Think you know Africa? Guess again. YouDontKnowAfrica.com will test your knowledge of all 54 countries nestled in the world’s second-largest continent—a challenge for even the most seasoned traveler. Start the game off slow with 20 random countries and work your way to the “super-difficult” level (that’s 50 countries, and no hints!). Keep at it and you’ll be an Africa-aficionado in no time, from the Saharan sands in Morocco to Zambia’s mighty Victoria Falls.
Maria Pedone is contributor to TravelandLeisure.com. Follow her on Twitter at @mariapedestrian.
The most frustrating part of planning a trip? Not being able to score the right restaurant reservations (well, for this foodie, anyway). Several city-specific tools have cropped up to serve those of us who are both discerning eaters and poor planners (SoonSpoon.com in Boston; TableSavvy in Chicago; New York’s @LastMinuteEatin’ on Twitter), but today OpenTable is announcing a new program that will take the model coast to coast.
With Hot Tables, OpenTable lets VIP users (those who make at least 12 reservations a year) sign up for alerts when their preferred restaurant is already booked—anyone who has signed up for the alert will get a text message notification the second a table opens up. (In other words, there will still be competition.) Sound a lot like Rezhound? That’s because it is—the independent site had been offering the exact same service without being under OpenTable’s purview, proving just how much demand there might be for an official product.
Delta’s loyalty plan changes—which shift focus from miles travelled to dollars spent—has the travel world abuzz, and JetBlueis getting in on the action. Their just-launched Mosaic Challenge invites high-ranking members of various airline loyalty programs (Delta, America, and United among them) to try JetBlue’s VIP perks on for size—and see what they like better. The parameters: anyone with status (gold and above, in most cases) will automatically qualify for TrueBlue Mosaic for the rest of 2014. If they earn 3,750 base flight points in their first 90 days with TrueBlue, they’ll keep Mosaic status through the end of 2015.
There’s a long tradition throughout Europe of statutes requiring hotels to collect information on guests—including name, nationality, and ID number—enabling law enforcement to cross-check for wanted individuals, criminals, or missing persons. The European Union has since made such data collection a requirement for hotels in member states. Most of this information is simply stored to be made available to authorities upon request, though in certain areas (notably Italy), it is regularly collected. In the past, some hotels would hold guests’ passports for hours or even overnight to manually complete the registration process. Today, you usually just have to show it at check-in.
Chef Thang Pham—born in Vietnam, raised in America, running a kitchen in Barcelona— presents the world on a plate, the summation of his influences wrapped in a banana leaf: his mother; his childhood best friend who welcomed him into an African American southern home; Washington, D.C.’s Anne Cashion; his Catalan present. Pham’s restaurant “Me” (Vietnamese for Mother), is in Barcelona’s Eixample neighborhood. Here, this architect-turned-Cordon Bleu graduate presents nimble plates for a sophisticated audience.
Q: How did you end up in BCN?
A: Having studied architecture, I came here because of Antonio Gaudi and I stumbled upon Ferran Adria and all those fantastic chefs—it was a very creatively rich atmosphere. My plan was to stay here a year—13 years ago! Spain has an absolutely amazing the sense of passion for and quality of product that is unrivaled—the black pork, all the seafood, even the artichokes. The reverence for simple, quality food is unique.
Giving new meaning to the phrase "asleep at the wheel", the V8's a 34-room German hotel dedicated to all things car that boasts a vintage auto museum, elaborately themed rooms tricked out with original parts/ memorabilia, and its own brew pub.
Pros: I’m not one for selfies, but Grand Central Beauty’s S.M.A.R.T. Skin Perfecting mask left my skin #nofilter flawless: shine-free, super soft, and just the right amount of glow. To be honest, that wasn’t even half the fun. I felt like a mad beauty scientist mixing the mask (it comes as pre-measured dosages of a powder and booster), and then peeling away the botanical and mineral-rich concoction once it dried. Bonus points for travel-friendly packaging—the tub breaks down to a lid and mixing dish, perfect for packing a single application.
Cons: This mask requires a bit more cleanup than other treatments, but the geniuses at Grand Central Beauty already thought of that: the mixing dish is designed for quick and easy tidying. It’s as simple as wiping away the excess mixture, no water required.
The waterfront district of Chiaia—long home to top-notch Italian tailors—is now bursting at the seams with style.
