If you're ever among the last to board a flight, as I often am, you're familiar with the sight of baby strollers, sometimes a dozen or more, parked in the jetway near the aircraft door. Long a tradition with family travelers, "gate-checking" strollers is commonplace on most airlines. Passengers often prefer to keep infants in their strollers until they enter the plane, leave the carriers with a crew member to be stored just before departure, and then brought back out onto the next jetway after arrival. But don't count on doing that with many types of strollers anymore if you're flying on American Airlines. Starting today, a new AA rule stipulates that "all strollers that are large, non-collapsible or over 20 lbs." must be checked at the ticket counter.
The 2011 Atlantic hurricane season begins today, June 1, and ends November 30:
AccuWeather.com Hurricane Center meteorologists, led by Meteorologist and Hurricane Forecaster Paul Pastelok, are predicting an active season for 2011 with more impact on the U.S. coastline than last year.
The team is forecasting a total of 15 named tropical storms, eight of which will attain hurricane status and four of which will attain major hurricane status (Category 3 or higher).
In a normal year, there are 10 tropical storms, six of which become hurricanes and two of which become major hurricanes, or attain winds that exceed 110 mph.
A jury composed by the Ministry of Tourism has awarded the new 'Palace' label to eight Paris hotels—Le Bristol, Le Meurice, the Park Hyatt Paris Vendôme and Le Shangri-La among them. But to the confusion of many in the industry, the Four Seasons George V and Hôtel Ritz, Paris did not make the grade.
Only five-star hotels could apply for the Palace distinction, but the fact that two illustrious addresses were not recognized has caused dismay. As a result, a new call for candidates was issued and certain criteria have been relaxed: The Royal Monceau, for example, is too recent to have participated in the firstround, but it will be considered in the next one. The call closes in June.
Tina Isaac is Travel + Leisure's Paris correspondent.
Photo courtesy of The Ritz, Paris
Ten chefs, nine cities, and one pop-up kitchen. No, it’s not the set-up of some new reality TV show on Bravo, but an inventive initiative by the Singaporean government to showcase the city’s vibrant fine dining scene. Dubbed Singapore Takeout, the project starts its yearlong world tour in London on June 9.
All eyes are on the Dutch capital, thanks to its booming hotel scene. Spread across three 17th-century merchant’s residences on the Keizersgracht, Canal House (doubles from $346) made its debut in April, with modern Dutch paintings in its 23 monochromatic rooms. Sofitel’s The Grand (doubles from $346) just did a refit, adding a bi-level So Spa as well as a seafood-centric restaurant. Not to be outdone, Hotel de L’Europe (doubles from $490) has reemerged from a two-year renovation with 23 new suites featuring Rijksmuseum replicas. Next month, a century-old music conservatory will relaunch as the Conservatorium (doubles from $577), housing 128 Zen-like suites and a holistic spa. And in September, the owners of the city’s edgy Lloyd Hotel are slated to unveil the Exchange (doubles from $289), designed by Amsterdam Fashion Institute students.
Photo courtesy of Hotel de L’Europe
You clicked on this headline because you already knew which city has the worst drivers, right? Go on, share your opinion. (Even though we know you’re going to say Boston, you should tell us anyhow.) Our annual America’s Favorite Cities poll is officially open and now’s the time for you to speak up about the cities with the worst drivers, the most rabid sports fans, the most outlandish people-watching, and more.
Thirty-five U.S. cities are just waiting to be rated on their food scene, their weather, how expensive and clean and safe they are—all those characteristics that can really make or break a visit.
Last year, in a surprise upset, Charleston snatched Miami’s long-standing first place prize for most attractive people, but Philadelphia gratefully allowed Memphis to take last place. NYC came in dead last as a destination for peace and quiet (Yeah? So what?), while both visitors and residents ranked Santa Fe number one for its blissed-out atmosphere.
Whether peace and quiet or attractive locals or great coffee or pet-friendliness is important to you in a place, at the very least you know what you like. Head over to the survey and rate the cities you love (and loathe). When you finish, enter for a chance to win a $25,000 Dream of a Lifetime trip.
Ann Shields is Online Senior Editor at Travel + Leisure.
With the deadline to submit images to our Strangest Sights photo contest coming up soon, I thought I'd make this week's Guess Where a bit bizarre. For years, this statue has been repeatedly "coned" by locals despite frequent reminders by the city's police department that it is unsafe and against the law to climb up on the statue and do so. Can you figure out where this is? Bonus points if you can guess who the man on the horse is.
Log in and leave your guesses below and check back here on Monday for the answer.
If you'd like to add your weirdly wonderful images to our photo contest, the deadline to submit images is next Tuesday, May 31 and you can do it here.
