If time, money, and insider access were yours for the asking, how would you spend your next visit to London? Let me make it easy for you with a menu of choices: Being served afternoon tea at the Lord's Cricket Ground by Mr. Carson, the butler from Downton Abbey. Joining the cast of a West End smash show, onstage, as an extra. Blasting a shot from the big guns of the HMS Belfast, a warship that fired one of the first salvoes on D-Day. Raising the roadbed of Tower Bridge to accommodate a passing ship on the mighty Thames. Prowling the hidden corners and most regal of public spaces in the Houses of Parliament, accompanied by no less than the Speaker of the House of Commons. Or how about all these things, and many more iconic London experiences, during a two-week luxury stay in the English capital? Would you like that? Neither would I. No, wait, just kidding! Yes, I would. I want to do them all, and maybe I will--unless you beat me to it.
On a Sunday night in Basseterre, the capital of St. Kitts, the Jamaica Tallawahs batted against the Barbados Tridents at Warner Park during a Caribbean Premier League T20 cricket tournament. The wicket ignited with an LED flash as a bail tumbled; the crowd, which included the prime minister, roared with approval. A Mexican Wave swept through the nosebleed seats. The Jumbotron projected a close-up of the El Dorado Rum girls shaking their spangled booties. Since when, I thought to myself, did cricket have the sex appeal of Carnival?
Since 1776, the war between British and American English has given rise to such battles as lorry versus truck, knackered versus tired, and loo versus toilet. Yet no clash has caused such dramatic, personal agony as the deceptively sweet duel between biscuit and cookie, waged by very-British talk show host, John Oliver, and his Muppet co-star, the Cookie Monster.
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Forget logo branded t-shirts and shot glasses. These hotel gift shops forgo stocking their shelves with those usual tchotchkes in favor of products that raise their retail status as high as the penthouse suite! The six shops that make our list make it so you don't even have to leave the hotel to score some seriously awesome merchandise. After shelling out some green, you can head back to your luxe digs to admire your vacation loot. Now how to pack it all in your suitcase…
The JW Marriott Downtown Houston recently unveiled the new Spa by JW concept—which will roll out to 20 more properties in the coming year. Designed for both the hesitant spa novice and the time-strapped guest, the idea is to “de-mystify the spa experience, make it more accessible, and make it easier for guests to enjoy on their own schedule,” explains Mitzi Gaskins, Vice President & Global Brand Manager for JW Marriott.
Just a short drive from bustling downtown Los Angeles, Chuan Spa—the latest addition to The Langham Huntington, Pasadena—is bringing a new level of sophistication to the California suburbs. The luxury spa offers treatments inspired by Traditional Chinese Medicine, which incorporates herbal medicine, acupuncture, tai chi, and more.
Coinciding with Leica’s 60th anniversary, the iconic camera company is teaming up with Exclusive Resorts to give guests access to great photographic equipment (and instruction) during their stay.
Leica cameras are celebrated for producing photographs that are crisp, clean, often black and white images with dramatic depth of field. Henri Cariter Bresson, the most avid Leica enthusiast and famed photographer, once said “shooting with a Leica is like a long, tender kiss." On the new photo tours, called “Destination in Focus Getaways,” participants have access to state-of-the-art Leica equipment, as well as lessons by teachers from the Leica Akademie.
Ever since the impeccably mannered Paddington left the deepest darkest Peru for London in 1958, his adventures have captured the imaginations of kids everywhere. Who can't help but adore the red-booted, marmalade-loving little guy? In celebration of his new movie out November 28th, London itself is being turned into a very bear-y town.
It’s not yet mid-November, but the snow is coming down in many parts of the country. If that has you thinking about skiing, it’s time to take action and buy those season passes. TheVail Epic Pass, which gives you unlimited access to 12 U.S. mountains, is on sale until November 23, while theMountain Collective, which offers 14 days at 10 world-class resorts, is getting closer to being sold out. Don’t know which pass is right for you? Luckily the good folks at ski resort–finder Scout, have created a handy info graphic breaking down the differences.
(Click the image above to see the full infographic.)
Security lines. Passport stamps. Checked luggage. Have you ever stepped back and really thought about why we travel the way we do? In some ways, this industry is—pardon the pun—on autopilot. And that mindset is exactly what author Doug Lansky set out to question.
A project 10 years in the making, new e-book Travel: The Guide is anything but your typical destination handbook, a clarification the intro makes abundantly clear.
International roaming as we know it is on the verge of becoming obsolete: the EU has proposed a single network for all European countries, T-Mobile no longer charges customers when surf the web abroad, and apps like Ringo help you tap onto local networks to circumvent pricey roaming packages and overages. Now, Apple is also getting in on the act with Apple SIM, a proprietary SIM card built into the new iPad Air 2.