Anhelo:The source for locally roasted Neapolitan coffee—and a go-to spot for Italian ladies who lunch. Tapas-style dishes make the most of regional Italian ingredients (try the tempura squid with pepper sauce). 3 Via Bisignano.$$
Rubinacci: The maestro of unstructured men’s tailoring has moved into appropriately posh digs: the imposing 16th-century Palazzo Cellamare. You’ll find brightly colored ties, silk foulards depicting Neapolitan landmarks, and soft-shouldered suits in new and vintage fabrics. 149 Via Chiaia.
Priceline’s introducing some exciting new features today—and we’ve gotten a sneak peak at what to expect. Exclusive to users on iPhone and iPad, the upgrade includes a partnership with intelligent fare search Routehappy as well as a location-based hotel search tool. When looking for a place to stay, the Deals Near Me feature will now scan the thirty mile radius around you to find great room discounts in the vicinity—it pulls from Priceline’s entire database, featuring both Express Deals and retail prices. As with any dynamic zone hotel search, this lends itself best to last minute bookings, but don’t count it out as a planning tool—you can manually change your position on the map to anywhere in the world, accessing deals that are say, walking distance from the Prado—and search for reservations months out in the future.
Closed for seven years, the resort sits high above Palm Springs on a bluff in the Santa Rosa mountains. Guests will choose from 244 rooms and suites, each featuring Frette linens and Asprey amenities. Natural stone, wood, and a muted color scheme dominate, embracing the desert surroundings and blurring the line between inside and outside—a smart design choice, given the resort's enviable location and many outdoor activity options. The resort is also within easy striking distance of dozens of world-class golf courses.
Also on site will be a double-decker spa and two new restaurants—one a test kitchen, and the other a luxe steak and seafood spot. For reservations, which go on sale today, visit the hotel's website.
Peter Schlesinger is a research assistant at Travel + Leisure and a member of the Trip Doctor news team.
All-inclusives can deliver luxury, great service, delicious food, and even better—a predictable price. We'll be discussing all-inclusive getaways this Tuesday, March 18th from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. EST. Whether you have questions on hidden costs or unknown destinations with all-inclusive options, join our Twitter Chat and ask the experts for their insider advice!
Plug into the scene at one of these stylish spots.
Borkonyha Wine Kitchen, Budapest: A fashionable bistro dedicated to Hungary’s woefully underrated wines. Late nights draw well-heeled locals for sautéed duck liver and freshwater trout with dill. 3 Sas Utca.$$$
Paraje Arevalo, Buenos Aires: On the still-boho side of Palermo Hollywood, this storefront bistro attracts a chic clientele with brilliantly flavored blackboard specials influenced by the chefs’ stints at renowned European restaurants Mugaritz and the Fat Duck. 1502 Arevalo.$$$$
Octopus Bar, Atlanta(pictured): In an unmarked room behind an East Atlanta pho house, kitchen workers and industry minions meet after work to lick their wounds and shoot Fernet. To eat, there’s high-minded Asian cooking, like monkfish-liver torchon and freshwater-eel congee. 560 Gresham Ave. S.E.$$
East Side King, Austin, TX: James Beard Award–winning chef Paul Qui is behind this graffitied food trailer (one of two) that sets up in the backyard of East Side hot spot Liberty Bar and serves till 1:30 a.m. Get the piping-hot beet home fries with Kewpie mayo and sweet deep-fried chicken thighs. 1618 1/2 E. Sixth St.$$
Bar Velodromo, Barcelona: The sprawling Art Deco interior of this 1933 landmark is as inviting in the madrugada (late at night) as it is during the day. Why wait for breakfast to order huevos estrellados (eggs over fries)? $$
Tatsu Ramen, Los Angeles: A stylish strip-mall noodle bar in Little Osaka that serves a rich and savory tonkotsu ramen as well as a vegan-friendly version (this is L.A., after all). 2123 Sawtelle Blvd.$$
La Sandwicherie, Miami Beach: Swing by this teeny SoBe sandwich shop late enough, and you’ll see chefs such as José Mendin (of the ragingly popular PubBelly) scarfing down post-shift saucisson-and-Camembert baguettes. $
Restaurant Pricing Key $Less than $25 $$$25 to $75 $$$$75 to $150 $$$$More than $150
Appeared as “95 Places to Eat Like a Local: After Hours” in T+L Magazine
The phenomenon of Japanese street style his inspired immeasurable fascination among academics, fashion enthusiasts, and travelers alike. For New York-based photographer and filmmaker Thomas C. Card—it was a calling.
