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New Murals Bring Color to Philadelphia Amtrak Route

amtrak_muralsjpg

A new set of murals are making a colorfusl splash along a stretch of Amtrak lines in Philadelphia.

As part of the city's Mural Arts Program, German artist Katharina Grosse painted warehouses and abandoned lots visible from the tracks. Around 34,000 rail passengers will see the project every day from their seats on Amtrak's Northeast Corridor route between Philadelphia and New York, as well as from several local commuter lines.

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Daily Transporter: Baltimore's Hon Fest

on the waterfront

Hon Fest, Baltimore’s self-mocking festival of beehive hairdos, leopard-skin prints, and attitude, runs June 14-15. A contestant once won the coveted Best Hon title by playing Take Me Out to the Ballgame on a xylophone made from National Bohemian beer bottles.

See Baltimore in Chefs’ Favorite U.S. Restaurants

Editor’s Picks: Baltimore
America’s Best Baseball Stadiums
America’s Most and Least Attractive People
America’s Coolest Street Art

Ann Shields is a senior digital editor at Travel + Leisure. You can find her on Twitter at @aegisnyc. Get the Daily Transporter newsletter in your in-box.

Photo: nestorneighbor

Google's New Tools Improve The Way We Travel

photopng

“Google, when does my flight leave?” I asked Google Now aloud.

Within seconds, the app accessed my flight reservation and created a travel card, announcing that Virgin Atlantic flight VS45 from London to New York had been delayed 45 minutes.

This is just one way Google is trying to make travel easier for users, along with a handful of other recently unveiled new and updated tools.

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Hilton Launches New Brand: Curio

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Hilton Worldwide this week has announced the launch of a new hotel collection called Curio, a group of four- and five-star boutique properties that will maintain their unique identities while having access to Hilton’s resources, including the company’s robust Hilton HHonors loyalty program. While there are plans for Curio to have a global presence, the first five participating hotels are all stateside, including the highly-anticipated, soon-to-open SLS Las Vegas Hotel & Casino, the Sam Houston Hotel in Houston, the Hotel Alex Johnson in Rapid City, S.D., and the Franklin Hotel in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

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The Coolest Bus Stops in the World

201406-hd-thrillist-coolest-bus-stopsjpgWaiting for the bus sucks. You're subject to inclement weather. The shelters are like magnets for garbage and bodily waste. And your payoff is... riding on a public bus.

But it's a whole other story in Krumbach, Austria, where passengers wait in some of the most stylish kiosks ever to pave the public transportation route.

Sure, London has impossibly perfect benches on its streets, but this humble Austrian town of just 1,000 residents has taken transport utility to a new height of aesthetics. The local cultural institution, kultur krumbach, commissioned seven internationally acclaimed architects -- Rintala Eggertsson Architects from Norway; Ensamble Studio from Spain; Sou Fujimoto from Japan; Wang Shu from China; Smiljan Radic from Chile; Alexander Brodsky from Russia; and Architecten de Vylder Vinck Taillieu from Belgium -- to design a bus stop, in return for a free vacation in the quaint European region.

SEE MORE AT THRILLIST

Photo by Yuri Palmin

Vacation Rentals Get a Boost with Launch of Villas.com and Funding for Tripping

201405-hd-villa-rentaljpgThe vacation rental industry has officially made it. Booking.com just launched Villas.com, a smart and streamlined site dedicated solely to vacation rentals, with more than 150,000 listings. Meanwhile, Tripping—the self proclaimed “world’s largest search engine for vacation homes and short-term rentals” and the brainchild of Expedia, Travelzoo, and StubHub veterans—just got a new round of funding, rumored to be between $5 and $10 million.

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Social Media 101: How to Get the Most from Tweeting on the Road

For the third year, Travel + Leisure's Social Media in Travel and Tourism (SMITTY) awards is recognizng the brands and companies transforming the industry with their online innovations (think digital concierges and exclusive social giveaways).

To help you leverage the digital boom on your next trip and cash in on the latest social currency, we tapped four platform experts for their outreach strategies and insider tips.  

This week, Twitter’s Head of Travel Mike De Jesus explains how to leverage your social clout  - and reveals the one hashtag you shouldn’t be traveling without.  

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Camping...in New York City

201406-hd-camp-rockawayjpgFirst things first: I don’t do staycations. However, I’ve made exceptions for quirky experiences, like camping in Brooklyn’s Marine Park and checking in to Boatel, an abandoned-boats-turned-hotel/art project in Far Rockaway, Queens.

So I’m intrigued by a new potential project, also out by the beach in Queens: Camp Rockaway. The idea? A handful of safari-style tents with comfy beds, outdoor showers, private fire pits, and hot tubs overlooking Jamaica Bay. 

