Every four years, 30 of the most talented musicians from around the world arrive in Fort Worth, Texas to participate in the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition, May 24-June 9. The young pianists, whose ages range from 19 to 30 and hail from Russia, Poland, Italy, Chile, China, and the U.S., among other countries, are gifted, of course, armed with prodigious technique, and musical personalities that belie their years. They also possess the energy of thoroughbreds.
Three ways to get your New England fix, whether you have a few hours or a whole day.
The Sanctuary: Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum
Dodging the hum of the city is a pleasure at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum (pictured), a 1902 Venetian-style palazzo with a glass-and-steel addition by Renzo Piano. The 2,500-strong collection includes masterworks by Titian, Michelangelo, and Matisse, but the real showstopper is the transportive inner courtyard, with its classical statues and abundance of summery bellflowers and hydrangeas. Stop in on a Sunday afternoon, when you can catch a chamber music concert in the museum’s new Calderwood Hall.
Can a nitpicky hotel inspector ever find fulfillment? That’s the question of Viaggio Sola (I Travel Alone), the new film by Italian director Maria Sole Tognazzi. The film, which just picked up several nominations for Italy's Donatello Awards (the country's equivalent of the Oscars) will be showing at Lincoln Center as part of Open Road: New Italian Cinema, which runs from June 6-12.
Here, she offers T+L a sneak preview.
What’s the plot?
“A Leading Hotels of the World inspector (played by Margherita Buy) arrives incognito at glamorous resorts: the Puli Hotel & Spa ($$$), in Shanghai; Switzerland’s Gstaad Palace ($$$$); the Fonteverde Tuscan Resort & Spa ($$$), in Italy.”
What did you learn about that profession?
“They work like characters on CSI: hunting for dirt with white gloves, testing the temperature of room-service coffee, ensuring that the time is synced on TV and radio. Only at the end of the journey can they reveal their true identity.”
Do you have any travel essentials?
“My Rolex, set to the time in Rome. It’s been with me since I was fifteen.”
The newest franchise of the influential—and see-and-be-seen—fair, Art Basel Hong Kong (May 23–26) marries the banking bling of Switzerland with the balmy weather of Miami. Here, where to mingle with the artists and A-listers.
The Restaurant: Book a table at Duddell’s (852/2525-9191), the much-anticipated arts club that’s opening in Central during the fair.
The Museum: On the site of the future museum M+, in Kowloon, check out an exhibit of large-scale inflatable sculptures.
The Neighborhood: The gritty Wong Chuk Hang area is home to alternative art spaces such as Spring Workshop.
Photo courtesy of Feast Projects
While New York’s Frieze Art Fair will commence tomorrow on Randall’s Island, you may want to make a pit stop in Chelsea. Playing to both the contemporary art and party crowds, German artist Tobias Rehberger has created Bar Oppenheimer in the basement of two-year-old Hôtel Americano. The venue—both a sculptural art piece and fully functioning bar—is a recreation of the watering hole Rehberger frequents in Frankfurt, which sits at the center of the city’s artistic community.
Chelsea’s edition of Bar Oppenheimer retains the essence of its Frankfurt muse (tight dimensions) with reimagined elements. Red accent lines offset the flashy black-and-white stripes adorning the walls, ceiling, and floor of the space.
The artwork will be open nightly to the public starting Saturday, May 11th at 5pm. But be careful when tippling—just stepping into this place will make you think you’re in a kaleidoscope.
Maria Pedone is a digital editorial intern at Travel + Leisure.
Photo courtesy of Hotel Americano
Not every mashup makes sense, but we love this one: Colorado’s Stanley Hotel, in Estes Park, was the spot that inspired Stephen King to write The Shining. And through this weekend, the historic hotel is hosting The Stanley Film Festival, with appropriately named films like Macabre and Frankenstein’s Army. There’s also the controversial Room 237, which explores the supposedly hidden meanings of Stanley Kubrick’s film version of The Shining.
It all takes place in the hotel, which has undergone major renovations. When you’re ready for a break from the horror gore, check out the redone antique Whiskey Bar, which dates to around 1909 and now features Colorado’s largest whiskey collection. And when you need some fresh air, step outside and right into one of America’s best national parks for wildlife spotting. Just keep an eye out for any zombies.
Photo courtesy of Visit Estes Park
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“The Museum of Contemporary Art Australia has free entry for the permanent collection.” —Iwan D. Diran, via Facebook
Q: I want to take a learning vacation, but the options are bewildering. Where do I start?
A: Find the trip that’s right for you by letting your passions guide you and then choosing the company to match. Here, five ideas to get you started.
Ecology and Wildlife
Brazil: An Ecologist’s Tour of the Pantanal, Cornell’s Adult University: Explore the world’s largest wetland on this expedition led by Cornell professors Cole Gilbert and Linda Rayor. Travelers track ocelots, jaguars, and endangered hyacinth macaws, and enjoy creature comforts at lodges such as Pousada Piuval, on a 17,000-acre ranch. 607/255-6260; 10 days from $6,430 per person.