Tokyo Adorned,Card’s new book, available starting this week, is the result of months of pre-production planning; weeks spent roaming the city’s streets scouting girls; and hours upon hours of studio time photographing each individual.
What began as a study of how subjects fit into Tokyo’s various “fashion tribes” soon developed into a broader examination of style.
It’s not every day that one of France’s most respected chefs—we’re talking the three-Michelin-star, Bocuse d’ Or-winning ilk—would travel to Manhattan and cook for an entire weekend. In fact, it’s been more than 20 years since Régis Marcon of Hôtel et Restaurant Régis et Jacques Marcon has cooked in New York City.
Marcon brought his talented sons Jacques and Paul with him last weekend, teaming up with longtime friend Daniel Boulud to create a series of exquisite meals out of Boulud’s equally Michelin-star-studded Restaurant Daniel. After dropping by the kitchen to chat with Chef Marcon during the city’s annual Citymeals-on-Wheels benefit (Boulud is co-president this year—check out his awesome new Chefs Deliver initiative), I’m dying to dine at his restaurant in France’s south-central Ardèche region. Read on, and then fight me for the last available aisle seat to France tomorrow.
As the synchronized jingle of a dozen anklets claimed center stage at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center last Saturday, I watched with giddy anticipation. There was something exhilarating about listening to the Bollywood tunes of my childhood—songs that often served as the overplayed soundtracks to family roadtrips and dinner parties—captivate an audience of nearly 2,300.
I was here to witness “Mystic India: The World Tour,” a series of high-octane dance performances that combined regional folk dancing, exuberant tributes to Hindu gods and lively renditions of Bollywood classics.
Chicago: Hearty rib-eye sukiyaki and shoyu ramen from Cocoro are go-to orders for the staff at the Peninsula, seven blocks away. 668 N. Wells St.$$
Hoi An, Vietnam: The bell desk at the Nam Haiswears by the pork-and-pâté bánh mì from beloved Hoi An stallkeeper Phuong, who recently opened a brick-and-mortar shop. 2 Phan Chau Trinh St.; no phone. $
Mexico City: Around the corner from the Four Seasons Hotel México, D.F., Tacos de Fabiruchis fills fresh-made tortillas with chorizo in salsa verde or home-style chicharrón prensado (pressed and shredded pork rinds). Calle Burdeos; no phone. $
Mumbai: Just behind the landmark Taj Mahal Palace is the equally iconic Bademiya, where Mumbaikars have come since 1942 for their late-night smoky, spicy kebab fix. Tulloch Rd.; 91-22/2284-8038. $
Appeared as “95 Places to Eat Like a Local: Staff Meals” in T+L Magazine
Shanghai: Wei Xiang Zhai (pictured) Join a communal table and order ma jiang mian, thick wheat noodles covered in a peanut-sesame sauce and spiked with chili oil. 14 Yandang Lu; 86-21/5383-9032. $
Hong Kong: Kau Kee Beef brisket on noodles (flat, egg, or vermicelli) in a clear, flavor-packed broth is the ultimate Cantonese comfort food. Taste it at this tried-and-true spot. 21 Gough St., Central; 852/2850-5967. $
Flour Bakery, Boston: Call ahead to reserve your sticky bun—these caramel-smothered, pecan-studded brioche rolls are among the best you’ll ever have. No wonder they sell out in mere hours.
Charly’s Bakery, Cape Town: Where to find Cape Town’s premier buttercream-frosted everythings? Behind a pastel-pink-and-white façade resembling a giant layer cake, of course. Our preferred pairing: the “wicked” chocolate cake, topped with a layer of dark ganache. 38 Canterbury St.
Gion Kinana, Kyoto, Japan: With a taste akin to peanut butter, kinako, or roasted soybean flour, is as quintessentially Japanese as matcha. It’s the signature ingredient at this tiny ice cream shop, inside a traditional wooden merchant’s house in the Gion geisha district. 570-119 Gion-machi Minami-gawa.