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How To Get a Free Camera (Or Running Shoes) Tomorrow

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If you own a DSLR and are in New York City, you may be eligible for a free camera upgrade. Tomorrow, Samsung is hosting #DITCHtheDSLR Day, a pop-up event dedicated to their lineup of mirrorless models--and why they're just as powerful as their bulkier counterparts. Head to Times Square between noon and 6pm to take their top-of-the-line NX30 SMART Camera for a spin (with the help of professional photographers, there to take you on photo walks and offer their best shooting tips). If you like what you see, you can trade in your old DSLR and get an NX30--for free. (That's a $999 camera, for those of you keeping track.) But get there early and bring any kit lenses or batteries that came with your dinosaur, as only a limited quantity will be available on a first-come, first-served basis.

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Irresistible USA Travel Twitter Chat on Tuesday, June 3

From favorite beach spots to where to go for camping (or glamping!) join our Irresistible USA Travel Twitter chat this Tuesday, June 3rd from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. EST. We'll be asking experts about hometown dishes to try, favorite shopping destinations, quirky roadside attractions, and more. Join along and ask them for their insider advice!

The Host:

T+L Associate Editor, Brooke Porter Katz, @brookeporter1

The Panelists:

Trip Advisor's Wendy Perrin, @wendyperrin

Travel Channel, @TravelChannel

Foursquare, @foursquare

Amtrak, @Amtrak

Southern Living Magazine, @Southern_Living

Sunset Magazine, @SunsetMag

Fashion Accessories Designer, Rafe New York, @RafeNewYork

NY1's Jamie Stelter, @JamieStelter

Chef Rick Bayless, @Rick_Bayless

Natalie Zfat, @nataliezfat

Vegas.com, @Vegascom

Catharine Hamm, Los Angeles Times: @CatHamm

How does it work?

1. Log in to Twitter before the chat starts at 2pm ET and be sure to follow @TravlandLeisure.

2. Head over to http://twitter.com. Enter the hashtag #TL_Chat into the search bar and select the "All" search option to follow the chat in real time.

3. Remember to always add the hashtag #TL_Chat to your tweets.

4. We'll pulse out some questions for our expert panel to answer, but feel free to post your own responses. Or ask questions of your own! 

All tweets are subject to our social media terms and conditions and may be used in any and all media including editorial. See full social media terms and conditions.

Gabrielle Blitz is Associate Social Media Editor at Travel + Leisure.

Heathrow's T2: A New Model for Airport Design

Video: Update on Heathrow Airport's T2

Intuitive design, natural light: what New York’s JFK can learn from Heathrow’s T2.

You’ve got to give Spanish architect Luis Vidal points for standing before an audience of hardened, JFK-weary New York City travel reporters and declaring, “Terminals today are the cathedrals of the twenty-first century.” Vidal designed the newest addition to London’s Heathrow Airport, the $4 billion Terminal 2, opening this month. T2, also called the Queen’s Terminal, is one of those sunlight-bathed, technologically of-the-moment facilities popping up in airports from San Francisco to Mumbai, restoring a degree of pleasure to air travel. But cathedrals? Vidal argues they were once “gathering places and icons” of every city. And that, he reasons, is what airports are today.

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Daily Transporter: Chilean Mummy

cowgirl in the atacama desert

Last week, a group of Chilean school kids on a field trip uncovered a Chinchorro mummy that may predate Egyptian mummies by 4,000 years. The students were digging near the border with Peru, in an area that had experienced a landslide in April.

See Chile in World’s Coolest Hot Springs

Editor’s Picks: Chile
World’s Prettiest Mountain Towns
Most Romantic Hotel Fireplaces
World’s Strangest Statues

Ann Shields is a senior digital editor at Travel + Leisure. You can find her on Twitter at @aegisnycGet the Daily Transporter newsletter in your in-box.

Photo: hajarali

Bywater, New Orleans: The South's Next Great Neighborhood

Bywater New Orleans: Booty's

This area is growing by the minute, while still preserving its cultural authenticity. Chef Jonathan Lestingi’s New American gastropub, Oxalis (3162 Dauphine St.), serves up terrific whiskey cocktails and shareable plates. Order the Cajun-spiced hot buttered rum popcorn. Baskerville (3000 Royal St.; by appointment), a nonprofit center, offers letterpress printing workshops; the presses themselves are works of art. Tigermen Den (3113 Royal St.) is an ever-evolving event space that hosts everything from art exhibits to weekly Sunday brunches with a ragtime band. Try the Peruvian-style ceviche or Puerto Rican yuca mofongo at Booty’s (pictured; 800 Louisa St.), which serves a global street food menu.

