Beginning today through December 10, Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts will be teaming up with Sleeping Children Around the World, a charity that donates "bedkits" to children in more than 33 countries around the world. For each gift card sold during this time period, the hotel chain will donate the cost of one bedkit to the organization.
I'm dreaming of a Dior Christmas. Provocative designer John Galliano's holiday on ice now rises next to the grand staircase at Claridge's, a frozen confection enlivened by a lurking snow leopard, dragonflies and parrots. So whenever I holly go lightly through this glittering Art Deco lobby on Brook Street in London's Mayfair district for the next month, my season will be brightened by this Arctic orchid tree from Dior's outré elf.
Shane Mitchell is a special correspondent for Travel + Leisure.
The world’s largest ship—which previewed on a two-day cruise to nowhere for press and agents from Fort Lauderdale on Nov. 20—is certainly lively and action-packed, big, brash and different—a mass-market resort-like experience with a whole bunch of cruise industry firsts.
I took this picture with my Blackberry just before boarding train 024A, the Yunost or "Youth Express." The Yunost leaves Leningradsky Station at 12:30 p.m., just in time for the rudimentary lunch that is wrapped in plastic and placed on your seat before boarding. The targeted train, the Nevsky Express, follows the same route as the Yunost, leaving at 6:30 p.m. and arriving at 11 p.m., a far shorter journey than the Yunost's unimpressive travel time of 7 hours and 40 minutes. There's not much to see out the windows on the Nevsky at this time of year because it's pitch black by then, which must have made the terrorist blast all the more harrowing.
The Nevsky Express is somewhat more luxurious than the Yunost, but anyone who has traveled in Russia knows that luxury is a word with a loose definition in that part of the world. Both trains have only simple seating, no sleeping berths. Both serve the same bland sandwiches and chips. People on the Yunost as well as the Nevsky doze against the bundles of heavy coats ballooning from hooks by the windows. Both trains pass the same broad stretches of farmland edged by pine forest. Both edge past the same obscure sleepy villages and towns—Spirovo, Vyshny Volochek, and Uglovko, where the bombing took place.
On the Yunost I sat next to a soldier on leave. My conductor limped, and his hat was too big for his head. The car attendant, who sat in a private cabin near the samovar, looked at me suspiciously whenever I refilled my teacup. Two very pretty young women a few rows ahead of me giggled almost the entire trip. I don't know anything about the people who died on the Nevsky Express on Friday, but they can't have been much different from those on my train. Eager to visit family. Excited about touring the Hermitage Museum. Heading home on leave. Simply living their lives. Until they lost theirs.
Maybe it's a holdover from Communist days, when Soviet citizens patiently queued up to buy meat, vegetables, and other necessities of life from poorly stocked groceries, but lines seem to be part of Russian culture. The trick is knowing how to avoid them—and I recently learned how to avoid one of the most infamous: the line for tickets to St. Petersburg's Hermitage Museum. I’ve heard horror stories of people waiting in the ticket line for two or three hours during peak summer times, but even when I visited, on an Icy November day, the line was hundreds of people long by the time the museum opened its doors. But I was able to go straight in because I had already purchased my ticket, more than a week in advance, from the museum’s official website.
Today’s cool, crisp, finally-fall weather had me in the mood to walk to our offices in Midtown from my downtown home. As I trotted down Broadway, passing 29th street, I realized I had not yet been by to see the new Ace Hotel, and more precisely, its buzzed-about in-house Stumptown Coffee shop.
This past August, I traveled as a writer and social networker with Green Living Project, a non-profit organization that films sustainable programs across the world for inspirational and educational purposes. In GLP's two-year history, the organization has documented over thirty diverse projects in ten countries across Latin America and Africa. I joined Green Living Project’s first domestic trip in the land of plump lobsters, historical small-town reminiscing, and tongue-staining summer blueberries in Maine.
Planning on braving the airport tomorrow? Sure, the day before Thanksgiving is hands down the busiest travel day of the year and yes, there's not a shadow of a doubt that your airport will be more calamitous than usual. But Bing Travel just may be able to help make your holiday travels a little bit more bearable.
Bing Travel Fareologists will be staked out at the Boston and Seattle airports tomorrow. Travelers with questions can get expert advice on how to travel during this über stressful time of the year. To boot, 1,000 travelers will be randomly selected to be reimbursed for their baggage fees (up to $15).
After arriving Monterosso, Italy, last month for a daylong hike through the five seaside villages of Cinque Terre, one of my friends had that sinking realization: left behind on one of the three trains we’d taken to get there was her wallet. With all her money, credit cards, and, worst of all, her passport inside.