Sick of Valentine’s Day? Even if you love to hate the holiday, you’d still accept a free trip to Paris, non?
If your answer is “OUI!” click over to NileGuide and enter their “Fall in Love with the City of Love” contest to win a trip for two to the City of Light. In addition to airfare and seven nights in a furnished luxury apartment courtesy of iStopover, the grand prize also includes dinner at the Les Deux Magots, tickets to the Eiffel Tower, and a visit to the Museé Rodin.
All you have to do is become a fan of NileGuide on Facebook and enter your contact information. C’est facile, n’est pas?
Last year I had the pleasure of meeting the mother-daughter team behind Extraordinary Journeys. As their name implies, Marcia and Elizabeth Gordon (below) custom craft some pretty swoon-worthy adventures—to Africa, a place they know top to bottom (and all the secret spots in between) and that easily inspires dreamy visions of exotic animals, ancient baobab trees, and untamed landscapes where it’s impossible not to get away from it all.
Since my husband and I have a new baby and no real plans on deck for celebrating Valentine's Day this year, I thought I’d call on Elizabeth to share her expert tips—and provide me/Carry On with a vicarious dose of travel-inspired romance. Clip and save, dear readers. Sleeping under the stars on the Savannah beats a box of chocolates any day.
Question: In your opinion, what are some of the most romantic and memorable experiences in Africa?
With the release of the iPad nearly one year ago, the device is changing the way we do business. And while it might seem an unlikely combination, even restaurants have hopped on the bandwagon. Yes, a handful are loading their menus onto iPads for customers to peruse—a costly and wasteful business practice, all in the name of flashiness, as far as I'm concerned. But that’s not exactly what I’m talking about; there are more and more turning iPads into useful (and yes, flashy) tools that actually improve the dining experience.
Washington D.C.’s new, one-off Yola yogurt parfait bar near Dupont Circle is a great way to start
the day. First, there’s the general feeling of well-being derived from the warm, polished wood floors, the exposed-brick walls, and the contemporary tables and chairs, made from recycled
aluminum and bamboo (Yola is a certified green restaurant, after all, powered in part by carbon offsets and locally generated wind power).
Baechtold’s Best: Afghanistan visually explores a stunning variety of Afghan experiences. Each 2-page spread in this short book is dedicated to a simple theme like Taxi, Burka, Meal, or Poppy. The left-hand page offers sixteen thumbnail photos on the theme and a graphic map indicating where each was taken. The right-hand page has a large image chosen by the editors as the best example—Baechtold’s Best—with the briefest of identifying captions.
Looking for a room at one of New York City’s buzziest hotels? Look no further than Vacationist, where we offer exclusive deals at the world’s best hotels, including this one, on the northern edge of Manhattan’s Flatiron District. The property is also the site of new John Dory Oyster Bar, featured on our brand-new Romance edition for iPad, on sale now. For those looking for something special for two—it almost Valentine’s Day, after all—we also have over 30% off at properties in Costa Rica, three hotels in Italy, and more. What could be more romantic than that?
A nouveau addition to the foodie scene has San Francisco’s downtown Financial District buzzing. The melding of two San Fran staples has lunchtime crowds bending around street corners for up to an hour in order to get a taste of a new hybrid—the sushi burrito.
Northern California is a nursery of innovation and Sushirrito has answered the call with creations like the Crispy Ebi, a nori-wrapped, one-pound roll with ingredients that dance between Asian and Latin influence—tempura shrimp, melted pepper jack, shredded crab, and plantains. Or the Mamacita Roll, a tuna wrap packed with shiitake mushrooms, Daikon radish, and Tobiko fortified with a Mexican Kabayaki sauce. So far, the diminutive space and long wait haven’t done anything to temper the enthusiasm for the Bay Area’s newest gastronomic revelation.
Just get there early.
Nate Storey is a research assistant at Travel + Leisure.
