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El Blok Hotel Makes Its Debut in Vieques

El Blok staircase

In Vieques, the names and phone numbers of all the island’s taxi drivers are posted on a sign outside the airport, which is an indication both of its size and its degree of formality. No need for Uber here. Vieques, just off the eastern tip of Puerto Rico—and accessible by a puddle jumper from San Juan—has a sleepy, eccentric, instantly likable charm: Tulum without the yoga, Harbour Island without the WASP’s. “Vieques is like a really good indie rock band,” says Simon Baeyertz, a former music industry exec who moved here four years ago and, with co-owner Rob Feldmann, opened the hotel El Blok in August. “Maybe it’ll get discovered, maybe it won’t. But it will never be a big pop star. It’s the White Stripes, not Taylor Swift.”

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How to Get a Room Upgrade (Video)

The best rooms aren’t always reserved for those who pay top dollar. Travel + Leisure's Sarah Spagnolo shares five tips that will help you get an upgrade:

Tip 1: Be nice

Front desk agents are usually entitled to change a guest’s room at their discretion. A smile and a friendly spirit can go a long way!

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Marriott and Maria Shriver Remind Guests to Tip Hotel Attendants

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What do Maria Shriver and Marriott Hotelshave in common? As of this month, it’s a shared interest in helping housekeepers earn their expected tips. 

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Hotel Tonight Extends Booking Window to One Week

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The last-minute hotel booking space is getting a little less last-minute, as HotelTonight is unveiling a new feature that lets users book their rooms a full week in advance. The new features, live today, respond to a need to have more flexibility when traveling in certain situations, says CEO Sam Shank, who for the first time talked about demographics beyond the spontaneous weekend traveler when I met with him earlier this week. Business travelers, he pointed out, would especially stand to gain from the new model, which allows you to wait until your schedule is set before deciding which neighborhood (or specific property) might be best suited for a particular trip.

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If I'm Paying for Hotel Parking, Do I Still Need to Tip the Valet?

Valet Parking

When you’re spending as much as $30 a day for hotel parking, tipping the valet each time he or she retrieves your car can seem like an unnecessary investment. That $30, however, goes only toward the valet’s base pay, which—much like a waiter’s—is calculated assuming that he or she will receive gratuities. If you don’t want to hand out money each day, ask the concierge if it’s possible to leave a total tip at the end of your stay: many hotels pool and distribute tips evenly to the valets.

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

Photo courtesy of Hola Images/Corbis

Amazing Virtual-Travel Experience: Marriott Unveils the 4-D Teleporter


Today Marriott Hotels launches a brand-new, knock-your-socks-off travel experience that allows you to immerse yourself in a virtual-reality version of London and Hawaii, complete with motion, sounds, and even sprays of water for a “4-D” experience that makes typical virtual reality pale in comparison. The Teleporter, as the experience has been tagged, is being rolled out to the public starting today and over the next eight weeks at select Marriotts nationwide (see the full schedule here). Why should you care? Read on...

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Packing Tips from a Hyatt Hotels VP

Katherine Melchior Ray's Travel Uniform

Hotel executive Katherine Melchior Ray knows how to stay stylish on the fly.

Although Katherine Melchior Ray, the vice president of luxury brands at Hyatt Hotels, is on the road at least twice a month, she never forgets to pack a touch of home. “I bring my own coffee mug. That way, I don’t feel like I’m in a hotel, especially if I’m in bed and the sun’s coming in.”

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4 New Northeast B&Bs

The Inn at Hastings Park, Lexington, MA

A quartet of fresh-faced openings in the Northeast is breathing new life into the B&B.

Lexington, Massachusetts
The Inn at Hastings Park (pictured) has 22 tastefully decorated rooms (handwoven blankets; Peter Fasano wallpaper) in three historic buildings just 25 minutes from downtown Boston. Chef Mathew Molloy uses produce from local farms in New England–centric dishes such as seared scallops with gnocchi, corn, and lobster stew. $$

Lewes, Delaware
The owners of the celebrated Dogfish Head brewery recently opened the eclectic, 16-room Dogfish Inn. It’s located a mile from Lewes Beach and about three from Cape Henlopen State Park, so beer lovers can swim, bike, and hike, then quench their thirst at the brewery itself, right up the road. $$

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The Peninsula Paris Makes a Grand Debut

Peninsula Paris

At the newly opened Peninsula Paris, there are two entrances. The first is on Avenue Kléber, where steps lead up to a large terrace café and then into the lobby restaurant. The stairs are flanked by two imposing Chinese lion statues in white marble, among the few overt signs of the hotel group’s venerable Hong Kong heritage. The 19th-century limestone building and slate-tiled mansard roof are otherwise classically Parisian, overlooking the wide, tree-lined avenue. Indeed, the hotel is an emblem of Haussmann’s Paris—stately and confident, a block away from the Arc de Triomphe and the Champs-Élysées, in the 16th Arrondissement. The stonework façade is intricately detailed and like the entire building has been carefully restored; a glass-and-steel canopy extends origami-like over the entrance. This is the public face of the hotel, promising glamour and the cosmopolitan rush of the city, a place of coming and going, a place to see and be seen.

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Hotel Spas to Visit Now: Guerlain Spa

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There’s nothing quite like the hotel spa experience. You can book an appointment last-minute; ride the elevator wearing just a bathrobe (with no shame); bask in a beautifully designed space; and head back to your room without even glancing at a bill.

These days, hotel spas are stepping up their game, partnering with top beauty brands to bring a new level of sophistication to their treatments and products. Here, one of our favorites:

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