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A Travel Blog from the Editors of T+L

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Online Travel Brass at PhoCusWright

PhoCusWright

Some 1,400 people from 30 countries are packed in this year to the PhoCusWright conference at the Westin Kierland in Scottsdale, Arizona. It’s three days that are themselves packed full of information on the travel technology industry. Day 1 is the Travel Innovation Summit, while Day 2 brings in CEOs and other industry big shots.

One of the highlights is always the interview with Dara Khosrowshahi, President and CEO of Expedia. His company’s back to double-digit growth this year, and they’ve been busy. They revamped their hotel search experience, and are about to do the same with flights and package tours. A feature we love about Expedia is its user hotel reviews; in order to write a review, someone has to have booked that hotel through Expedia and actually stayed there.

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Latest Travel Tech Innovations

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We love Day 1 of the annual PhoCusWright conference—the Travel Innovation Summit. A full 30 companies present; some are startups, some are existing companies introducing new products; four judges then give feedback (which ranges from encouraging to blistering). The day offers a snapshot of where we are in the evolution of travel technology.

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Pacific Northwest in Time-Lapse

I’m a sucker for time-lapse photography. I’m also a sucker for the Pacific Northwest. Combine the two and you have this mesmerizing work—some 260,000 stitched-together pics—from Portland-based photographer John Eklund, who was kind enough to let us share it.

Rich Beattie is the executive digital editor at Travel + Leisure.

What's Underneath a Las Vegas Casino?

Undercity: Las Vegas

I've always been slightly obsessed with urban exploring...especially when it's not me who's risking arrest. A few years ago, two friends did just that by paddling a rubber raft across New York's East River to North Brother Island, site of a 19th-century hospital for smallpox victims that's now overgrown with weeds. They poked around the deteriorating buildings, camped overnight, and took some great photos. No one caught them, and it sounded very cool—at least, until they broke out in rashes from poison ivy.

So I was excited to attend a screening of Undercity: Las Vegas—a short film about two urban explorers trekking through the Sin City sewer system.

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Win Free Beer (and a Trip to Denver)

How do we know when a city is serious about beer? When the tourism office shoots an entire video around the local craft brewers. When visitors rank it atop the list of best cities for microbrews. And when that city sets aside nine whole days to pay a sudsy tribute to hops and yeast.

That city is Denver, Colorado. The video is above. The ranking is part of our America’s Favorite Cities survey. And those nine magical days happen from October 5–13 during an event called (appropriately enough) the Denver Beer Fest, which finishes up (appropriately enough) with the three-day Great American Beer Festival.

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The Ritz-Carlton: A Behind-the-Scenes Look

A few years ago, we did a story in the magazine about becoming a housekeeper at a luxury hotel—a fascinating look at the level of detail that goes into this essential position.

Now there’s a new look at the housekeeper, thanks to a series of just-released videos from the Ritz-Carlton; one of these clips features a housekeeper in Hong Kong who would clearly be horrified at how I make my bed. Our friends at the R-C have given T+L exclusive early access to these videos, and we’re sharing them here.

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The Race is On at Vail Resorts

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We love it when celebrities drop by the T+L offices. And on Wednesday, Olympic and World Cup Champion skier Lindsey Vonn stopped in to tell us about how many pairs of skis she travels with (150), how many days a week she trains in the off-season (6, for several hours each day), and how many eggs she eats to fuel her workouts (a lot).

But the gold medalist didn’t come to the snowless east coast just to talk training. Lindsey’s also involved in a cool new program with Vail Resorts, and she brought along the company’s CEO, Rob Katz, to announce EpicMix Racing.

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Golfing in High Heels? Only in the Ukraine

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We knew they liked things flashy in the former Soviet Republic. But looking fancy has moved from dancing in nightclubs to swinging golf clubs.

Superior Golf Resort
, which says it’s the only 5-star golf resort in the Ukraine, hosted an event called “Neon Night Golf in Heels” last month in an effort to attract more women to the sport. Partygoers traded plaid pants and cleats for short dresses and six-inch heels, then smacked flashing neon golf balls onto a glow stick-lit green. (Our suggestion for next time: make the shoes flashing neon as well.) The resort described this event as combining golf with “two of the things women love most—high heels and socializing.” Welcome to the Ukraine.

Rich Beattie is the digital executive editor of Travel + Leisure.

Photo Courtesy of Denis Panchenko

National Ice Cream Day: Go Blue

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Want a more tweet-worthy way to spend National Ice Cream Day (which is this Sunday, July 15) than curled up with two dudes named Jerry and Ben? Head south—way south—to Venezuela for a hit of Viagra ice cream in the city of Merida. Ok, ok, it’s not even the real stuff; it’s made of honey and pollen. But we still can’t believe this hasn’t yet come to the U.S.

For a more traditional way to celebrate the day (actually, the entire month is National Ice Cream Month, as decreed by Ronald Reagan (?!) in 1984), everyone from Viceroy Hotels to Six Flags is recognizing the occasion.

And to help you celebrate, we’ve rounded up some of our stories on great and weird ice cream. Enjoy!

•    America’s Best Ice Cream Shops
•    World’s Strangest Ice Cream
•    Great Artisanal Ice Cream Parlors

What’s your favorite ice cream shop or flavor? Tell us!

Rich Beattie is the digital executive editor at Travel + Leisure.

Photo by Hanan Cohen

Hotel Renovation: The Algonquin

Algonquin Hotel exterior

When does a hotel renovation become personal? Well, when you’ve stayed at a property so many times you recognize every changed detail. Or when the hotel is also the view from your office window.

That’s why we at Travel + Leisure have been so interested in the recent renovation of New York’s Algonquin Hotel. It sits directly across the street from our offices, and some editors (including me) look out the window directly to the hotel’s top four floors. So when we heard that the famous hotel was re-opening recently after a five-month renovation, we asked for a peek.

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