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What to do in Johannesburg, South Africa

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Don’t think of it as just a stopover; Johannesburg deserves serious exploration of its own.

Because downtown is back. For ages, visitors have sought refuge in the gated suburbs north of town, but inner-city crime rates are dropping and young urbanites are moving in. Walk down lively Juta Street in gritty-but-safe Braamfontein, where Dokter & Misses sells hand-cast ceramics and Afro-Deco furniture, then join the crowd for retro cocktails at the 108-year-old Kitchener’s Carvery Bar (27-11/403-0166; $).

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The Moment: Jawai Leopard Camp in Rajasthan

Rajasthan: Jawai Leopard Camp

It’s dinnertime, but before you lift a fork of paprika-infused lamb to your lips, you pause again to look at the stars. At Jawai Leopard Camp, a new eight-tent lodge in a remote part of India, there is little man-made light. A half-moon throws a gentle glow on the granite hills, where red-turbaned Rabari herdsmen share their land with hyenas, jackals, and even the leopard your guide pointed out on safari last night. Tomorrow you may visit the UNESCO World Heritage site Kumbhalgarh Fort or bird-watch at Jawai Bandh reservoir, but now you have just one item on your agenda: ducking into your creature-comfort-filled canvas tent for the kind of sleep that only comes after a day in the wild. All-inclusive.

Related Links:
Uncovering the Jewels of Rajasthan, India
World’s Great Animal Migrations
Best Endangered Animal Safaris

Photo courtesy of Jawai Leopard Camp

Toni Collette's Favorite Places

Toni Collette

Peripatetic actress Toni Collette—doing her second turn on Broadway this month—tells T+L about some of her favorite places.

“The writing is so smart and beautiful,” says Toni Collette about Will Eno’s dark comedy The Realistic Joneses, in which she shares the stage with Tracy Letts, Marisa Tomei, and Michael C. Hall. “He captures life, warts and all.” Smart, beautiful, and at times unflinching are also ways to describe the actress—and her travel m.o. Here, Collette’s secret address book:

Off-the-Radar Trek: “I once fled the Toronto Film Festival to meet a boyfriend in Kathmandu. Sleeping under the stars, white-water rafting, playing soccer with local kids—it was all unforgettable. The only challenge was the leeches!”

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5 Iconic Beverly Hills Hotels

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To celebrate the city's centennial, five iconic Beverly Hills hotels have dedicated a suite to a different era.

Beverly Hills Hotel, Dorchester Collection (pictured)

The Vibe: Tinseltown glamour in a tropical-resort setting with classic Hollywood touches (banana-leaf wallpaper; Art Deco lobby; that famous sign).

Who Goes: Hollywood players making deals at the Polo Lounge; families who love the pool and breakfast at the coffee shop.

The New Suite: The 1950’s-style room has a brick fireplace, coved ceilings, and curvaceous furniture inspired by Marilyn Monroe, a frequent guest. $$$

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Baz Luhrmann's Next Project: Miami's Faena Saxony Hotel

Baz Luhrmann, Faena Saxony Hotel

After decades of directing lavish motion pictures such as The Great Gatsby and Moulin Rouge, Baz Luhrmann is turning his attention to a different kind of spectacle: the Faena Saxony Hotel, set to open later this year in Miami Beach. Along with his wife and collaborator, Catherine Martin, Luhrmann will lead the design efforts as a creative director for the hotel, which is just one element of a massive complex developed by industrialist Len Blavatnik and real estate tycoon Alan Faena, who is known for his buzzy, Philippe Starck–designed boutique hotel in Buenos Aires. The project will also include an arts center by architect Rem Koolhaas and residences by Foster & Partners. T+L talked with Luhrmann about his plans—and his inspirations.

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How to Fold a Towel Origami Swan

towel origami

We admit it: we’ve always had a fondness for so-corny-they’re-cute towel animals. Samson Macwan, a butler at Sandals Emerald Bay, in the Bahamas, shows how to create a conversation piece.

1. Hold bath towel lengthwise, tucking center under chin. Roll sides tightly at an angle toward center to form a scroll with a pointed tip.

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12 Tips to Make International Travel Easier

Travel Tips: Getting Cash

Being in a strange place can be invigorating and eye-opening. Some of my favorite travel memories include an early-morning run along the Danube River in Budapest, touring the temples of Angkor Wat, and having late-night drinks and steak in Uruguay.