USA Today | Delta Air Lines will add a premium economy section to its international flights, charging non-elite fliers between $80 to $160 each way for "Economy Comfort" seats that come with extra legroom and more recline.
Delta and SkyTeam frequent-fliers at the Platinum and Diamond level can book the seats at no extra charge, while Gold-level frequent-fliers will have access to the seats at a 50% discount. Silver members can purchase the seats for a 25% discount.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution says "passengers will get seats with up to four inches of extra legroom, beyond the roughly 31 inches of pitch in international economy. They also will get 50% more recline than regular international economy seats. Passengers in the new section … also will be able to board early and get free alcoholic beverages during the flight."
Wouldn’t you feel better if you carried your valuables in
the same waterproof storage bags that Navy divers use instead of plastic bags
engineered to transport a soft sandwich? aLOKSAK, may look like a Ziploc bag, but these heavy-duty,
puncture-resistant containers have a heat tolerance of 170 degrees and are
certified dry at 60 meters, even after two weeks underwater. Plus, it’ll keep sand and
saltwater out of your cellphone or Kindle while you use them.
Available in eleven sizes (from 5” x 4” to 32” x 16”) and in
multi-packs from $4.99 at REI and Amazon.com. (Photo courtesy of LOKSAK)
Ann Shields is Online Senior Editor at
The airport's operator is looking for developers who could tackle the famous modernist structure, designed by Eero Saarinen. The curved, winged terminal opened in 1962 at the old Idlewild Airport and closed in 2001 after American Airlines bought TWA.
Boutique hotels usually offer guests something unique, and in this case, it would be the striking structure.
"There are few buildings designed for airports that have resonated with the public as much as this one," Frank Sanchis, an advisor at the Municipal Art Society of New York, told the paper.
Here it is: your moment of Monday travel zen. Never mind that this video, which takes place at Aeroporto do Galeão in Rio de Janeiro, is a marketing ploy by TAP Airlines. Just enjoy. Air travel? This much fun? Maybe someday...
USA Today | Who doesn't love a splashy, new hotel opening?
Travelers love to stay in them, the press loves to write about them - and owners love to celebrate them.
"New hotel development is very sexy. They get a lot of press," Nicholas Clayton, president of the Viceroy Hotel Group, noted during the Americas Lodging Investment Summit in San Diego last week.
Yet, despite all the excitement - and the uptick in travel this year, we'll see fewer new hotels open their doors in the USA this year compared past years, a new forecast shows. (Photo by iStock) READ MORE
Sick of winter yet? New York City just experienced its snowiest January on record, and Chicago is currently digging itself out from yesterday’s Groundhog’s Day blizzard, which was the third worst snowstorm to ever hit the city.
In a season like this, weather dictates how people travel. Weather Underground, home to the world's largest historical weather database, just re-launched its website Wunderground.com yesterday, which caused weather geeks around the world to rejoice. It's built several great travel tools, drawing info from their massive database to help you stay one step ahead of the weather while planning your next trip. Here are my favorites:
USA Today | In an attempt to restore natural peace and quiet to the Grand Canyon, the National Park Service has proposed limits on "flight-seeing" and other aircraft over the canyon.
The proposal raises height limits for aircraft flying over the area, suggests no-fly zones and calls for phasing in quieter aircraft.
Air tours currently carry about 400,000 passengers annually over the canyon. And while "they play an important role in visitor enjoyment … without more thoughtful management, air-tour flights can interfere with the enjoyment of visitors on the ground," the park service said in a statement. (Photo by Lenny Konieczski)
What makes Vacationist stand apart from other sites? It delivers T+L-quality hotels at prices that can’t be beat. Case in point: the list of hotels on sale now, which includes Il Salviatino, a 15th-century estate that was featured on the 2010 It List, T+L’s compendium of the biggest hotel openings of the year. And you won’t want to miss the Langham Huntington (one of this year’s T+L 500 hotels) for 20% off the standard rate. Looking for deals at more award-winning T+L hotels? Click here now.
London’s Luton and Manchester airports officially have received a Trekkie–approved makeover. Starting today, passengers approaching the security check-in sections of the airports will welcomed, and given instructions, by holograms. Well, sort of. They’re not holograms in the traditional sense, they’re close (and cool) enough. Large sheets of glass are cut into the shape of people, with images of attendants Holly and Graham—get it??—projected onto them.
The idea is not to replace airport security staff with holograms, but to “help them to do their job even better, by communicating compellingly and consistently,” according to Glyn Jones, managing director of London Luton Airport.
If you’re stuck in the Windy City on account of the predicted 18” of snow (or if you’re avoiding being stuck somewhere not as cozy as a hotel), the Chicago-area Kimpton properties, the Hotel Allegro, Hotel Burnham, Hotel Monaco, and Hotel Palomar just announced a $99 “Stranded in the City” rate that is in effect from Tuesday through Friday. Just use the booking code 'COLD' when you’re booking a room online or over the phone.
USA Today | A fight between a major U.S. airline and some Web-based travel companies is having a ripple effect in the travel industry, as players take sides in a battle that could ultimately affect how fliers shop for tickets and find the best fares.
More than 125 of the nation's biggest travel organizations and agencies, including online travel giant Expedia, have formed a coalition that is taking aim at a new booking system, preferred by American Airlines, that challenges the way most major airlines make their fares available to the public.
American says that its new, direct link will better inform travelers of services it offers for a fee, such as priority boarding, and also pare the airline's costs. But the newly formed Open Allies for Airfare Transparency and other critics argue that bypassing the systems that pool fare information from multiple airlines will make it harder for the public to find the best deals, or even the best routes, to their destinations. (Photo courtesy of American Airlines)
TSA chief John Pistole said Friday he has decided not to expand the program beyond the current 16 airports, saying he does not see any advantage to it.
Though little known, the Screening Partnership Program allowed airports to replace government screeners with private contractors who wear TSA-like uniforms, meet TSA standards and work under TSA oversight. Among the airports that have "opted out" of government screening are San Francisco and Kansas City.
The push to "opt out" gained attention in December amid the fury over the TSA's enhanced pat downs, which some travelers called intrusive. READ MORE
Membership has its rewards. If you're a regular reader of Carry On, you're well familiar with the exclusive hotel offers from Vacationist, an invitation-only joint venture between Travel + Leisure and Luxury Link offering reduced stays at fabulous properties for up to 60 percent off.
But T+L is hardly alone in offering the special treatment to travelers. Leading Hotels of the World, which represents 430 independent luxury hotels, just announced its "Ultimate Benefits Program."
There are nearly 500 images already contending for a chance to win a Booq Mamba Large Messenger/Laptop Bag and publication in Travel + Leisure. For your chance to win, submit your photos here, by this coming Monday, January 31.
If you live in the Northeastern United States, get outdoors to capture the aftermath of this week's snowstorm. Or, look to other submissions for inspiration, like The Artic Explorer (above), which one of our community members shot outside of Tromso, Norway.
Snap to it!
Lyndsey Matthews is an online editorial assistant at Travel + Leisure.
New York Post | The Donald wants to reopen The Tavern to make boatloads of Green again.
Real-estate mogul Donald Trump last night said he will ask the city to grant him the right to run the now-closed, landmark Tavern on the Green restaurant in Central Park--vowing to restore it to gustatory glory with a $20 million redevelopment investment.
Trump's revelation came after he reached a deal yesterday with the union that represents Tavern's former employees.
He said it would give the union a five-year contract and between 400 to 500 jobs at the city-owned building.
Hotels realize that there is no single recipe for romance (though you might conclude that if there were one, chocolate-dipped strawberries and Champagne would be at the top of the ingredient list). While some guests may swoon at the sight of a petal-strewn bed, others may dismiss it as hackneyed.
