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Virgin Atlantic's 72-Hour L.A.-London Fare Sale

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I just got an email from Virgin Atlantic's P.R. rep announcing a three-day fare sale starting this morning and going through Thursday on airfare between Los Angeles and London. Travel dates are January 10 - March 26. The email said the fares were as low as $296 each way based on a round-trip purchase plus up to $250 in government taxes and fees. That would be a total of $842. But on the Virgin Atlantic website I found a total round-trip airfare of $711 for a departure on February 20 and a return on February 27. That same fare was also available on other travel dates. That's a very good airfare from L.A. The best competitive price on those same travel dates I found using Kayak was $827 on Delta, which is a decent fare in itself.

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Five Inventive Fall Beer Flavors

the Bruery Autumn Maple beer

Small-batch breweries are mixing in inventive autumnal ingredients. Here, a taste of the season’s best.

Autumn Maple
Where to Try It: The Bruery, Placentia, Calif.
Tasting Notes: This Orange County brewery, in a former warehouse, has made headlines for its creative brews—including this sweet and spicy one made with 17 pounds of yams (yes, yams)—plus cinnamon, nutmeg, molasses, and maple syrup. 715 Dunn Way; 714/996-6258.

Fuego del Otoño
Where to Try It: Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales Café & Brewery, Ann Arbor, Mich.
Tasting Notes: Head to the brewery’s laid-back restaurant for a sample of its annual fall release, a blend of anise, cinnamon, and Michigan-grown chestnuts that’s aged in oak barrels. The deep flavor also features the brand’s calling card—a smooth sourness, thanks to a special yeast. 311 S. Main St.; 734/913-2730.

Punkin Ale
Where to Try It: Dogfish Head Brewings & Eats, Rehoboth Beach, Del.
Tasting Notes: Pumpkin beer should complement pie, not taste like it. Luckily, founder Sam Calagione has mastered restraint: the taste of the fresh fall squash and hints of cinnamon and allspice are noticeable yet subtle—and are best enjoyed at the cozy brewpub. 320 Rehoboth Ave.; 302/226-2739.

Golden Delicious
Where to Try It: Captain Lawrence Brewing Co., Pleasantville, N.Y.
Tasting Notes: This gold-toned beer isn’t technically made with fruit—but a stint maturing in apple-brandy barrels at a cozy brewery lends it cider-like sweetness and a tart bite. 99 Castleton St.; 914/741-2337.

Babayaga
Where to Try It: At events throughout the Northeast.
Tasting Notes: Some of the barley malt in this stout—from the roaming brewery Pretty Things Beer & Ale Project—is smoked over rosemary. Who says the herb is just for hearty fall fare? 617/682-6419.

Photo by Lars Klove

China Launches Gold Vending Machines

China, already the world's second largest bullion consumer, has installed the country's first gold vending machine in a busy shopping district in Beijing, state media said on Sunday.

Shoppers in the popular Wangfujing Street can insert cash or use a bank card to withdraw gold bars or coins of various weights based on market prices, the People's Daily said on its website.

Each withdrawal is capped at 2.5 kilograms (5.5 pounds) or one million yuan (about $156,500) worth of gold, the report said.

Gold vending machines already exist in Britain, the United States, the Middle East and Europe.

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Beyond Rosé: Provence Winery Becomes World-Class Art Destination

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Many who love Provence are familiar with Chateau La Coste, which produces some of the region's best-known rosé. But what many do not know (yet) is that since the vineyard was taken over by an Irish businessman, in 2002, not only have the wines gone organic, the sprawling domain has become the most ambitious art and architecture complex in France—and perhaps in all of Europe. The idea: to bring together art, wine and architecture in a way that is organic and site-specific, yet defies easy definition. Too vast to be a sculpture garden and too diverse to be an art collection, this exceptional compilation opened without fanfare in June.

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Where to Stay in Amsterdam and Shanghai

Swatch Art Peace Hotel

Shanghai: Renovated by French architecture firm Jouin Manku, complete with retro-futuristic curves, the seven-room Swatch Art Peace Hotel (pictured; 23 E. Nanjing Rd.; 86-21/2329-8500; doubles from $695) will open in October in a 1908 building on the Bund. The Swatch Group will display its latest watch models at on-site boutiques, while a six-month residency program will host artists to live, work, and exhibit on the premises.

