Today is National Chocolate Éclair Day (really!), which seems like a good excuse to tell you about a delicious new program Le Méridien hotels is launching with everyone's favorite pastry chef, Johnny Iuzzini. The former head judge from Top Chef Just Desserts will create eight seasonal éclair recipes for the chain, revealing them over the next 12 months as he stays at different Le Méridien hotels around the world. (First up: San Francisco, to be revealed on July 27. We're hoping it doesn't involve salt-water taffy.)
Every June, the art world descends on the Swiss city of Basel for a week of art-seeing, design-hunting, and people-watching. The team behind Artsy, the art collecting and education resource, writes about its favorite moments from the fairs and festivities—and wishes you were here.
"Everyone who visits Design Miami/Basel has the thrill of experiencing Jamie Zigelbaum’s monumental light sculpture, Triangular Series. It's installed above the entrance hall," writes Matthew Israel, director of The Art Genome Project.
As a frequent flier, I’m always searching for the perfect place to get a last-minute manicure—one that will actually stay on through the course of my trip. And on the flip side, as a tourist, I’m always searching for a cool, reliable, (and yes, clean!) nail salon when I need a quick touch-up abroad. Enter Paintbox, a chic new manicure studio in Manhattan's Soho neighborhood that is quickly developing a cult following among locals—and which should be on every traveler’s radar.
If you book a Royal Caribbean cruise in early December, don’t be surprised to see capes, pointed ears, and furry feet on some of your fellow passengers. Trilo3y Voyages, with the blessing of J.R.R. Tolkien’s family, is planning the first in a series of cruises for fans of the author’s works, including The Lord of the Rings. Onboard activities will include a cosplay competition and masquerade gala.
An exhibit at the Boston Public Library compares the modern city with the Boston of a century ago. One surprising revelation: even with a steady influx of immigrants in the past ten years, the city still has not regained its 1910 record-high population of more than 670,000.
Four hundred and nine goats arrived by train to Bozeman, Montana, last week for a summer job. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is using the always-hungry grazers to help reduce brushfires, promote the growth of native plants, and effectively eliminate noxious weeds without herbicide.
Like a scene pulled straight from Downton Abbey, The Ruinart Rosé Salon 1764 pop-up bar at London's historic The Goring Hotel is the perfect place to toast summer with a bubbly glass of Rosé.
It was exactly 250 years ago that The House of Ruinart created the world’s first Rosé champagne. To celebrate the anniversary, The Goring Hotel has opened its private gardens (as large as a Wimbledon’s center court) from now until July 3 for the dedicated pop-up bar.
La Compagnie, a new business class-only airline that will connect Newark Liberty International Airport and Paris's Charles de Gaulle Airport, was officially announced in New York this week, with flights starting July 11. Founded by industry veterans Frantz Yvelin (L’Avion) and Peter Luethi (Swissair; JetAirways), the carrier will offer four to five weekly flights this summer, building up to daily flights by the end of the year.
Ultimate travel industry disrupter Airbnb is at it again—this time testing out a pilot program in San Francisco whereby hosts also make meals for their guests. According to a recent article in Reuters, one of the trial dinners was $25 per person for three courses; Airbnb would take a portion of the earnings. The company isn’t offering any details, stating only, “We are always experimenting with new ways to create meaningful experiences on Airbnb.”
World Cup 2014 is heating up in Rio de Janeiro and Belmond Copacabana Palace has added its own spice to the mix. The iconic hotel’s new pan-Asian restaurant MEE, fronted by celebrity chef Ken Hom, has created a beguiling concoction that’s casting a spell on World Cup fans.
The “Mandinga” cocktail is a seductive blend of Cachaça (a distilled spirit made from sugarcane juice) and cashew juice with a dash of hazelnut and mandarin liqueurs. MEE hopes this touch of Afro-Brazilian magic will carry the Seleção squad to their sixth World Cup trophy. Brazil may not have invented soccer, but they are known for perfecting it. Saúde!
Mandinga Cocktail Recipe: - 1.5 fl. oz. Leblon Cachaça - ¼ fl. oz. Frangelico liqueur - ¼ fl. oz. Mandarinetto liqueur - 1 fl. oz. cashew juice - ¼ fl. oz. lemon juice - ¼ fl. oz. sugar syrup
Nora Walsh is Travel + Leisure's Latin America correspondent.
On the southern tip of the Riviera Maya, Tulum has become Mexico’s most stylish beach destination. The outpost allows for an easy routine, where luxury and low-key vibes can coexist with one another.
