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Vacationist Hotel Deals: Coppola’s Belize and Guatemala Retreats

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Psst—here’s travel tidbit: Francis Ford Coppola’s newest hotel, Palazzo Margherita, an 19th-century palace on a hilltop in Bascilicata, Italy, won't open until late September, but his original trio of properties in Central America are ready to welcome vacationists in early fall, all for almost 50 percent off standard rates. Our idea? Make a trip of it, with stays at all three (La Lancha, in Guatemala, is only a one-hour flight from Turtle Inn, which is a scenic drive along the Southern Highway en route to Blancaneaux). If you’re planning two trips this year, there’ll be Margherita, of course, paired with any of Vacationist’s 17 Italy Week properties, also on sale now.

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Major D.C. Monuments Close After Quake

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NBC - Washington, D.C.
|  Cracking was found in the stones at the top of the Washington Monument Tuesday evening, the National Park Service reported.

The crack was located in one of the triangular faces at the top of the monument.  It runs at an angle, and measures approximately 4 inches. (...)

Although the grounds near the Monument reopened on Tuesday, the interior is closed to visitor until further notice.  Authorities put up a fence creating a 150-foot perimeter at the Monument's base.

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Photo credit: Washington, DC Convention & Tourism Corporation

 

 

New Apps and Websites Expose Insider Hotel Info

hotel

New websites and apps offer previously unavailable insight about hotels. Check out these great new resources:

Hipmunk Hotels: Bringing its innovative airfare comparison technology to hotels and AirBnB rentals, the Hipmunk website and app maps out rooms and color-codes them according to their value relative to local rates. You can also filter properties by proximity to nightlife, food, shopping, and even “vice.”

Concierge Insider Guides: The new app from InterContinental Hotels delivers worldwide destination guides (complete with interactive maps and video tours) from the ultimate hotel insiders: the company’s 120 concierges.

Oyster.com: This site sends out an army of professional reviewers to critique and photograph thousands of properties around the world. Especially revealing is the “photo fakeouts” section, which juxtaposes misleading hotel promotional images with real-life Oyster shots.

Photo courtesy of Sofitel

CBS Early Show: New Federal Rules to Protect Airline Passengers

Starting this week air passengers will be well compensated for a flight delay. Want to know more? Travel + Leisure's international editor, Mark Orwoll, spells out the new airline passenger rules.

 

Celeb-Inspired Vintage E-Postcards

Pavia Rosati

Who She Is: Splitting her time between New York and London, with an Italian passport to boot, Pavia Rosati—who was the executive editor of DailyCandy for nearly a decade—has always been a go-to person for travel tips. “I once planned a honeymoon in Greece for my intern’s brother’s best friend’s cousin, whom I never even met!” she says—fodder for her recent venture.

Her Big Idea: The new website Fathom compiles vintage-style e-postcards—complete with personalized snapshots—from celebrities, trendsetters, and regular folk in the know. The result is a lively, opinionated travel blog with a fun, retro feel. “We’re all for edited, user-generated content,” Rosati says. Up next? A mobile app with guides for everywhere from Buenos Aires to Beirut, plus an online boutique that’s meant to be “a one-stop shop for all your travel needs.”

Photo by Ben Schott

TODAY Show: Flight Attendants Train for Cabin Pressures

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

Travel + Leisure Features Director Nilou Motamed takes to the skies to find out what—exactly—it's like to be a flight attendant.

Extra! Extra! Newspaper Delivery Fading in Hotels

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Passport Blog - BBC Travel
|  The morning newspaper placed outside of your hotel room door may become an anachronism. And that may not be such a bad thing.

As travellers increasingly kick the paper aside in favour of getting a digital dose of morning news from their laptops or mobile devices, cash-strapped hotels have happily responded by cutting back or eliminating the delivery of newspapers because it helps them reduce costs — and appear more environmentally friendly. For me, the morning newspaper, along with a cup of coffee, used to be a ritual, but now I’ll check the news online and likely kick the newspaper aside (or put it in the recycle bin) on my way out the door.

Marriott hotels in the US used to provide every guest with a free morning newspaper on weekdays, whether they asked for it or not....

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Travel Outfit: Andaz Hotel's Jonathan Frolich

Jonathan Frolich

Andaz 5th Avenue general manager Jonathan Frolich keeps it chic from takeoff to touchdown.