Geology and Archaeology
Grand Canyon Trip, McCabe World Travel: Professor Keith Watts leads a tour of northern Arizona and southern Utah, with an overview of the Grand Canyon and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument and trips to remote waterfalls and hidden Native American pictographs. 703/762-5049; eight days from $3,500 per person.
Papua New Guinea Through the Lens, Asia Transpacific Journeys: On a new itinerary to Papua New Guinea’s remote villages, visit sacred spirit houses on the Sepik River while getting hands-on shooting tips from Michele Westmorland, an award-winning photographer who has visited the country 27 times. 800/642-2742; 12 days from $10,695 per person.
A Mediterranean Summer, Swan Hellenic Discovery Cruising: Set sail from Portsmouth, England, to Rome on the 350-passenger Minerva—fresh from a $10 million overhaul. You’ll attend onboard lectures by noted professors, disembarking along the way at iconic sites such as the Alhambra palace, in Granada, Spain, and the Italian port town of Civitavecchia. 866/923-9182; 15 days from $2,499 per person.
Religion and Culture
Rejuvenating Himalayas, Learning Journeys: This trip through northern India focuses on the philosophies behind yoga and meditation with lectures and practice. Stops include Rishikesh and Haridwar, where wellness is central to spiritual life, as well as the Ananda resort in the Himalayas. 855/784-7687; 12 days from $3,550 per person.
Engraving: Heritage Images/Corbis; Illustration by Valero Doval
The mezzo-soprano Isabel Leonard makes her role debut as Blanche de la Force in the Metropolitan Opera’s production of Dialogues of the Carmelites, May 4-11. Francis Poulenc’s opera, the gripping story of a convent of nuns caught up in the tumult of the French Revolution, returns to the MET for three performances in John Dexter’s landmark staging, led by conductor Louis Langrée.
Ms. Leonard, recently won the prestigious Richard Tucker Award, has also just made her debut on Sesame Street. She takes time from rehearsals at the MET to speak with T+L.
Tell us about your appearances in Sesame Street. Since it is filmed in New York, I suppose it didn’t involve travel.
It actually involved a bit of travel. Last summer, I was in Glyndebourne, the opera festival in England, when the MET called to say that Sesame Street was planning a segment called People in Your Neighborhood, with Murray the Monster and Ovejita, the bilingual lamb character who speaks Spanish, and asked if I would interested in appearing on the program. I said I would be there in a heartbeat, even if I were on the moon! On a Thursday morning, I went to rehearsal at Glyndebourne, got on a plane that night from London, flew to New York and made it home around one in the morning. The next day, I got up and ran errands like any New Yorker, then went to the MET, put on my costume as Rosina from Barber of Seville, and to the shoot with the Muppets. We finished around 7 pm. I rushed to the airport, made my plane, and was back in rehearsal in Englandby the following afternoon.
In F. Scott Fitzgerald’s famous novel, Gatsby refutes Nick Carraway’s assertion you cannot repeat the past: "Can't repeat the past?" he cried incredulously. "Why of course you can.”
Hoteliers seem to agree with Gatsby, as evidenced by a slew of promotions tied in with the upcoming release of Baz Lurhman’s new film, The Great Gatsby.
New York’s Plaza Hotel, which features prominently in the novel, has announced its “The Great Gatsby Getaway Contest.” Anyone who snaps a 1920’s themed picture of themselves and posts it on Instagram with the hashtag #theplazapremiere has a chance to win seats at the New York premiere of the film, along with a night at the iconic property. Hurry though, the contest ends April 24th.
Nearby, the Trump International Hotel & Tower is offering the Trump ‘Great Gatsby’ Package. Guests spend three nights in suites overlooking Central Park, enjoying some top-notch perks. Men receive a custom-tailored suit and shirt from Bergdorf Goodman and Art Deco cufflinks, while women will go home with an Ivanka Trump Art Deco jewelry and a personalized note from Ivanka herself. Dinner at Three-Michelin-Star restaurant Jean Georges, a magnum of champagne, and chauffeured car-service are also included. This Roaring Twenties extravaganza comes with a roaring price tag… $14,999.
And while not directly related to the classic novel, these other properties do their best to bring back some of that Gatsby glamour:
° The SLS Hotel South Beach: Opened this past June, the Philippe Starck-designed waterfront hotel brings a 1940 property back to its former glory. Trompe l’oeil walls, murals, and a gigantic rubber ducky by the pool add a touch of whimsy to this art-deco gem.
° Hotel Shangrila, Santa Monica: Another art-deco property, this 1939 building has recently undergone a multimillion-dollar renovation. The 71 rooms and suites feature period furnishings and decorations. This year, there are two promotional packages celebrating the renovation.
Then again, if hotel suites don’t do it for you, why not be like Gatsby and throw a party at your own private mansion? With water frontage, a grand pool, and lots of vintage charm, the Luxury Retreats villa Locusts on Hudson, in the Hudson Valley, lets you feel like you’re living in West Egg, if only for a week.
Peter Schlesinger is an editorial intern at Travel + Leisure.