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T+L Picks: Cliffside Hotels

cliffside hotel

Hold on to your hat: the most dramatic bluff-side hotels in the world are as breezy as they are beautiful.

Barbados: Built in 1887, the Crane Residential Resort ($$$$) sits above a pink-sand beach accessible by a glass-front elevator or 99 stone steps. Opt for a room in the original building with stone-coral walls and a hand-carved mahogany bed.

Brazil: Escape Florianópolis’s frenetic beach scene at the nearby Ponta dos Ganchos ($$$$), on a private, crescent-shaped peninsula. Guests can relax with passion-fruit caipirinhas on one of the eucalyptus-fringed decks or head to the tiny island just offshore.

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Atlantic City's Latest Comeback

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Atlantic City’s boardwalk hummed with activity on a balmy Saturday afternoon in July. A cavalcade of families roamed the sandy platform, dawdling over soft-swirled ice cream cones and baskets of fried Oreos, flanked by the umbrella-laden Jersey Shore. A gaggle convened outside Caesars for the annual food and wine festival, this year headlined by a group of Food Network stars: Robert Irvine, Rocco DiSpirito, and Pat and Gina Neely. Kitschy shops were full of tourists snatching up t-shirts and knickknacks. The scene was a snapshot of Americana at its best, a throwback to AC’s heyday.

But despite the robust crowds on this weekend, it has been a frenetic road for a relic that once thrived as the eastern seaboard’s entertainment epicenter. The Great Recession, Hurricane Sandy, and overall tourism shifts (Pennsylvania is now the northeast's gambling capital) have taken their toll. The gleaming 2012-opened, $2.4 billion Revel was supposed to be the antidote, a Las Vegas-grade temple to Michelin-star restaurants, clubby pool parties, and an ultra-luxe spa. The brain trust used Sin City’s evolution as a template, one that focuses on self-indulgent pleasures over blackjack and roulette tables; gambling was supposed to be an afterthought. A $111 million loss and March bankruptcy later, the hotel is now switching its attention, unveiling slot machine promotions and advertising campaigns—“Gamblers Wanted”—to draw visitors to their casino (they’ve even lifted the ban on smoking).

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Tech Thursday: A New Way to Score Free Hotel Wi-Fi

Thanks to an interesting new partnership between Hilton HHonors and AT&T, members of the phone carrier—or those with Gold and Diamond HHonors status—can now enjoy free Wi-Fi at more than 3,000 Hilton hotels worldwide as part of the joint StayConnected program. It’s a first for the hotel industry, where free Wi-Fi is shamefully difficult to come across—and we can’t help wonder if other such collaborations are soon to follow. Verizon and Starwood: we’re looking at you!

Nikki Ekstein is an Editorial Assistant at Travel + Leisure and part of the Trip Doctor news team. Find her on Twitter at @nikkiekstein.

Contest Watch: Destination Hotels & Resorts' Countdown to Winter

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Did you ever think that you would have a “Countdown to Winter”? Whether you’re looking for a beach getaway or a ski-break, Destination Hotels and Resorts wants to hear from you. Now through October 15, enter in their Facebook sweepstakes for a chance to win a grand prize of 5 nights’ accommodations for 2 adults and a $200 resort credit.

Find out more details and how to enter here.

Gabrielle Blitz is the Associate Social Media Editor at Travel + Leisure.

Photo Courtesy of Destination Hotels & Resorts

Pet Travel Wednesdays: Gold-Collar Guests

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Souvenirs, whether kitschy or unique, are one of the best parts of travel. But while you may fancy a snow globe, about the only thing Fido would appreciate is a(nother) turndown treat. Four-legged guests who book the Palmer House Hilton in Chicago's extensive pet package—in addition to receiving the necessary beds, bowls, and mats—will trot away with a bone-shaped, gold-finished collar tag engraved, “I Woofed it Up at Palmer House.” What better way to prove that you’ve had a howling good time?

