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.
We started out our chat by asking our panel of cruise experts what voyages they were most excited for.
The Cruise Guy's Stewart Chiron, is “most excited to cruise on @RoyalCaribbean['s] brand new #QuantumoftheSeas. Definite #gamechanger.” Cruise Critic is ready for new voyages from “@WindstarCruises [with] Asia and Arabia itineraries.” Rich Beattie wishes he could go back on a past excursion he took, sailing the Amazon with Abercrombie & Kent.
With properties scattered everywhere from India to Indonesia, Oberoi Hotels & Resorts has always embraced multiculturalism. And in the United Arab Emirates, crossroads of rampant internationalism, the group’s new Oberoi, Dubai($$$) is one big global romp, including Arabic coffee at check-in and a general United Nations approach to hospitality. Here’s a look at some of the highlights, country by country.
India: On staff at the city’s first 24-hour spa: Priyanka Chowdhury, who won two gold medals for India in the Yoga Olympics. Relax with the shirodhara treatment, a stream of oil on the forehead.
Japan: At the open-kitchen Umai restaurant ($$$$), Takeyuki Nakagawa is one of the few chefs in the U.A.E. certified to prepare fugu, the poisonous puffer fish that’s a Japanese delicacy.
England: Classic British afternoon tea (house-made scones and lemon curd; authentic clotted cream) gets a twist with Asian-inspired pandan eclairs and Turkish halvah.
Czech Republic: The lobby is dominated by two epic chandeliers: created by the Czech firm Lasvit, each is made from more than 100,000 shimmering crystal pieces. Only in Dubai.
Last year, 26 million bags were reported mishandled worldwide; of those, 12.9 percent were pilfered or damaged, according to global aviation consultancy SITA. It may sound like a lot, but that still comes down to just about one bag per 1,000 passengers. Want to reduce the risk? Be sure to get the right lock—only those with Travel Sentry or Safe Skies emblems are TSA-approved.
45: The percentage drop in mishandled bags worldwide from 2007 to 2012.
Avis Car Rental is keeping up its tech-y track record with the integration of Avis Preferred, its express rental service, with Google Wallet—making them the first company in the car rental industry to join Google’s new app. Wallet’s application allows users on Android and iPhone devices to send money, pay for online purchases, and store loyalty program info all in a 24/7 fraud-monitored location. As of today, travelers can enroll in Avis Preferred through the app and have their new Avis Wizard number appear automatically, while existing members can save their Wizard number in the app. Users will then receive offers from Avis directly through Google Wallet, expediting the car rental process—especially convenient for travelers on a tight schedule.
Maria Pedone is on the digital team at Travel + Leisure. Follow her on Twitter at @mariapedestrian.
The new music video for "City of Angels," from the band Thirty Seconds to Mars is an 11-minute tribute to Tinseltown, featuring sweeping aerial shots interspersed with interviews from A-Listers and celebrity impersonators.
Watch as Kanye West, Lindsey Lohan, James Franco, Selena Gomez, and others discuss their city—the good, the bad, and the ugly. The effect is more love-letter to L.A. than music video.
Feeling inspired? Check out T+L's guide to the Los Angeles.
Peter Schlesinger is a research assistant at Travel + Leisure. You can follow him on Twitter at @pschles08.
Ever wish you could travel back in time? Well, now you can, thanks to Limite Zero, a new zipline that connects Sanlucar de Guadiana, in Andalucia, Spain, to Alcoutim, in Algarve, Portugal—which is one hour behind. A privately funded passion project of Englishman David Jarman, the 2,362-foot-long zipline (called “la tirolina” in Spain) crosses the Guadiana River at 50 feet above sea level. “It seemed like a great way to unite both places, since a bridge had been talked about for many years, but was never realized,” Jarman says. “Plus, I love a challenge!” Here’s how it works: A 4x4 takes you to the departing platform, set near Spain’s San Marco Castle, and in less than a minute, you arrive on the Portuguese side, no passport required. (Speeds can reach up to 45 miles per hour.) A short walk takes you to Alcoutim village, where a small passenger ferry awaits anyone who needs a ride back to Spain; fare is included in the 15 euro price.
The Formula One U.S. Grand Prix—where some of the world's fastest and most expensive cars will compete—kicks off tomorrow in Austin, Texas. People travel from all over the world to attend.
