Its name is as evocative as the place itself: Lotusland, the eccentric botanical garden in Santa Barbara, California, designed and developed by Ganna Walska, a glamorous, Polish-born opera singer, celebrity, and socialite. Walska, who acquired the 37-acre estate as a private retreat in 1941, was ahead of her time in her use of mass plantings. The result: hundreds of weeping euphorbias and golden barrel cacti that leave an impression of untamed primordial beauty. In the 1970’s, she auctioned off her million-dollar jewelry collection to finance the cycad garden, consisting of unusual cone-bearing plants. Lotusland is full of novelties: otherworldly cacti, whimsical topiary, and brightly flowering aloes and other succulents, not to mention a fern garden, a theater garden, a Japanese garden, and an all-silver-and-blue-gray garden. Per her wishes, Walska’s extravagant creation was opened to the public only after her death—and remains a California legend.
Looking back at the James Bond film franchise—it turns 50 this year—we realized 007 has a thing for revisiting places where he’s nearly died. Case in point: Istanbul. The setting of this month’s Skyfall (opening nationwide this week), it’s where he once dodged villains at Hagia Sophia and almost drowned in the Bosporus. Oh, James, will you ever learn?
The Brazilian director is best known for his visually arresting films, such as 2002’s City of God, set in a Rio de Janeiro favela. His newest, 360, with Jude Law and Rachel Weisz, goes global. Shot in five different countries, it touches on the Arab Spring, euro crisis, and prostitution.
Q: You were filming on the road for almost 20 weeks. Any favorite hotels? A: We were in London for three months, so I rented an apartment. But I like Hazlitt’s Hotel($$$). You get a key to the front door, and it’s like your own home. In Vienna, we stayed at the 25hours Hotel Wien(1-3 Lerchenfelder Str.; $). There are bicycles for guests, and the staff doesn’t wear uniforms. After a week or two, we were hanging out with the hotel crew.
When Diana Vreeland was making her first forays into her career as a fashion editor, she wrote her dear readers the now oft-quoted suggestion, “Why don't you paint a map of the world on all four walls of your boys' nursery so they won't grow up with a provincial point of view?” All things considered, this was one of her more realistic tips, as compared to her enquiring why we don’t wear violet velvet mittens with everything or rinse our children’s hair in dead champagne.
In “Diana Vreeland: The Eye Has to Travel,” a fashion documentary in theaters today, Sept. 21, Ms. Vreeland’s ascendance from middle-school dropout to the most iconic fashion editor to date is largely attributed to her extravagant global vision. Never one to be confined, Ms. Vreeland saw no reason not to use the world as a catwalk and spearheaded legendary shoots, such as the 26-page spread of a fur-swaddled Veruschka scaling the mountains of Japan with a seven foot tall sumo wrestler. No one reads magazines just to see their own backyard, so why not blast them with images of France? Egypt? Or—her personal favorite—Russia?
The former queen of mumblecore movies, Greta Gerwig, is now starring in such high-profile projects as Woody Allen’s To Rome with Love (out now). Here, her thoughts on truffles, art, and other Italian greats.
Q: Where did you stay while filming? A: The cast stayed at the Parco dei Principi($$$),near the far side of Villa Borghese. It was very fancy, but old-school, like seventies-style, which makes sense given Woody Allen. It was definitely built when you wanted to use as much chrome as you could get.
We love it when celebrities drop by the T+L offices. And on Wednesday, Olympic and World Cup Champion skier Lindsey Vonn stopped in to tell us about how many pairs of skis she travels with (150), how many days a week she trains in the off-season (6, for several hours each day), and how many eggs she eats to fuel her workouts (a lot).
But the gold medalist didn’t come to the snowless east coast just to talk training. Lindsey’s also involved in a cool new program with Vail Resorts, and she brought along the company’s CEO, Rob Katz, to announce EpicMix Racing.
Jamie Oliver recently opened a restaurant area (a bakery, a bar, and an Italian eatery) at London Gatwick, joining the growing ranks of chefs extending their empire into airports (Gordon Ramsay’s 4-year-old Heathrow cafe, Plane Food, offers both sit-down meals—timed menus and leisurely menus—and takeout “picnics” to enjoy on the plane. A host of haute cuisine celebs, including chefs Michael White, Anne Burrell, Andrew Carmellini, have created menus for new cafes in Delta’s Terminals C+ D at New York’s LaGuardia. Terminal 2 at San Francisco International features restaurants from Chefs Cat Coura and Tyler Florence, as well as a room dedicated to yoga for those craving spiritual food.)
Paulina Porizkova—a star of photographer Timothy Greenfield-Sanders’s latest HBO documentary, About Face: The Supermodels Then and Now (airing July 30)—reveals her favorite destinations.
Paris: When I visit, I always go to the Jardin du Luxembourg and buy barbe à papa—cotton candy twice the size of your head. Sacré Coeur is another must. Walking up all those steps? Totally cliché, but I just love it.
St. Bart’s: My family and I have been going there for 28 years. The classic place to eat is Maya’s($$$), for simple Creole-French food right on the water.
Kyoto: I shot an ice cream commercial in Japan when I was 16, but I’d never been to Kyoto until recently. We stayed at Hiiragiya($$$), an inn run by the same family since 1818. Three generations waved goodbye to us as we left.
In his new concert film Neil Young Journeys, released today, June 29, director Jonathan Demme trails the iconic Canadian songwriter as he drives a 1956 Ford Crown Victoria from his hometown of Omemee to a solo performance at Massey Hall in Toronto. Composer of such ballads as "Long May You Run" and "Coupe de Ville," Young has dual passions for vintage cars and musical instruments, including a 1953 Gibson Les Paul Goldtop nicknamed "Old Black," which is featured in the film's intimate onstage footage. Between sets, Young muses about his childhood in Ontario, In-N-Out burgers, and the true pleasure of a road trip. Fiddling with the radio dial on the dashboard, he remarks: "I can tell if I like (a song) by listening in a car."
Travel + Leisure asked Demme to compose a play list of his favorite Young tunes for our own rockin' journeys:
The musician, actor, and founder of Kravitz Design lends his eclectic ethos to the SLS Hotel South Beach, where he created the penthouse suite and a private bungalow. Here, he reveals his inspirations, his love for Miami, and why he sometimes locks himself in hotel rooms.
Q: So what does a rock star know about hotel design? A: I’ve been living in hotels for the past 25 years. When I have a day off on tour, I’ll say, “For twenty-four hours I’m not going to leave this room”—so it’s got to have a personal feeling.