Video: New Orleans Travel

Appeared as “The United States of Awesome: The Bywater, New Orleans” in T+L Magazine

Photo courtesy of Booty's

World's Coolest Beach Bars

201405-hd-thrillist-beach-bars_croppedjpgSorry, mountains. Nice try, lakes. When it comes to the greatest summer vacation destination, nothing beats the beach. Think about it: sun, sand, surf, half-naked people -- throw in strong drinks and laid-back beach bars, and you've got the full monty. But which waterfront watering holes are the best?

SEE THE LIST ON THRILLIST

Photo from Wikimedia Commons

Daily Transporter: New Traditions in Vienna

new public space

The fight over which institution—the Hotel Sacher Wien or Demel Bakery—could claim to serve the “original” sachertorte raged on nine years before the hotel took the cake, but Vienna has embraced some new traditions, too: the Museumsquartier, pictured here, has become a favorite summer hot spot for culture and people-watching.

See sachertorte in Food and Travel: Reader Photos

Editor’s Picks: Vienna
World’s Coolest Observation Decks
World’s Greatest Public Bathrooms
Celebrities’ Favorite Places

Ann Shields is a senior digital editor at Travel + Leisure. You can find her on Twitter at @aegisnyc. Get the Daily Transporter newsletter in your in-box.

Photo: Jessica Sample

Daily Transporter: Golf Death Valley

sand trap

Even if you can’t brag about a low golf score, you can play the lowest-altitude golf course in the world: the links at Death Valley’s Inn at Furnace Creek sit 214 feet below sea level.

See the Inn at Furnace Creek in Great National Park Lodges

Editor’s Picks: Death Valley
America’s Coolest Ghost Towns
World’s Strangest Natural Wonders
Beautiful National Parks: Readers’ Photos

Ann Shields is a senior digital editor at Travel + Leisure.You can find her on Twitter at @aegisnyc. Get the Daily Transporter newsletter in your in-box.

Photo courtesy of T+L Photo Contest

Introducing VIX Valise

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Ok so you’re staying at the Trump Soho NYC on business and you never dreamed you’d have any down time but here you are with a few glorious hours of leisure, expansive pool, a smiling sun and no swimsuit.
 
Brazilian native and bikini lover, Paula Hermanny comes to the rescue with her VIX Valise.  It’s a goody bag of sorts, which contains all you need for a swim and then some. The kit comes to your room in a black and white bold stripe tote. Inside are a black bikini with gold accents, a white caftan (can’t go wrong there), black flip-flops and a towel to go with the color scheme, all in your size.  Truth be told, sunglasses and sunscreen are still required but you’ve brought the sunnies and you can borrow a squeeze of sun prevention from your lounging mate. It’s a pricey indulgence at $468 but no matter you’re on vacation in chic New York.  Even if its only for a few hours.

Mimi LombardoMimi Lombardo is the fashion director at Travel + Leisure.

 

 

Image courtesy of ViX Paula Hermanny.

Crazy Cliff-Diving Competition Comes To Texas

cliff_divingjpgThe first time I visited Acapulco, like any tourist I wanted to see the famous cliff-divers leap from the craggy heights of La Quebrada 135 feet into the foaming Pacific below. I learned a life lesson that day: Never be stupid enough to jump off a cliff like that. You’ll break your neck! Not everyone has learned that lesson, though—in particular, the newest breed of cliff divers now fighting it out in the 2014 Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series. Next stop on the series tour: Possum Kingdom Lake, Texas, 80 miles west of Fort Worth, on June 6-7. 

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Q+A: Nick Brown, Founder of Soludos

201405-hd-nick-brown-selfjpgBeloved by beach-goers and city slickers alike, Soludos espadrilles are designed with a self-proclaimed year-round spirit of summer, no matter your location. Founder Nick Brown is the essence of that—a surf-loving, effortlessly cool globetrotter who’s regularly perusing new and hip destinations. The London native turned New Yorker shares his favorite international hotspots, tells stories of past trips, and divulges his plans for the summer.

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Daily Transporter: Game-Changing Ferris Wheels

aerial shot of ferris wheel

Attractions like the London Eye and this Ferris wheel on Chicago’s Navy Pier have been luring tourists downtown; now, cities like NYC, Orlando, and Dubai are climbing on board. Las Vegas adds its own spin to the phenomenon: you can get married on the new 500-foot High Roller.

