They say you never really appreciate something until it’s gone. That’s how I’ve felt ever since I was twelve when my family and I packed up our bags and headed from a remote island in the Bahamas to the bustling city of New York. There are many extraordinary islands with such unique sights and experiences scattered across the Bahamian waters—the pink sands of Harbour Island (and the swimming pigs!) in the Exumas, fishing in the Abacos, or roaming around Fort Charolette in Nassau. And these are just a few.
Smithsonian museums are amazing for many reasons—not least of which is the fact that entrance to all of them is free. In honor of this perk, Smithsonian Magazine sponsors the annual Museum Day Live!, when more than 1,500 museums across the country do away with admission fees for one day. This year’s event—the 10th anniversary—takes place September 27.
Developed by two photography fanatics, Miggo is a new camera strap that morphs from a cushioning band to a protective case. Its offers two styles, the “grip and wrap” as well as the “strap and wrap,” each with a different design created for easy access to your camera without worrying about a a bulky camera bag.
London culinary institution, Chef Mark Hix, has opened his first restaurant south of the Thames River, just a stones throw from the Tate Modern and Borough Market. At Hixter Bankside he’s once again working with the formula that proved so popular at his East London restaurant Tramshed, focusing on succulent whole roast chickens and Flinstones-sized beef cuts to share.
Actress Blake Lively's latest endeavor is Preserve, a lifestyle website that is also a deeply personal venture. The site brings to life her passions—philanthropy, commerce for beautiful American-made discoveries, and the human story. T+L's Gabrielle Blitz talks to the star and learns about Lively's take on New Orleans, U.S. artisans, and family.
Q: Tell me about Preserve—where did the idea come from?
A: When I was younger, I didn’t know what I wanted to do for a living—what kid does? But I knew that I wanted to do something like my mom. She is one of the most creative, innovative people that I’ve ever encountered. That opened up a possibility for me—there weren’t really any limitations [for my mom]. She would always make the impossible happen.
Between long security lines, delayed flights, and mind-numbing jet lag, it seems impossible to shake the anxiety that comes along with traveling. Thankfully, Plaza Premium Lounges offer a place to decompress before taking off—regardless of airline or traveler loyalty memberships. Their first European lounge recently opened at London Heathrow.
The Istanbul neighborhood of Karaköy used to be a bustling port; home to one of the busiest harbors in Europe. But with the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, the area fell into disrepair. For decades Karaköy, with its gaping naval warehouses, was a gloomy and forgotten dockland. The only people you’d find hanging out there were fishermen, junkies, and prostitutes.
But all that began to change with the arrival of Didem Şenol. A chef, formerly of New York City’s Le Cirque and Eleven Madison Park, Şenol took a chance on Karaköy when she opened her first restaurant there in 2010.
All eyes are on the South Bank, thanks to its world-class art museums, galleries, and theaters. Here, a few must-see destinations.
Design Museum: This Modernist-style museum by Terence Conran hosts exhibitions on fashion, architecture, furniture, and more. On view this month: “Designers in Residence,” an annual show that celebrates local and international emerging talent.
Colorado-based animator Rachel Ryle just got back from a month-long trip around Europe and put pen to paper in a series of vignette postcards with old world charm and Instagram flare.
“I wanted to take a different spin on postcards. Capturing something iconic in each region, but giving it some TLC”, said Ryle, whose hand-drawn images of quaint German towns (and beer steins), Italian piazzas and the Eiffel Tower, of course, come to life in snapshots and 15-second films on her Instagram. Her account has garnered accolades from MTV & Buzzfeed, and her animated drawings go more in depth her YouTube page.
Print versions of Ryle’s postcards will be available as a collection, which she plans on increasing as she adds more stamps to her passport.
Erica Firpo is a Rome-based writer and frequent contributor to travelandleisure.com.
This fall, thousands of lights will glow in Nevada’s Mojave Desert—and we’re not talking about the neon signs on the Strip. On October 18, the RiSE Lantern Festival will kick off just outside Las Vegas at the Jean Dry Lakebed, forming a visual spectacle of illuminated lanterns, all inscribed with personal messages, floating into the night sky.