“I believe flying should have an air of glamour,” says Jonathan Frolich, the Australian-born general manager of the super-stylish Andaz 5th Avenue, in New York City. “So I dress for the occasion.” While crisscrossing the globe up to 30 times each year during his previous stint as director of operations for Andaz, Frolich learned to balance style with practicality. “Being minimalist works best,” he says. Here’s what makes the cut. “I can scrunch it, throw it in the overhead, and it still comes out looking great,” Frolich says of his wool-blend Scotch & Soda blazer ($212). “My J. Crew cashmere cardigan ($218) is ideal for layering. It’s also durable.” Frolich sports a cotton button-down ($164) by Sydney-based brand Herringbone for “an old-English style with a modern twist,” as well as slim-cut Acne jeans ($270) that are “forgiving in terms of wrinkles.” His calfskin Prada shoes ($650) serve as two pairs in one: “Add laces to dress them up, or slip them on alone for a more casual style.” He’s “not a big accessories guy,” but Frolich’s Tom Ford glasses ($350) complete the look. As for his leather Mulberry carry-on ($1,450)? “I love that it has a flap instead of a zipper—it looks good, and it’s that much easier to use.”

What’s in His Bag?

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CBS Early Show: Rental-Car Rip-Offs


Should you decline the rental-car insurance? Why is the prepaid gas option almost always a bad idea. And why should you take a picture of your rental car before you drive off and when you return it (no, not for your vacation scrapbook)? T+L International Editor Mark Orwoll sat down with anchor Russ Mitchell on the CBS Early Show to talk about unexpected charges that can hit an uninformed consumer at the rental-car counter. For more on rental-car rip-offs, read the full story based on Mark's October 2010 Smart Traveler column.

Q&A: Director Kevin Macdonald

For his new documentary, Life in a Day, director Kevin Macdonald (The Last King of Scotland) teamed up with YouTube users to create a crowd-sourced 90-minute snapshot of 24 hours around the world. T+L checks in.

Q: Why did you make the film?
A:
To look at the nuanced details of people’s existences in different places. Instead of the Pyramids, you see a graveyard in Cairo, where people actually live.

Q: Did any of the videos make you want to travel?
A:
There’s footage from Angola of women singing as they grind corn. I would go just to hear that music.

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Guess Where? Seaside Ruins

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Can you believe it's Friday already? Time for another round of "Guess Where?" Do you know where these seaside ruins are located? Log in and leave your guesses below. Check back on Monday for the answer.

UPDATE 8/22/11: Everyone guessed correctly that these are the ruins of San Francisco's Sutro Baths. Looks like we'll need to make this harder this week.

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

Photo Courtesy of T+L's Photo Contest

Great Artisanal Ice Cream Parlors

ice cream

Artisanal ice cream parlors across the country are whipping up innovative flavors to satisfy our ever-evolving palates. Here, four sweet spots.

Seattle: Molly Moon’s has gone mobile with a just-launched dessert truck that serves house-made flavors and ice cream sandwiches. Favorite flavor: Hibiscus sorbet. 1622 N. 45th St.; 206/547-5105.

New York City: Manhattanites can’t get enough of Italian import Il Laboratorio del Gelato—its new Lower East Side branch is five times the size of the original location on Orchard Street. Favorite flavor: Tarragon-pink peppercorn.

New Orleans: The cherry- and chocolate-walled La Divina Gelateria is known for its decidedly down-home ingredients. Favorite flavor: Peach Creole cream cheese. 3005 Magazine St.; 504/342-2634.

San Francisco: Owners Jake Godby and Sean Vahey have such a cult following at their retro-mod Humphry Slocombe that they’re currently penning a recipe book about their frozen treats. Favorite flavor: Blue Bottle Vietnamese coffee.

Photo by Davies + Starr

Just Back: Top Food Spots in Southeast Maine

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I just returned from a long, 10-day retreat from the hustle and bustle of NYC, for a low-key, beachside getaway up in Old Orchard Beach, Maine with my good friend Peter. Aside from the absolute most perfect weather—which I used to try to trick my sensitive, Canadian skin into thinking that it actually does have the ability to tan—coupled with the calming sound of the crashing waves, we spent a good chunk of our time finding great places to eat. Because that’s what we do when we travel. These are my favorite eateries, all within a short drive of "OOB":

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Cool Eco-Friendly Travel Gadgets

green travel devices

When it comes to the environment, technology can be a double-edged sword. New devices use up energy and precious resources, but they also offer exciting ways to travel green. These days, the best are doing this while also lightening their footprints. Take the Android-powered Samsung Replenish smartphone ($50), made from recycled plastic and without many of the toxic chemicals found in other phones. It is loaded with a bundle of eco-friendly apps (Treehugger; National Audubon Society) and can be powered using a solar battery charger. Music lovers, meanwhile, can take comfort in knowing that the new Etón Soulra XL ($300) iPod dock, which is designed to resemble an old-school boom box, not only charges while it plays but lasts up to five hours on a single solar charge—perfect for the beach. Unfortunately, most travel-size solar chargers are still not strong enough to power your laptop. In the meantime, though, there’s the Energy Star–rated IDAPT i1 Eco ($24.99). Constructed of recycled materials, it lets you charge nearly any device on the go. The green edge: when a gadget is fully powered, the IDAPT turns itself off—conserving essential electricity.

