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Beaver Creek Gets More Ritzy

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Ten years ago, I stayed at the then-relatively-new Ritz-Carlton, Bachelor Gulch, at the base of Colorado’s Beaver Creek resort. The ski lodge was a new concept for the Ritz-Carlton, and I loved everything about it: ski-in/ski-out access, a great room with a huge stone fireplace, an outdoor fire pit for roasting marshmallows. Thankfully, all of that’s still there, but last month, the hotel put the finishing touches on a big renovation. Since I was out in Colorado, I went to take a look.

The big news? A brand-new, three-meals-a-day, open-kitchen restaurant called Buffalos, which serves up its namesake in several forms, like a buffalo steak and eggs, a bison burger, and something I wasn’t expecting to like as much as I did: bison tartare (washed down with a few Colorado craft beers). The hotel’s other restaurant, Spago, didn’t exist when I first visited, but since 2007, it’s been turning out Wolfgang Puck’s sensational seasonal dishes. And as I sampled his stupendous pumpkin-filled pasta, bonus—Puck himself was dining with his family a couple tables away.

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Q&A with Cécile Adam: Founder of Mendoza's Entre Cielos Wine Hotel + Spa

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Entre Cielos, which translates to “between heavens” and “between skies,” is a holistic hospitality concept nurtured to life by three Swiss friends in the foothills of Mendoza, Argentina.

Daniela Wäger-Spreafico, David Wäger, and Cécile Adam dreamed of a wine hotel and spa where guests could reconnect with themselves, commune with nature, sip wine, and delight in impeccable gastronomic experiences. A worldwide pursuit for the perfect location led the group of three to Vistalba, Mendoza, where they invested their savings to purchase a 20-acre plot of land with sweeping views of the Andes mountains.

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Merry Christmas from America's Sweetest Hotels for the Holidays

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Aside from more affectionate holiday themes like peace and joy, Christmas to me means one thing: sweets. Whether it’s fresh-baked fruitcake, intricately iced gingerbread cookies, or chocolate squares straight out of an Advent calendar, Santa’s not the only one indulging this season. But hotels are pushing the candy-coated envelope when it comes to desserts this holiday. A festive take over at the Bellagio’s Conservatory & Botanical Gardens in Las Vegas (above) includes an eight-foot-tall reindeer coated in chocolate and a life-size candy house, while an elevator lined in gingerbread bricks at Chicago’s Trump International Hotel & Tower shuttles guests to and from the property's Michelin-starred restaurant Sixteen. Read on for more of America’s Best Hotels for Christmas.

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Hyatt Place & YouTube Star Sonia Gil Name the Perfect Holiday Gifts for Travelers

Need a gift for a traveler in your life? Or better yet, want to give someone a little inspiration on what to get YOU this season?
 
Globetrotter and YouTube Vlogger, Sonia Gil of “Sonia’s Travels” shares the perfect small gifts for the holidays (think stocking stuffers, Secret Santa, and holiday grab-bag!) on Hyatt Place's new Seamless Travel Series, which is designed to arm travelers with tips to ensure that their travel experience is just right.
 
From packing cubes to gear ties (I need these), and tips on what to do if you forget your charger, her video includes great gifts for travelers.
 
For more on Sonia's expert tips and Hyatt's Seamless Travel Series, visit Hyatt on Facebook.

Gabrielle Blitz is associate social media editor at Travel + Leisure.

Instagram Hits The Wall at Portland's Hotel Lucia

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This month, a wall in the lobby of Portland’s Hotel Lucia became the first permanent installation of futuristic social art. 

Like a scene from The Outer Limits, Intel Labs has installed a massive projector with custom software and optical sensors to display images from Instagram tagged #LuciaWallPDX. Everyone, from hotel guests to local Portlanders, is encouraged to drop in and swipe through the pictures, arranged as an enormous and ever-changing collage.

The immersive experience blends science fiction, social media, and art, allowing users to tag their emotional response and complete the circle by uploading their own photos to the wall.  

Melanie Lieberman is an editorial intern at Travel + Leisure.

Photo courtesy of Hotel Lucia

Shangri-La Paris Hosts Afternoon Tea Inspired By Works of Art

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What better way to pass a Wednesday in Paris than with three of the great European passions—art, pastry, and tea?  

Since October, the Shangri-La Paris has been hosting ARTea Time, a curated experience celebrating the city’s most spectacular art exhibitions.

While enjoying a cup of Bentjeman & Barton tea with finger sandwiches and sweets at the famed La Bauhinia restaurant, guests are presented with an art-inspired pastry.  

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The Ritz-Carlton's Plan for World Domination

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By now, we’re used to hearing the big news that Trip Advisor has acquired some smaller company—it seems to happen about once a week. But the past couple months, we’ve also been hearing big news almost every week from a very different type of company: the Ritz-Carlton.

The luxury hotel company has unleashed a flurry of new properties on the world in the past couple months, opening three in October (Chendgu and Tianjin in China, and Bangalore, India) and two in November (Almaty, Kazakhstan and Aruba), with another on the way mid-December (Herzliya, Israel).

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Streamlining Hotel Check-Ins for Business Travelers

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After a long day traveling, the last thing any road warrior wants is to wait at a hotel check-in desk.

Don’t fret, frequent travelers: hotels have heard our pleas and help is on the way. New technologies promise to let guests skip the front desk, although it might take several years for all of us to reap the benefits.

Let’s start with the problem.

I still have bad flashbacks to a business trip to Florida several years ago. I arrived at the hotel late at night thanks to a flight delay, only to find a front-desk clerk who wanted to make small talk. Lots of small talk. Call me heartless, but all I wanted to do was go to bed. I’m sure the rest of my stay was fine, but all I recall of that hotel today was the overly friendly welcome.

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Thom Browne's Travel Style

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The New York–based fashion designer made his name on a prim, classic, and sometimes offbeat look, a credo that is echoed in his travel style. “I’m a horrible creature of habit,” he admits. “I pack more simply than most people—I don’t bring much stuff.” We take a peek at his well-ordered universe.

The Women’s Collection: Browne made a splash last January when Michelle Obama wore a coat he designed to the inauguration. This look (pictured) is in stores now.

The Suit: Browne is rarely caught not wearing one of his ultra-trim suits, which can cause unintended confusion. “People think I’m a pilot,” he laughs. “I’ve been offered discounts at Starbucks.”

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Cyber Monday Travel Deals

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Los Angeles: If you’re planning a stay in the L.A. area, book today at the iconic Langham Huntington, in Pasadena, and get 25% of the best available rate, with free valet parking through December 29. Rates start at $172.  Book here with code CM2013. And if you’re in L.A. today, grab lunch today at Culina (pictured), the fabulous restaurant of the Four Seasons Los Angeles at Beverly Hills, for $25, including a glass of Prosecco. Or come for dinner tonight and take 30% off the bill (mention the deal when you call for a reservation at 310-860-4000). Then massage all the holiday stress away at the hotel spa. Save 20% off all treatments booked today for appointments through December 30.
 
New York City: Yes, we’re biased since we live here, but we think there’s nothing so romantic as New York in winter. So book today through December 6 and you can get discounted rates at the NY Hilton (from $199/night) and the Waldorf Astoria (from $229/night) for stays in January and February (plus a few dates in December at the NY Hilton). Check it out here.

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