Maria PedoneMaria Pedone is a digital editorial intern at Travel + Leisure. Follow her on Twitter at @mariapedestrian.

Image Courtesy of Palmer House

Contest Watch: W Hotels of New York’s #WJOYRIDE

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Citi Bikes are one of the most buzzed about rides in New York and W Hotels of NY Union Square wants you to get in on it. Launching the Instagram #WJOYRIDE Photo Hunt Map, riders snap photos along pre-mapped locations in the Big Apple for a chance to win 10,000 Starwood Preferred Guest Points, towards a stay at any W Hotel in the world.

Find out more here.

Gabrielle Blitz is the Associate Social Media Editor at Travel + Leisure.

Photo credit: Lars Klove / New York City Bike Share

Pet Travel Wednesdays: Doggie Massages in Maine

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The dog days of summer may be coming to a close, but perks in pet travel continue to unfold—and for some luxury hotels, “pet-friendly” is an understatement. Take Maine’s Inn by the Sea, for example. Starting September 2nd to October 31st, this Cape Elizabeth resort is catering to pooches with their INNcredible Pets Package. At last, Fido can catch a break from all that fetch with a 30-minute in-room doggie massage and gourmet meals from the Inn’s pet menu. A nightly turndown service offers seasonal treats right before your pet dozes off on his personalized L.L. Bean dog bed.

Maria PedoneMaria Pedone is a digital editorial intern at Travel + Leisure. Follow her on Twitter at @mariapedestrian.

Photo courtesy of Inn by the Sea

Newfoundland’s New Fogo Island Inn

Fogo Island Inn

It’s an incongruous sight: sleek white boxes on stilts above the rocky, windswept coast of a small island off northeastern Newfoundland. But the 29-room Fogo Island Inn is actually infused with the area’s DNA. It’s the vision of Zita Cobb, a local fisherman’s daughter turned tech entrepreneur, who launched an ambitious arts program on the island in 2006. For the new inn, Cobb tapped Newfoundland-born architect Todd Saunders, who also built the four on-site artists’ studios. The interiors were a collaboration between international designers (including the U.K.-based Ilse Crawford) and island craftspeople; quilters created bedspreads and other textiles, while boatmakers made furniture. Guests can learn about Fogo’s icebergs and humpback whale population from experienced guides, and mingle with residents at the restaurant and art gallery. What’s more, all profits go back to the community. In other words, it’s a white box with soul. $$$$

Amy FarleyHave a travel dilemma? Need some tips and remedies? Send your questions to news editor Amy Farley at tripdoctor@aexp.com. Follow @tltripdoctor on Twitter.


Photo by Iwan Baan

CeeLo Green May Be Hiding in Your Renaissance Hotel Room

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What do you do if you're a hotel chain that wants to grab the interest of potential Gen X and Y guests? It's obvious, isn't it? You entice young women into a hotel room where a pajama-clad CeeLo Green, the singer-songwriter behind the danceable hit, "F*** You," lies in wait, smiling seductively. And that, in fact, was the kick-off P.R. stunt for one seriously odd (and oddly cool) promotional campaign: Discovery Doors, which launches today. It's primarily an online video game on the Reniassance Hotel's website where gamers can win everything from membership in a Coffee-of-the-Month club to a trip for two around the world—500 prizes in all. Here's how it works…

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Grace Hotels Acquires Two Top New England Properties

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Grace Hotels has acquired the distinguished Mayflower Hotel & Spa in Washington, Connecticut and one of Maine’s premier properties, the White Barn Inn.

Their new names will be ‘The Mayflower Grace’ and ‘The White Barn Grace.’

The boutique hotel group makes no secret of its plans to expand, opening beach resorts, residences, and city center properties in such diverse locales as Beijing, Santorini, and Cafayete, Argentina. And now, it also has the corner on New England. The Mayflower and White Barn will join the Vanderbilt, in Newport, Rhode Island, giving the Grace family the reins of three of the region’s most prestigious hotels.

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