Get your fill of lobster rolls and oysters in this quintessential New England beach town. The charming Kennebunkport Inn has a large front porch and sundeck and an outdoor fireplace overlooking the Kennebuck River. You can enjoy complimentary bikes, beach passes, towels, and beach chairs; it’s a 15-minute drive to Goose Rocks Beach. From $169/night (3-night minimum over Memorial Day weekend).
Originally a collection of salt miners cottages, this recently opened 15-guestroom hotel in Provincetown offers crisp bright white rooms, plus bath products from C.O. Bigelow and LA-based Further brand. Co-owner Kevin O’Shea is also the Inn’s interior designer and its chef; he makes breakfast each day. There’s an outdoor dining area, a lounge, and a sun terrace on the landscaped grounds. From $250/night with free parking (3-night minimum stay over Memorial Day weekend).
On Florida’s west coast, this laid-back hotel puts you right on the beach. All guestrooms are individually decorated and have flat screen TVs, free Wi-Fi, vintage light fixtures and, in many cases, large-scale surf photography by local artists. A large pool is lined by bright yellow chaises, and PCI Beach Bar serves cool drinks on the sand. From $199/night.
Originally opened in 1929, this Spanish-inspired property launched the Casa Surf Project in 2010 with 10 one-of-a-kind suites dedicated to surf culture. Head to the outdoor rooftop lounge for beautiful ocean views—plus a menu with all dishes at $12 or less. The hotel, steps from the beach, provides guests with umbrellas, towels, chairs, and drinks for a day out in the sun. From $199/night on Fridays and $228 on Saturdays.
Just north of better-known Cannon Beach, the small town of Gearhart is big on antiques shops and picturesque hiking trails. It’s an easy walk from dunes along the Pacific Ocean to restored Gearhart Ocean Inn: 12 attached cottages, each with a kitchen or kitchenette. The owners of this property welcome pets and will provide beach cruiser bikes and a “clam gun” for scooping up clams from the sand. From $140/night (3-night minimum stay over Memorial Day weekend).
One hotel in Egypt is trying to provide a "new kind of tourism"—by smashing all the booze in its bar and declaring itself the country's first dry hotel. HotelChatter takes a closer look. (Nikki Ekstein)
Have you ever dreamed of chucking it all and moving to tropical paradise? Outside's Ned Zeman chronicles how one couple's dream of building their own mountaintop compound in Costa Rica went very, very wrong. (Matt Haber)
What's it like to be a personal chef on a private Gultstream G550? So glad you asked since Cincinnati Magazine's Donna Covrett talks with Michael Worth about his high-flying gig. (M.H.)
The New York Times sent humorist Henry Alford to exotic Williamsburg, Brooklyn to see if he could blend in and go native. The result? How I Became a Hipster. (M.H.)
Meanwhile, across the pond, Christian Lorentzen, an American writer in London is having some trouble adjusting, as he relates in this wonderfully cranky London Review of Books essay Buck up, old boy, at least there aren't hipster there! (M.H.)
Alaska's cruise season has started, and this year there are stricter fuel standards. The Anchorage Daily News's Becky Bohrertakes an in depth look at the new law and what it means for the environment and for the cruise industry. (P.S.)
This year’s It List of groundbreaking new hotels features 61 properties around the globe. Here are highlights in six categories.
City: Zero George, Charleston, SC Introducing Charleston’s first truly contemporary retreat: Zero George, in the oak-lined Ansonborough district. The 18 guest rooms, scattered among five historic buildings (all circa 1805), have the signature pocket gardens, piazzas, and sprawling verandas you’d expect from hotels here, but Farrow & Ball paint colors and Kravat linens bring the look refreshingly up to date. Guests can take Lowcountry cooking classes in the former kitchen house. Rates start at $289/night.
Rustic: Pig in the Wall, Southampton, England A dozen rooms are built into the city’s medieval walls and packed with eccentric flourishes, from mismatched furnishings to potted herbs in corners. While Pig in the Wall is too small for a proper restaurant, it maintains plenty of foodie appeal: a deli counter offers unique “piggy bites” such as house-cured lomo, while in-room larders are stocked with Piddle Lager and crisps flavored with local Ashmore cheeses. Rates start at about $195/night.
Sometimes you need a vacation from planning your vacation. Take the stress out of trip-planning with these seven essential resources that will save you time and money.
