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.
Seven indulgent reasons to get out of the hotel early.
Pancake Bakery, Amsterdam: Bacon-, cheese-, or apple-topped pannenkoeken (larger and thinner than American flapjacks) are the items to order at this intimate canal-side space. 191 Prinsengracht. $$
Lauras Bakery, Copenhagen: In a land obsessed with morning pastries (Danish, anyone?), Lauras takes the cake. Expect rows of kanelsnegle (intensely spiced cinnamon rolls) and Pop-Tart-like hindbærsnitters, all in the culinary mecca that is Torvehallerne Market. 17 Linnesgade.$
A: Sure, flight attendants will pour you a drink, but they are safety professionals first and foremost—not service staff. To avoid any misunderstanding, airlines make it a company policy to refuse tips (unless a passenger may otherwise be offended). If your attendant went beyond the call of duty, let the airline know. Your good review will be used to evaluate performance and could ultimately lead to a pay raise.
The new Rosewood London may occupy an imposing 1914 Edwardian landmark between Covent Garden and the City, but it exudes a youthful glamour. In keeping with the company’s master plan for brand reinvention, designer Tony Chi employed an eclectic combination of alpacca silver, horsehair, and lacquer to enhance and soften the building’s inherent grandeur. It’s a thoroughly modern mix that works.
Interiors guru Adam D. Tihany is taking on a sea-worthy new project: Seabourn’s latest ship, due to launch in 2016 with room for an expected 604 guests (and private verandas on every suite). We’re excited to see what Tihany —the visual mastermind behind New York’s Sirio at the Pierre, Daniel, and the recently re-opened poolside café at Beverly Hills Hotel & Bungalows, in Los Angeles—will bring to Seabourn. More details are still emerging, but according to Tihany himself: “My goal is to design a beautiful, and very uniquely Seabourn ship, one that will reflect Seabourn’s aura of casual elegance and thoughtful attention to detail, that will make their guests feel welcome and invite them to experience Seabourn’s special brand of ultra-luxury.” Ultra-luxury? Sign us up for the maiden voyage.
Whether you're a cruise novice or expert, join our Cruise Travel Twitter Chat this Tuesday, March 11th from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. EST. We'll be asking experts about emerging cruise destinations, ship trends, and even industry misconceptions. Join along and ask them for their insider advice!
Eli Newell’s new crowd-sourced travel show Don’t Kill Eli can best be described as a real-life “choose your own adventure.” The 36-year-old comedian and world traveler will ask viewers (via videos on the YouTube channel) to vote on where he should go and what he should do when he gets there. As he puts it in his Kickstarter video, “No matter how gross or stupid or dangerous it is, if you want me to do, I’ll do it."
If you're like me, you watch the timer count down until you can skip the disruptive advertisement and get to the video you actually want to watch. Not so with this new ad.
From the tea pouring and the crispy papadum to the taxicabs tooting their horns in an oh-so polite way, the video smartly showcases the diverse sounds of Great Britain—hitting all the right notes along the way.
Peter Schlesinger is a research assistant at Travel + Leisure and a member of the Trip Doctor news team. You can follow him on Twitter at @pschles08.
4:07 p.m.: It’s the colors that strike you first. Above your rattan lounge chair on Tiger Blue, a wooden schooner sailing through Indonesia’s West Papua province, blood-red sails billow against the sky. Luminous green forests seem to glow on shore. All around, the water glistens azure, turquoise, and, in the shallows, a pale crystalline aquamarine. You’ve already hiked island slopes and snorkeled with sea turtles and manta rays, so perhaps it’s time for a nap in a shaded hammock? This evening, you’ll moor alongside a sheltered beach for a lobster barbecue; later, though there are four spacious cabins aboard, you might sleep on linen-covered cushions under the stars. And why not? Other than the crew, there’s no one to disturb you for miles.
One of the most anticipated new operas of 2014 has premiered at Madrid’s Teatro Real: Brokeback Mountain, with a libretto by Annie Proulx, based on her short story, and a score by American composer Charles Wuorinen. Brokeback Mountainis, of course, widely known because of the acclaimed 2005 film by Ang Lee that starred Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal, as Wyoming sheep-herders, who fall in love in a landscape and a time inhospitable to their passion.
