Hotels + Resorts
Q: Can you recommend a hotel in the Italian countryside that is authentic (and affordable)?
A: Your best option for experiencing local food and culture in a hidden corner of Italy is an agriturismo, a family-run inn on a working farm. Below, where to find them.
The Draw: Medieval towns, hills covered in olive groves, and more than 100 miles of Adriatic coastline define this area of central Italy.
The Experience: Eight miles south of Urbino, the Savini family’s 185-acre Locanda della Valle Nuova ($) has six modern guest rooms and three apartments and arranges horseback riding, visits to artisanal producers, truffle hunting, and traditional dinners of porchetta and fried olives.
The Draw: Tuscany’s northern neighbor, Emilia-Romagna is the home of prosciutto and Parmesan.
The Experience: The late-1300’s Antica Corte Pallavicina ($) is a favorite retreat of noted Italian chefs, including Massimo Bottura. Set along the Po River, the property has six rustic-chic rooms, each named after an aristocrat who once stayed there. Breakfasts include hand-squeezed blood-orange juice and farm-fresh eggs; don’t miss dinner at the property’s Michelin-starred restaurant, where chef Massimo Spigaroli serves his house-cured culatello.
The latest wine country hotels come in several varietals—some bold, others more subtle. Below, four of our favorites.
Delaire Graff Estate, South Africa (pictured): British jewelry baron Laurence Graff brings a new level of sophistication (doting butlers; world-class art) to rural Stellenbosch with his 10-villa estate, an hour from Cape Town. After a walk through the Keith Kirsten–designed gardens, take a dip in your private plunge pool. $$$$
Entre Cielos, Argentina: This airy, 16-room property in Luján de Cuyo offers more than just easy access to some of Mendoza’s top producers. Linger over perfectly grilled sirloin paired with a glass of the hotel’s own Malbec at the on-site restaurant, or lose yourself in the hammam, where Bacchus-themed treatments include a grape-seed body scrub. $$$
The London hotel boom continues with a handful of new and newly-rebranded hotels. The Nadler Soho (pictured) is scheduled to launch mid-May, entering a crowded field of other affordable hotels like Aloft, Citizen M, La Suite West, Z Hotels, and the upcoming Hudson. It will be the second London property and the new flagship from Nadler Hotels (formerly known as base2stay). The 78 rooms, with their in-room kitchenettes, will have courtyard-facing terraces or views of Soho Square. There won’t be a restaurant but the hotel promises that each of its staffers—including the “local ambassadors” at the front desk—will be able to provide insider tips on the local scene.
Also set to launch this May, in South Kensington is the Xenia Hotel, with 99 contemporary rooms in a restored Victorian building. Apparently the restaurant will bring a health-conscious Italian cuisine concept to the U.K. for the very first time, while the bar will feature a terrace with an herb garden and (of course) a cigar menu.
You already knew that the bottle of Evian on your hotel room nightstand comes with a hefty price tag. But if you happen to see a swanky, Yves Behar-designed bottle next time you’re traveling, that charge will go to a good cause.
Last week, a number of luxury hotel chains, including several Ritz-Carltons, Dusit International, Banyan Tree, Six Senses, Soneva, and others have signed on to a new campaign called Whole World Water, whereby each property will filter, bottle, and sell their own water rather than importing. The proceeds go to various clean water programs around the world, yielding an estimated $1 billion-a-year to resolve our global water crisis.
Speaking about what prompted the idea, co-founder Jenifer Willing said, "There are one billion people who live without clean water, and one billion tourists travelling the globe each year." And the idea has (sea) legs: Richard Branson, Edward Norton, Treehugger founder Graham Hill, and Charity: Water president Cristoph Gorder are all pledging support. We couldn’t agree more.
Nikki Ekstein is an Editorial Assistant at Travel + Leisure and part of the Trip Doctor news team. Find her at on Twitter at @nikkiekstein.
Photo courtesy of World Water
If you haven’t made plans yet for the Season Six premiere of Mad Men on April 7th, don’t panic. Maybe you want to watch it in Connecticut?
T+L has already discussed how the TV series boosted tourism in New York City, but after last season, which saw Pete and Trudy Campbell move to the 'burbs, Connecticut is doing its part to offer some Don Draper-inspired vacations.
Citing its collection of nearly 90 architect-designed mid-century modern homes, among them Philip Johnson’s famous Glass House, the state’s tourism board is touting New Canaan, CT, as the main destination for true Mad Men aficionados. In addition to the mid-century homes, you'll find the Elm Restaurant ($$$), where you can sip a "Lucky Strike" cocktail. The drink, inspired by the old fashioned that Draper drinks while working on the Lucky Strike cigarette campaign, has cherry-wood-smoked bourbon, cherry bitters, and sherry, all topped off with a garnish of, you guessed it, ash.
