Tim Gunn, the fashion consultant and mentor to the contestants on Lifetime's Project Runway, was standing on the rooftop Garden of New York's Waldorf-Astoria hotel recently, preparing to plant a tree in support of the New York Restoration Project, an environmental nonprofit founded by Gunn's friend Bette Midler. Not only did he dig the hole and plant the tree, he actually tidied up the stray dirt afterward. We asked the dapper Gunn what he takes with him when he travels.
Cue a collective sigh of relief: after much hoopla several months ago, the TSA has finally retracted their effort to take small knives off their banned items list. Also still prohibited: novelty baseball bats, billiard cues, ski poles, hockey sticks, golf clubs, and lacrosse sticks—all of which fell under the same (now dropped) proposal that would have allowed the potentially dangerous items on planes. We asked a TSA spokesperson what pulled the final straw, and it seems there was plenty of consensus between the Aviation Security Advisory Committee, law enforcement officials, passenger advocates, and "other important stakeholders"—opening this can of worms simply wouldn’t be a good idea (told you so). Instead, the TSA says they’ll continue to focus on Risk-Based Security, which allows them to “keep passengers safe by focusing on those we know less about.”
Nikki Ekstein is an Editorial Assistant at Travel + Leisure and part of the Trip Doctor news team. Find her at on Twitter at @nikkiekstein.
The King of Clay serves T+L a few of his best moves.
The winner of 12 Grand Slam men’s singles titles, Mallorcan tennis player Rafael Nadal is fierce on the court—but a beach bum at heart. Want proof? Despite a relentless tournament schedule, he finds time to visit Secrets Aura Cozumel($$)—one of two resorts he co-owns on the Mexican island—where he “loves to fish and dive.” While Nadal’s wardrobe includes this T-shirt from Vilebrequin($85) and boat shoes by Tommy Hilfiger($98), his laid-back style doesn’t equate to traveling light: all his gear and event attire add up to “a thousand suitcases.” One thing you’ll never find inside: trophies. “I left one in a taxi in Acapulco! I’ve had them mailed to me ever since.”
• Nadal’s Zadig & Voltaire jacket($415) and jeans($225) are cool yet comfortable.
• “My limited-edition Richard Mille watch is so light I hardly feel it.”
• The Nike Roller Golf Departure Duffel($170) has a separate pocket for wet items.
• Nadal’s Babolat racquets(from $199) are always at his side. “If I lose them, I have a small problem.”
Our informal poll of luxury hotels found that taking one set of toiletries a day is generally acceptable—even expected. (They know us well.) But don’t be surprised if the hotel—especially a mid- or lower-tier property—cuts you off during a longer stay. if that happens, you’ll just have to dig some of that shampoo back out of your suitcase.
17: The percentage of U.S. hotel guests who admit to taking linens and towels from their rooms in a Hotels.com survey.
Volcano House reopened in 2013 following a $7 million renovation that preserved the character of the original 1941 design. The rooms have beautiful views: some overlook Kilauea, one of the world's most active volcanoes, while others face native Hawaiian rainforest of ohia lehua and koa trees. This 323,400-acrenationalpark is also great for wildlife spotting; more than 90 percent of the plants and animals here are found nowhere else on earth. Cabins from $55/night.
I'm headed to Italy next week with my kids, and it's a packing nightmare: stroller, diaper bag, highchairs, a book about trucks, and a couple trucks to hold while reading the book about trucks. So when a hotel understands your plight, you are grateful--very, very grateful. Take the NU Hotel, in Brooklyn. The property has just partnered with cute kids boutique Stork so guests can borrow cribs, tubs, outlet covers, highchairs, step stools, scooters, bikes, helmets. The list goes on. If only our hotel in Italy would do the same.
Clara O. Sedlak is a mother of two and special projects editor at Travel + Leisure.
Sure, National Donut Day might be the perfect excuse to try a SoHo cronut (croissant + donut), but did you know the Salvation Army started the holiday 75 years ago to raise funds during the Great Depression? Neither did we. (M.P.)
Tourism in Myanmar is estimated to increase by a full 700% in the next seven years—but thanks to a $500 million loan from the government of Norway, concerned citizens can rest assured that the resulting footprint will be a light one. The Asian Development Bank outlines their plans (and we raise a glass to the generous Norweigans who made it happen). (Nikki Ekstein)
T+L drops in on Bemelmans, New York’s iconic Upper East Side watering hole.
Its clientele has included Harry Truman, Jackie Kennedy, and Cyndi Lauper (who sang impromptu with the house band last year), but one of the most celebrated locals at Bemelmans Bar, in the Carlyle, a Rosewood Hotel, was Ludwig Bemelmans himself. In 1947 the Madeline author and illustrator lived rent-free upstairs while he painted scenes of Central Parkon the bar’s walls. (Years later skilled art restorers used countless slices of wet Wonder Bread to sop up the decades of nicotine buildup on the murals.) Today the bar is a hangout for scenesters of every age. Case in point: after Hurricane Sandy, the leather banquettes were so filled with electricity-deprived fashionistas that it was deemed the “Uptown Boom Boom Room.” Some places never lose their spark.
When Hipmunk released its airfare-focused "agony index" a few years back, it was the talk of the town here at T+L—frankly, we’re still pretty obsessed. But these days, a number of services are trying to one-up the flight search pioneer with what’s now being dubbed "intelligent searching," where users can pick and choose itineraries based on far more than just price and schedule.
Rising to the top of the pack is Momondo. The company recently launched a new Flight Insight tool, which makes the search process as transparent as it gets. By aggregating data that the company has collected since its inauguration in 2006, Flight Insight offers a tremendous amount of information on all the factors that can affect the price of your flight, from seasonality to airport combos. Plug in your desired itinerary, and the tool will help you find the best airlines, days of the week, or times of the day to search for if you’re hoping to snag a bargain. Interestingly, Momondo suggests that you’re almost always best off booking a flight 60 days ahead of your departure.