As a four-season destination, it’s hard to beat Vermont: warm summer days, vibrant fall colors, great ski resorts. So we’re excited to see a newly unveiled renovation in Stowe, at the Topnotch Resort & Spa.
The $15 million re-do brought some big changes. Gone is the flowery, bright-colored décor, replaced with a darker, starker, more modern look. You’ll find a pair of new restaurants: an all-day spot called Flannel, as well as a new lobby bar and restaurant, The Roost, featuring a shuffleboard table (!) made by a local artist.
Add two pools for those warm summer days, as well as a location surrounded by fall color and just minutes from winter skiing. We can’t wait to check it out.
Pop quiz: Where did John Lennon write the lyrics to “Imagine”? Wandering the greenery of Central Park? Sitting at a piano in his Dakota apartment? Nope—it was at Midtown New York’s Hilton, on a piece of hotel stationery. (The original hangs in Cleveland’s Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.)
That happened in 1971, when the New York Hilton Midtown was just 8 years old. Now it’s celebrating its 50thbirthday. That means it opened in 1963—the real Mad Men era. (Check out their archival video footage here.) And while the Hilton today stands out by its sheer size—it’s the largest hotel in NYC with 1,981 rooms—it’s easy to forget how groundbreaking this venue has been. A couple fun facts: At opening, it was one of the world’s first hotels to feature original art in guest rooms. In 1999, it was the first hotel in America to have a “smart card” keyless entry system. And earlier this month, New York’s first permanent ice bar, Minus5, opened at the hotel.
What’s one of the biggest headaches when traveling internationally? Cell coverage, of course; phone-bill panic can drive us to embark on desperate expeditions in search of Wi-Fi.
Hotels know this is a problem, and the OPUS hotel in Vancouver has come up with a unique solution: each room comes stocked with an Internet-connected iPad that you can carry around the city with you. Social media, reviews, guides (don’t forget to bookmark T+L’s Vancouver guide)—all accessible from anywhere. Even better, the connection is free. (It’s a good thing, too—don’t get us started on paying extra for Internet.)
Some rooms at the OPUS even come with an extra bonus: a Samsung Galaxy phone (that you can also carry around with you) that acts as an in-room land line. That means you can get free incoming calls, or just dial “0” and reach the concierge—from anywhere.
And if you don’t want the hotel to see just how much time you spent on TravelandLeisure.com during your stay, not to worry; your browsing history is deleted the minute you check out.
Runaway Bay, Jamaica Runaway Bay's white-sand shores are blissfully less crowded than those of nearby Ocho Rios. Private beaches, a championship golf course, and daily children's programs make the recently rebranded Jewel Runaway Bay an all-inclusive retreat for the entire family.
Think we’re making progress in lightening our footprint on this planet? We've got a long way to go. Emily Badger of the Atlantic Cities reports on a project involving NASA, the U.S. Geological Survey, Google (of course), and other organizations to turn 30 years of satellite photos into timelapse videos of anywhere on earth. The resulting GIFs are sobering. Don't miss the map tool that lets you zoom into any location to see the change over time. (Amy Farley)
Google Maps just blew everyone else out of the water, unveiling new apps for Android and iOS (coming to an app store this summer) that integrate all the content, innovations, and intelligence of its varied recent acquisitions, as our friends at Skift report. Apple, your move. (A.F.)
It really is the week of Google news: as the Verge reported on Thursday, the company has officially unveiled a redesigned Google+ that automatically retouches the photos you upload (or that are automatically uploaded from Android phones everywhere). Creepy, cool, or just a last-ditch effort to get people to care about Google+? You decide. (Nikki Ekstein)
Unearthing the culture of a destination fascinates me. To get a true look into a Hawaiian local's perspective, pick up Kristiana Kahakauwila's new short story collection, This is Paradise. Her writing is as captivating as the politics behind it. (Maria Pedone)
And last but not least, in Berlin, a new Barbie Doll Dream House has opened to the delight of many fans and the horror of many feminists. Protesters see the plastic doll as an unworthy role model that reinforces strict gender roles, and formed the group Occupy Barbie Dream House, as detailed by Mark Johanson from the International Business Times. See pics of the pink palace on this BBC slideshow. (P.S.)
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The Saguaro Palm Springs - up to 55% off Palm Springs, CA Reminiscent in its design of Palm Springs' heyday as Hollywood's desert playground, the Saguaro is located in the heart of bustling downtown.
Hotel Sax Chicago - up to 53% off Chicago, IL The 353-room Hotel Sax is located next door to Chicago's House of Blues, one block north of the Loop.
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Koro Sun Resort and Rainforest Spa - up to 41% off Vanua Levu Island, Fiji A former coconut plantation is the setting of a collection of villas on 150 acres on Fiji's second largest island. There's no better spot from which to explore the South Pacific.
Kyoto’s cherry blossoms hit their peak last month, but when the famous trees burst open again next year, the city will also be buzzing about a new Ritz-Carlton. The luxury hotelier just announced the opening of a new property there in February 2014—a 136-room low-rise building on the Kamogawa River that mixes modern and traditional Japanese designs.
The announcement is just the latest news from this fast-growing company. Six of their hotels are slated to open in the second half of 2013, including one in Aruba in November. We’re already looking forward to escaping the New York City winter.
Think it's easy shooting a bunch of pampered pooches in a hotel room? Whatever it is, it sure looks fun!
Watch this behind the scenes video of photographer Catherine Ledner and her team working with some canine talent to illustrate Peaches the Yorkie's June 2013 T+L article (as told to Kathryn O'Shea-Evans) about Dog-Friendly Hotels.