In this season’s hottest film releases, the settings nearly upstage the stars.
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire Headliners: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth Backdrop: Another dystopian tournament, another paradisiacal setting (this time it’s Hawaii). Scene Stealer: Katniss and her rivals battle it out by Kawela Bay, on Oahu’s North Shore. Inspired? Stay where the cast reportedly did: Turtle Bay Resort($$).
Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom (pictured) Headliners: Idris Elba, Naomie Harris Backdrop: The biopic, which features Elba (The Wire) in the title role, was filmed on location throughout South Africa. Scene Stealer: Idyllic KwaZulu-Natal, where the activist’s wedding to Winnie Madikizela was shot. Inspired? Visit Robben Island, where Mandela spent 18 years.
Nowadays it’s easy to find hotels that stick to one subject. But at what cost?
The world’s first panda-themed hotel opened a few months ago in Sichuan, China. Guests at the Panda Inn luxuriate in black and white surroundings overlooked by panda paintings and enormous panda teddy bears. Meanwhile in Buenos Aires, fans of the Boca Juniors soccer team are luxuriating at the new Hotel Boca, self-billed as el primer hotel temático de fútbol en el mundo—one of those phrases that fleetingly raises one’s hopes of having acquired the ability to comprehend all of Earth’s languages. The décor pays only discreet homage to the team colors of yellow and blue, but balances this restraint with pictures all over the place of the world’s least restrained man, former Boca superstar Diego Maradona. Even in gritty, unpretentious Liverpool, visitors now have a choice of nautically themed hotels: one modeled on the Titanic, the other, more disconcertingly, on the Beatles’ “Yellow Submarine.”
The latest “it” handbag designer knows a thing or two about L.A.’s hottest hoods: she lives in Echo Park and her namesake store is in boho Silver Lake. Vivier leads us around her east-side haunts.
Stay: “The Moroccan-style Figueroa Hotel($), a former YWCA residence, is soulful like the Chateau Marmont—but very affordable.”
Eat: “I’m half Mexican, so tortillas are important. The ones that Bar Amá($$) serves with its fajitas and tangy ceviches are delicious. At Taix($$), a classic steak-frites-and-mussels brasserie, I always sit in the dimly lit bar area, which attracts everyone from hipsters to cops.”
Shop: “Mohawk General Store carries great clothing, including Japanese-inspired knitwear from local line Black Crane. En Soie, a heritage label from Zurich, is filled with textiles and pottery—plus hard-to-find E. Porselli ballet flats.”
Do: “Echo Park, which has been immortalized in so many movies, was just beautifully restored; you can rent a paddleboat for the lake.” —as told to David A. Keeps
In the spirit of it getting cold out there (thank you, Winter Storm Boreas), we have beaches on the brain. Our recent Twitter chat on Warm Winter Getaways was the perfect way to get tips on the best sunny destinations to visit this season.
Our panel of experts also have sun and sand on the brain, and shared the exciting warm winter getaways they have planned. T+L Senior Editor, Jacqueline Gifford is “skipping out on turkey in favor of rum punches at Petit St. Vincent island resort in the Grenadines this #Thanksgiving.”
Today officially kicks off the holiday travel season—are you ready?
An estimated 25 million people are traveling by air this Thanksgiving. That means crowded airports and full flights—all made worse by a winter storm that’s scheduled to hit the eastern seaboard later today. To help you ease your way through the crowds and anticipated flight delays, we’ve put together our holiday travel survival guide to get you from Point A to B—and home again. Bookmark it, print it, stash it in your carry on. Just don’t leave home without it.
Use social media. Sometimes it can take a crucial few hours for a text message with information on a flight delays to arrive. Be proactive about checking airline Twitter handles for updates. You can also use Twitter to stay on top of weather updates (@weatherchannel) and breaking news (@cnnbrk).
