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Contest Watch: Paris, Mexico, Reykjavik + More

201110-b-hoteljules-1jpgThis month’s contest watch is a study in contradictions. Have a romantic escape to Paris or take the family to LEGOLAND. Indulge in a escape to Mexico, or help bring fresh drinking water to communities in Rwanda. It may be hard to chose, but entering is easy.

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NYC Chefs Cook for Japan

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When nature displays its most brutal side, humanity often displays it’s best. That’s why this Wednesday, mega-chef Masaharu Morimoto, together with a star-studded panel of culinary giants from across the United States are lending their talents to Chefs Cook for Japan at New York City's Harvard Club, with all proceeds going towards disaster relief for the devastating earthquake and tsunami that slammed Japan over two months ago.

On hand to mingle with and feed the crowd? Red Rooster’s Marcus Samuelsson, Devi’s Suvir Saran, Iron Chef Jose Garcas of Philadelphia’s Amada, and countless others (Ken Oringer, Jonathan Waxman, Paul Bartolotta to name a few). All this plus specialty cocktails courtesy of Lani Kai’s Julie Reiner, for just $150 a head.

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Seeking Nominees: T+L 2011 Global Vision Awards


Do you know a travel company that's changing the world? We want to hear about it.

Travel + Leisure's annual Global Vision Awards recognize the outstanding efforts of individuals and organizations that are working to preserve the world's natural and man-made treasures.

Last year’s winners included everything from the enormous CityCenter complex in Las Vegas, a pioneer in green-building techniques, to Kenya’s Micato Safaris, which is helping to fund the education of thousands of children in Nairobi.

If you know of an organization that we should consider for the 2011 awards, please drop us an email at tlglobalvision@aexp.com or encourage it to fill out this year's application, available here (Travel) and here (Non-Travel).

The winners will appear in our November issue.


Amy Farley is the news editor at Travel + Leisure.

African Bazaar at Donna Karan’s Urban Zen

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Get your tribal on at Urban Zen during its colorful African Bazaar. Carved wooden bowls, beaded bracelets, gorgeous cotton sarongs, woven beach baskets crafted by Samburu nomads. And warriors performing ritual dances!

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Travel for a Cause: Packages that Give Back

As if you needed another reason to travel, we've found packages that are helping communities worldwide.

Hard Rock Hotels, including T+L favorites in Las Vegas and Orlando, is partnering with Facebook Places to raise money for WhyHunger, a non-profit organization that is a leader in the movement to end hunger and poverty. From now through December 31st, each time fans use Facebook Places to check into any Hard Rock Cafe location throughout the U.S., Hard Rock will donate $1 to benefit WhyHunger. For more information, and for a list of participating Hard Rock Cafe locations, visit www.hardrock.com or www.facebook.com/hardrock.

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Paris Perfumer Helps Japanese Town, and So Can You


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Over the past week, we’ve heard about dozens of worthwhile ways to help the victims of Japan’s earthquake and tsunami, but one recent announcement caught our eyes—and nose.

Renegade perfumer Paris-based Louison Libertin, who produces his label, technique indiscrete, is giving back to the community of Kanku in Northeastern Japan—an area known for its lavender fields. Libertin had been working with a perfume factory there, and the town was hard hit by the recent disasters.

No less than 100 percent of the proceeds of his limited edition flacon "For Them" will go back to residents of Kanku. $52 for a 50ml bottle.

For more ways to give, go to: American Red Cross; MercyCorps; UNICEF.

Think PINKtober: Hotel Promotions to Fight Breast Cancer

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October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month and many hotels around the nation are hoping to raise money for this worthy cause.

Teaming up with rocker Melissa Etheridge to get the word out about this widespread disease, Hard Rock Hotels worldwide are participating in PINKtober. Throughout October, properties will feature 300-count pink sheets, serve special pink drinks, and stock pink charity merchandise in stores and restaurants. Treat a survivor you know to a decadent pink Turkish-cotton bathrobe with ribbon detail ($80) or charm bracelet ($20). Visit www.hardrock.com for promotional information as well as dates for PINKtober charity performances. Proceeds benefit a variety of charities including The Caron Keating Foundation and the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.

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Bid for Good: Give Back by Traveling

201007-b-bodhi-logojpgThere’s no denying that over at T+L lately, we’ve been flushed with auction fever. First came Vacationist (a new private hotel sale site brought to you by T+L and online auction veteran Luxury Link), then last week it was Mystery Auctions. Who doesn’t love a good deal—especially if it’s for a great cause?

Which brings us to today’s auction announcement: The Bodhi Tree Foundation, a terrific first-of-its-kind nonprofit founded by heavy-hitters in the travel industry to fund worthwhile projects around the world (schools in Haiti, libraries in Mexico, tiger conservation in India, more), is auctioning off some amazing travel experiences.

Items range from city stays at NYC’s perennially chic 60 Thompson Hotel to bucolic getaways at the Four Seasons Resort Provence at Terre Blanche on the French Riviera. And the values are tremendous (as is the feeling you get from contributing to this visionary organization and important causes), but hurry—you have just another three days to bid!

Image courtesy of The Bodhi Tree Foundation

Oil and Water: How to Help Louisiana's Fishermen

john-beshjpg Let's put it this way: oil and water don't mix. Especially when it impacts the livelihood of fishermen still struggling to make a comeback after Hurricane Katrina devastated the fragile wetlands of Southeast Louisiana. Oil from the BP rig explosion has started to wash ashore in the Mississippi Delta, leaving the men and women of St. Bernard Parish high-and-dry. These are the hard-working people who traditionally harvest the crab, shrimp, oysters and redfish that land on the plate at New Orleans restaurants such as August, owned by chef John Besh (pictured). "Life in the extreme Southeast revolves around the water," says the Louisiana native. "This culture dates back 300 years. When I saw the oil rig collapse, it just crushed me. I can always source seafood elsewhere but it's the local shrimpers and fishermen who are affected most by this spill."

Along with 90210 actress AnnaLynne McCord, Besh donates to the St. Bernard Project, which supports fishermen and their families in the greater New Orleans community.

Here's how you can help too. Donate to www.stbernardproject.org.

Shane Mitchell is a special correspondent for Travel + Leisure.

Photo courtesy of Shane Mitchell.

Ultimate Challenge: Paddleboarding

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I gave up all hope of being a decent surfer long ago, but think I might regain some “Endless Summer”-cred on the paddleboard: apparently, if you can stand up, you can do it (even three-year-olds give it a go). But for professionals Jenny Kalmbach and Morgan Hoesterey, it’s not just fun and games—it's a mission.

Starting this month, Kalmbach and Hoesterey are boarding-their-way across Hawaii’s nine legendary open-ocean channels (some 250 miles) to raise funds for the Algalita Marine Research Foundation, a Long Beach–based nonprofit. They’ll be trailed by two boats as a safety measure, but the journey won’t be easy: Kalmbach and Hoesterey will pass through the Alalakeiki Channel (a.k.a. the “Screaming Child”) and even end their trip with a moonlit crossing of the 85-mile-wide Kaieiewaho Channel (a leg that could take up to 20 grueling hours to finish).

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