Amsterdam: New this month, and a short stroll from the Rijksmuseum, the Conservatorium Hotel (27 Van Baerlestraat; 31-20/670-1811; doubles from $501) has 129 minimalist, light-filled guest rooms, designed by Milanese architect Piero Lissoni, in an 1897 Renaissance Revival building. Many suites are laid out as duplexes, and a vast lobby flanks the structure’s original skylit courtyard.

Photo courtesy of Swatch Art Peace Hotel

Vail Resorts Gets Even More Epic

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Bringing social media to the skiing experience is just one of the ways Vail Resorts has stayed ahead of the curve. And they did it in dramatic fashion, with EpicMix, their app that tracks vertical feet and awards digital pins based on RF-enabled ski passes. Up to now, though, the all-important photography aspect has been missing from EpicMix. No longer.

Sure, you can snap smartphone pics, upload them to your account, and share them on Facebook and Twitter. But Vail Resorts has given the photo experience a couple unique twists.

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Pan Am Debuts Sunday! Plus: Our Q&A with Show Creator Jack Orman

Imagine a time when air travel included white-gloved stewardesses (flight attendants, who?) serving caviar on board, giving bottles of champagne to fliers just for being nice, and gracing the cover of TIME.

In the modern world of exorbitant fees for checked bags and extra leg room, it’s nearly impossible to believe that a period like that ever existed, but ABC’s new show Pan Am—which debuts Sept. 25 at 10 p.m. and stars Christina Ricci—brings that 1960's Jet Age era of air travel to life. (Think of it as Mad Men, 30,000 feet in the air.)

Here, T+L gets on board with the show’s creator Jack Orman (of JAG and ER fame).

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Vote now! T+L's Best New Landmarks Survey Is Live

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What's your favorite landmark? Tell us now in T+L's new Best New Landmarks Survey! Click here and vote on the skyscrapers, parks, museums, stadiums, and parks you love, then brag about the places you've visited—both new landmarks and classic sites. Plus, you can enter for a chance to win a $25,000 dream trip!

Vote as many times as you'd like before the survey ends on October 31st and share your picks on Facebook and on Twitter using #TLLandmarks. Vote now!


Photo courtesy of John Liu

 

CBS Early Show: Hidden Hotel Fees

Did you know some hotels are now charging for early check-ins? International editor Mark Orwoll shares the latest hidden hotel fees—what to ask, and how to avoid them.

TODAY Show: Fall Travel Splurges & Steals

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Features director Nilou Motamed unveils some terrific travel ideas for fall, no matter what your budget.

Guess Where? Viewfinder

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Happy Friday! Can you guess which city lies beyond this viewfinder?

Log in and leave your guesses below. Check back on Monday for the answer.

UPDATE 9/27/11: Looks like we confused a few people! This isn't the view from the Empire State Building. It's the view from the Top of the Rock looking north over New York's Central Park.

Lyndsey Matthews is an online editorial assistant at Travel + Leisure.

Photo by Adrien Glover

From the Beatles to Ballet: McCartney Debuts New York Show

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When New York City Ballet’s ballet master in chief Peter Martins told his 14-year old daughter he was choreographing a new ballet with a scenario and orchestral score by Sir Paul McCartney, the teenager was adamant: “Daddy, Stella McCartney has to do the costumes.” Simultaneously, the fashion designer was making the same suggestion to her ex-Beatle dad, so both McCartneys will be making their dance theater debuts when Ocean’s Kingdom—a 50-minute-long, four-act work—receives its world premiere on September 22 at New York City Ballet (through Sept. 29).

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T+L Picks the Best in Global Art

Madonna illustration by Andy Warhol

From New York’s MoMA to the Musée d’Orsay in Paris, T+L picks the season’s best global art exhibits.

Paris: Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris reignited interest in Gertrude Stein and her legendary Paris salon, and this fall visitors to the City of Light can get a taste of the real thing at the Galeries Nationales du Grand Palais (Oct. 5–Jan. 16, 2012). “Matisse, Cézanne, Picasso: The Stein Family,” an exhibition of some 250 paintings, drawings, and prints, comes from the collections of Gertrude, her siblings Leo and Michael, and Michael’s wife, Sarah.

Vienna: “Gustav Klimt, Josef Hoffmann: Pioneers of Modernism” at the Lower Belvedere (Oct. 25–Mar. 4) focuses on the intense collaboration of the painter and architect from their founding of the Vienna Secession in 1897 until Klimt’s death in 1918.

New York City: “De Kooning: A Retrospective,” at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) (Sept. 18–Jan. 9, 2012), is the first survey to consider the full scope of the career of this Rotterdam-born American Abstract Expressionist.

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Great Social Travel Websites

Great Travel Social Websites

What’s the best hotel in Aspen? According to Web entrepreneur Travis Katz, it all depends on who you are: a Goldman Sachs banker might want the luxury and cosseting service of the Little Nell, while a 20-year-old yoga instructor on a budget might opt for the more-bang-for-your-buck Limelight Lodge. Earlier this year, Katz, a former MySpace executive, officially launched gogobot.com, a sort of Facebook for travelers that lets you exchange tailored hotel, restaurant, and other destination recommendations with like-minded friends on the site and through other social networks. Gogobot, which creates stylish destination scrapbooks for users by drawing from their manually submitted reviews and FourSquare and Facebook check-ins, is based on the premise that travelers trust their friends’ recommendations over those of guidebooks or online user-generated review sites like TripAdvisor.

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Vacationist Hotel Deals: Your Beach Checklist – Hawaii, Thailand + Costa Rica

201109-b-hapuna-1jpgThere’s no need to hide your Havaianas now that Vacationist has our eye on warm weather hotspots. Unroll your towel at three of the world’s best beaches, and you’ll knock a few destinations off your travel bucket list—for less.

For more travel deals, including Charleston, Okanangan Valley, and Sonoma, click here.

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"Mexico: The Royal Tour" Debuts Tonight and Thursday on PBS

Recent headlines about Mexico are more likely to involve drug cartels and killings than adventure travel and Mayan pyramids. That's why the opening interview with President Felipe Calderon in a new TV travel special is surprising: Calderon confronts the image problem head on instead of trying to divert attention with pretty images. He even lays some of the blame on Mexico's neighbor to the north. But make no mistake. "Mexico: The Royal Tour," which premieres tonight and tomorrow on PBS stations nationwide, is a love letter to Mexico, a celebration of its history and the travel adventures that await visitors.

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London's Latest: Pop-Up Bar on a Parking Garage Roof

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Have you ever wondered what it may be like to sit and enjoy a drink from the top of a multi-storey car park? Probably not, but if you have then you can indulge your musings now through Sept. 30 at Frank’s Café atop a car park in South London's Peckham neighborhood. Classy!

Frank’s Cafe and Campari Bar is situated amidst the Bold Tendencies Sculpture Project atop a parking garage overlooking the city. (It's also part of the Henry Moore Foundation Year of Sculpture 2011). Designed by Practice Architecture, Frank’s Café and Campari Bar occupies a temporary building alongside the sculptures on the roof. And yes, parking is available.

Photo courtesy of Frank's Cafe and Campari Bar

What's on Stage: The Season's Best Operas

soprano Anna Netrebko as Anna Bolena

London: Fiona Shaw, the British stage and film actress (Petunia Dursley in the Harry Potter films), returns to the English National Opera to stage The Marriage of Figaro, Mozart’s classic bittersweet comedy (Oct. 5–Nov. 10).

Zurich: José Saramago’s novel Blindness was made into a film in 2008 starring Julianne Moore. Now German composer Anno Schreier, 32, has set it to music as Die Stadt der Blinden for the Zurich Opera (Nov. 12–Dec. 4).

San Francisco: Composer Christopher Theofanidis’s powerful work, Heart of a Soldier, commemorating the 10th anniversary of the World Trade Center attacks, is based on the life of Rick Rescorla, who helped guide thousands of people out of Tower 2 before it collapsed. Baritone Thomas Hampson plays Rescorla. (Sept. 10–30).

Minneapolis: The Minnesota Opera presents the world premiere of Silent Night, by the composer Kevin Puts, based on the film Joyeux Noël, about a Christmas Eve truce between soldiers in World War I (Nov. 12–20).

New York City: The multimedia project Portals features the violinist Tim Fain and video and choreography by Benjamin Millepied in Philip Glass’s seven-movement Partita for Solo Violin at Symphony Space (Sept. 24).

On September 26, the Metropolitan Opera opens its season with Donizetti’s rarely produced Anna Bolena, with soprano Anna Netrebko (pictured) as the ill-fated second wife of Henry VIII (through Oct. 28; also Feb. 1–4). Later, the company presents The Enchanted Island, a Baroque pastiche with music by Handel, Vivaldi, and Rameau and starring David Daniels and Joyce DiDonato (opens Dec. 31).

Photo by Brigitte Lacombe/Courtesy of the Metropolitan Opera

Editor Find: Loeffler Randall's Rain Booties

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Until recently, rainy days on vacations seemed unbearable. Packing rain boots is never easy; not only do they weigh down the suitcase, they take up half of the limited space!

But, Loeffler Randall has brightened my rainy days and made my vacations easier. I don't have to worry about the bulky boots anymore with their sleek designs. These rain booties are so light and comfortable you might even find yourself wearing them on dry days. Jessie Randall, founder and creative director, explains how her designs are so easy to wear: "These boots are great for being out on a rainy day and getting a lot of work done. I can push a stroller, grab groceries, take the dog out for a quick walk in them."

Today Loeffler Randall launches their latest season of rain boots and booties, which will add a new silhouette and colors to their existing line. With prices ranging from $150-$195, the only thing you will have to stress over will be determining which style is most appropriate for your lifestyle. Try on a pair at your local Nordstrom or Saks Fifth Avenue or, if you're confident in your size you can purchase a pair through their website today.

Jessie Bandy is the assistant fashion editor at Travel + Leisure.

Photo courtesy of Loeffler Randall

Q&A: Celebrity Fitness Instructor Kristin McGee

Kristin McGee

The first time I took globetrotting fitness guru Kristin McGee’s Pilates class at the SoHo Equinox, I was instantly a fan. Then I found out she was the instructor in Bethenny Frankel’s first yoga DVD, Body by Bethenny. She is highly sought after in New York City, with clients like Steve Martin, Tina Fey, Ben Stiller, and his wife Christine Taylor. Kristin has made numerous TV and magazine appearances, blogs daily on her own site, and has led fitness retreats in Sicily, Cartagena, Marrakesh and St. Petersburg. No wonder she wakes up at 5 a.m. to fit it all in!

We met for a glass of wine, talked great hotels and healthy food choices on the road, and planned a double date with our significant others.

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Online Shopping Made Easy

online shopping

The cluttered realm of online shopping is becoming a little more refined thanks to a new breed of websites that deliver the goods with a highly selective approach. By asking tastemakers to step in as guest curators, they give you insider, and often exclusive, access to items from around the world. Ahalife.com allows you to buy one unique item daily from international designers. Whether it’s a cotton pestemal (hammam towel) made by local artisans in Buldan, Turkey, or a hand-beaded, tribal-chic necklace from London-based jeweler Fiona Paxton, everything is chosen by notable travelers such as Daniel Boulud or Petra Nemcova.

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Kansas City, Missouri, News: A Brand-New Cultural Center

Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts

As of this month, you’ll need to add one more item to your list of things to do in Kansas City with the inauguration of the $326 million Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, in Kansas City, Missouri. Designed by Moshe Safdie, the 285,000-square-foot complex has two performance spaces—an 1,800-seat theater and a 1,600-seat concert hall—that’s home to three of the region’s leading arts organizations: Kansas City Symphony, Kansas City Ballet, and Lyric Opera of Kansas City. Look for a new production of Puccini’s Turandot (Oct. 1–9) and the world premiere of Tom Sawyer, a ballet about Missouri’s most famous, barefoot son (Oct. 14–23).

Photo by Tim Hursley

Just Back: Chasing Summer on New York's Fire Island

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Its either unchecked hedonism or outright denial that led me to New Yorks Fire Island the weekend after summers unofficial demise. While most vacationers packed up their share-houses and kissed farewell to the spit of sand off Long Islands south coast over Labor Day, I was still dreaming of bike rides, summer ales, and one last coat of sun. It doesnt hurt that hotel prices fall off a cliff once beachgoers pack up their white (I paid $225 per night at Clegg's Hotel, while rates during summers apex can be double that). So I found myself at the Island Mermaid pulling on a straw filled with its signature Rocket Fuel (a dark rum piña colada with a Cruzan 151 sinker at the bottom and a pond of Amaretto floating on top) and stretching summer out as long as possible before the looming cold throws its death grip around New York City. I wasnt ready for fall, not yet.

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Girls Guide to Oktoberfest

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Oktoberfest
in Munich starts on Saturday, and that means drinking too much beer, stuffing your face with grilled chicken, and tying the bow of your dirndl skirt on the left side (or is it the right?) to indicate you're in the mood for love. We have it on good authority (a press release) that more than half of all attendees at Munich's annual Oktoberfest are females, and so, courtesy of that city's Charles Hotel, we offer you some inside tips for women attending the festivities.

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PIX 11: T+L Globar Bazaar Tickets + Fall Travel Savings

Want to visit 35 countries without ever getting on a plane? Digital Projects Editor Sarah Spagnolo tells you how. Listen as she shares the latest on T+L's Global Bazaar—kicking off tonight in New York City. To find out more about this first-of-its-kind event, including how to buy tickets, go to here.

How to Sleep Comfortably in an Airport Terminal

air travel airport sleep capsule

Moscow’s Sheremetyevo International Airport is experimenting with an innovation that air travelers have fitfully dreamt of for years:  a safe and clean place to grab a few hours’ sleep.

Installed a month ago in the AeroExpress terminal, the prototype Sleepbox shows travelers a small, private oasis in which to spend layovers.  The 13-sq.-ft. box, covered with an attractive pale ash veneer, is efficiently kitted out with two bunks, LED reading lamps, electrical outlets for laptops or phone charging, WiFi, ventilation and sound systems, under-bunk space to stow luggage, and motor-controlled blinds.  Apparently, there is even an automated process to change the linens between guests.

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Fall Books: What to Read This Season

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Long after the meal is eaten, the china remains. Dish: 813 Colorful, Wonderful Dinner Plates (Artisan Books; $35) by Shax Riegler, a former Travel + Leisure editor, is a revealing portfolio of porcelain spanning centuries and continents.

What happened when the quintessentially Parisian photographer Brassaï turned his lens on New York and New Orleans? Brassaï in America 1957 (Flammarion; $49.95), an album of 150 photos (some unpublished) that shows the beauty and eccentricities of these cities—and the spell they continue to cast.

The colorful, annotated paintings collected in Paula Scher MAPS (Princeton Architectural Press; $50) offer a world informed by the graphic designer’s poignant and incisive commentary.

With more than 3,000 paintings from the 13th to the 19th century, the Louvre’s collection of European art is unparalleled. Each and every work is reproduced in The Louvre: All the Paintings (Black Dog & Leventhal; $75).

Jean Govoni Salvadore, a former public relations executive with TWA and Italy’s Villa d’Este, has been something of a Zelig in postwar Europe. Her photo-illustrated memoir, My Dolce Vita (Glitterati Incorporated; $30), recounts six decades of shoulders rubbed during her travels around the globe.

Photo by Lars Klove

TODAY Show: Fall Travel Bargains

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Have you planned an autumn getaway yet? T+L's features director Nilou Motamed shares her finds for the best fall savings from Jamaica to Nantucket.

For more ideas, read our online-exclusive article America's Best Cities for Fall Travel.

The Ritz-Carlton Wants to Stay with Me

Many years ago, I was on assignment for another magazine, following hunter-gatherers around Borneo, eating whatever they shot or threw down from trees. After a week of sleeping in jungle lean-tos, removing leeches, and slipping in mud, I was definitely not a sight for sore eyes.

Before I even had a chance to change (not that I had any clean clothes left), I flew straight from my jungle base to Kuala Lumpur, where I had reserved a room at the Ritz-Carlton. With my clothes and backpack covered in mud and rain, I couldn’t blame the cab driver’s raised eyebrow when I told him my destination. I fully expected to have to show my reservation confirmation—and possibly beg—just to get in the door. Amazingly, no one blinked an eye. The white glove-clad bellhop hoisted my mud-caked pack onto his cart, and the check-in staff even offered me a seat on their fancy furniture. (I couldn’t.)

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Photographing Oahu's Surfing Scene

Oahu's North Shore

Photographer Brown W. Cannon III talks to T+L's Christine Ajudua:

“Most days when you’re riding around Waimea Bay, it’s open and calm and really beautiful. It’s right in the middle of Oahu’s North Shore, this five-mile stretch that’s known to be one of the world’s greatest surfing destinations. Waimea doesn’t break often—not until the waves are twenty feet or bigger—but when it does, it is a monumental experience. The day I took this photo, the swells were reaching fifty feet—the kind that roll in only every few years. I’ve been going to the islands since I was born, and have seen this maybe two or three times. There are plenty of guys who will hop planes from all over the globe to surf sets like these, but what amazes me most is that so many people will travel there just to witness them. In Hawaii, there’s a real sense of respect for the ocean—the locals talk about having a spiritual connection to it—so there’s something poignant about seeing all these tan bodies converge on the sand, captivated by the Pacific.”

Photo by Brown W. Cannon III / Intersection Photos

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