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.
After decades of directing lavish motion pictures such as The Great Gatsby and Moulin Rouge, Baz Luhrmann is turning his attention to a different kind of spectacle: the Faena Saxony Hotel, set to open later this year in Miami Beach. Along with his wife and collaborator, Catherine Martin, Luhrmann will lead the design efforts as a creative director for the hotel, which is just one element of a massive complex developed by industrialist Len Blavatnik and real estate tycoon Alan Faena, who is known for his buzzy, Philippe Starck–designed boutique hotel in Buenos Aires. The project will also include an arts center by architect Rem Koolhaas and residences by Foster & Partners. T+L talked with Luhrmann about his plans—and his inspirations.
In this season’s hottest film releases, the settings nearly upstage the stars.
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire Headliners: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth Backdrop: Another dystopian tournament, another paradisiacal setting (this time it’s Hawaii). Scene Stealer: Katniss and her rivals battle it out by Kawela Bay, on Oahu’s North Shore. Inspired? Stay where the cast reportedly did: Turtle Bay Resort($$).
Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom (pictured) Headliners: Idris Elba, Naomie Harris Backdrop: The biopic, which features Elba (The Wire) in the title role, was filmed on location throughout South Africa. Scene Stealer: Idyllic KwaZulu-Natal, where the activist’s wedding to Winnie Madikizela was shot. Inspired? Visit Robben Island, where Mandela spent 18 years.
The new music video for "City of Angels," from the band Thirty Seconds to Mars is an 11-minute tribute to Tinseltown, featuring sweeping aerial shots interspersed with interviews from A-Listers and celebrity impersonators.
Watch as Kanye West, Lindsey Lohan, James Franco, Selena Gomez, and others discuss their city—the good, the bad, and the ugly. The effect is more love-letter to L.A. than music video.
Feeling inspired? Check out T+L's guide to the Los Angeles.
Peter Schlesinger is a research assistant at Travel + Leisure. You can follow him on Twitter at @pschles08.
Lauren Santo Domingo, the founder of online fashion boutique Moda Operandi, considers herself an unofficial guide to Cartagena, Colombia (her wedding to Colombian-born Andres Santo Domingo—held in the ancient walled city—was the society event of 2008). The top stops each time she visits? “I love the Tcherassi Hotel & Spa($$), which has an airy, sleek vibe,” she says. And La Vitrola($$$), a Havana-inspired jazz club, “makes the best ropa vieja I’ve had.” Here, what she brings along whenever she visits.
Among fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld’s new side projects? A Monte Carlo pool with serious style cred. T+L reports.
“Work is making a living out of being bored,” Karl Lagerfeld once quipped. If that’s the case, he’s been exceedingly bored lately—and focusing his eagle eye on the world of travel. Lagerfeld just unveiled a slick redesign of the pool, patio, and Odyssey restaurant at Hotel Metropole(pictured; $$$$),in Monaco, where he had a house for 10 years and maintains a close friendship with Princess Caroline. Surrounded by the lacy garden rooftops of Monte Carlo, the new space is strikingly graphic, with angular ebony-and-ecru furniture, square umbrellas, and a backlit black-and-white photo mural depicting models in the mode of Odysseus, togas and all.
What do you do if you're a hotel chain that wants to grab the interest of potential Gen X and Y guests? It's obvious, isn't it? You entice young women into a hotel room where a pajama-clad CeeLo Green, the singer-songwriter behind the danceable hit, "F*** You," lies in wait, smiling seductively. And that, in fact, was the kick-off P.R. stunt for one seriously odd (and oddly cool) promotional campaign: Discovery Doors, which launches today. It's primarily an online video game on the Reniassance Hotel's website where gamers can win everything from membership in a Coffee-of-the-Month club to a trip for two around the world—500 prizes in all. Here's how it works…
Ahead of Glasgow-based band Franz Ferdinand’s new album, Right Thoughts, Right Words, Right Action, front man Alex Kapranos shows T+L there’s more to touring than partying like a rock star.
Q: What are some perks of traveling as a musician? A: You pick up all sorts of musical influences. I love Colombian cumbia and Peruvian chicha. The melodies have great melancholy, but the rhythms are lively.
Q: Do you bring home souvenirs? A: I try to collect unusual instruments. My favorite is an earthenware bowl used at weddings in Peru. It has a space between two layers that’s filled with fine stones. After you eat, you shake the bowl to make a percussive sound while everyone dances.
Tim Gunn, the fashion consultant and mentor to the contestants on Lifetime's Project Runway, was standing on the rooftop Garden of New York's Waldorf-Astoria hotel recently, preparing to plant a tree in support of the New York Restoration Project, an environmental nonprofit founded by Gunn's friend Bette Midler. Not only did he dig the hole and plant the tree, he actually tidied up the stray dirt afterward. We asked the dapper Gunn what he takes with him when he travels.