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Cape Town Hotels, Two Ways

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Five days in Cape Town was all it took to confirm its place at the top my personal roster of favorite cities, and T+L readers seem to agree with me—you voted it No. 4 in this year’s annual World’s Best Awards, out this month. The scenic city has no shortage of stylish hotel options, from grand resorts to intimate bed-and-breakfasts, and the two properties where I was fortunate enough to lay my head were a chic study in contrasts: one dramatically glam, the other quietly elegant.

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"It's So Miami": Why the Florida City's New Slogan May Mean More Than City Officials Intended

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With a spritely klatch of scantily-clad models flying around a pop-up pool party, slapping around beach balls and cavorting to a live deejay's techno music, Florida’s most hyperactive playground kicked off a fitting new tourism campaign, “It’s So Miami,” on a recent balmy afternoon in New York City’s Union Square. The slogan is clearly more about reinforcing the Latin-infused city’s authority as America’s preeminent destination for escapism than proffering anything newfangled or undiscovered. But the irony of Miami’s decision to double down on its hedonistic caricature is that the city truly is emerging as a genuine cultural hub with gravitas and depth.

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Berlin's Quirky (and Affordable) Huettenpalast Hotel

Huettenpalast Hotel, Berlin

Sometimes when you live checking in and out of hotel rooms, it can all become a blur, so when you stumble upon one that not only offers something innovative and fun, but also stays with you long after you leave, you take note. During a recent backpacking trip through Europe I checked into a quirky Berlin stay called Huettenpalast Hotel (Hobrechtstrasse 66; 49-030/3730-5806; from $59 per night). Those looking for something completely different and charming will definitely find it here as the place can only be described as an indoor campsite. Six wooden cabins and vintage caravans just large enough to fit a double bed are scattered inside an old vacuum cleaner factory for a "room within a room" experience. The sunny campsite contains various seating options, shared bathrooms and showers (don't worry, they're incredibly clean), and a center dining area where little baggies of croissants, apples, and drinks are hung on a painted tree for breakfast each morning.

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Vacationist Hotel Deals: Virginia, D.C. + Costa Rica

Book now on Vacationist, and you can stay in some of your favorite hotels and resorts for up to 40% off.

SALE ENDS IN 2 DAYS!

The Homestead Resort

The Homestead Resort - up to 44% off - Hot Springs, Virginia
A historic, 483-room resort deep within the Allegheny Mountains that's Virginia's true grande dame, offering southern comforts (plush beds, elegant dining spaces) along with rough-and-tumble activities, from hiking to archery.

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Hotel Punta Islita - up to 36% off - Playa Samara, Costa Rica
The far-flung tropical vibe makes this a perfect spot for romantic getaways that are both rugged and luxurious—ideal for couples who like to follow a wild gallop on horseback with a dip in an infinity-edge pool.

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The Madison Washington D.C.
- up to 48% off
Washington D.C.
Located less than half a mile from the White House, the 365-room Madison hotel is known for its pedigree: it's been the temporary home of every President-elect since John F. Kennedy.

SALE ENDS IN 5 DAYS!

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El Silencio Lodge & Spa - up to 29% off - Bajos del Toro (Alajuela), Costa Rica
It's all about being out of touch at this 16-suite eco-luxe resort, set in Costa Rica's cloud forest between two national parks. Your lookout deck, complete with a whirlpool and rocking chairs, is the perfect perch for enjoying the view.

Vacationist.com is brought to you by Travel + Leisure and LuxuryLink.com.

From top: Photos courtesy of The Homestead Rsort; Hotel Punta Islita; The Madison Washington D.C.; El Silencio Lodge & Spa.

TODAY Show Video: More Easy Getaways From London

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

After the Olympics hubbub, it’s high time for an escape. Try these charming country getaways, all within a few hours’ drive of London.

The Pig, Brockenhurst, Hampshire
An hour and 45 minutes from London

Converted from a previously dark manor house, this welcoming inn was named to T+L’s 2012 It List of Best New Hotels. Sitting areas feature wingback chairs, vintage glassware, and working fireplaces, while the 26 guest rooms have claw-foot bathtubs and botanical prints. Just outside your door: the New Forest National Park, where chef James Golding and his staff foraged the ingredients you'll be eating for dinner. Doubles from $196 per night.

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TODAY Show Video: Best Small London Hotels

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Features Director Nilou Motamed lands in London to celebrate the Games and share her favorite charming city hotels. Watch, and then make a reservation at one of these intimate—and affordable—properties.

Mediterranean's Best New Design Hotels

Design Hotels: La Plage Casadelmar

T+L surveys new design-statement properties from Marseille to Majorca.

Wherever Aman goes, the style tribe slavishly follows. And just when you thought there were no more variations on the word aman, the trailblazing hotel company has opened Amanzoe ($$$$), in a remote area of Greece’s Peloponnese peninsula. With reflecting pools, soaring marble walls, and panoramic views, architect Ed Tuttle’s pared-down sanctuary strikes a balance between serenity and drama.

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Vacationist Hotel Deals: Lake Tahoe, Todos Santos + Moorea

Book now on Vacationist, and you can stay in some of your favorite hotels and resorts for up to 40% off.

Sale ends today!
Resort at Squaw Creek - up to 40% off
Lake Tahoe, California
This newly renovated hotel offers access to Lake Tahoe's alpine runs in winter, and in the summer, golf courses, fly-fishing holes—even waterslides.

Sale ends in 2 days!
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Guaycura Boutique Hotel & Spa - up to 40% off
Todos Santos, Mexico
A newly renovated, 19th-century stone villa will be your home base in Mexico's beach town of Todos Santos.

Sale ends in 3 days!


201208-b-vacationist-legends-resort-mooreajpgLegends Resort Moorea - up to 41% off
Moorea, French Polynesia
Staying here is like owning your own Polynesian villa by the sea.

Vacationist.com is brought to you by Travel + Leisure and LuxuryLink.com.

From top: Photos courtesy of Guaycyra Boutique Hotel; Legends Resort Moorea.

Just Back: Exploring South Africa with World's Best Winner Micato Safaris

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We here at T+L know that our readers are the savviest around. So when I decided to go to South Africa essentially on a whim with three weeks’ notice, I decided it would be prudent to leave the trip planning to the experts. And if Micato Safaris’ impressive showing in our annual World’s Best Awards is anything to go by—they were voted Top Safari Outfitter for the ninth year running in the 2012 survey, out in the August issue—they must be the best.

The Micato experience begins before you’ve even boarded your flight, with the delivery of a mammoth safari bag filled with a bound itinerary, helpful packing list, and some gifts (a handy flashlight and a stylish passport holder), all wrapped in animal-print tissue paper to get you in the safari spirit. But even for someone like me, who likes to plot out every detail on my trips, it was nice to surrender myself to someone else’s expertise for a week and let them handle the logistics.

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Checking In: Summer's Best Hotel Openings

New and renovated hotels are opening across the country, from quintessential Northeast towns like Nantucket, Massachusetts and Newport, Rhode Island, to Lake Tahoe, California—just in time for your last summer getaway.

Summer Hotel Openings: Chapman House

Chapman House

Nantucket, Massachusetts
After a head-to-toe transformation, this 1717 building is now a charming, 11-room boutique hotel (and sister property to nearby The Veranda House). The self-described “retro-chic” rooms feature splashes of turquoise and red, and amusing needlepoint pillows (adorned with “lust,” “gluttony,” and other deadly sins).

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