The U.S. ramen scene is booming—and it’s about to get even more exciting with the arrival of one of Tokyo’s hottest noodle gurus, Ivan Orkin. The New York native—who earned serious food cred in Japan at his two Ivan Ramen restaurants—is returning to his roots, bringing two outposts of his cult brand to Manhattan. Here, Orkin, whose first cookbook is out this month, gives us the lowdown on the soup that made him famous.
Q: How did you break into the Tokyo dining scene?
A: It was a crazy idea for a white guy from New York to open a ramen restaurant there. But in Japan, people respect passion and a good work ethic, and I think that came across. Also, when I started, making your own noodles was very uncommon, and I decided to do mine in house.
The days of shutting down cell phones from takeoff to landing may soon be behind us. Next month, the Federal Communications Commission will address the proposal to lift the ban on in-flight phone use, which they call “outdated” and “restrictive.”
Now that long-standing safety concerns have been debunked, the FCC is looking to join France, the UAE, Singapore, and a number of other countries already allowing in-flight calls. This comes on the heels of the FAA’s recent decision to drop restrictions on other personal electronics last month.
Turkish Airlines is now catering to specific kinds of fliers—namely, investors. The airlines’ new in-flight entertainment, Invest on Board, highlights a selection of startup pitches from the online platform eTohum to help investors support the next big idea.
Eleven videos are currently available to watch on the Invest on Board website, and while most of the companies are based in Turkey, the service may expand to include international startups if investors take a liking to it. With in-air resources like this, along with WiFi availability and a lift of the ban on electronic devices, it looks as if airlines are working to keep you plugged in—no matter how many thousands of feet above the office you may be.
Maria Pedone is on the digital team at Travel + Leisure. Follow her on Twitter at @mariapedestrian.
I'm just back from a much-needed weekend getaway with the family. Our destination: Cap Cana, Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic. Total travel time: 7 hours, round-trip. The mission: Do absolutely nothing.
All in all, our trip was a success (minus a couple of meltdowns at the airport and a nearly missed flight on the way back). If you're looking to stay put at a resort, Cap Cana is the perfect family getaway: there are beautiful beaches, countless water activities, and lush, tropical forests to explore. But it's not a destination for culture-seekers—it's a place for fruity cocktails, sun, and sand. Here, the highlights:
Stay: There are tons of resorts to choose from, but the newest (and where we stayed) is Eden Roc Cap Cana. The hotel's small, coral sand beach looks like something out of the Blue Lagoon, with perfectly placed palm trees and crystal blue water, and there's a great kids club onsite. The boys' favorite part: Every guest has access to a golf cart for getting around.
Staying at Upper Saranac Lake's Dry Island will cost you $4,000/night, but it comes with a full staff, unlimited wine and 14 boats. Better yet? The entire island is yours, and yours alone, for your stay. Want to rent a private island in a warmer spot? Off the Florida Keys, Charlie's Island sleeps up to eight people for $2,795 for a full week. When you break that down, it's only about $50/night per person to have an island just for you and your friends. Turns out private islands aren't just for billionaires anymore.
Want to walk (or run frantically) in the footsteps of Katniss and Peeta? Consider venturing to Atlanta, the primary filming location for Hunger Games: Cathing Fire, which opened last night.
The city's convention and visitors bureau has prepared a self-guided, two-day Hunger Games Tour. The CVB even recommends a hotel: The Marriott Marquis, where multiple scenes were shot.
Braver souls might consider the Hunger Games Unoffical Fan Tours, which run Adventure Weekends recreating the book and film trilogy's creepy competition. The weekends include themed accommodations, survival training, a gala banquet, themed food, archery tag, and a Hunger Games simulation. Details of what exactly the simulation entails are scarce—all the better to keep participating Tributes on their guard.
Welcome to the latest installment of T+L's promotional partnership with luxury adventure operator Cox & Kings, where booking a trip to a destination featured in T+L is easier than ever. Here's how it works:
• Every month, T+L editors work with Cox & Kings to develop two trips inspired by destinations we love. • Each itinerary is designed to offer insider access and unique experiences—whether it's a stay at an exclusive hotel, a behind-the-scenes tour, or dinner in a private residence. • For a limited time, T+L readers can take advantage of exclusive savings on this month's featured trips.
