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Hyatt Place Launches Seamless Travel Series to Make Your Journey Easier

Travel shouldn’t be so complicated: “This one’s too big…This one’s too small…This one is just right.” Hyatt Place wants to get it right the first time for today’s busy travelers with practical amenities and the best overall experience.

From what to bring on a business trip to how to maintain a healthy lifestyle on the road, Hyatt Place wants to know what’s on travelers’ minds. They’re enlisting experts to offer advice and insights, in a crowdsourced, real-time approach to their guest experiences.

Travelers are invited to share topics and questions on the Hyatt Place Facebook page, join upcoming Twitter chats, and comment on the expert’s social channels.

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World's Strangest Theme Hotels

Theme Hotel: Panda Inn

Nowadays it’s easy to find hotels that stick to one subject. But at what cost?

The world’s first panda-themed hotel opened a few months ago in Sichuan, China. Guests at the Panda Inn luxuriate in black and white surroundings overlooked by panda paintings and enormous panda teddy bears. Meanwhile in Buenos Aires, fans of the Boca Juniors soccer team are luxuriating at the new Hotel Boca, self-billed as el primer hotel temático de fútbol en el mundo—one of those phrases that fleetingly raises one’s hopes of having acquired the ability to comprehend all of Earth’s languages. The décor pays only discreet homage to the team colors of yellow and blue, but balances this restraint with pictures all over the place of the world’s least restrained man, former Boca superstar Diego Maradona. Even in gritty, unpretentious Liverpool, visitors now have a choice of nautically themed hotels: one modeled on the Titanic, the other, more disconcertingly, on the Beatles’ “Yellow Submarine.”

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Designer Clare Vivier’s Guide to Los Angeles

Clare Vivier

The latest “it” handbag designer knows a thing or two about L.A.’s hottest hoods: she lives in Echo Park and her namesake store is in boho Silver Lake. Vivier leads us around her east-side haunts.

Stay: “The Moroccan-style Figueroa Hotel ($), a former YWCA residence, is soulful like the Chateau Marmont—but very affordable.”

Eat: “I’m half Mexican, so tortillas are important. The ones that Bar Amá ($$) serves with its fajitas and tangy ceviches are delicious. At Taix ($$), a classic steak-frites-and-mussels brasserie, I always sit in the dimly lit bar area, which attracts everyone from hipsters to cops.”

Shop: Mohawk General Store carries great clothing, including Japanese-inspired knitwear from local line Black Crane. En Soie, a heritage label from Zurich, is filled with textiles and pottery—plus hard-to-find E. Porselli ballet flats.”

Do: Echo Park, which has been immortalized in so many movies, was just beautifully restored; you can rent a paddleboat for the lake.” —as told to David A. Keeps

Photo by Jessica Sample

Andaz Hotels Feature Local Artists With First-Ever Online Holiday Bazaar

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In the season of giving, nothing is more satisfying than knowing your gift is appreciated. Now, Andaz Hotels are ensuring online shoppers that their thoughtful presents will bring smiles near and far with the first-ever Andaz Holiday Bazaar. The boutique hotel group has partnered up with local artists from around the world (think trendsetting cities like New York, London, and Shanghai) to create an eclectic collection of items for purchase on Joyus.com. Not only will your loved one take pride knowing that the hip-hugging Alexander Campaz dress you bought them is one of a kind (seriously—only one was made), but you can take solace that all proceeds from the sale will be donated to Women for Women International (WfWI), a nonprofit organization helping to rebuild the lives of women in war-torn countries like Afghanistan and Rwanda.

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New Cookbook Highlights Hotel Il Pellicano’s Michelin-Starred Restaurant

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Talk about a dream team: renowned German photographer Juergen Teller, London-based author Will Self, and chef Antonio Guida—whose restaurant at Tuscany’s luxurious Hotel Il Pellicano has earned two Michelin stars—have all come together for Eating at Hotel Il Pellicano (Violette Editions). The pink-paged cookbook highlights 11 multi-course menus, each named for a prominent hotel guest of the past and present; think Missoni, Borghese, and Noguchi. Dishes range from surf (roasted lobster with masala, hazelnut oil, and couscous) to turf (suckling pig with celeriac purée and Campari-marinated beetroot) to sweet (beignets with chocolate, gold leaf-wrapped caramel ice cream, and rosemary sauce). But you’ll likely spend more time gawking at the beautiful photographs than you will trying to recreate the recipes in your own kitchen. The chef himself concurs, writing in the intro that they are “too challenging for a home cook without a brigade behind him or her.”