UPDATE 5/31/11: This is MyFareFoodie's second correct guess! This is the Duke of Wellington Statue in Glasgow, Scotland.
Lyndsey Matthews is an online editorial assistant at Travel + Leisure.
Memorial Day Weekend always kicks off the summer season in the Hamptons, and after weeks of endless rain, east coasters have never been more keen on escaping to the glamorous sliver of earth that juts into the Atlantic on New York’s Long Island. The race to define the newest in vogue summer spot is an annual ritual on the Gold Coast. This year the buzz is behind South Pointe, the newest and most robust addition to the Hamptons night scene.
What do a thirsty pair of hopeful immigrants in Juarez, a mime in Bisbee, and a man hanging out on the steps of a motel in Tuscon all have in common? Don't stress, this isn't a joke or trick question. . .
It seemed like New York would never emerge from the clutches of winter up until a few days ago. But with the temperatures now in the 70s and Memorial Day weekend nearly here it seems like summer has finally arrived.
To celebrate that, Loews Hotels is rolling out the “Summer of Loews” to treat families to the extra things that make the season so much fun—including dance parties, BBQs and roving ice cream carts.
That zany four-pack Phil, Stu, Alan, Doug and their fifth wheel Mr. Chow are back with another mind-blowing bender—this time in Thailand—as The Hangover Part II hits silver screens today across the U.S. While no one may ever match the debauchery of their first go-around in Las Vegas, on a smaller level (I’ve never commandeered a cop car or abducted Mike Tyson’s tiger) I can relate to this buffoonish bunch.
Once on a 14-hour, cross-continental schlep from Salt Lake City to Brisbane, Australia, things got a bit foggy. When I peeled my eyelids open in the morning, I was met by a nausea only achievable when quaffing strong cocktails 3,000-feet above ground. On another trip, I found myself leaning against a pillar at the Acropolis in the sweltering European heat after indulging in copious amounts of Ouzo on the last leg of a connecting flight to Athens the previous night. Not even a Greek deity could have curbed that queasiness.
The plight of the red-eye flier is common. Who can resist settling in for a pre-trip potation? Luckily for travelers everywhere, the choice between in-flight inebriation and next-day functionality may be over.
We’re already deep into National Burger Month, with specials like $1 burgers on Wednesdays at New York’s Goodburger, free premium toppings on Mondays across the country at The Counter chain, and a new burger daily at the Four Seasons in Boston or Iron Hill Brewery restaurants in Pennsylvania and Delaware, where the Jalapeño Popper burger caps things off on May 31.
But don’t feel you’ve missed out if May’s burger mania is news to you. The most widespread offers are still to come. On Burger Day itself, May 27, Groupon will roll out deals in all its 175 North American markets, bookable through Sunday at midnight. Here are a few to get your mouth watering and kick off your summer.
Cedar-and-glass bungalows, restored farmhouses, a roaring fireplace in an expansive main lodge: there are so many ways to do a rustic retreat. Vacationist is spotlighting three of our favorites today, from a premier lakeside spot in California wine country to a mountain escape in Stowe, Vermont—even a celebrity hideaway on 14 wooded acres an hour north of Manhattan. You’ll stay there for less when you book with Vacationist.
Not what you’re looking for? Click here for Italy, Dominican Republic, Acapulco, Mexico and more.
It's not often a film evokes the spirit of a city the way John Turturro's Passione captures the musical exuberance that pulses through Naples, Italy. We're not talking opera, but a blend of genres that reflects the cultures of the city's invaders as well as its more recent immigrants. Greeks and Spaniards, Arabs and Americans, Turks and French—their songs and melodies have thrived, mixed, and married in a cultural petri dish warmed by the southern Italian sun. And that, in a nutshell, is the whole point of the movie.
Innovator Sam Shank
Who He Is: “I got bitten by the travel bug late in life,” serial entrepreneur Sam Shank says. He’s certainly making up for lost time. In the past decade, Shank founded the hotel site travelpost.com, and dealbase.com, which compiles online travel discounts. His latest venture, Hotel Tonight, comes to the aid of stranded travelers.
His Big Idea: While on a business trip to Seattle last year, Shank’s plans changed at the last minute and he needed to stay an extra night, so he tried to book something on his phone—a surprisingly difficult process. The result? The free Hotel Tonight app (iPhone/iPad), which instantly delivers three one-night hotel deals per city in different categories and lets you book one in just seconds. The app is available for Boston, Chicago, L.A., New York, Miami, San Francisco, Seattle, and Washington, D.C., with Las Vegas on the way.