AIRFARES + FLIGHTS GetGoing If your plans are flexible, take advantage of the website GetGoing, which promises to save travelers up to 40 percent. Choose two destinations in the same region of the world (for example, Vienna and Geneva, or Costa Rica and Panama) and enter your travel dates. Then provide your billing information to complete your reservation. The Get Going team randomly selects one of your two options.
Pintrips The idea of pinning something on the web began with Pinterest. Now, Pintrips brings that kind of functionality to online airfare searches. You can pin fare results you like and collect them in a personal folder on the Pintrips site. It makes it easy to compare your flight options and share them with others.
SeatGuru Enter an airline and flight number and SeatGuru calls up a detailed airplane plan, indicating seats that are desirable (emergency exits, those with extra legroom, etc.), average, and simply bad (reduced legroom or recline). It also has reviews of different airline services, as well as quick-scan icons for such in-flight amenities as food, entertainment, in-seat power ports, and Wi-Fi.
HOTELS Hipmunk You can filter hotel searches by price, quality, and distance, as well as "Ecstasy," a rating based on a mix of price, amenities, and reviews. Hipmunk also offers a series of heat maps that show you which hotels are closest to food, shopping, and nightlife.
Guestmob Guestmob lets travelers choose between collections of similar hotels in one city-all with names and picture galleries—at the same price. Pick a collection and you're guaranteed a spot in one of its hotels at the advertised rate (up to 50 percent off).
TRAVEL SERVICES WordLens Aim your phone's camera over a written phrase for an instant translation courtesy of WordLens—no costly data connection is needed. The service is available in English, French, Italian, and Spanish.
GlobeTipping With tipping guidelines for more than 200 countries, from Afghanistan to Zambia, GlobeTipping is the most comprehensive of the global tip calculators. It can factor in tips by percentage and divide the overall bill by number of diners.
ABC News's Genevieve Shaw Brown gets the scoop on a new program called Pets Unstressing Passengers (PUP, for short), that brings therapy dogs to LAX to help ease the nerves of wary travelers. (Nikki Ekstein)
Want a discount at your favorite restaurant? Put away your phone! CNN Money's Erin Kim reports on phone-free dining. (N.E.)
Jay-Z's "Open Letter" says all it takes to go to Cuba is an OK from the President, but CBS News travel editor Peter Greenberg isn't about to let you believe it. Over on his blog, he sets the record straight for those who aren't buddies with the First Family (or prefer to do things legally). (Nikki Ekstein)
If you're reading this, chances are you're a fan of Travel + Leisure and our sibling publications, Food & Wine and Departures. Now, all three publications are teaming up with Celebrity Cruises to turn passengers into expert travelers.
American Express Publishing and Celebrity Cruises are proud to announce a collaboration that will provide Celebrity's guests with insider facts, travel tips, and amazing finds from around the world thanks to Celebrity's Global Insiders, a group of experts in everything from food to fashion.
Meet Celebrity's Global Insiders:
° Kate Betts, an award-winning magazine editor and the author of Everyday Icon: Michelle Obama and the Power of Style. Betts is a contributing editor at Travel + Leisure and Time and was previously the editor-in-chief of Harper’s Bazaar, and the fashion news director of Vogue. ° Julia Dimon, a journalist, TV correspondent for Outside Today, and nationally syndicated columnist. Dimon has been featured as a travel expert on ABC, NBC, MSNBC and in The New York Times, among other publications. ° Jack Ezon, president of Ovation Vacations, a company specializing in luxury travel experiences. He appears on the Travel + Leisure A-List and is one of the most influential travel advisors in the U.S. ° Marc Murphy, executive chef and owner of Benchmarc Restaurants, Landmarc and Ditch Plains, as well as Benchmarc Events by Marc Murphy. Murphy also is a judge on Food Network’s top-rated show, Chopped. ° Alisa Ng, founder and CEO of L-atitude.com, a curated online marketplace for travel and fashion enthusiasts. Ng launched the site in 2010, and it has since become an e-commerce partner for Travel + Leisure, and was included in “Best of the Web” features in InStyle, Departures and Town & Country. ° Adam Sachs, a freewheeling travel, food and lifestyle writer. Sachs is a contributing editor for Travel + Leisure and Bon Appetit, and also writes for GQ, Details, and T, among other publications.
T+L's editors will also be creating destination guides packed with details and information about Celebrity's worldwide destinations. The destination guides will cover 150 of Celebrity Cruises’ ports of call and include insider tips, local hidden gems, and “must see” experiences at each destination. Celebrity will feature the content on its web site, in brochures, and onboard.