There have also been plenty of business trips where the only sites I saw were those visible from my hotel room window, because I was too busy running from one meeting to another.

Regardless of what type of trip you’re on, there are several steps you can take to ease an overseas journey. Here are 12 of my favorite international travel tips:

Hotel business cards. The first thing I do when arriving at a hotel overseas is take a business card from the front desk. That way, if I ever get lost, I have the name and address of the hotel in the local language. Large populations around the world speak English, but having something in a local language that I can show locals and taxi drivers is an extra bit of insurance.

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Hotel Brand Trends

Hotel Brands: Hyatt Ziva

Booking a hotel these days can be overwhelming: new names are appearing alongside established ones, and they’re competing for your attention, your dollars, and, above all, your loyalty. T+L has the scoop on the latest trends to help you find the one that’s right for you.

Hotel Brand Trends

A closer look at the innovations that will shape your next hotel stay.

Tech-Friendly Retreats: Starwood’s Aloft is piloting Apple TV’s at its Cupertino, California, property and will soon offer remote mobile check-in at dozens of its hotels. Not to be outdone, Conrad is raising the bar with its Conrad Concierge app, which lets guests book hotel services remotely, be it airport pickup or the timing of their dinner. Mandarin Oriental will soon be rolling out DVR’s and HD Internet TV’s in its guest rooms. Peninsula, meanwhile, remains unmatched for its customized in-room tablets, introduced at the Hong Kong flagship, with everything from temperature controls to flight schedules.

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Cool Hotel Amenities

Cool Hotel Amenities: Burberry trench coat

Why stop at Nespresso machines and turndown chocolates? When it comes to services and perks, some brands are taking things to the next level. Here, a few of our favorites.

Before: The hotel umbrella
After: Burberry trenches in every suite
Seen At: Maybourne Hotel Group

Before: Welcome wishbones
After: Puppies as concierges
Seen At: Kimpton

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International Tourism is Up, According to Latest World Tourism Organization Data

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The World Tourism Organization recently released its annual international tourism numbers, and—even with the economic hurdles affecting parts of the world—the results exceeded expectations. Overall, an additional 52 million people traveled internationally in 2013, a 5% increase from the previous year. Here’s how the numbers break down:

Biggest Increases
In relative terms, Asia and the Pacific is the fastest-growing region for the third year in a row. It saw the strongest growth (+6%), with an additional 14 million visitors over last year—bringing the total to 248 million. Southeast Asia was the best-performing sub-region, with a 10% increase over 2013. Africa experienced an increase of 6%, reaching a new record of 56 million tourists (three million more than last year).

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Win a Two-Night Stay at South Africa's Le Quartier Francais

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If you’re the kind of traveling foodie who also likes to cook, then the name Le Creuset may get your attention. Le Quartier Francais, the luxury boutique hotel in the heart of Franschhoek Village in South Africa, has cooked up a contest with Le Creuset. Prizing includes a two-night stay in a Le Quartier suite, which is inclusive of breakfast, a surprise tasting menu with wine pairings, and a Le Creuset voucher. 

What do you have to do to win a stay at this Relais & Châteaux auberge? Tweet an inventive and clever slogan for an apron and include the hashtag, #MyApron. This would look like:

@lequaf @leCreusetSA – Have cake pan, will travel (i.e. your slogan) – #MyApron.

You have now till February 24th to enter, so get creative with your foodie terminology. Find out more details here

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

Photo credit: Anthony Friend

Cruising During Norovirus Season

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Cruises have been hit hard this season by the notorious norovirus. In January, a Royal Caribbean voyage was cut short when nearly 700 passengers and crew were sickened by norovirus, and a Caribbean Princess ship aborted its itinerary when 189 cases were reported. An unidentified agent also caused a norovirus-like outbreak on the Norwegian Star in early January. 

Because this gastrointestinal virus is so easily transmitted—it spreads from person to person, or via contaminated food and water—cruise ships (with their close living quarters) can act as powerful incubators. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) identified the particular strain on the ill-fated Caribbean ships as GHII, a new(ish) Sydney-based norovirus that has been associated with more severe symptoms, and may have a higher rate of infection.

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Mumbai Airport Unveils New Terminal 2 to Public

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Mumbai's international airport unveiled its new four-level Terminal 2 to the public this week, after much anticipation. The stunning airport section, originally slated to open in January, took five years to complete, and will provide relief to the millions of fliers streaming in and out of India’s busy Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport.

Sprawling 42 square meters of space, the terminal was built to handle up to 40 million annual passengers and to effortlessly escort them to their departure gates via 37 travelators, 48 escalators, and 72 elevators. Outside, the 5,200-car parking area is beautifully concealed by the city’s largest open garden. While inside, travelers can spend their layovers window shopping or eagerly purchasing items throughout the 21,000 square meters of retail space—more than four times the size of the airport’s original shopping area. An art museum—India’s largest, might we add—may also be of interest, with over 6,500 artifacts to contemplate while waiting. Finally, a terminal with more to explore than the nearby bar.

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New Crowd-Sourced Exhibition Explores Boston's Love Affair with Impressionism

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The Museum of Fine Arts in Boston today is opening a new exhibition, “Boston Loves Impressionism,” showcasing 30 masterpieces carefully curated by…the public.

To choose the artworks for display, the MFA held an online contest that saw a staggering 41,497 votes cast over three weeks in January. And with one of the world’s largest Impressionist collections at their disposal, voters had quite the challenge. Who were the winners?

Among the top 30 scorers are perennial favorites by Cassatt, Cézanne, and Pisarro, with first-place going to Van Gogh’s Houses at Auvers. Water Lilies from Monet and Degas’s charming Little Fourteen-Year-Old Dancer—the only sculpture in the running—round out the top three.

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Mexico Travel Twitter Chat on Tuesday, February 18

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With a winter season that just won't quit, we're all in need of a little Vitamin D. To take our minds off the snow, we're daydreaming about favorite sunny retreats, one of which is Mexico. Whether it's an off-the-beaten path locale or where the style-set is traveling, we'll be discussing Mexico with travel experts this Tuesday, February 18th from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. EST. Ask them for their insider advice!

The Host:

Adrien Glover, T+L's Deputy Digital Editor, @xoadrien

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Ski Deals and Beach Plans for Presidents' Day Weekend

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It's official: Every state in the continental US—minus Florida—has snowfall. And with a long weekend coming up, it's the perfect opportunity to head to the hills for some skiing. Sites like Liftopia, Snow.com, and GetSkiTickets.com are offering last minute deals all over the country. Our favorite savings? Liftopia's $14 ski pass for New Hampshire's Ragged Mountain tomorrow—that's a 79% discount. They're selling out fast though, so act fast!

Tired of the snow? Here are some tips to book a last-minute beach vacation.

Peter Schlesinger is a Research Assistant at Travel + Leisure, and a member of the Trip Doctor News Team. 

Photo credit: Cultura Creative/ YAY Media AS

Tips for Travel During Stormy Weather

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Nearly 6,000 and counting. That’s the number of flights cancelled as of noon today. Already this year, there have been more than 71,000 cancellations—and we're only six weeks in. If you want to get a sense of what this means for travelers across the country, just take a look at FlightAware’s aptly named Misery Map (above), which highlights not only where the bottlenecks are worst, but also how they’re impacting the rest of the aviation system.

If you’ve got an airline ticket for the next few days—or have any important travel scheduled during this wild winter—we’ve got some advice for navigating the storms.

Tips for Travel During Stormy Weather
 
1. Stay informed and be the first to know. Sign up for text and email alerts about flight delays and cancellations from your airline and services such as FlightStats. And be proactive about checking their websites, Facebook pages, and Twitter handles for updates; sometimes it can take a crucial few hours for a text message to arrive. Get a sense of what’s happening with live flight-tracking service FlightAware’s cancellation page.

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Star-Studded Santa Barbara Film Festival Celebrates its 29th Year

Last week, T+L was in Santa Barbara for the 29th-annual Santa Barbara International Film Festival, an 11-day celebration with panel discussions, nearly 200 film screenings, and tribute events that honor Academy-Award frontrunners and mega-watt celebrities, including Cate Blanchett, Oprah Winfrey, Robert Redford, and Leonardo DiCaprio.

We hit the red carpet before the Virtuosos Awards, asking breakout stars for their bucket list travel picks. The answers? June Squibb (in Nebraska) plans for a Hawaii respite and a Japanese animation-inspired trip to Japan for Michael B. Jordan, star of Fruitvale Station. (Watch the video above for more.)

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Two New Ways to Learn Chinese

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Looking to brush up on your Mandarin while Chinese New Year is still hot? We’ve recently discovered two apps and websites that might help you along. To get you reading in no time, there’s Chineasy, a clever site designed by a Taiwanese venture capitalist turned entrepreneur. The method is simple: traditional characters are converted into stylish illustrations that serve as visual pneumonics. Once you’ve learned a few basics, you’ll be shown compound characters that read like math problems (to come + to return = round trip). It’s all very playful, fun, and easy to use. For now, it's all online, but an app is slated to hit the iTunes store next month.

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Google Maps Gets a Big Upgrade

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If you’re a plugged-in traveler, you likely lean pretty heavily on Google Maps as a planning tool—we sure do. But today, Google is re-launching the service with an impressive slew of new functions that will no doubt change the way you plan and navigate your next vacation. Here, a guide to what’s new and notable:

• Responsive search: Now when you search for a place, Google will subtly glean what type of experience you’re after and flag comparable places for you to consider. For example, search for the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, and you’ll get what you’re looking for—plus flags for the Frick, the MoMa, and the Whitney nearby. Search for Italian restaurants in Chicago, and the options will shift as you start to poke around (clicking on a pizza joint will trigger Google to flag affordable or casual spots, while clicking on Spiaggia might trigger a slew of high-end, Michelin-starred tables).

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Call for Applications: T+L’s 10th Annual Global Vision Awards

Global Vision Awards

We're looking for a few good travel companies that are changing the world.

Now in its tenth year, Travel + Leisure's Global Vision Awards recognize the standard-bearers for responsible travel—companies that are investing in the communities around them, protecting natural and manmade treasures, lightening their footprints, and inspiring others to follow their lead. From airlines to hotels, tour operators to cruise lines, the winners represent the travel industry’s best ideas for a better world. (You can find the 2013 Global Vision Awards here.)

Please drop a note to TLGlobalVision@timeinc.com if you know of a company or organization that should be among this year’s winners, or encourage them to submit an application, available here. The deadline is April 1, 2014.

Related Links:
2013 Global Vision Award Winners
Coolest Up-Close Animal Encounters
T+L Hiking Guide

Photo by Ralph Lee Hopkins/Courtesy of Lindblad Expeditions

How to Open a Bottle of Champagne



Did you know that France's charming Champagne region—home of Moët & Chandon, the mother of all producers—is just a 45-minute train ride from Paris? It's one thing I learned this week when I met the lovely Elise Losfelt, the latest addition to Moët & Chandon's team of nine winemakers, who stopped by talk about the spring release of Moët’s Grand Vintage Brut 2006. The other thing I learned from Elise? How to open a bottle of bubbly without injuring your friends and loved ones. Watch her tutorial, and impress your significant other with your new skills while breaking out the bubbly this Valentine’s Day weekend.

Jennifer FlowersJennifer Flowers is the Travel News Editor at Travel + Leisure and part of the Trip Doctor news team. Find her on Twitter at @JennFlowers.

Woman Embarks on Quest for Love—Without Leaving the Airport

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Call it The Bachelor of airports: a lucky lady by the name of Angela Malkina has signed up for the chance to meet her one true love by flying between airports around the world. The stunt is sponsored by MeetAtTheAirport.com, a free service that lets travelers arrange meet-ups and dates with others when faced with flight delays or long layovers. Her quest for love begins on November 17 in LAX’s Encounter Restaurant, and she’ll be streaming updates about her airport dates on MeetAtTheAirport.com.

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

Courtesy of meetattheairport.com

Delta and United Add Seasonal Flights to Yellowstone

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Just in time for summer—the most popular season to visit National Parks—Delta Air Lines and United Airlines are increasing service to Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport in Montana. Delta’s seasonal non-stop service will depart from New York-LaGuardia Airport on Saturdays from June 21 to September 27. Meanwhile, United will fly out of George Bush International Airport in Houston on Saturdays and Sundays between June 28 and August 17.

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

Photo Credit: Jim Peaco

Insider Advice on Vacation Rentals

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Whether you want to live like a local, have a family-friendly travel experience, or just save on your mini bar tab, a vacation rental can be a great option for your next trip. We asked the experts for their tips in a recent Twitter chat.

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LGBT Travel Tips on Where to Go and Why to Travel

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Choosing where to go for your next vacation can be a tricky—though rewarding—process. Beach or mountain? Luxe or affordable? But as last week’s Why We Travel post detailed, a slew of the world’s top destinations outlaw homosexuality, leaving LGBT travelers with a more basic question of where they can (and should) and cannot (and should not) venture.

How to choose? Here are a few pointers:

Safety first: Upwards of 70 countries worldwide criminalize homosexuality. And public perception of gay individuals can be abysmal even in places without draconian sodomy laws on the books. Russia, for example, has seen a spike in hate crimes recently despite its relatively mild anti-gay laws. The takeaway from the first Why We Travel post on Sochi’s Olympics applies anywhere physical violence is a real possibility: LGBT travelers, especially same-sex couples, should exercise discretion.

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T+L Trips with Sponsor Cox & Kings: Rome; Scandinavia

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Welcome to the latest installment of T+L's promotional partnership with luxury adventure operator Cox & Kings, where booking a trip to a destination featured in T+L is easier than ever. Here's how it works:

• Every month, T+L editors work with Cox & Kings to develop two trips inspired by destinations we love.
• Each itinerary is designed to offer insider access and unique experiences—whether it's a stay at an exclusive hotel, a behind-the-scenes tour, or dinner in a private residence.
• For a limited time, T+L readers can take advantage of exclusive savings on this month's featured trips.

February Specials

Rome
The Highlights: Spend an afternoon strolling the fashionable Via Condotti and nearby Spanish Steps; browse Dolce & Gabbana, Cavalli, and Ferragamo with a personal shopper during a private half-day shopping tour (a T+L reader exclusive) before enjoying lunch at a café housed in the former studio of renowned Neoclassical sculptors Antonio Canova and Adamo Tadolini; skip the lines to gaze upon Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel and St. Peter's Basilica, in Vatican City; base your stay at Rome's stylish new J.K. Place Roma hotel.
The Details: 4 days and 3 nights, from $5,750 per person.**

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Marriott Hotels Launches Mobile Checkout at 329 Properties Worldwide

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Everyone’s going mobile in travel these days—and if you thought you’d heard enough of that already, think again. It’s just the beginning. Proving that is Marriott Hotels, which today launches mobile checkout at all of its 329 hotels nationwide and another 20 international properties (all 500 will be on board later this year). While other hotels and resorts have individually brought mobile checkout to life—I just checked out of the Aria in Las Vegas without even stopping at the front desk—Marriott’s move marks the first brand-wide conversion of its scale, and is no question a signifier of what’s to come for the rest of the industry.

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Beauty Road Test: Clinique Superdefense SPF 20 Daily Defense Moisturizer

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Are the latest beauty and wellness products worthy of a spot in your teensy carry-on? T+L Associate Editor Kathryn O’Shea-Evans shares her take.

The product: Clinique Superdefense SPF 20 Daily Defense Moisturizer; $47

Pros: I admit it: sometimes the sheer selection of facial potions, lotions, and—dare I say it, BB or CC or even ZZ creams—is enough to make me feel like breaking out in hives. I’m all about simplicity in the morning, so I’ve fallen head-over-ballet-flats in love with Clinique’s new moisturizer: it helps minimize the appearance of UV damage, prevents future damage with an SPF 20, and leaves my skin with a long-lasting dewy glow (thanks to ingredients such as barley and wheat germ extract). I’ll spare you the science-y details behind why it works, but lemme tell you: it does.

Cons: I will probably have to buy a new jar every month, I’m so addicted to the stuff.

Verdict: Packable.

Photo Courtesy of Clinique

Kathryn O'Shea-EvansKathryn O'Shea-Evans is an associate editor at Travel + Leisure. Follow her on Twitter @ThePluckyOne.

Guess Where? Romantic City

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Happy Valentine's Day! Can you guess what building this is? Hint: It's located in the city that our readers voted "Best for Romance" in the T+L World's Best Awards. Leave your guesses on our Facebook page. Check back on Monday for the answer.

Lyndsey Matthews is an assistant digital editor at Travel + Leisure. Follow her on Twitter @matthewslyndsey

Photo Courtesy of T+L Photo Contest

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