Morocco The Highlights: Tour the historic sites of Fez's Old Town, from the 14th-century Al-Attarine Madrasa to the mosaics of Nejjarine Square; browse the stalls in Djemaa el-Fna, Marrakesh's main square, full of fire-eaters and snake-charmers, before exploring the late Yves Saint Laurent's Majorelle Garden by horse-drawn calèche; sunbathe by the pool or take a dip in the blue lagoon at La Sultana Oualidia, a seaside resort on Morocco's Atlantic Coast. The Details: 9 days and 8 nights, from $6,195 per person.**
Optional Extensions: Agafay Desert or the Atlas Mountains The Highlights: Bask beneath the sun at an Agafay desert camp or Richard Branson's Kasbah Tamadot resort in the Atlas Mountains. Available activities may include 4 x 4 excursions, village visits, camel rides, and more. The Details: Agafay Desert, 3 days and 2 nights, from $850 per person.** Atlas Mountains, 3 days and 2 nights, from $1,095 per person.**
All sweat and nerves and butterflies last night, some 30 next-gen travel innovators eagerly awaited the results of this year's PhoCusWright Travel Innovation Summit. Which start-up would be crowned the industry's next change agent? After two days of schmoozing, courting VCs, and convincing the travel industry's top players they they were the Next Big Thing, only one young company would walk away with the coveted top prize: General Catalyst Award for Travel Innovation.
The competition was stiff—and the stakes high. A win all but guaranteed a steady stream of calls from investors.
“This year’s presenting companies are amongst the most exciting we’ve seen present to date at The Travel Innovation Summit,” said PhoCusWright vice president, research Douglas Quinby.
Not surprisingly, it was a tough decision for this year's panel of judges—made up top travel and technology experts—to choose from this already elite group of companies hailing from across the U.S., and as far away as Russia, Melbourne, and India. But there could only be one winner.
SafelyStay, an Atlanta-based start-up that powers safe and instant vacation rental reservations for online travel agencies, vacation rental marketplaces and property managers, walked away with the title, and $250K.
In the season of giving, nothing is more satisfying than knowing your gift is appreciated. Now, Andaz Hotels are ensuring online shoppers that their thoughtful presents will bring smiles near and far with the first-ever Andaz Holiday Bazaar. The boutique hotel group has partnered up with local artists from around the world (think trendsetting cities like New York, London, and Shanghai) to create an eclectic collection of items for purchase on Joyus.com. Not only will your loved one take pride knowing that the hip-hugging Alexander Campaz dress you bought them is one of a kind (seriously—only one was made), but you can take solace that all proceeds from the sale will be donated to Women for Women International (WfWI), a nonprofit organization helping to rebuild the lives of women in war-torn countries like Afghanistan and Rwanda.
Where are you going for the holidays? We recently asked a panel of travel experts in an Airport and Holiday Travel Twitter Chat, and the answers ranged the gamut.
The Weather Channel is having a “Staycation #HomeForTheHolidays.” T+L International Editor, Mark Orwoll, has a similar plan—he said, “Turns out everyone’s coming to MY house this year. Now I guess I have to invite all of you too, to avoid hurt feelings.” What’s for dinner, Mark? We’re not about to turn down that invitation!
The ultimate tool for travel procrastinators has just become a little more democratic. HotelTonight, the pioneer of same-day mobile bookings, has long made their last minute deals available starting at noon on the day of check-in, but now, users will be able to book a full three hours earlier, at 9AM. Given the ever-growing number of competitors that offer same-day deals before noon, we’re not surprised at the news—though it’s a welcome change nonetheless. Especially if it means getting your room settled before boarding that 10AM flight.