Club Monaco is giving fans the opportunity to win a chance to travel to the fashionable escape, to share the inspiration for its new Beach Boutique Collection. Participants are asked to share photos of what inspires them this summer on Instagram and include the tags #CMBeach and @ClubMonaco.
One grand-prize-winner will receive air transportation, a hotel room for four days, and more. Get your beach bods and photos ready—the contest ends on June 27th.
Gabrielle Blitz is Associate Social Media Editor at Travel + Leisure.
A Finnish start-up has created a powdered beverage, Ambronite, that they call “the world’s first organic drinkable super meal that fulfills daily nutrition recommendations.” Its P.R. firm recently sent me an email calling Ambronite “the world’s first ‘real food’ super travel meal.” Hey, I like Finns, I like travel, and I like meals. This thing had my name written all over it! Ambronite—vegan and gluten-free—won’t be in full production until later this year, but I managed to snag three 500-calorie packets and decided to live on the stuff for one full day, three meals, and eat nothing else. Here’s how it went.
Like most neighborhood transformations-turned-gentrification, Wynwood’s started on the streets.
As the younger, trendier brother of Miami’s Design District, Wynwood has grown quick. When its largest gallery held its first show in 1999, the area was nothing more than a string of abandoned warehouses and auto shops. Though the current cultural core of the city is just ten minutes from South Beach, it’s only been a few years since many were too afraidto walk down its graffiti-ridden streets after dark.
Not anymore. In true hipster form, what was once terribly dangerous is now terribly cool. Also in true hipster form, it’s only really cool once a month. The Wynwood Art Walk, held the second Saturday of every month, transforms the usually scarce streets into the sort of place that gives Miami the cultural cred it so greatly deserves.
In 1951, the government of Portugal fashioned a hotel within the stone towers and turrets of the 13th-century castle at Obldos, creating the first in a network of 35 pousada-hotels. The buildings aren’t all castles—some were convents, monasteries, forts, granaries, or royal estates—nor are many as traditionally outfitted as the Castelo de Obidos.
The Montreal Jazz Festival runs June 26-July 6. Even with all the big acts—this year, to name a few: Aretha Franklin, Tony Bennett, and Rufus Wainwright—more than half of the 700 performances are free to the public.
After years of anticipation, the National Center for Civil and Human Rights opens on June 23 in downtown Atlanta, adjacent to the Georgia Aquarium and the World of Coca. The 42,000-square-foot center by architect Philip Freelon is designed to start a dialogue and inspire visitors to think about how they can create a more unprejudiced world.
Last week, Samsung debuted the Galaxy Tab S—its latest attempt to overthrow Apple in the cutthroat tablet market. The ultra-thin device (no thicker than five stacked credit cards) has standout new features—and a few improvements to old Tab capabilities we already loved.
Do you love adventure travel? Find out about emerging destinations, safety precautions, packing tips, and more in our Adventure and National Parks Twitter chat this Tuesday, June 17th from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. EDT. Join in and ask insiders for their expert advice!
Amtrak's notoriously slow on-board internet connection will get an upgrade, the company announced last week. In a test sometime this winter, Amtrak is hoping to double the WiFi capacity for the busy Northeast Corridor Line, which runs from Baltimore through Philadelphia, New York, Boston, and into Maine.
This follows a recent pattern of faster service announcements for travelers: British Airways also made news this month for its consideration of 4G WiFi with Inmarsat (currently, the airline doesn't offer in-flight internet service).
In a deal that closed on Friday, OpenTable was purchased by Priceline for a hefty $2.6 billion—46 percent more than its previous closing share price would have suggested—marking a sea change in the way that online travel companies are thinking about business. Gone are the days of providing services just for planning and booking; these days, the mightiest of OTAs are thinking about how they can also capitalize on travelers once they’re on the ground. See TripAdvisor, long known as the site you check for reviews before booking (or to pen your own upon return): it has also gotten into the restaurant reservations game with the recent acquisition of Lafourquette, a European site much like OpenTable. It all makes tons of sense. If you’re as selective about where you eat as you are about where you stay, you need to book your restaurants well before traveling. And for Priceline, that will come to the tune of 15 million total diners a month. As for what’s next? We’d put money on local excursion booking tools, which have fast gained traction in the digital travel booking space over the last year.
Nikki Ekstein is an Assistant Editor at Travel + Leisure and part of the Trip Doctor news team. Find her on Twitter at @nikkiekstein.
Planning a summer drive? These five tools—vetted by T+L tech correspondent Tom Samiljan—will help you make the most of every mile.
