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The Boutique Hotel Experience in Tel Aviv

The Boutique Hotel Experience in Tel Aviv

Forget the beachfront, skyscraper hotels overlooking Tel Aviv's historic Jaffa. To see what really makes the White City tick, book a boutique hotel in a Bauhaus neighborhood and absorb the design and architecture of some of the spots that have been blooming in this Middle Eastern metropolis that sometimes feels like Miami-on-the-Mediterranean.

Alma Hotel, the newest of the bunch, opened in November 2012. It was founded by  siblings, Adi and Irit Strauss, who also run three of Tel Aviv’s most popular restaurants. They have woven together a patchwork of bohemian luxury in 15 studios and suites with elegant, zany decor that mirrors the eclectic architecture of its newly renovated 1925 building.

Each luminous room, some with balconies, meshes traditional décor with the contemporary, blending Eastern and Western cultures that recalls the intimate sexiness of hotels in Paris’s Le Marais district. A rooftop terrace, sandwiched between synagogues and skyscrapers, provides an urban oasis for sipping any of the Israeli boutique wines available in each room's mini-bar.

Alma also lures wealthy foodies, ranging from Israeli socialites to Russian businessmen, to its ground floor bar and restaurant. Its celebrity chef Yonatan Roshfeld (also a judge on Master Chef Israel) serves Mediterranean tapas in microscopic yet succulent portions.

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Grand Central Celebrates 100th Birthday

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On February 1, 1913 Grand Central’s stationmaster received the first set of keys to the Terminal. One-hundred years later, New York will celebrate the beloved landmark (and one of the world's most beautiful train stations) with a full day of activities including a rededication ceremony in the morning and the opening of “Grand by Design,” a multimedia exhibit of the terminal’s history by the New York Transit Museum that runs through March 15, 2013.


Lyndsey Matthews is an assistant digital editor at Travel + Leisure

Photo by Lyndsey Matthews

Eternal Sunshine: EX-PATS Extends its Stay in Panama

While most people take a vacation to escape their jobs, the Reserve Channel’s new YouTube series, EX-PATS shows how an island retreat can turn into a full-time position.

In the sixth episode, former Wall Street lawyer KC Hardin is so inspired by the vibrant culture of Casco Viejo, Panama that he tosses his career to help revitalize the neighborhood. Now founder of the organization, El Conservatorio, KC’s days are spent restoring the eclectic architecture of this 350-year-old UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Host Savannah Jane Buffet follows KC and his wife, Patrizia, as they renovate music halls, plant community gardens, and pour tall glasses of wine at their home’s rooftop. Press “play” to watch the inspiring tale.

Maria Pedone is a digital editorial intern at Travel + Leisure.

"It's So Miami": Why the Florida City's New Slogan May Mean More Than City Officials Intended

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With a spritely klatch of scantily-clad models flying around a pop-up pool party, slapping around beach balls and cavorting to a live deejay's techno music, Florida’s most hyperactive playground kicked off a fitting new tourism campaign, “It’s So Miami,” on a recent balmy afternoon in New York City’s Union Square. The slogan is clearly more about reinforcing the Latin-infused city’s authority as America’s preeminent destination for escapism than proffering anything newfangled or undiscovered. But the irony of Miami’s decision to double down on its hedonistic caricature is that the city truly is emerging as a genuine cultural hub with gravitas and depth.

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Tokyo Home to World's Tallest Tower

Tokyo Skytree

Can’t get higher than this: the world’s new tallest tower Tokyo Skytree opened in late May, and tickets to its lookout are still sold out for months (if you’re in the mood for some elevation, we’d recommend booking a ticket now). At 2,080 feet, the building serves not only as an observation deck and restaurant but a broadcast tower to relay television and radio signals. Be careful up there! The observation deck has already had to close temporarily due to storms and extreme weather. 

Jennifer Chen is Travel + Leisure's Asia correspondent. 

Photo by MASANORI YAMANASHI / AFLO / Nippon News / Corbis

Families Flock to the Seattle Great Wheel

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Consider it Seattle's equivalent of the London Eye. Nearly three times shorter than the legendary 605-foot Seattle Space Needle, the city's newest landmark, the Seattle Great Wheel, delivers panoramic views of the Emerald City that will lift you—and your family—off your feet. 

Located on Pier 57, its 42 climate-controlled gondolas offer a 15-20 minute spin on the waterfront. Each gondola rotates three times, and can accommodate up to six adults or eight children. 

The $20 million attraction is the brainchild of Seattle entrepreneur Hal Griffith who, for more than 30 years, has envisioned a Seattle Ferris wheel.  The attraction is also a part of the efforts to improve Seattle’s waterfront, which includes replacing the Alaskan Way Viaduct with an underground tunnel. 

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Newly-opened Lycian Ruins Connect Turkey and America

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Instead of your standard fare of hot dogs and fireworks this 4th of July, we suggest you visit Patara, an ancient city off the coast of Turkey. Why in the world would I think about Turkey for the most American of holidays, you ask? Turns out our Constitution has roots in the ancient Lycian League, whose federation-style government had so much influence on our Founding Fathers that James Madison and Alexander Hamilton even mention them in the Federalist Papers. Check out the beautiful beachside town of Patara, Turkey for the recently opened excavaction of Lycian ruins, which includes their parliament building, a large necropolis, Roman baths, and a Byzantine basilica. You may have to trade hot dogs for veal kebabs, but just think: you’ll have a leg-up on your high school US history teacher who didn’t give you an A. 

Corinne White is an editorial intern at Travel + Leisure. 

Photo courtesy of Equinox Travel Antalya 

Franc Art: Cash and Creativity at Basel 43

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At last count, there were 189 international art fairs, enough to keep the affluent and avant-garde in champagne and envy 365 days a year. But on the heels of Documenta and at the apex of the spring fairathon that started with Frieze NY back in early May, Swiss mothership Art Basel—which had its 43rd outing last week—is still the biggest, the brightest, the only fair the art crowd literally can’t afford to miss: last year, Gagosian sold $45 million-worth in the first 45 minutes alone, and, at last Wednesday's VIP preview, someone with a good eye and an even better balance-sheet snagged a Gerhard Richter for north of $20 million—a price-point generally reserved for auction houses.

That's because Art Basel is special: where its Miami Beach iteration has a “Woodstock for the Wealthy” vibe and Documenta is cloaked in anti-commercial intellectualism, Basel distinguishes itself as a serious forum for the exchange of ideas and cash. Which is why, over the weekend, 65,000 art-lovers rendez-vous'ed on the banks of the Rhine.

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The Barnes Foundation Opens its New Philadelphia Home

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The new campus of the Barnes Foundation in Philadelphia represents, simply put, a game changer for what a museum can be, the experience of art, and role architecture plays in both. It is also a game changer for Philadelphia, at a moment of splendid cultural renaissance.

When it opens to the public on Saturday, May 19th, visitors will find the celebrated collection displayed in a series of galleries that preserve the scale, proportion, and configuration of the original institution in Lower Merion (located in suburban Philadelphia), but now placed in a larger setting that invites contemplation and offers many pleasures.

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Boston's Gardner Museum Unveils Renzo Piano Addition

Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum

The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum has just unveiled its Renzo Piano–designed, copper-clad wing, which includes a jewel-box music hall and galleries dedicated to works by artists in residence. A glass-enclosed walkway leads to the original building.

Photo by Nic Lehoux / Courtesy of Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum

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