Photo courtesy of Sam Shank
Here's my personal and subjective list of five things I want to seek out to taste this month in San Francisco:
1. Creative cupcakes from punky pastry chef Luis Villavelazquez, whose Les Elements stand at the biweekly Ferry Plaza Farmer's Market includes an intriguing Darjeeling tea cupcake with black pepper frosting.
2. The Margharita pizza from Una Pizza Napoletana, where the dough is made from wild yeast spores and topped with buffalo mozzarella.
3. Local Hodo Soy Beanery's yuba tofu strips, marinated in spicy teriyaki sauce and pan-fried.
4. A whisky cocktail at the newly renovated House of Shields, one of the city's most historic and beautiful bars.
5. The red velvet fried chicken (yes, really) at American Cupcake (pictured above).
Jaime Gross is Travel + Leisure's San Francisco correspondent.
Photo courtesy of digitalShe™
Cyclist-friendly Oregon has a stylish new rest stop for weary pedalers. Inspired by their biking trips to Italy, owners Glen and Sandy Crinklaw created the four-room Coastal Mountain Sport Haus (66845 Nehalem Hwy.; 503/429-6940; doubles from $199, including meals, two-night minimum) 50 miles north of Portland in the logging town of Vernonia (population: 2,300). The cedar inn—near some of the Pacific Northwest’s most picturesque biking paths—pays homage to the region with design touches such as bathroom sinks set in slabs of reclaimed black walnut and molted elk antlers used as towel hooks.
Photo by Heidi Swift/Courtesy of Coastal Mountain Sport Haus
What exactly do Monaco and Argentina have in common? I discovered the answer at an event last week at New York's Classic Car Club, an airy space on the fringe of SoHo: The two countries are teaming up to bring attention to the F1 Grand Prix (taking place in Monaco May 26-29, 2011) and to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the birth of El Maestro. The legendary Argentine car racer Juan Manuel Fangio (a.k.a. "El Maestro") took Monaco by storm back in the 1950's, winning five of the coveted Grand Prix.
As tango dancers sashayed around a green Tesla Roadster, an original Mini Cooper, and a 1960's Porsche, the night felt like something out of another era. El Maestro would have been proud.Laura Begley is the deputy editor at Travel + Leisure.
It's been hard to stump our guessers recently, so all we're going to tell you about this photo is that it was taken in the United Kingdom. Can you figure out where this bay is located?
Log in and leave your guesses below and check back here on Monday for the answer.
UPDATE 5/23/11: For the first time in a long time, nobody guessed where this picture was taken. This is Elie Bay at low tide in the Kingdom of Fife, Scotland.Lyndsey Matthews is an online editorial assistant at Travel + Leisure.
Photo courtesy of Travel + Leisure's Photography Contest
It’s one of the most buzzed-about and eagerly anticipated hotel openings across the pond: London’s iconic St. Pancras railway station has reinvented itself as a sumptuous new Renaissance hotel, and last week unveiled The Gilbert Scott restaurant. Celebrated chef Marcus Wareing (of the Michelin two-starred Marcus Wareing at The Berkeley) derived inspiration for his second restaurant from both the historic building itself, as well as from dishes that are nearly 200 years old, but cooked with modern techniques.
USA Today | The busy summer travel season is not even upon us yet and Delta Air Lines and its major SkyTeam partners—Air France, KLM and Alitalia—announced trans-Atlantic capacity cuts today for this fall.
Capacity will decline by 7% to 9% over the same time period in 2010, according to these airlines, which operate with antitrust immunity in the trans-Atlantic market, allowing them to legally coordinate schedules and collude on prices.
The airlines say that the capacity cuts are due to "fluctuations in seasonal demand," but it is also likely that the airline industry is bracing for a decline in international travel after the usually busy summer vacation season due to the inflated price of oil, which has been hovering in the $100 per barrel range for some time.
During his 25-year career, the musician, DJ, and tea entrepreneur has traveled the globe, staying in thousands of hotels—which helped inspire his new album, Destroyed (Mute, $15), and an accompanying book of his snapshots (Damiani, $40). T+L checks in with him about his life on the road.
Q: Tell us about your latest project.
A: My photos document the unglamorous side of touring. And almost every song on the record had its genesis in a hotel room, usually at around three a.m.
Value is not measured by room rate alone. You also have to consider how much a hotel’s goods and services cost. To get a sense of the relative expense of luxury properties, T+L determined the average price of a hotel bar martini, from Buenos Aires to Bangkok.
New York City: $19
Mexico City: $12
Rio de Janeiro: $15
Buenos Aires: $17
Cape Town: $7
Photo courtesy of DNY59/iStockphoto
When the weather outside is dreary, we dream of warm sand and sea. Which is why this week, Vacationist spotlights a handful of destinations close to the pounding Pacific. We’re headed to oceanfront villas in Maui, where surf lessons and barbecues are on offer; an eco-friendly lodge in Costa Rica, where zip-line tours in a dense tropical rainforest can be paired with trips to the shore; and a mid-century Santa Monica stunner, just a few blocks from waterfront Ocean Avenue.