FOR ON-ROAD ENTERTAINMENT TUNE IN RADIO You’re unlikely to get playlist fatigue listening to the app’s 100,000-plus radio stations from all over the world, but if you do, Tune In also offers streaming access to an inexhaustible number of concerts, podcasts, and talk shows on a clean, user-friendly interface. From NPR news updates to local traffic alerts and sports scores, this all-purpose radio app delivers in spades. (Free; Android, Blackberry, iOS, Windows Phone)
FOR GPS (AND MORE) SCOUT This app by mapping giant Telenav may be the most practical tool for road trippers: it finds the cheapest gas stations, dictates turn-by-turn directions at your request, and provides personalized recommendations (restaurants, hotels, even local concerts or events) along any multi-leg route. Bonus: the Arrival Guide feature (iOS only) points out the best parking options near your destination. (Free; Android, iOS)
FOR ITINERARY SUGGESTIONS GREATEST DRIVE Still charting the course of your drive? This app suggests the best road-trip itineraries nearby, annotating each with a summary, star rating, and user reviews. (It’ll also tell you whether a road is twisty, scenic, or likely to be traffic-plagued.) Can’t find what you’re looking for? Integration with Yelp helps you pick places to eat and things to see along the way. (Free; Android, iOS)
FOR HANDS-FREE SHARING GLYMPSE Texting and driving isn’t just dangerous—in most states, it’s illegal. That’s why Glympse, which automatically relays your GPS location to family and friends, is invaluable when you’re sticking to a schedule. Your information is sent only to predetermined contacts in your phone book, for select windows of time—making it easy to keep your eyes on the road. (Free; Android, iOS)
FOR QUIRKY ATTRACTIONS ROADSIDE AMERICA If you’re driving cross-country just for kicks, you might like to see Pittsburgh’s Robot Hall of Fame, or the world’s largest collection of teapots, in Trenton, Tennessee. The app also sheds light on the idiOSyncrasies of beloved attractions (historical monuments; parks; sports arenas)—10,000 venues in all. (From $2.99; iOS)
AUTOCONNECTION Thanks to new connected-car technology, your favorite mobile apps are now being optimized for in-dash touch screens. Carmakers from GM to Audi are introducing built-in apps, while initiatives by Apple (CarPlay) and the Android-focused Open Automotive Alliance are being integrated into select Mercedes-Benz, Honda, and Volvo models, among others. What to expect: voice-activated Web search, OpenTable reservations booked from your car, and maps showing how far you can go at current gas levels.
TECHWATCH Meet the next generation of public Wi-Fi: Hotspot 2.0. These secure networks offer an automatic connection—simply walk within range and voilà, you’re online. Boingo subscribers can find them at 23 major U.S. airports; access is also available for Time Warner Cable customers coast-to-coast.
It feels much later than it is at Aro Ha Wellness Retreat—45 minutes outside of Queenstown in New Zealand’s Southern Alps. But the afternoon meditation session is about to begin, and after the exhausting day you’ve had, a good stretch is just what your body needs. Today’s 6 a.m. yoga class seems like a distant memory after that 10-mile hike on Mount Judah, high above Lake Wakatipu, where only your labored breathing pierced the silence. Why, again, did you sign up for this weeklong test of endurance? Now you remember, as the sun begins its slow descent behind the snowcapped mountain peaks, drenching everything in a golden glow. The calming energy of the studio—and that incomparable view—clears your mind as each exhalation coaxes the tightness from your muscles. Transformation couldn’t come at a better time. Or place. aro-ha.com; all-inclusive. $$$$
Hotels $Less than $200 $$$200 to $350 $$$$350 to $500 $$$$$500 to $1,000 $$$$$More than $1,000
Thanks to a new partnership with online menu platform Zuppler, in-room dining is now a lot more exciting—and easier—at Choice Hotels. Through the branded website ChoiceHotelsMenus.com or an iOS and Android app, guests can place orders for delivery from nearby restaurants; if you share your location, it will automatically bring up the hotel closest to you. A few options for those staying at Comfort Inn Manhattan Bridge: Indian from Baluchi’s, falafel from Pita Grill, and cold-press juices from Magic Mix Juicery. More than 250 Choice Hotels—which includes Quality Inn, Comfort Inn, Comfort Suites, and Econo Lodge—and 4,500-plus restaurant chains across the country have signed on so far.
Brooke Porter Katz is an Associate Editor at Travel + Leisure. Follow her on Twitter at @brookeporter1.