Brooke Porter
Brooke Porter is an Associate Editor at Travel + Leisure. Follow her on Twitter at @brookeporter1.

Photo courtesy of Violette Editions

Swiss Hotels Offer Pay-What-You-Want Holiday Promotion

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Early booking specials and last-minute deals are ubiquitous in the travel industry, so we at T+L are always fascinated when someone gets creative with their pricing.

A collection of hotels in Switzerland have done just that with their "Pay What You Want" two-night stay offer before the holidays. Guests pay the normal rate for the first night, and then decide what they'd like to pay for their second night based on the service they receive. And given that each of the 18 participating hotels were voted some of Switzerland's Most Welcoming Hotels in 2013, it's likely their award-winning service will have guests paying full price or more for their second night stays.

Learn more at Switzerland Tourism's website.

Peter Schlesinger is a research assistant at Travel + Leisure. You can follow him on Twitter at @pschles08.

Photo credit: Martin Ruetschi/Keystone/Corbis

Oberoi Dubai's International Amenities

Oberoi, Dubai

With properties scattered everywhere from India to Indonesia, Oberoi Hotels & Resorts has always embraced multiculturalism. And in the United Arab Emirates, crossroads of rampant internationalism, the group’s new Oberoi, Dubai ($$$) is one big global romp, including Arabic coffee at check-in and a general United Nations approach to hospitality. Here’s a look at some of the highlights, country by country.

India: On staff at the city’s first 24-hour spa: Priyanka Chowdhury, who won two gold medals for India in the Yoga Olympics. Relax with the shirodhara treatment, a stream of oil on the forehead.

Japan: At the open-kitchen Umai restaurant ($$$$), Takeyuki Nakagawa is one of the few chefs in the U.A.E. certified to prepare fugu, the poisonous puffer fish that’s a Japanese delicacy.

England: Classic British afternoon tea (house-made scones and lemon curd; authentic clotted cream) gets a twist with Asian-inspired pandan eclairs and Turkish halvah.

Czech Republic: The lobby is dominated by two epic chandeliers: created by the Czech firm Lasvit, each is made from more than 100,000 shimmering crystal pieces. Only in Dubai.

See more up-and-coming hotels.

Courtesy of Oberoi Hotels & Resorts

New Hyatt Study Reveals What Business Travelers Wear To Work in Hotel Rooms

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Hyatt recently hosted a day-long Twitter chat that it dubbed the “World's Largest Focus Group,” tapping into current travel trends among its clients. Most of the results were not all that surprising—respondents' top wish was for seamless check-in, bypassing the front desk and heading straight to the room.

But by far the most important takeaway regards business travelers' clothing preferences when working from their hotel rooms:

65 percent of women opt for pajamas or workout gear

50 percent of men prefer casual business attire

2.5 percent of both genders forego clothing altogether

Think about that the next time you receive an email from a colleague on a business trip...!

 

Peter Schlesinger is a research assistant at Travel + Leisure. You can follow him on Twitter at @pschles08.

Photo credit: Hyatt Hotels Corporation

Escape to Miami With Your Dog This Winter

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As the the winds pick up and the weather gets chilly, it’s only natural for we northeasterners to daydream about a sunny Florida getaway—and canines are no exception. Ladybird, above, is a fan of Miami’s EPIC Hotel for their “pet-friendly and incredible accommodations, along with the views of Miami and the bay!” And while Ladybird is on the small side (T+L Instagram follower @shmesyca says she’s an Australian Cattle Dog—also known as a Blue Heeler—and Chihuahua mix), all weights, sizes, and breeds of animals are welcomed free of charge at the hotel.

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Coolest Hotels in Movies

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Wes Anderson's upcoming movie, The Grand Budapest Hotel, stars Ralph Fiennes as the concierge of a beautiful 1920s European hotel. While most of this movie was shot at a historic German shopping center, many directors shoot in hotels where you can actually stay. For example, did you know you can stay at the plantation where Interview With a Vampire was shot? Or drink whiskey like Bill Murray's character did at the bar on the 52nd floor of the Park Hyatt Tokyo (pictured above) in Lost in Translation. Check out more famous movie hotels over at Thrillist.

Read More: 10 of The Coolest Hotels From The Movies

Photo Courtesy of Park Hyatt Tokyo

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