Not what you’re looking for? Clip here for Chile, Puerto Rico, Arizona, Mexico, and more.
Thanks to a recent explosion of online booking sites, the $24 billion short-term rental market is now about one-fifth of all U.S. hotel-room revenue, according to Alexis de Belloy, a vice president at HomeAway and VRBO. De Belloy’s sites, which are among the first generation of online rental agencies, cater mainly to families looking to book entire houses—a great way to save money on the road. The success of HomeAway and VRBO has helped to launch a slew of home-rental sites, many of which serve travelers with ever more particular tastes and interests. With listings in 10,000 cities and counting, AirBnB is like eBay for rentals: each host has a profile with user reviews and images. Plus, everyone is encouraged to submit ratings after a visit, which maintains quality control. Roomorama and iStopOver provide similar offerings, with additional features such as the ability to post requests for specific types of accommodations, in case you want, say, organic food in the fridge or a toddler-friendly apartment. And finally, taking the house-swapping trend to a whole new level is Luxe Home Swap, which lets you trade stays at your chic place with one of thousands of comparably stylish options across the globe for an annual fee of $159. At press time, a high-design house in Tucson, Arizona, and a relaxed beach retreat on Isla Fuerte, in Colombia, were just two of the properties available.
Illustrated by Leif Parsons
When nature displays its most brutal side, humanity often displays it’s best. That’s why this Wednesday, mega-chef Masaharu Morimoto, together with a star-studded panel of culinary giants from across the United States are lending their talents to Chefs Cook for Japan at New York City's Harvard Club, with all proceeds going towards disaster relief for the devastating earthquake and tsunami that slammed Japan over two months ago.
On hand to mingle with and feed the crowd? Red Rooster’s Marcus Samuelsson, Devi’s Suvir Saran, Iron Chef Jose Garcas of Philadelphia’s Amada, and countless others (Ken Oringer, Jonathan Waxman, Paul Bartolotta to name a few). All this plus specialty cocktails courtesy of Lani Kai’s Julie Reiner, for just $150 a head.
OpenSkies, the all business-class airline that flies to Paris, is celebrating the first anniversary of its Washington, D.C. route with a sale. Fly to Paris and back in a cushy business seat for just $701, each way, based on roundtrip purchase. Book before May 20 for travel between May 16 and July 9.
OpenSkies flights carry just 84 passengers at a time, in comfortable seating (with not just personal entertainment systems and lots of legroom, but electrical outlets as well), and gourmet in-flight dining complete with wine and Champagne. This kind of civilized treatment makes it hard to return to economy.
Book before Friday midnight by visiting FlyOpenSkies.com, or call (866) 581-3596.
Ann Shields is Online Senior Editor at Travel + Leisure.
Breibart | American casino mogul Steve Wynn said Tuesday that his US-based gaming firm has become a "Chinese company" as it held its first annual meeting in Macau, now the world's biggest gaming hub.Photo Courtesy of Wynn Las Vegas
Wynn Resorts Ltd. was splitting its headquarters between Las Vegas and Macau, the billionaire executive said, with the company's revenue increasingly tied to soaring growth in the former Portuguese colony.
Macau posted $23.5 billion in gaming revenues last year, outpacing the Las Vegas strip by at least four-fold. Much of the eye-popping figure is tied to high-roller gamblers from mainland China flooding into the southern territory—the only place in China that allows casino gambling.
Playing dress-up just got more sophisticated at London’s Berkeley Hotel. There, along with cocktails from the Blue Bar, you can have a steamer trunk filled with baubles and accessories—all curated by Carmen Haid of vintage e-boutique atelier-mayer.com—delivered to your suite to borrow (gratis!) for a night on the town. Fall in love with that Pierre Cardin clutch? Any piece can be purchased for your permanent collection. the-berkeley.co.uk; doubles from $597.
Illustration by Ryan Hashka
TechCrunch | Through new official partnerships with Facebook, Twitter, and NY-based startups Foursquare and Tumblr, New York City aims to become America’s next, top digital city.
New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and the city’s first, chief digital officer, Rachel Sterne, presented their Road Map for the Digital City, today.
Before formulating the plan, Sterne led a comprehensive 90-day review of the city’s current use of web, social media and mobile technology, and surveyed thousands of public and private sector organizations, and residential users in New York to understand what was missing, and what’s working well so far.
In light of her findings, and according to a public statement from her office, New York City has committed to: