on the February 18th.

We've been monitoring the Thai situation for months, and the new travel alert sends the same message: US citizens should avoid protest sites and any large gatherings.

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New Crowd-Sourced Exhibition Explores Boston's Love Affair with Impressionism

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The Museum of Fine Arts in Boston today is opening a new exhibition, “Boston Loves Impressionism,” showcasing 30 masterpieces carefully curated by…the public.

To choose the artworks for display, the MFA held an online contest that saw a staggering 41,497 votes cast over three weeks in January. And with one of the world’s largest Impressionist collections at their disposal, voters had quite the challenge. Who were the winners?

Among the top 30 scorers are perennial favorites by Cassatt, Cézanne, and Pisarro, with first-place going to Van Gogh’s Houses at Auvers. Water Lilies from Monet and Degas’s charming Little Fourteen-Year-Old Dancer—the only sculpture in the running—round out the top three.

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