On the eve of the second-to-last race of the season, we thought we’d check in with Nicholas Frankl, die-hard F1 fan, founder of My Yacht Group, Olympian bobsledder (who has a friendly but competitive bobsledding rivalry with HSH Prince Albert of Monaco), and collector of many things—yachts, cars, and, yes, even refrigerator magnets.
Southwest Airline’s frequent-flyer members need no longer undress to pass airport security. Today, the carrier became the eighth domestic airline to offer TSA PreCheck, a program to pre-approve travelers for expedited security screenings.
The president of the US Travel Association, Roger Dow, calls the initiative “decidedly pro-traveler.” It’s meant to make travel easy, so that people fly—and fly often.
By the end of December, Pre-Check will be available to all members of the military at every airport in the country offering the service. At this time, military personnel can enjoy the perk at 10 domestic airports.
Hyatt recently hosted a day-long Twitter chat that it dubbed the “World's Largest Focus Group,” tapping into current travel trends among its clients. Most of the results were not all that surprising—respondents' top wish was for seamless check-in, bypassing the front desk and heading straight to the room.
But by far the most important takeaway regards business travelers' clothing preferences when working from their hotel rooms:
65 percent of women opt for pajamas or workout gear
50 percent of men prefer casual business attire
2.5 percent of both genders forego clothing altogether
Think about that the next time you receive an email from a colleague on a business trip...!
Peter Schlesinger is a research assistant at Travel + Leisure. You can follow him on Twitter at @pschles08.
With more than 70 percent of the world covered in water, it’s no surprise the cruise industry is the world's fastest-growing travel sector. But with so many waterways to explore, it's often difficult deciding which cruise—and cruise ship—is the right fit.
From first-timers to seasoned wayfarers, cruisers can now compare ships side by side. Powered by Find The Best, the T+L Cruise Finder makes it easy to search by ports of call, ship size, price point—you name it—and compare features. It's the first platform of its kind.
The U.S. Department of State (DOS) issues a Travel Warning when it identifies a chronic and sustained threat to U.S. citizens in a given country. Sometimes it warns against all travel there; sometimes it simply informs people of the risk. Travel Alerts usually address problems of finite duration, such as elections, public demonstrations, or hurricanes. The DOS also issues Security Messages and Emergency Messages, depending on the situation. To get updates for a particular trip, sign up for the DOS’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) at step.state.gov.
Have a travel dilemma? Need some tips and remedies? Send your questions to news editor Amy Farley at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @tltripdoctor on Twitter.
As the the winds pick up and the weather gets chilly, it’s only natural for we northeasterners to daydream about a sunny Florida getaway—and canines are no exception. Ladybird, above, is a fan of Miami’s EPIC Hotel for their “pet-friendly and incredible accommodations, along with the views of Miami and the bay!” And while Ladybird is on the small side (T+L Instagram follower @shmesyca says she’s an Australian Cattle Dog—also known as a Blue Heeler—and Chihuahua mix), all weights, sizes, and breeds of animals are welcomed free of charge at the hotel.
Located at the base of Telluride in Mountain Village, this hotel has 95 guestrooms outfitted with leather armchairs, plush beds, and soaking tubs. Getting onto the slopes is easy with the ski valet who can help you get outfitted with all equipment and gear you’ll need. Consider visiting in early December before prices go up for the holidays and high ski season. After a day on the mountain, enjoy the hotel’s restaurant, Rev, which serves only produce and meat sourced from farms located within a 100-mile radius and seafood from sustainable fisheries. Doubles from $199/night (through December 19).
Going home for the holidays? Thanksgiving is one of the biggest travel days of the year and to prepare, we'll be discussing airport and holiday travel strategies, tips, and advice this Wednesday, November 13th from 2-3pm EDT.
Ask our panel of insiders for their expert advice!
Mark Orwoll, T+L International Editor, @orwoll
Jennifer Flowers, T+L Travel News Editor and Trip Doctor team member, @TLTripDoctor
Wes Anderson's upcoming movie, The Grand Budapest Hotel, stars Ralph Fiennes as the concierge of a beautiful 1920s European hotel. While most of this movie was shot at a historic German shopping center, many directors shoot in hotels where you can actually stay. For example, did you know you can stay at the plantation where Interview With a Vampire was shot? Or drink whiskey like Bill Murray's character did at the bar on the 52nd floor of the Park Hyatt Tokyo (pictured above) in Lost in Translation. Check out more famous movie hotels over at Thrillist.
Following the destruction wrought by Super Typhoon Haiyan, which appears to be the Philippine Islands’ worst natural disaster in history, relief efforts are rapidly rising up across the world. Here, while Americans commemorate the courage of their veterans, the State Department is hurrying to organize a team of these hometown heroes to provide aid in the storm-torn Philippines.
The scale of Haiyan’s devastation is overwhelming. More than 10,000 lives are feared to have been lost in Friday’s storm, and at least 600,000 people have been displaced. Police officials report at least 80-percent of the worst hit Leyte province’s infrastructure was leveled by the 200-mph winds and 20-foot waves.
This beloved travel destination, known for its breathtaking white sand beaches and jungle-capped cliffs, is home to four of the World’s Best Hotels, and is now in great need of international support. At TravelandLeisure.com, we extend our deepest sympathies to those affected by Haiyan, and we encourage everyone to do what they can to make a difference for those in need.
An Italian developer last week unveiled a plan to create a 10-acre amusement park in the heart of Venice, complete with gigantic Ferris wheel, roller coaster, bobbing boat rides, a log flume, a swinging galleon, and what look suspiciously like Polynesian thatched huts selling trinkets. The proposal is by no means assured, and must still be approved by local authorities. But nonetheless it answers the age-old question: No, nothing is sacred anymore.
The developer, Antonio Zamperla, has chosen as its site the ill-used San Biagio Island, a man-made spit of landfill that has long been exploited as a garbage dump. The builder said it will first clear the land and remediate the ecological damage before constructing the park. Among the attractions: re-enactments of the naval Battle of Lepanto, between the Turks and Venetians, in an artificial pond; Carnival-themed performances on an outdoor stage; interactive exhibits of the lagoon ecosystem; augmented-reality installations based on the city’s history; and a spinning, stand-up, half-pipe ride called a Disk’O, which is best enjoyed before you eat lunch.
Beverly Hills opened the new Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts last month and has now inaugurated the venue, a former historic post office, restored, repurposed, and expanded, in grand style with performances by the Martha Graham Dance Company. It is no exaggeration to state that Martha Graham is and remains an icon of modern dance. And the company she launched in 1926 remains contemporary both because of Graham’s original aesthetic, idiom, and technique and also because it commissions work from today’s leading choreographers. But there’s a special link with Los Angeles, dance, and Graham. It was there in California that Martha Graham—so wholly identified with New York—studied with Ruth St. Denis and Ted Shawn, the influential and essential pioneers of modern dance.
The Department of Transportation has added new rules to make air travel easier for passengers with disabilities. From ticket purchasing to check-in to the flight itself, the entire experience should be accessible within two years. Here are some of the changes you'll be noticing:
Airline websites will be easier to use for everyone: Becoming more accessible for individuals with disabilities—based on the Website Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG)—websites will actually become more accessible for everyone with improved visuals and clearer forms to fill out.
Same goes for automated kiosks: On top of being at varying heights for those in wheelchairs, check-in kiosks will also meet WCAG criteria. Every new kiosk installed must be accessible, until 25 percent of the kiosks at that location are usable by all.
I’m not an experienced cruiser, but when I heard there was a ship that has Iron Man’s armor, Thor’s hammer, and Captain America’s shield, I knew my kids would be the perfect passengers.
With twin 4-year-old boys in the house, superhero talk starts at 6:30 a.m. and ends at bedtime. Disney’s relaunched Disney Magic has a new Marvels Avengers Academy program to give the short-cape set a sneak peek into the Avengers’ world.
1. The Bar Code The International Air Transport Association mandated in 2005 that all 240 member airlines have to use boarding passes embedded with bar codes rather than magnetic strips—making it possible to print them at home and ushering in the era of paperless travel.
2. Flight Time The practice of padding flight times to account for unpredictable tarmac traffic peaked around 2010. Airlines have since scaled back. This JFK-LAX flight went from six hours, four minutes in 2005 to six hours, 40 minutes in 2010. It’s now six hours, 15 minutes.
3. Security The TSA’s PreCheck expedited security program continues its rapid expansion, adding new partner airlines and airports to its ranks. If you’re a member, scan your boarding pass to see if you’ve been granted PreCheck clearance for a given flight.