Nikki Ekstein is an Editorial Assistant at Travel + Leisure and part of the Trip Doctor news team. Find her on Twitter at @nikkiekstein.
Love exploring cities on your own two feet? These mobile services—each vetted by T+L—put the guide right in your pocket, giving you local expertise wherever you go.
For Spontaneous Adventures: Field Trip This Google-designed app uses your phone’s location services to pick up on what’s cool around you nearly anywhere in the world. (Use the app’s “Feeling Lucky” setting to minimize data-roaming charges.) Wander the streets of Bangkok, for example, and you’ll get notifications about great restaurants, shops, historic sites, and even special deals nearby—each tip pulls information from resources such as Zagat and the American Institute of Architects. Exploring by car? Set the app on “speaking” mode for a hands-free experience. Free; Android, iOS.
Imagine having Breakfast at Tiffany’s to fuel up for an afternoon adventure in Petra, Indiana Jones-style? Then ending the day with a dreamy sunset on The Beach in Thailand? Hardcore (wealthy) movie buffs can now live out their dreams with a 90-day itinerary by Very First To. The extensive trip—which visits 20 famous film sets across 10 countries—costs a hefty $321,000. But the price tag does come with perks: business-class flights for two for the full three months; overnight stays in lavish hotels like London’s The Savoy and the Hotel Bel-Air in L.A.; and of course, serious bragging rights.
Pinterest is a tool for organizing things you love—including travel. Our boards are an amalgam of travel inspiration and bucket-list-worthy destinations from our T+L explorers (writers and editors). Starting today, Travel + Leisure is one of the first to be using Pinterest's new Place Pins.
Place Pins make planning a trip a visual activity. Fans can see details such as addresses, phone numbers, and more next to the pin image. You can view the pin in relation to other pins on the map, to help you plot your itinerary.
Get started by checking out our California Dreams, New York's Finest, and Florida boards. From Brooklyn to Miami and San Francisco, we have the destinations, venues, hotels, and restaurants to include in your visit. This is only the beginning though, we'll be adding more Place Pins all the time.
November means T+L’s annual pre-Thanksgiving trip to the epicenter of travel technology, otherwise known as the Phocuswright conference, being held right now in Hollywood, Florida. And Day 1 of the conference yesterday—the Travel Innovation Summit—is when we get a sneak peak at some of the cool new ideas that these innovators are launching.
One of our favorites: Peek, where you can find things to do in destinations all over the world, then book those activities right from the site. Another cool innovator: What Now, a soon-to-launch destination guide tool you can use in offline mode when abroad (bypassing roaming fees) with some great twists, like pulling in weather, public transportation, and other data that you’d expect to need a signal for.
These days, you mostly hear about chefs inCopenhagen—not those who choose to leave. But in 2011, Paul Cunningham shuttered his Michelin-starred The Paul and headed to what he calls “Denmark’s wild West Coast,” turning the 200-year-old former coaching inn Henne Kirkeby Kro into a 12-table restaurant with five individually designed guest rooms. “It was the stress of city life,” he says. “I wanted something smaller, less mainstream.” Cunningham raises his own livestock, cultivates a kitchen garden, and serves whatever inspires him—from a simple, perfectly roasted lamb to langoustines with crushed tomato and garlic confit. Now he’s opened the first new building on the site in two centuries, Jægerhuset (hunters lodge). The seven rooms—including one named for Jóhannes Larsen, the renowned nature painter who vacationed here in the 19th century—are outfitted with pieces by iconic Danish designers (Hans Wegner; Finn Juhl). As for the handmade-brick exterior, Cunningham—ever the chef—likens it to blocks of nougatine. $$
We crisscrossed Spain’s capital, asking stylish locals to reveal their insider favorites.
Diego Cabrera, Owner of Le Cabrera cocktail bar: “You can find great antiques at Sunday’s flea market El Rasto; I always stop by Almoneda Verona(20 Calle de Mira El Río Baja)—I recently got a vintage cocktail shaker.”