Here’s a selection of ten Valentine’s Day packages that may strike your fancy: from no-holds-barred extravaganzas to simpler intimate breaks. Find the recipe that works for you.
It's time again for what easily ranks as one of TripAdvisor.com's most talked-about annual lists: Dirty Hotels. Who doesn't want the dirt on where stay in Europe—and where to avoid?
eTurbo News | The list of Europe's ten dirtiest hotels was released today.
The list of shame is dominated by just three destinations, with London, Amsterdam and Turkey's Aegean coast collectively responsible for Europe's ten dirtiest hotels. The two Turkish hotels top the list, followed by four properties each in London and Amsterdam.
"Despite the average overall rating for a property on TripAdvisor rising to four out of five, it is clear that a minority of hotels are still not delivering the minimum standard of experience travellers deserve, especially in relation to cleanliness" comments Emma O'Boyle, TripAdvisor spokesperson. (Photo by iStock)
As we type, fluffy snow is falling on the streets of New York City—it's no wonder we editors are highlighting special offers from three warm-weather hotels this week! Read on for more on a beachfront hideaway in Costa Rica (pictured right), a palm-strewn resort on a Thai island, and a West Coast seaside retreat tucked amid meandering lagoons.
Starbucks' recent logo change to a more minimalistic design is just the latest outburst of an unfortunate trend that has caused the demise of too many strong, recognizable logos, including many in the travel industry. In recent years we've seen Holiday Inn lose its charmingly clunky script logo in favor a cartoonish letter H against a field of lime green. Effect? Meh. Hertz dropped its familiar shadow and added a background of yellow, lots and lots of yellow. Expedia eliminated its funky old airplane and replaced it with shimmering bands of light that make one pause and think, "Is that supposed to be an airplane?" And Hotels.com killed off bag-totting Benny the Bellhop because...because...who the heck knows? Personally, I miss Benny.
But at least one travel company has seen the error of its ways.
Foursquare, a social media tool that encourages users to “check-in” at venues, realized a phenomenal 3,400% growth last year, with 381 million check-ins worldwide. The company just released a fun infographic that reveals the most popular places in 2010, according to its members’ updates.
Late last night, while browsing through my Google Reader instead of sleeping, I happened on this short, breathtaking video on one of my favorite travel blogs, Prêt à Voyager.
Le Flâneur is the creation of American University of Paris student Luke Shepard, who made this video by stitching together a series of still photographs to create a dreamy stop-motion-like view of Paris. It makes me want to board a CDG-bound plane right now.
Lyndsey Matthews is an online editorial assistant at Travel + Leisure.
I was discussing with my colleagues earlier today my relative inability to unplug myself from the world, no matter where I am. So it’s fitting that, shortly after this discussion, I received an e-mail from the Lanesborough in London, telling me about their newest guest service: the installation of Mac minis in each of the hotel’s 95 guestrooms. (Which, when you think about it, is an interesting contrast: the sleek, stylish white devices surrounded by the Georgian-style décor of the hotel.)
This additional resource lets guests access more/better TV and movie choices, as well as a place to plug in their own personal iPods, iPhones, and iPads—even personal digital cameras and jump drives, if need be. (Not to mention, access to the Internet and programs standard on any new Mac, like iLife.)
Imagine if your everyday hardcover book came with rules about where you could read it. Sounds crazy, but in the digital world we hardly bat an eye about similar restrictions. For instance, iBooks titles must be read on Apple devices.
For e-bookworms who love the platform, but could do without the Apple pits, Google just debuted the largest multi-platform cyber-bookshop, Google eBooks, with over 3 million titles (most of which are free). What sets the site apart—and has charmed several top travel publishers—is its quest for open access. Reading materials aren’t tied to a device; they’re stowed in the digital cloud. So, users enjoy limitless storage, as well as compatibility with more than 85 devices, including the Android, Sony Reader, and iPad.