Beware the “shuffle” button! I create playlists for all my restaurants. Maybe I’m a control freak, but I love the process. If I have 100 things to do, “Make soundtracks” is the one I’ll jump to first. (Right after “Test these four pasta recipes.”) At each place, it’s the same list every night, in order. So I know it’s 9:45 when Broken Bells comes on at the Dutch ($$$). Playlists are a progression—you want the music to unfold throughout the night, in terms of genres, BPM (beats per minute), the mood you set.
When the restaurant’s full, you shouldn’t really “hear” the music. You’ll know it’s there, but it won’t take over. Then again, if the room is too quiet—you hear waitstaff gossiping, glasses being cleaned—that’s distracting as well. Music fills that sonic space. It actually helps you focus on your conversation. But no 14-minute cuts! It’s annoying when a song is droning on and on while you’re waiting for dessert. You need a fresh track every three to four minutes.
The discreet charms of the classic, East Coast–elite-style summer vacation: Devin Friedman finds his inner WASP on Martha’s Vineyard.
People are always going on vacation and putting on a straw sombrero and drinking a beer and feeling relaxed and saying, You know what, this is the real me. But that’s not the real you. The real you isn’t the person who is totally stress-free and good-humored and loves to make funny rum cocktails for people he barely knows, who thinks that version of herself embroiled in the careerist rat race is an impostor, who says If I just never came home and instead opened a bookstore/beach bar/sundress emporium here and bought a character-building chapeau I could spend the rest of my days being the real me. Somewhere deep inside the folds of our cortexes, we know that (1) we’re never going to move here and buy the hat and the bookstore and that (2) if we did, the old us would come and take the ferry over and hunt us down by the smell of our fear and aftershave and climb back into our bodies again and make us anxious and ambitious and money-conscious just the way we always were. Getting to not be you for two weeks is what it’s all about anyway. One of the great unsung joys of going on vacation is that you get to be a poseur. So my feeling is, pose like crazy, enjoy it, then hide the pictures of you in the hat.
Argentina’s tourism board recently launched a glossy publication called Che. No, it’s not a tome dedicated to the country’s famous revolutionary leader Ernesto “Che” Guevara. It is a cultural magazine titled after the Argentine colloquial term “che” (which loosely translates to “hey”) commonly used in Latin America to refer to all things Argentine. Its pages feature the best art, music, gastronomy, events, and travel experiences from the country’s 24 provinces. Through colorful photography and engaging storytelling, Che inspires visitors to journey beyond the borders of Buenos Aires and discover a country that’s richly diverse in landscapes, customs and cuisine. The bimonthly magazine is published in English, Spanish and Portuguese and travelers can download issues to their tablets by visiting Argentina.travel or getting the free app at Android and Apple stores.
Nora Walsh is Travel + Leisure's Latin America correspondent.
After the recent announcement that United Airlines will shift to a revenue-based frequent flyer program in 2015, it’s important to assess the evolving landscape of loyalty programs and consider changes that may still be in store. As a consumer advocate, I want all frequent flyers to understand what a loyalty program should be, and to inspire airlines to either preserve the value of those programs or risk losing faithful customers.
Frequent flyer programs follow a simple give-and-get formula: airlines reward customers for their business, and in exchange they develop brand loyalty. However, starting in 2015, when both United and Delta will structure awards based on revenue, their passengers will earn miles not according to how far they fly, but to how much money they spend.
You've read the headlines: Uber is being valued at $18 billion. And as a mom of two toddlers living in New York, I think that sounds about right. Why, you ask? The popular car-sharing service just launched UberFamily, which means getting around the city just became a lot easier (anything to avoid a schlep on the subway). For a $10 surcharge, your vehicle will pick you up with fully-installed car seats. This is a major game-changer, especially for city parents without wheels, and the company plans to roll out to other US destinations later this year. For info on downloading the app, go here.
Find one that’s between SPF 30 and 50 (anything higher protects only incrementally more) and has UVA and UVB protection, says Dr. Doris Day, a New York City dermatologist and author of Forget the Facelift. Broad-spectrum coverage makes the lotion more stable, so it will last longer in the sun—though Day still advises applying every two hours. For a tropical getaway, go for a water-resistant formula (there’s no such thing as waterproof). As for which form of sunscreen to choose: “It’s a matter of personal preference between a gel, cream, wipe, powder, spray, or lotion,” Day says. “They’re equally effective.” And don’t forget a hat, sunglasses, and protective or SPF-treated clothing.
Photo courtesy of iStock
Melanie Lieberman is the Editorial Projects Assistant and a member of the Trip Doctor News Team. You can follow her on twitter at @LittleWordBites.