See the High Roller in 25 Selfies You Have to Take This Year

Editor’s Picks: Great City Trips
World’s Coolest Ferris Wheels
World’s Coolest New Tourist Attractions
World’s Coolest Tram Rides

Ann Shields is a senior digital editor at Travel + Leisure. You can find her on Twitter at @aegisnyc. Get the Daily Transporter newsletter in your in-box.

Photo courtesy of T+L Photo Contest

Sydney Opera House is All Lit Up During Annual Festival

Every night through June 9, the sails of the iconic Sydney Opera House will be awash in colorful lights and 3D projections as part of Vivid Sydney, the largest light, music, and ideas festival in the Southern Hemisphere. The spectacle was designed by the creative agency 59 Productions, known for their work on the Opening Ceremony of the London Olympic Games.

Brooke Porter
Brooke Porter Katz is an Associate Editor at Travel + Leisure. Follow her on Twitter at @brookeporter1.

Sleep Above the Lions in These Luxe African Treehouses

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It goes without saying that, even as an adult, there are few places to spend the night as cool as way up in a tree. How else do you explain the popularity of these 10 insane treehouse hotels?

But what if you're looking for something more exclusive than your standard arboreal accommodation? This trio of tree huts on the Lion Sands Game Reserve in South Africa offer privacy, luxury, and a 360-degree view of the beautiful, sometimes frightening natural world below.

SEE MORE AT THRILLIST

Photo courtesy of Lion Sands

How to Avoid Tick Bites: A Hiker’s Guide

201405-hd-deer-tickjpgLate spring and early summer is one of the best—and most exhilarating—times of year to take to outdoors for a hike. It’s also peak season for tick bites, especially if you live in the East or Midwest.

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Daily Transporter: French Trains Too Fat?

paris museum

Sleek regional trains ordered by the French government are not quite sleek enough: 1,300 train platforms will have to be slimmed down to allow the wider trains. (The Gare d'Orsay, now the Musée d’Orsay, closed in 1939 when its short platforms didn’t match the length of the newer electric trains.)

See the Musée d’Orsay in World’s Most Beautiful Museums

Editor’s Picks: Paris
World’s Most Amazing Views
World’s Coolest Hotel Bathrooms
Best Instagram Photos of 2013

Ann Shields is a senior digital editor at Travel + Leisure. You can find her on Twitter at @aegisnyc. Get the Daily Transporter newsletter in your in-box.

Photo courtesy of T+L Photo Contest

Jay Z Has Opened a Nightclub at the Atlanta Airport

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Sure Hov, why not? If you find yourself killing time during a layover at the Atlanta International Airport anytime soon, stop by Jay Z’s elite club, now conveniently located in Concourse D.

Yup, the third location of Hov’s swanky 40/40 club has officially opened at at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, the Associated Press reports. And really, why not? Jay Z can do whatever the heck he wants. Remember: he’s not a businessman, he’s a business, man.

The original 40/40 is in Manhattan, with an additional location in Brooklyn. This new airport version will basically be a “scaled down” replica of original club, and there are plans in the works to create a special VIP section. Otherwise, details are pretty scarce.

Here’s hoping the soundtrack exclusively consists of Aziz Ansari’s club anthem, because it feels like it would be a great fit. Plus, it talks a lot about jets:

Samantha Grossman is a reporter for Time magazine. This article originally appeared on Time.com.

More from Time:
Jay Z, Solange and Beyoncé: ‘We Have Moved Forward’ 

The 2013 Time 100

Everything You Need to Know About the Solange-Jay Z Elevator Fight

Photo from iStock


Video: Watch Lightning Strike London's The Shard



London's the Shard—Europe's tallest buiding and home to the newest Shangri-La hotel—made headlines last week when it was struck by lightning during a thunderstorm on Thursday. The video above has since gone viral, with nearly 1 million views.

For those of you concerned about safety, a hotel employee assures me that no guests or staff members reported feeling or hearing the strike.

Peter Schlesinger is a research assistant at Travel + Leisure and a member of the Trip Doctor news team. You can find him on Twitter at @pschles08.

 

Destination Club Exclusive Resorts Launches Nightly Rates

exclusive_resortsjpgExclusive Resorts, a destination club with more than 300 villas around the world, just announced that it is expanding on its membership-only model with the launch of the Gateway card. The new initiative puts the company in the same category as regular villa rentals and even hotels—groundbreaking for a company that typically requires a 30-year commitment.

Read More

A Weekend Trip Around the World

Around the world in a weekend—why not? UK-based Austravel is offering package tours that leave London on Friday, take you to Australia, and have you back for work in London by Tuesday morning.

