Hotels + Resorts
The Ritz-Carlton, Rancho Mirage will begin accepting reservations today for the property, set to reopen on May 15th.
Closed for seven years, the resort sits high above Palm Springs on a bluff in the Santa Rosa mountains. Guests will choose from 244 rooms and suites, each featuring Frette linens and Asprey amenities. Natural stone, wood, and a muted color scheme dominate, embracing the desert surroundings and blurring the line between inside and outside—a smart design choice, given the resort's enviable location and many outdoor activity options. The resort is also within easy striking distance of dozens of world-class golf courses.
Also on site will be a double-decker spa and two new restaurants—one a test kitchen, and the other a luxe steak and seafood spot. For reservations, which go on sale today, visit the hotel's website.
Peter Schlesinger is a research assistant at Travel + Leisure and a member of the Trip Doctor news team.
Courtesy of The Ritz-Carlton, Rancho Mirage
Less than two hours north of San Francisco, this chilled-out county is a world away. Here, where to take it all in.
Get Outdoors: Overlooking a rocky sweep of the Pacific Ocean, Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens (Fort Bragg) is home to 150 species of birds (ash-throated flycatchers; savannah sparrows) and rhododendrons that thrive in the foggy air.
Want to practice your photography skills in Mexico or cruise the Mediterranean? This month’s deals have you covered.
Art & Culture
Beijing and Shanghai: 36% off insider’s tour
Springtime in China package includes:
• 6 nights' accommodations, divided between Fairmonts in Beijing and Shanghai, provided by Kensington Tours, a bespoke outfitter with global expertise
• Explore the M50 art district, Shanghai’s action-packed creative hub, with an in-the-know local
• Airport meet and greet
• Private guided tour of Beijing including stops at Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden City, the Temple of Heaven, the Summer Palace, and the Great Wall
• Private excursion in Shanghai, including visits to Jade Buddha and Yuyuan Garden
• Internal flights and chauffeured transfers
Cost: From $1,750 ($292 per night)
Book by April 30. Blackout dates apply: April 18–May 1.
For more information or to book, please visit Kensington Tours.
Create your own long-weekend saga in this Nordic world away—just a quick flight from the East Coast.
Get Outdoors: The 14-mile Fimmvörðuháls Pass hike is one of the world’s most picturesque. You’ll ramble along the Skógá River, passing a series of waterfalls, glaciers, even a volcano—while ascending more than 3,200 feet. The trailhead is just two hours by car from Reykjavík.
See a Show: It’s no surprise that artist Ólafur Elíasson designed Harpa Reykjavík Concert Hall & Conference Center, with its kaleidoscopic glass façade. The performance we’d gladly wait in line for: How to Become Icelandic in 60 Minutes, in which actor Bjarni Haukur Thorsson lovingly pokes fun at his country’s language and customs (sour sheep balls are just the beginning).
The new Rosewood London may occupy an imposing 1914 Edwardian landmark between Covent Garden and the City, but it exudes a youthful glamour. In keeping with the company’s master plan for brand reinvention, designer Tony Chi employed an eclectic combination of alpacca silver, horsehair, and lacquer to enhance and soften the building’s inherent grandeur. It’s a thoroughly modern mix that works.
Ian Schrager’s New London Edition Hotel
London's Best Restaurants
London's Best Vintage Shopping
Photo by James Merrell
This week, the Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas became the first major property in the U.S. to offer what may be the most genius perk ever, especially in a place like Sin City: 24-hour checkout.
For no additional cost, guests can select the 24-hour checkout option when booking a Superior, Premier, or Ivory Suite exclusively through the hotel’s website. They’ll be asked for their anticipated arrival time, and checkout is the same time on the following day (though it can’t be later than 11 p.m.). For added convenience, you can even checkout via text message. Now if only winning at blackjack was that easy.
Brooke Porter Katz is an Associate Editor at Travel + Leisure. Follow her on Twitter at @brookeporter1.
Photo credit: Palms Casino Resort
Awhile back, pastry chefs at Ritz-Carlton hotels around the world were given a task: To create a cake to celebrate the hotel's founding and a dessert that distinctly represented the Ritz-Carlton brand. But there were a few requirements. Grand Marnier had to be an ingredient (Mr. Marnier La Postelle was a friend of Cesar Ritz and an investor in the original Ritz-Carlton hotel). Also, the cake must travel well.
The cake that, well, took the cake, is a moist Valrhona chocolate sponge cake layered with bitter caramel and orange ganache made from Grand Marnier by chef Yusuke Aoki from Toronto. We had the pleasure of tasting it over here at Travel + Leisure and it was gobbled up within minutes of opening the simple, yet elegant black cake box. The rich chocolate and orange cake is a crowd pleaser and would make great souvenir to bring back from your next stay at a Ritz-Carlton hotel.
Lyndsey Matthews is an assistant digital editor at Travel + Leisure
Photo Courtesy of Ritz-Carlton
Miami’s SLS Brickell hotel won’t open its doors until 2015, but elaborate plans from designer Philippe Starck already have us obsessed.
Like Starck’s existing properties in Beverly Hills, South Beach, Las Vegas and New York, the SLS Brickell will flaunt a playful-but-polished vibe, attracting Lincoln Road regulars and an artsy crowd from the nearby Perez Art Museum Miami and upcoming Brickell CitiCentre complex.
To me, the phrase “Orient-Express” is synonymous with luxury travel: train rides through the Veneto, 16th-century retreats in Cusco, exotic cruises along Myanmar’s Irrawaddy River. That's why I was so surprised to see that the company of the same name, which counts 45 alluring hotels, rail lines, and river cruises in its collection, is changing its moniker to Belmond starting March 10. According to the group, the decision was made in order to “strengthen our brand architecture” and “increase consumer recognition in the marketplace.” The ultimate reason? They never actually owned the name. The trademark had been licensed through SNCF, France’s national railway company, and the group felt that having a name they could call their own might lure more property owners to invest in the brand. Following the change, only the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express train will keep its title.
In an expensive city that all too often tears down its architectural heritage, it’s refreshing (astonishing, really) to find a massive discount at a historic hotel. But that’s exactly what you’ll discover at Midtown Manhattan’s Hotel Wolcott, which this month celebrates its 110th anniversary.
From March 1 to March 31, travelers can book a standard room for just $110 a night (a savings of more than 50 percent), including breakfast, for travel throughout 2014. Reservations must be made at the Wolcott’s anniversary web page. The landmark Beaux Arts-style hostelry, three blocks from the Empire State Building, has hosted such guests as Mark Twain, Edith Wharton, Henry Miller, and Buddy Holly.
Mark Orwoll is the International Editor at Travel + Leisure. Follow him on Twitter at @orwoll and "like" him on Facebook.
Photo Courtesy of Hotel Wolcott