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Vacationist Hotel Deals: Ode to Italy

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On the heels of T+L’s love letter to Florence, out now in the annual September Style and Culture issue, Vacationist brings you 18 deals across Italy, from Venice to Sicily, and (almost) everywhere in between. Stay near the art exhibitions of the Palazzo Strozzi, in Florence, steps from the Piazza del Popolo in Rome, or even on quiet Giudecca in Venice, all for up to 70 percent off standard rack rates. Looking for tips on how to plan your trip? Become a fan of Vacationist on Facebook, and visit on Friday at 1 p.m. EST for a live chat with an Italian-born expert, before the deals expire on August 28th.

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Gliding Around Chicago on a Segway

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I know that as an editor at a travel magazine I really should have more refined tastes. But secretly, I’ve always wanted to ride a Segway around a city. Whenever happy tourists have whizzed past me in D.C. or San Francisco, I’ve been a little jealous, but my travel companions are generally of the type who would rather walk barefoot on burning asphalt than be caught dead on the funny-looking two-wheeled contraptions.

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Singapore's Seedy Neighborhoods and Warehouses Now Hot Spots

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With its Art Deco style wet market and pre-War public housing, Singapore's Tiong Bahru neighborhood has been luring thirtysomething artists, architects, and other creatives in recent years, so it was only a matter of time that funky small businesses began popping up in the area.

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The Ultimate Girlfriend Staycation!

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When my best friend Rachel came to visit recently, I decided to treat us to a one-night staycation (and give her a brief respite from sleeping on my couch). But where to go? New York City is a trove of hotels raring to roll out the red carpet for a glorified pajama party. Eventually I settled on midtown’s iconic New York Palace (once the mansion of a 19th-century railroad baron, it’s now a member of the Dorchester Collection, topped with a skyscraping tower, and remarkably luxe).

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Watch Out for Dropping Airfares

Smaller carriers have upped competition with major airlines this summer, introducing new routes into large hubs. Virgin America is starting flights into Chicago O’Hare (a hub for both United and American), Frontier is adding service out of Denver, and JetBlue is now flying into Anchorage. Generally, when smaller carriers introduce discount flights, major airlines slash their prices on that route out of competition, to make it as painful as possible for the other airline. (When JetBlue started service in May between Newark and Boston, Continental dropped its fares to as low as $49 one-way.) For the average flier, this can also mean mileage bonuses and more options and capacity, as well as lower-priced tickets.

Alexander Basek is a regular contributor to Travel + Leisure.

Gift for Traveling Wine Lovers

inflatable wine carrier

Waiting for a flight home for Christmas once, I ran into a blowhard I knew from college who announced that the only present he was bringing his parents was a bottle of extraordinarily good wine.  He dropped and broke the bottle of red on the linoleum at LaGuardia before we’d boarded the plane.  Blowhard frat boy or not, I felt bad for the guy.

I was reminded of this tragic holiday vignette when I heard about VinniBag, an inflatable bag that cushions your wine bottle (or bottle of olive oil or Vermont maple syrup or vintage McCoy vase) from the sharp, hard, pointy things of the world.   The smart bags are reusable, deflate easily to slip in your luggage, and make an unbreakable and practical gift for Mummy and Pater.

Vinnibag is available for $28 from local retailers, Vinnibag.com, or on Amazon.

Photo courtesy of Ellessco.

Ann Shields is an online senior editor at Travel + Leisure.

New Taxi App Rolling Out in Major European Cities

20107-b-moscowjpgSeventy-nine billionaires now live in Moscow—more than in any other city—and it’s easy to see how they get around. Mercedes, Bentley, Maserati, and other luxury brands clog the roads. As for the millions of other Muscovites, they can flag down any enterprising driver for a ride. Locals make extra rubles by offering impromptu cab services at rates negotiated on the spot. And then there are the vans known as matrushkas that swerve through traffic, picking up passengers and dropping them at requested stops.

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Alaska Travel: There's an App for That

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Our friends at MSNBC Travel are reporting that Denali National Park is maxing out on visitors. We knew Alaska was a popular summertime destination, but it seems travelers are turning its most famous (and accessible) park into the next Yellowstone. So with all the people exploring the 49th state, we thought we’d give you the heads up on a great app we found to research your trip and use while you’re there.