Edwins: This quintessentially English pub—Tudor windows, draped curtains, and large wooden tables—became an instant hit when it opened in the spring. On the menu: elevated British classics such as lamb “chump” chops with eggplant and zucchini, and for dessert, gooseberry trifle. $$$
Rabot 1745: Nearly every dish at Rabot 1745, the brainchild of Angus Thirlwell and Peter Harris of Hotel Chocolat, is laced with chocolate, from the carpaccio Rabot, doused in a 100 percent cacao–liquor dressing, to the guinea fowl and cocoa-infused yogurt. $$$$
When you’re spending as much as $30 a day for hotel parking, tipping the valet each time he or she retrieves your car can seem like an unnecessary investment. That $30, however, goes only toward the valet’s base pay, which—much like a waiter’s—is calculated assuming that he or she will receive gratuities. If you don’t want to hand out money each day, ask the concierge if it’s possible to leave a total tip at the end of your stay: many hotels pool and distribute tips evenly to the valets.
Today Marriott Hotels launches a brand-new, knock-your-socks-off travel experience that allows you to immerse yourself in a virtual-reality version of London and Hawaii, complete with motion, sounds, and even sprays of water for a “4-D” experience that makes typical virtual reality pale in comparison. The Teleporter, as the experience has been tagged, is being rolled out to the public starting today and over the next eight weeks at select Marriotts nationwide (see the full schedule here). Why should you care? Read on...
As oak and birch leaves turn to deep reds and warm yellows, Amtrak will offer passengers the ideal viewing arrangement. From September 25 to November 4, its 1955 Great Dome car will be rolling through the Adirondack Mountains. The only one of its kind in Amtrak’s fleet, this double decker train car offers stunning panoramic views of New York state’s mountains and lakes from its floor-to-ceiling windows.
Lassco Ropewalk: You could spend hours exploring this 14,000-square-foot outpost of venerable furnishings company lassco at the Ropewalk market. The place is filled with salvaged goods and architectural antiques, from doorknobs and tiles to gilt-wood mirrors and Persian carpets.
Snowden Flood: London designer Snowden Flood’s quirky shop in the Oxo Tower Wharf stocks plates and cups printed with Pop art illustrations of London landmarks, retro stationery, and bright tea towels and aprons.
We love food trucks here at T+L, so this year's NYC Vendy Awards had our attention. Food truck vendors traveled to Governors Island, New York, Saturday for a cook-off at the tenth annual Vendy Awards. This year, twenty-five finalists were nominated online and competed in one of five categories at the event.
Bruce Schoenfeld finds a wave of authenticity in Argentina’s best-loved wine region.
The swirl-and-sip set are flocking to Mendoza. They gather in hotel lobbies wearing sandals and gaucho hats, bound for Catena Zapata’s Mayan pyramid of a winery or a polo match at Cheval des Andes. Nearly a dozen wine-tourism companies are operating excursions to the large, important producers. There’s even a continental dining scene striving for global recognition.
Our top picks in the South Bank’s foodie epicenter.
Wright Brothers Oyster & Porter House: The fresh oysters at this rustic-chic restaurant are prepared in various ways, from deep-fried to Japanese-style with wasabi, ginger, and soy. Get a sidewalk table for great people-watching. $$$
Peer-to-peer, local, authentic: these are all buzzwords permeating the travel world—with no hints of disappearing any time soon. Our latest P2P find takes a page out of Vayable, a worldwide marketplace of local-led experiences. The Barcelona-based Trip4Real, which launched last year, is solely focused on Spain, with 3,000-plus activities in 50 cities, from popular spots such as Barcelona and Madrid to small towns in Basque Country.
For Gucci creative director Frida Giannini, trips to Brazil’s fashion capital are often packed with work events—but she still makes time to visit her local haunts.
Eat & Drink
“The ground-floor bar at the Fasano is at once old-world and modern; it’s a memorable place for a drink,” Giannini says. For dinner, she reserves a table at Figueira Rubaiyat, which sources fish from southern Brazil and is a design landmark. “A beautiful 150-year-old fig tree envelops the space.” Skye Bar, on the rooftop of Hotel Unique, is another must. “It’s the perfect place for a stunning view at the end of the day.”