Jaxson’s Ice Cream Parlor, Dania Beach, FL: Alongside an endless array of vintage kitsch (turn-of-the-20th-century license plates; displays of retro candy) are 45-plus flavors of south Florida’s favorite ice cream, handmade daily for 58 years. 128 S. Federal Hwy.$$
Fountain Coffee Room, Beverly Hills: The luncheonette at the Beverly Hills Hotel has served local starlets and studio heads since 1949. While the banana-leaf wallpaper remains, there are nods to today’s tastes: cold-pressed juices and a decadent caramel pumpkin pie named for Mary J. Blige. 9641 Sunset Blvd.$$$
Pellegrini’s Espresso Bar, Melbourne: Melbourne’s reputation as a coffee capital began here, where the city’s first-ever espresso was made in 1954. The look is pretty much unchanged, as is our order: a short black. 66 Bourke St.; 61-3/9662-1885. $
Now is the time to purchase next year's ski passes, with early bird specials promising hundreds of dollars in savings.
With Vail Resorts' Epic Pass, holders gain unlimited access to the company's major U.S. resorts (Vail, Breckenridge and Northstar), and for the first time ever, five days at Japan's sprawling Niseko United. At $739, and $379 for children, it makes up its value if users spend more than a week on the slopes during the year.
New York City: “Harold Dieterle creates delicious Thai-inspired dishes at Kin Shop(469 Sixth Ave.; $$$). This house special is braised cobia fish with sawtooth herb, mini bok choy, and rambutan curry.” —Daniel Krieger (@Danielkrieger), Photographer
On this morning’s Wake Up With Al, Travel + Leisure’s Sarah Spagnolo highlights four cities with standout Irish celebrations. See the Weather Channel clip here.
Boston Take in the parade in South Boston, but stay in buzz-worthy Cambridge, at the Charles Hotel, close to the delicious Craigie on Main restaurant (a T+L favorite). Beantown’s parade takes place on Sunday this year. Price: from $259 a night. Book now:charleshotel.com
Chicago The Chicago River will be transformed into a sea of Kelly green on Saturday at 10 a.m., followed by a weekend filled with festivities. The new Hotel Lincoln, an eclectic hotel in Lincoln Park, is within walking distance of four Irish Bars. Price: from $239 a night. Book now:jdvhotels.com
Less than two hours north of San Francisco, this chilled-out county is a world away. Here, where to take it all in.
Get Outdoors: Overlooking a rocky sweep of the Pacific Ocean, Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens(Fort Bragg) is home to 150 species of birds (ash-throated flycatchers; savannah sparrows) and rhododendrons that thrive in the foggy air.
Want to practice your photography skills in Mexico or cruise the Mediterranean? This month’s deals have you covered.
Art & Culture
Beijing and Shanghai: 36% off insider’s tour
Springtime in China package includes:
• 6 nights' accommodations, divided between Fairmonts in Beijing and Shanghai, provided by Kensington Tours, a bespoke outfitter with global expertise • Explore the M50 art district, Shanghai’s action-packed creative hub, with an in-the-know local • Airport meet and greet • Private guided tour of Beijing including stops at Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden City, the Temple of Heaven, the Summer Palace, and the Great Wall • Private excursion in Shanghai, including visits to Jade Buddha and Yuyuan Garden • Internal flights and chauffeured transfers
Cost: From $1,750 ($292 per night)
Book by April 30. Blackout dates apply: April 18–May 1.
Create your own long-weekend saga in this Nordic world away—just a quick flight from the East Coast.
Get Outdoors: The 14-mile Fimmvörðuháls Pass hike is one of the world’s most picturesque. You’ll ramble along the Skógá River, passing a series of waterfalls, glaciers, even a volcano—while ascending more than 3,200 feet. The trailhead is just two hours by car from Reykjavík.
See a Show: It’s no surprise that artist Ólafur Elíasson designed Harpa Reykjavík Concert Hall & Conference Center, with its kaleidoscopic glass façade. The performance we’d gladly wait in line for: How to Become Icelandic in 60 Minutes, in which actor Bjarni Haukur Thorsson lovingly pokes fun at his country’s language and customs (sour sheep balls are just the beginning).
A: Animal lovers take note: there is a cruise that accepts your pets. Cunard Line’s Queen Mary 2 takes up to 12 dogs and cats on certain transatlantic crossings (from $300). Pets are housed in a special kennel area, which includes outdoor space, a full-time kennel master, and ample visiting hours. The main reasons other cruise lines don’t allow animals on board: hygiene—ships have strict sanitation codes—and port regulations. Each country has its own entry requirements for animals, so navigating multiple-country cruises would be a headache for ships and pet owners alike.