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We Want Your Job, Diego Felix, Nomad Chef

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Is ordering delivery to the office your idea of going locavore? Do your culinary travels consist of drive-thru windows after a long day of work?  If yes, then we invite you to put down the plastic fork and check out this different kind of job: meet Diego Felix, nomad chef.

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Guess Where? Waterfront

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Can you guess where this beautiful waterfront is? Hint: The city it's in is known for its fabulous architecture both ancient and modern. Can you guess where?

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

UPDATE 8/15/11: T+L Community Member tzumpi was right, this is Alexandria, Egypt 100%! Check back on Friday for the next Guess Where photo.

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

Photo by Adrien Glover

Scavenger Hunt Launched at Florida’s South Seas Island Resort

family on the beachScavenger hunts built around a destination’s unique characteristics are quickly becoming my favorite trend in family travel.  Engaging a kid in something beyond the hotel swimming pool is a sneaky way to keep them learning while on vacation and to cultivate passionate travelers and fun travel companions.

Sarah Khan reported this month about Colonial Williamsburg’s current patriot/spy game that has young visitors in blue neckerchiefs burning up the cobblestones.  Now there’s a new way to play at a family destination.

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Statue of Liberty Closes This Fall for One-Year Revamp

201108-b-statueofliberty-andiediemer-2jpgUSA TodayNew York City's Lady Liberty is celebrating her 125th birthday on Oct. 28 with a day of music, special tours and programs—followed by a year-long makeover.

The National Park Service announced this week that the $27.25 million renovation project, limited to the monument itself, will make the interior safer and more accessible by adding stairways and upgrading existing facilities.

Liberty Island will remain open and the 22-story statue—built in the 1880s and a gift from France—will be mostly unobstructed from view. (Photo credit: Andie Diemer)

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English Country Hotels On Our Radar

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Longford Fivehead - 

Dewsall (above)
The always spot-on tasteful Lulu Townsend of Chic Retreats has just added a lovely—and rather unorthodox—new property to her portfolio. Dewsall is a gorgeous listed and restored Regency house in Herefordshire, near the Welsh border, which can be rented in its entirety—when, that is, it’s not in its other guise, that of a chic little pop-up hotel a few weeks a year. The house is perfectly, ravishingly restored, with huge ensuite bedrooms, entertainment rooms (with all the mod cons) and a kitchen to make regular World of Interiors readers sigh with longing. A bonus: their Great British Safari—whereby guests hike into the Black Mountains, take kayaks or canoes from Glasbury to Hay, or go pheasant shooting—complete with luxury tents and gourmet meals.

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Editor Find: North Fork Fish Market

201107-b-southhold-1jpgThe North Fork of Long Island has been my family’s beach spot for over 30 years. Still, the suddenly chic spit of land 100 miles east of New York City still has a few surprises. The Southold Fish Market is very much a family shop slinging fresh scallops, flounder, and clams. But if you want some really local shellfish, don’t even bother driving home to cook your catch. This seafood shop has a take-out menu (and dockside seating) to die for.

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Vacationist Hotel Deals: America’s Great Outdoors

201108-b-rustyparrot-3jpgThe final weeks are summer are best spent outside—particularly in the backyards of some of T+L favorite hotels, from the Wyoming’s Rusty Parrot Lodge, in Jackson Hole, to Hotel Madeline Telluride, a resort we love for its high-altitude massages and it’s easy access to hiking, biking, and horseback riding trails—all more than 8,000 feet above sea level. Is preppy New England more your style? Consider a stay at Boston’s XV Beacon, ranked No. 3 Small City Hotel in this year’s World’s Best Awards, where you can unwind before exploring the rugged landscape of Boston’s North Shore. [Click here for a new late summer cyling tour!]

Head to Vacationist now, for these hotel deals, plus Belize, Madrid, London and more.

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Destination Radio: Emirates Airline Launches a (Cool) New App

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With the invention of the iPod and the digitalization of music, listening to the radio seems to be almost prehistoric. Whenever I start a sentence with the phrase, “I heard on the radio today…” my friends are at first confused, then immediately flabbergasted that I would partake in such a seemingly unhip activity (I guess it’s my nostalgic nature, or the fact that I’m too lazy to play DJ all the time).

But radio has been making a comeback, especially when Pandora Radio was launched in 2005, introducing the masses to the digital (i.e. cool) version of its dashboard predecessor. And now, with the iPhone spurring on the creation of a plethora of apps, radio is back.

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