All it takes is one safari to get a visceral sense of the importance of conservation in Africa. You feel it in your gut: the twinned awesomeness and fragility of the continent’s wild places. That’s why so many travelers give so generously to the parks and reserves they travel through. But how do you activate this protective instinct for place a few travelers have seen—and in a country as fraught as the Democratic Republic of Congo, which has been riven by conflict and exploitation since the days of King Leopold? Give documentarian Orlando von Einsiedel a hand for finding a way to distill (but not diminish) these complex issues into the riveting Virguna, which premiers today on Netflix and in select theaters in New York City and Los Angeles.
The Setai Miami Beach’s latest spa treatments fit the hotel’s Asian-inspired aesthetic to a tea thanks to their partnership with Thémaé. The Paris-based cosmetics and spa brand is inspired by and named after the Japanese tea preparation ceremony. The Spa at The Setai by Thémaé was introduced earlier this year and features treatments that use exclusive products made from the extracts of red, white, green, and black teas—each of which has its own specific medicinal benefit.
Last year, Starwood unveiled plans to swap plastic keycards for Bluetooth technology—enabling guests to unlock their hotel rooms with a simple wave of their smartphone. We predicted it would be one of the biggest travel trends for 2014, and indeed, Hilton Worldwide and Caesars have since announced plans to bring the technology to their hotels as soon as this winter. But this week, Starwood is back in the spotlight as they pull back the curtain on how mobile entry works—and introduce it to ten properties in the Aloft, W, and Element portfolios.
As a die-hard coffee obsessive, I’m always seeking out the best brews in any city I visit. But I do need a starter cup to tide me over in the morning, and what I can get in my hotel room is rarely up to snuff (sorry, Nespresso). A new solution: the Coffee Travel Kit by Timbuk2 and Blue Bottle Coffee, a packable pour-over set roughly twice the size of your standard amenity kit. Included are a Japanese-made hand grinder with adjustable grind settings, a pack of filters, two Falcon enamelware mugs with felt cozies, a non-leeching plastic cone dripper, and—of course—a two ounce sample of Blue Bottle beans, all in a waved canvas and leather bag. So how do these expert-grade tools perform on the road? We took the kit for a test drive.
Combine old-fashioned customer service with a novel use of technology, and you get Double Robot. Indianapolis Airport recently rolled out its newest employee to complement guest services and assist in answering passengers' questions—airport transportation, gate locations, direction, more. An airport agent visibly appears and communicates with passengers through a tablet screen, propped up on a roller dressed in a blue customer service shirt similar to other employees. Cute, convenient, or creepy?
Nicoletta Richardson is a freelance editorial assistant at Travel + Leisure
New beauty services by Essie, XpressSpa, and 3FLOZ offers last-minute pampering before take off.
Essie Color Boutique: Equipped with 42 permanent shades and six seasonal hues, the new essie color boutique vending machine at Dallas/Fort Worth Airport, Oakland Airport, John F. Kennedy Airport, and Houston George Bush Airport¾lets travelers purchase polish on the go. Our favorites for fall: Take It Outside taupe; Partner in Crime dark brown; and Fall in Line, a fabulous jade green.
A cacti-filled garden in Morocco, lush country homes in England, a tropical oasis in Florida: the world is filled with countless public and private green spaces—and the new book The Gardener’s Garden brings together more than 250 of the world’s best.
Last week, the Iceland-based Wow Air announced that starting in March 2015, it would offer special introductory fares from Boston and Baltimore: $99 one-way flights to Reykjavik and $228 roundtrip flights to London and Copenhagen. The discount carrier is taking a page from Norwegian, which is now flying out of five U.S. cities, with more to come. (Though unlike Norwegian, it won’t include free WiFi.) As for luggage charges, expect to pay $29 for a carry-on booked online, or $48 at the airport.
The City of Light is known for streets steeped in history, stunning sights and nightlife, and of course legendary food. This quick video is an episode of the Travel + Leisure video series called #TLMoment, which captures the serendipitous and unexpected travel moments we experience around the globe.
It’s been a full fifteen years since Westin introduced the Heavenly bed—an icon so popular it’s since been adopted by Delta and sold to consumers worldwide. To mark the occasion, the brand is now introducing a sleep sensor lending program in collaboration with wearables company Lark Technologies—the latest in a series of wellness-related innovations by the Starwood brand.
New York City’s Tribeca neighborhood, often affectionately called “Hollywood East,” is one of the city's most dynamic neighborhoods. Follow our T+L guide and you’ll do it right.
Many attribute much of the transformation of Tribeca—a former no-man's land now filled with cool shops and hip restaurants—to Robert De Niro, who is the owner of the handsome, 88-room Greenwich Hotel. During the star-studded Tribeca Film Festival, this is his home base.
To get a taste of the pseudo-casual yet super hip restaurant scene now led by of-the-moment chefs like Matt Abramcyk, try his unassuming yet undeniably cool bar Smith & Mills, in a design-forward space on North Moore Street. Keep an eye on this restaurateur; he turns out new projects almost every year.
Like Tribeca itself, Aire Ancient Baths retains its old Manhattan roots but has a shiny, new veneer. The Roman-style bathhouse, formerly a 19th-century textile factory, is furnished with wooden benches made from scaffolds of the city’s Triborough Bridge. Visit for a soak and forget all about the hustle outside.