I love little towns with histories: quirky, literary, musical, genteel, revolutionary. Dockery Farms in Cleveland, Mississippi, is the plantation where Howlin’ Wolf, Charlie Patton, and all the blues guys worked. At night they’d play on the porch of a little juke joint. The music that came out of there is incredible. My dad was three when his family moved to Dyess, Arkansas, a colony created for poor families during the Depression. When I was 12, my dad took us for a visit. I couldn’t believe he’d grown up there. I’ve said no to almost all the Johnny Cash projects that have come across my plate, but when Arkansas State University bought the house and told me they wanted to restore it, I said, yeah, I’ll get involved.
This week, Apple introduced their new CarPlay system, and it’s something of a revolution for road trippers. A follow up to iOS in the Car, which launched quietly last year as a way to have your iPhone screen show up on your in-car dash, CarPlay is set to ship in Ferrari, Mercedes-Benz, and Volvo cars any day, with nearly every auto maker following suit by the year’s end (notable exceptions include Fiat, VW, and Chrysler). Included in the release? Full integration via your phone’s lightning port, offering access to Siri, Apple maps, hands-free calling, and text messages through voice commands and in-car controls. One feature we can’t stop thinking about: controlling Spotify (or any other music app) without having to take your eyes off the road.
Nikki Ekstein is an Editorial Assistant at Travel + Leisure and part of the Trip Doctor news team. Find her on Twitter at @nikkiekstein.
This week, the Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas became the first major property in the U.S. to offer what may be the most genius perk ever, especially in a place like Sin City: 24-hour checkout.
For no additional cost, guests can select the 24-hour checkout option when booking a Superior, Premier, or Ivory Suite exclusively through the hotel’s website. They’ll be asked for their anticipated arrival time, and checkout is the same time on the following day (though it can’t be later than 11 p.m.). For added convenience, you can even checkout via text message. Now if only winning at blackjack was that easy.
Brooke Porter Katz is an Associate Editor at Travel + Leisure. Follow her on Twitter at @brookeporter1.
Lego mania cannot be stopped. In addition to being painfully underfoot in playrooms everywhere, there's a Lego movie in theaters, high-art Lego sculptures, a Lego hotel, and now a new Legoland Discovery Center, in Boston. The 44,000 square-foot space is due to open in May and will have more than 3 million pieces of plastic all snapped into place (expect a Lego laser ride, a 4D cinema, and mini-models of US landmarks). And for true Lego maniacs? A master builder is on hand to teach toddlers the secrets to creating sky-high towers.
Clara Sedlak is a mother of two and Special Projects Editor at Travel + Leisure. Follow her on Twitter at @csedlak1.
A: Good news: the TSA’s expedited security program has expanded to include international flights departing from the U.S. on eight of the agency’s partner airlines. You can also use TSA PreCheck lanes if you’re connecting to a domestic flight after arriving in the States. Bear in mind, if you booked a ticket through a TSA partner airline but your flight is actually operated by a foreign alliance carrier, you are not eligible for PreCheck. The operating carrier must submit the names of its PreCheck-eligible passengers to the TSA prior to the flight, and at this point the agency does not have any international partners.
By The Numbers
30: The average number of firearms confiscated each week in 2012 via TSA carry-on searches; most were claimed to have been packed unwittingly.
Prominent LGBT rights group GetEQUAL issued its own Travel Alert to Mississippi today, as the state's legislature considers a bill that would allow business owners to discriminate for religious reasons.
Sound familiar? Just last week Arizona's governor vetoed a similar bill after massive public outcry, including several high-profile travel companies.
With Christie's auction house right around the corner and the Queen’s palace not too far away, Avenue restaurant on the posh St. James Street in the heart of Mayfair, has re-launched, bringing a distinctive Manhattan power-dining scene to London. Everything from the Prohibition era cocktails to the wine list to the menu to the portion sizes to the friendly service is done with a nod to England’s former colony across the pond. This trend toward all things American is not new in London. Every other opening recently has been some variety of burger shack, hot dog stand, or BBQ joint, but Avenue offers a more upscale take on Americana. You get two cornmeal crusted soft shell crabs for a starter and they’re crispy and lovely with the spicy mayo sauce that accompanies them. Meanwhile, the very large lobster macaroni and cheese is positively packed full of lobster meat and the aromas wafting from the “pig” loaf at the next table made me swoon. With reasonable prices and many more items on the list I’d like to try, Avenue made this American girl feel very much at home.
Sally Hurst is a chef and food writer based in London. You can follow her on Twitter at @chefsallyjane.
