Lobby DJ’s are so last decade. The latest amenity: live concerts at hotels by Grammy Award–winning musicians.
As part of Renaissance Hotels’ new program RLife Live, guests may very well check in while listening to musicians—Thievery Corporation, Solange Knowles, or the Neon Trees—perform live. To know who’s playing where, visit rlifelive.com (dates are posted two weeks in advance). One recent showstopper: Bruno Mars’s New Year’s Eve concert at the R Lounge Times Square, with a certain crystal ball as the backdrop.
After devouring T+L’s delectable July Food and Travel issue, I stumbled across the perfect literary accompaniment: journalist Richard C. Morais’s debut novel, The Hundred-Foot Journey (Scribner). The title is somewhat misleading—this “journey” is actually one of many thousands of miles, tracing the improbable rise of an Indian chef, Hassan Haji, from Mumbai to Paris, as we follow him from his humble roots at a ramshackle family-owned Indian restaurant to his enviable position as one of France’s most celebrated chefs, the acquirer of three coveted Michelin stars.
Here at T+L, we’re fortunate enough to have the world’s most fascinating destinations on our radar at all times—but we still have to come back to reality, and our desks, eventually. So when I received a copy of The Lost Girls: Three Friends, Four Continents, One Conventional Detour Around the World recently, it felt a little eerie. Jennifer Baggett, Holly Corbett, and Amanda Pressner were three twentysomething Manhattan media types—including two magazine editors, just like me!—who plotted to leave their fast-paced careers and relationships to backpack around the world for a year. Were these girls really going to live my dream, then shove it in my face in an epic 591-page tome?
I recently went to Las Vegas for the first time, for my best friend’s bachelorette weekend. Now before you get carried away with visions of sheer hedonism that you think must have ensued, keep in mind that none of us drinks or gambles, and some of us are easily scandalized. So what do a band of tame, teetotalling girls do in Sin City, you ask? We managed to find plenty to keep us occupied, from the bountiful buffet at our hotel, the fabulous Bellagio, to Cirque du Soleil’s dazzling water spectacle O, to an over-the-top feast at Alain Ducasse’s Michelin-starred Mix, at the top of Mandalay Bay (our closest encounter with debauchery came when our waiter confessed he was a former Chippendales dancer). We wound up having a fabulous—if somewhat low-key—time, but the highlight of the weekend was, shockingly, testing our luck at the Price Is Right Live!. Yes, as in thatPrice Is Right.
I sure could have used SkiResorts.com when I was trying to plan a birthday ski trip with 15 of my closest friends last month. I’m not a die-hard skier, the glut of information on the web—resorts, hotels, packages, etc.—left me completely overwhelmed, and I wound up scrapping the ski trip plan for a birthday celebration of a more indoor variety: karaoke.
So while this discovery came a little too late to help me out, hopefully SkiResorts.com can come in handy for many of you this season. The site, which bills itself as a “mecca” for everything snow-related, both on and off the slopes, helps you build packages at prime skiing attractions across the continent, tailored to your needs. Trying to find a good deal on a flight and condo for a long weekend in Jackson Hole? Done. Hungry in Stowe? Dig in. Looking for a spa to soothe sore muscles after a day on the slopes in Tahoe? Look no further.
When you’re the new kid on the hotel block, how do you make yourself stand out? If you’re the Strand (33 W. 37th St.), the new Manhattan luxury property that debuted in Midtown this month, you combine hard-to-beat views with old-world glamour.
I recently stopped by the 177-room Art Deco–inspired hotel, and while a lot of the highlights are in the process of being rolled out over the coming months—spacious 19th- and 20th-floor Premier Empire rooms with balconies and knockout views; an outpost of Miami’s popular Fish Called Avalon restaurant—one feature that’s already up and running is the Top of the Strand, a rooftop bar on the 21st floor showcasing New York in all its glittery glory. The bar’s retractable glass roof was closed during my visit, but when it’s pulled back on warm summer evenings, it’ll seem like you can reach out and graze the Empire State Building with your fingertips.
Rooms start at $268 and include a full European style breakfast, along with great details like Egyptian cotton sheets, quirky asymmetrical lounge chairs, Fragonard bath products, and super-soft bathrobes.
After arriving Monterosso, Italy, last month for a daylong hike through the five seaside villages of Cinque Terre, one of my friends had that sinking realization: left behind on one of the three trains we’d taken to get there was her wallet. With all her money, credit cards, and, worst of all, her passport inside.
If two’s company, three’s a crowd, and four’s too many, what does that make five? A really awkward number of people to travel with, is what my friends and I quickly realized when we were planning a trip to Italy. Five girls are too many for one hotel room, but it’s really expensive to book two. So, what to do?
Enterprising travelers that were are, we opted to rent an apartment in Rome, thinking it would be the most cost-effective way to experience the city. Wow, were we right.
Travelers to Morocco usually check out the typical attractions: the ancient alleys of Fez, the snake charmers of Marrakesh, the dunes of the Sahara. But on my visit, my friends and I were fortunate enough to discover a relatively little-known escape: the charming, blue-tinged village of Chefchaouen in the Rif Mountains about four hours from Fez.
After a few hectic days getting lost in Casablanca and dodging donkeys in Fez, this relaxing retreat was just what we were looking for. The tiny town is known for its stunning medina, bathed in breathtaking shades of blue. It’s the kind of magical place you plan as a 12-hour detour and wind up staying for three days.
My friends have been known to call me "Danny Tanner"—the super-organized-to-the-point-of-annoying dad from Full House—when it comes to my travel style. Think typed-up itineraries, folders filled with all necessary phone numbers, addresses, and confirmation codes, and even maps with directions (both to and from all major locations), just in case the GPS doesn’t work.
But things have been pretty hectic lately, which means I haven’t been able to dedicate enough time to being so anal while planning my upcoming trip to Italy. Luckily for me, Tripit.com came into my life to save the day.