A trailblazing retreat at the foot of the Himalayas is reinventing the spa experience.
Set on 21 acres of lychee and mango orchards in the forests of India’s Uttarakhand state, 150 miles north of New Delhi, Vana Malsi Estate is the opposite of a tough-love boot camp. It’s a luxury ashram with an East-meets-West treatment menu, a farm-to-table ethos, and a sleek Modernist design, softened by the sounds of birds, rhesus monkeys, and melodious flute players.
Since it opened last spring, international jet-setters have been using Vana as a one-stop rejuvenation shop. After an initial consultation with a holistic doctor, guests receive a custom-tailored program that includes sessions across various disciplines. Therapists might draw on an ancient healing practice called Sowa Rigpa, from the Dalai Lama’s Tibetan Medical & Astrological Institute; a Chinese-medicine doctor may read your tongue and face to pinpoint ailments. Flute vibrations elevate meditation classes, held in outdoor pavilions, and days end in a private Watsu pool at the spa.
Hotel executive Katherine Melchior Ray knows how to stay stylish on the fly.
Although Katherine Melchior Ray, the vice president of luxury brands at Hyatt Hotels, is on the road at least twice a month, she never forgets to pack a touch of home. “I bring my own coffee mug. That way, I don’t feel like I’m in a hotel, especially if I’m in bed and the sun’s coming in.”
Quick access to a city center via public transport makes it easy to steal away for a few hours and take in some sights—and even a meal. Here are six airports we love, all with convenient luggage storage.
Minimum layover needed for two hours in the city center: 5 hours Travel Time to City Center: 15 to 20 minutes How to do it: Heathrow Express to Paddington ($57 round-trip; trains every 15 minutes) What to do: A short ride on the Tube gets you to Waterloo, where you can walk along the South Bank for views of Big Ben, St. Paul’s Cathedral, and the Shard’s glass spire. End with a tagliolini with clams at Gordon Ramsay’s Italian-inspired Union Street Café.
A quartet of fresh-faced openings in the Northeast is breathing new life into the B&B.
Lexington, Massachusetts The Inn at Hastings Park (pictured) has 22 tastefully decorated rooms (handwoven blankets; Peter Fasano wallpaper) in three historic buildings just 25 minutes from downtown Boston. Chef Mathew Molloy uses produce from local farms in New England–centric dishes such as seared scallops with gnocchi, corn, and lobster stew. $$
Lewes, Delaware The owners of the celebrated Dogfish Head brewery recently opened the eclectic, 16-room Dogfish Inn. It’s located a mile from Lewes Beach and about three from Cape Henlopen State Park, so beer lovers can swim, bike, and hike, then quench their thirst at the brewery itself, right up the road. $$
This week, T-Mobile continued on its rampage to break all the rules we've ever come to know about mobile carriers, this time with a move that throws the need for a 4G network all but out the window. The big reveal? Wi-Fi calling on all new T-Mobile smartphones, a feature that will make roaming workaround apps like Viber largely irrelevant. This comes on the heels of Apple's iPhone 6 debut, which also included Wi-Fi calling as a standard feature.
The implication for travelers is huge. First and foremost, it signals an enormous change in the way we think about roaming and international phone charges (already, the carrier has made data roaming and music streaming abroad worries of the past).
Is T-Mobile trying to be the world's best network for travelers? All signs say yes. You likely already know about T-Mobile's free international data roaming features. Earlier we reported on T-Mobile's Wi-Fi calling features. Now, there's one more feather in the carrier's cap: free in-flight texting, picture messaging, and visual voicemail on all gogo-powered flights. The service is made possible thanks to a partnership with the in-flight Wi-Fi provider; like most announcements of this kind, this is being considered a limited time promotion (no end date has been announced).
Travel + Leisure’s new video series B-Sides follows chef (and T+L food and culture contributor) Marcus Samuelsson through emerging neighborhoods in the U.S. that most travelers don’t know about. Like the “B-side” of a record album, these places are the flip-sides to a city’s greatest hits.