Asun Moriel, Museum designer: “I’m a fan of hybrid spaces such as Espíritu 23(23 Calle del Espíritu Santo), which hosts photography workshops, yoga classes, concerts, and wine tastings.”
Boston's popular Hubway bicycle sharing program just got a lot safer for out-of-towners. The new HelmetHub allows users to rent or purchase helmets in the country's first helmet vending machine.
Located by the bike sharing station at Boylston Street and Mass. Ave, the HelmetHub holds over 30 helmets. The goal? Encourage all users, whether daily commuters or one-time visitors, to ride safely.
The helmet machine is one of 14 set to arrive in the city as part of a pilot program. Boston's Director of Bicycle Programs Nicole Freedman tells T+L that if all goes well, more may soon sprout up among Hubway's 100+ stations.
Peter Schlesinger is a research assistant at Travel + Leisure, and part of the Trip Doctor News Team. You can follow him on Twitter at @pschles08.
Google Maps gives travelers a birds-eye or street view of a location—but now, one tourist board Down Under is offering a live, hipster's-eye view of its city, as a way to entice travelers to plan a trip.
Tourism Victoria last month launched a “go before you go” promotion as part of its Play Melbourne campaign, inviting Facebook or Twitter users to virtually explore the city using “remote control tourists.” You could tell these virtual travelers where to go and what to do around the city, whether that's trying on a sweater in a boutique or checking out a live band.
Talk about a dream team: renowned German photographer Juergen Teller, London-based author Will Self, and chef Antonio Guida—whose restaurant at Tuscany’s luxurious Hotel Il Pellicano has earned two Michelin stars—have all come together for Eating at Hotel Il Pellicano(Violette Editions). The pink-paged cookbook highlights 11 multi-course menus, each named for a prominent hotel guest of the past and present; think Missoni, Borghese, and Noguchi. Dishes range from surf (roasted lobster with masala, hazelnut oil, and couscous) to turf (suckling pig with celeriac purée and Campari-marinated beetroot) to sweet (beignets with chocolate, gold leaf-wrapped caramel ice cream, and rosemary sauce). But you’ll likely spend more time gawking at the beautiful photographs than you will trying to recreate the recipes in your own kitchen. The chef himself concurs, writing in the intro that they are “too challenging for a home cook without a brigade behind him or her.”
Brooke Porter is an Associate Editor at Travel + Leisure. Follow her on Twitter at @brookeporter1.
Early booking specials and last-minute deals are ubiquitous in the travel industry, so we at T+L are always fascinated when someone gets creative with their pricing.
A collection of hotels in Switzerland have done just that with their "Pay What You Want" two-night stay offer before the holidays. Guests pay the normal rate for the first night, and then decide what they'd like to pay for their second night based on the service they receive. And given that each of the 18 participating hotels were voted some of Switzerland's Most Welcoming Hotels in 2013, it's likely their award-winning service will have guests paying full price or more for their second night stays.
In need of some sun and sand this holiday? We're discussing the best beach retreats, last-minute winter getaways, and tips on getting affordable airfare and hotel deals during the holidays this Wednesday, November 20th from 2-3pm EDT.
Ask our panel of experts for their advice on the best warm winter getaways!
Consider it a happy accident of timing that a mere week after Time magazine’s men-only Gods of Food issue came out and offended everyone that had a clue, the hottest restaurant guide in Paris, Le Fooding, assembled an august, all-woman panel of eleven chefs, a sommelier and a winemaker to put together a pop-up dinner from November 15-17. Le Clan des Madones, as the event was called, had actually been in the works for six months, and Le Fooding had nothing else in mind for it but to shine a light on the abundant female talent working in France, and raise some money for an orphanage in Brazzaville, Congo. But Time’s article, and a similarly exclusionary piece on “the new French bistro” published the day before in the French newsweekly L’Express, gave the event, held in a macho (and freezing) parking garage in the 15tharrondissement, an added dose of right-on-sisterliness.