How to Ride a Vespa Like an Italian

how to ride a Vespa

So you think you can just scooter around Rome like a carefree Audrey Hepburn or Gregory Peck? Think again. Mastering the iconic bike—not to mention the traffic—requires serious know-how. Claudio Sarra of Bici & Baci, which provides Vespas to the St. Regis hotel ($$$$), gives us tips on safe navigation.

1. Driving in Rome can be dangerous. Put on a helmet, fasten the chin strap, and slide the visor down to protect against oncoming insetti.

2. Lift the Vespa off the kickstand before starting the engine and giving it gas, or risk losing control and launching it unpiloted into the street (a common mistake).

3. Avoid aree pedonali (pedestrianized zones) and bus lanes, which are marked with yellow paint. Everywhere else is fair game. Well, not sidewalks.

4. Romans hardly follow routine traffic laws, let alone use hand signals; be hyper-attentive for other scooters veering in and out of gridlock, and bypass the busiest intersections.

5. With such narrow frames, parking is a breeze—and free (even in metered spots). Be sure to take your belongings with you, and don’t forget to lock up.

Travel Tip Video: Rome Made Easy

Related Links:
T+L's Definitive Guide to Rome
Europe's Best Places to Eat Like a Local
How to Learn a Language

Illustration by Michael Hoeweler

Affordable (and Stylish) European Hotel Chains

European Hotel Chains: Radisson Blu in Stockholm

Though they’re less known to American travelers, these design-conscious brands have surprisingly well-priced rooms. Plus: A few of our favorite up-and-comers.

Room Mate

Presence in Europe: 15 hotels (11 in Spain)

Rates From: $95 (Madrid, Istanbul); $136 (Amsterdam, Florence)

This Spanish company, cofounded by former Olympic horseback rider Enrique Sarasola, is known for its futuristic-looking hotels (origami-like furniture; neon lights). It recently opened outposts in Istanbul’s chic Beyoğlu district and on a man-made island in Amsterdam; Milan and Rotterdam debut in 2015.

Scandic

Presence in Europe: 154 hotels (76 in Sweden)

Rates from $114 (Oslo); $177 (Stockholm)

Based in northern Europe, Scandic blends contemporary design and cutting-edge technology; it recently became the world’s first hotel chain to offer brand-wide online checkout (through smartphone or computer). British star chef Jamie Oliver creates menus for each property and is bringing his own restaurant to Stockholm’s Scandic Anglais this fall.

Radisson Blu

Presence in Europe: 182 hotels (25 in Germany)

Rates From: $147 (Madrid); $319 (Paris)

Radisson Blu’s pedigree can be traced to its first European hotel: Danish architect Arne Jacobsen’s 1960 Royal Hotel in Copenhagen. The company continues to attract homegrown talent, including François Champsaur, who worked on Paris’s Le Metropolitan. Look out for new locations in Belgrade and Oslo.

Novotel

Presence in Europe: 248 hotels (113 in France)

Rates From: $85 (Athens); $110 (Berlin); $124 (Barcelona)

Though established in 1967, France’s Novotel brand stays current with redesigned rooms and a virtual concierge service via on-site kiosks and a smartphone app. Among the latest arrivals are a location near London’s Wembley Stadium and a 360-room property in Moscow that’s a short drive from the Kremlin. Next up: Rotterdam.

Meliá

Presence in Europe: 65 hotels (45 in Spain)

Rates From: $205 (Vienna); $286 (Capri)

Expect well-located, city-center hotels that embrace local design from Majorca-based Meliá. Consider its two most recent openings: Meliá Vienna sits in the city’s tallest building (a glass tower by Dominique Perrault), while the 19 rooms at the Villa Capri are outfitted with Murano chandeliers and Poltrona Frau and Cappellini furniture.

Ones to Watch

This month, Scandic Hotels debuts the stripped-down brand HTL ($) in Stockholm; 20 more are planned by 2019. The Millennial-focused Citizen M ($)—with free movie streaming and self check-in—opens in Paris later this year. 25Hours Hotels ($) recently headed to Berlin for its seventh property. The arty, edgy company Nhow ($) has launched in the culture-rich cities of Berlin, Milan, and Rotterdam.

Hotels
$ Less than $200
$$ $200 to $350
$$$ $350 to $500
$$$$ $500 to $1,000
$$$$$ More than $1,000

Restaurants
$ Less than $25
$$ $25 to $75
$$$ $75 to $150
$$$$ More than $150

Related Links:
Europe's Best Affordable Hotels
Guide to Hotel Loyalty Programs
Trend: Boutique Hotels from Big Hotel Chains

Amy FarleyHave a travel dilemma? Need some tips and remedies? Send your questions to news editor Amy Farley at tripdoctor@timeinc.com. Follow @tltripdoctor on Twitter.


Photo by Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group

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