Until a few weeks ago, travel restrictions to Cuba were looser than they’ve ever been, thanks to President Obama’s 2011 policy allowing tour companies to apply for travel licenses for “people-to-people” educational and cultural trips. But that’s all come to a halt now that the one bank responsible for processing these visas—M&T Bank in Buffalo, New York—has decided to stop offering its services to diplomatic missions. As of yet, no replacement bank has been found, despite efforts from both sides.
Awhile back, pastry chefs at Ritz-Carlton hotels around the world were given a task: To create a cake to celebrate the hotel's founding and a dessert that distinctly represented the Ritz-Carlton brand. But there were a few requirements. Grand Marnier had to be an ingredient (Mr. Marnier La Postelle was a friend of Cesar Ritz and an investor in the original Ritz-Carlton hotel). Also, the cake must travel well.
The cake that, well, took the cake, is a moist Valrhona chocolate sponge cake layered with bitter caramel and orange ganache made from Grand Marnier by chef Yusuke Aoki from Toronto. We had the pleasure of tasting it over here at Travel + Leisure and it was gobbled up within minutes of opening the simple, yet elegant black cake box. The rich chocolate and orange cake is a crowd pleaser and would make great souvenir to bring back from your next stay at a Ritz-Carlton hotel.
Lyndsey Matthews is an assistant digital editor at Travel + Leisure
Miami’s SLS Brickell hotel won’t open its doors until 2015, but elaborate plans from designer Philippe Starck already have us obsessed.
Like Starck’s existing properties in Beverly Hills, South Beach, Las Vegas and New York, the SLS Brickell will flaunt a playful-but-polished vibe, attracting Lincoln Road regulars and an artsy crowd from the nearby Perez Art Museum Miami and upcoming Brickell CitiCentre complex.
After making waves with their incredible new business class cabins last year (lie-flat seats; multiple outlets; leg room galore), Lufthansa is upgrading its fleet once again. And this time, the news is in the back of the plane. Starting in November, you’ll find Premium Economy Class seats on the German carrier’s planes—not only with 50% more leg room than Economy, but a slew of luxe amenities as well. Passengers in Premium Economy will be greeted with a welcome cocktail, receive complimentary amenity kits (we’ve yet to learn what brands might be found inside), and will be served meals on porcelain tableware. Sound a little like business class? Good news: the prices will skew closer to Economy, with a return flight across the Atlantic carrying an average premium of $800 (that’s almost $2,000 less than the cost of your typical Lufthansa business seat).
Recognizing there's a better way to survive the Polar Vortex than hurling boiling pots of water into the air, modern-day Japanese warriors took to the battlefield recently in Hokkaido to hurl something else—snowballs. At each other. In a giant sanctioned snow war.
“A culinary greatest hits of the world.” That’s how best-selling author David Joachim describes his 40th cookbook, Cooking Light Global Kitchen: The World's Most Delicious Food Made Easy(Oxmoor House; $29.95), which hit shelves this week. It’s a compendium of 150 recipes—including 120 pulled from Cooking Light’s 25-year-old archive developed by the likes of Lidia Bastianich and Rick Bayless.
If you’re searching for an activity more interesting than the average tourist attraction while traveling, skip the guidebook and log onto eventseeker. The event recommendation engine—available to all Android users as of last week—uses your social profile and music applications to create a hyper-local, personalized list of suggested activities. It even shows you which friends may be attending.
Since it launched last year, eventseeker has been steadily expanding its global reach. Aside from its ubiquity across all smartphone platforms and social networks, the app now has a presence in more than 2,000 cities worldwide. Partnerships with 150 ticketing agencies have provided access to an unprecedented database of events, ranging from nearby festivals to rock concerts or educational programs.
The next time you're touring a new town, or simply looking to expand your neighborhood knowledge of affairs, let eventseeker do the searching for you.
Melanie Lieberman is an editorial intern at Travel + Leisure.
To me, the phrase “Orient-Express” is synonymous with luxury travel: train rides through the Veneto, 16th-century retreats in Cusco, exotic cruises along Myanmar’s Irrawaddy River. That's why I was so surprised to see that the company of the same name, which counts 45 alluring hotels, rail lines, and river cruises in its collection, is changing its moniker to Belmond starting March 10. According to the group, the decision was made in order to “strengthen our brand architecture” and “increase consumer recognition in the marketplace.” The ultimate reason? They never actually owned the name. The trademark had been licensed through SNCF, France’s national railway company, and the group felt that having a name they could call their own might lure more property owners to invest in the brand. Following the change, only the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express train will keep its title.