When you think of an internship, chances are you imagine a young collegiate making photocopies and going on coffee runs. But what about spending two weeks living large (while getting your hands dirty) at some of Costa Rica's best eco retreats, including Lapa Rios on the Osa Peninsula, the Fica Rosa Coffee Plantation & Inn, or the chic new Kura Design Villas (pictured) on the Costa Ballena?
Cayuga Collection, the company behind eight pioneering eco resorts in Costa Rica and Nicaragua (and 2010 Global Vision Award winner) is accepting applications for what it calls "The Best Internship in the World," open to anybody with extensive travel experience and interest in getting a behind-the-scenes look at how luxury and sustainability can be compatible. According to Cayuga cofounder Hans Pfister, the successful candidate will be "a well traveled person or couple who can put our blend of high end service and responsible tourism to the test." In other words: "age doesn’t matter, attitude does."
The winds of change are upon us. IHG, the company behind InterContinental, Crowne Plaza, Holiday Inn, and Hotel Indigo, announced that it will offer free internet access to all 71 million members of its loyalty program beginning in 2014. With this decision, it joins Fairmont, Kimpton, and Omni Hotels, all of which offer free Wi-Fi access to members of their (also free) loyalty programs.
By covering more than 4,600 hotels, IHG is certainly the largest company to make such a commitment to its loyalists of all ranks. And the IHG twist: you won’t need to be a guest of the hotel to access the internet. The service will be available free of charge even to loyalty-program members who just pop into the lobby.
Q: Is the “service charge” on my room-service bill the same as a gratuity?
A: Though the exact definition varies from hotel to hotel, service charge usually indicates a pooled tip, to be divided up by the entire room service department. If your specific attendant was particularly good, you may consider giving an extra gratuity—but are in no way obliged to do so. To be sure, ask what the hotel’s policy is when placing your order.
Have a travel dilemma? Need some tips and remedies? Send your questions to news editor Amy Farley at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @tltripdoctor on Twitter.
Photo by Gus Bradley / Alamy
If you are planning on skiing the slopes of Switzerland this winter, check into Brucke 49, a chic bed & breakfast in the Alpine village of Vals. The lodge is famed for its Peter Zumthor-designed thermal spa. Run by a young couple, the B&B opened in December 2011 in a grey-and-white 1902 villa on the riverbank.
The four rooms of Brucke 49 mix Danish designer furnishings by the likes of Arne Jacobsen, Shaker elements and William Morris wallpaper. The ambience is design-led yet cozy and informal- sounds a little like home, doesn’t it? And just like home, some of the bathrooms are shared. Stay here for an affordable, personal experience in a chic European village.
Maria Pedone is a digital editorial intern at Travel + Leisure.
Photo Courtesy of Brucke 49
On a calm beach, a big wave can knock you off your feet—and even act as a thief, as one resort guest recently learned.
Brittania Fisher and her husband were vacationing earlier this month at Miami’s Turnberry Isle Miami, and on their last day there, Brittania was wading in shallow water and picking up shells on the private beach. Suddenly, a big wave surprised her, and knocked her over. "I clenched my left hand because the water was cold, and I knew it would make my fingers shrink," the Dallas native told us. "But my rings were already gone."
She immediately enlisted other people on the beach to help her look, and hotel staffers are still looking—but so far, with no results.
Turnberry's staffers, it should be noted, have recovered lost rings in the past. In 2002, Heather Mills, former wife of Paul McCartney, "lost" one hers when she was staying with the music legend at the resort. "Apparently they had a big row in our Grand Presidential Suite, and in their fight she threw her engagement ring off the balcony," Rachel Pinzur, the resort's public relations director, told NBC Miami. A determined hotel employee found it in the bushes with the help of a flashlight.
The shoreline may pose greater challenges, but Fisher says that she is hopeful that her two rings—both platinum, and soldered together—are heavy enough to have sunk into the sand, rather than be sucked out to sea. (See picture: above.) She recently posted on the resort's Facebook page asking guests to keep looking, and is offering a $2,000 reward for their return.
“There's a dollar amount on the rings, of course, but I can't replace them," Fisher told us. “The engagement ring was what my husband had when he got down on one knee, and he slipped the band on my hand on our wedding day. They're priceless." She's willing to be patient, too. "You always hear stories about people being reunited with items after a long time, so I'll believe in miracles."