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T+L Trip of the Month: Quintessential South Africa

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Don't miss Travel + Leisure’s January Trip of the Month, Quintessential South Africa. In association with Travel + Leisure Elite Traveler, our travel club for deals on hotels, cruises, and more, the Trip of the Month offers T+L readers exclusive, once-in-a-lifetime itineraries from the world’s top tour operators.

Micato Safaris, our No. 1 World's Best Awards operator, has designed this dream South African adventure, the perfect mix of city, beach, wine, and the Big Five, just for our readers.

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Vacationist Hotel Deals: New York, Los Angeles + San Diego

201201-b-la-valenciajpgWe’re starting 2012 with Vacationist deals in some of our favorite cities in the U.S. In New York, the Sherry-Netherland is a classic property located directly across from Central Park; the hotel restaurant, Harry Cipriani, is a Manhattan icon. Looking for warmer weather? The Huntley Hotel is also set on prime U.S. real estate—a tree-lined street just steps from the Santa Monica boardwalk. But if true surf culture is on the brain, head further south to La Jolla, where the pink-tinged La Valencia has been delivering oceanfront views since 1925.

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Williamsburg, Brooklyn To Get a Green Hotel

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Oppenheim Architecture + Design recently won the bid for the Williamsburg Hotel.  Between the Williamsburg Bridge and the domed Neoclassic Williamsburg Savings Bank, a 21st-century tower is set to rise over 400 feet.

What exactly does the prospect of a LEEDS Platinum-certified green building, set in the bustling bohemian enclave of Williamsburg, Brooklyn, say about New York's ever-changing tale? We'll have to wait and see.  For now, check out these interesting photo renderings:

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TODAY Show: Hotels Where You Can Unplug

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

Need to decompress after the holidays? T+L Features Director Nilou Motamed has six great properties for travelers on a quest for quiet.

Antiresorts’ New Green Hotel in Mexico

green hotels: Endemico Resguardo Silvestre

What: Encuentro Guadalupe
Where:
Valle de Guadalupe, Mexico
Opened:
December 2011

This eco-friendly retreat is set in Mexico’s emerging wine country, just 40 minutes from Ensenada. The 20 mountainside bungalows—part of a 99-acre gated development—have minimal impact on the rugged terrain, and are steps from a winery run by a Napa Valley enologist, plus a Slow Food restaurant. Doubles from $200.

Photo by Luis Garcia

Hotel Deals: TODAY Show + Vacationist

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

If your New Year's resolution is to travel more, T+L Digital Projects Editor Sarah Spagnolo shares a handful of hotel deals—so you can get there for less.

PLUS Thanks to this week’s Vacationist hotel deals, you can also explore a Scottish castle or the majestic glaciers in Chile's Lake District. Don't miss out on the great discounts here.

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Checking In: The Nolitan, NYC

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It was with a bit of skepticism that my husband and I watched the new hotel going up across the street from us, on the corner of Kenmare and Elizabeth. The modern Grzywinski + Pons building looked a bit off-kilter with the rest of the neighborhood, with its geometric glass cutouts and sleek lines. Though the idea of having a place for our parents to stay (other than our foldout couch) was nice, deep down we wondered what a new boutique hotel would do to our wonderfully quirky, Starbucks-free corner of Nolita?

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Third Night Free at Top NYC Hotels

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Mayor Mike Bloomberg recently announced that New York City played host to a record 50 million visitors this past year. Seems like we can expect a few more in 2012: NYC & Company, the official tourism board for our fair Gotham, has rallied some extraordinary big-name luxury hotels to participate in their wintertime Third Night Promotion, where you get one free night for every three-night stay.

The list of  ‘signature collection’ properties hosting this winter sale includes both elegant, storied hotels and see-and-be-seen hip newcomers. Choosing just one may be the biggest challenge of your stay:

The Carlyle, A Rosewood Hotel
The Chatwal New York
Hôtel Plaza Athénée New York
Jumeirah Essex House
Loews Regency Hotel
The London NYC
Mandarin Oriental, New York
The New York Palace
The Peninsula New York
The Pierre
The Plaza Hotel
The Ritz-Carlton New York, Battery Park
The Ritz-Carlton New York, Central Park
The St. Regis New York
The Setai Fifth Avenue
The Sherry-Netherland
The Surrey
Trump International Hotel & Tower
Trump SoHo New York
The Waldorf Towers

As one who regularly watches these hotels for affordable offers, I can tell you that an opportunity to save 33% doesn’t come along very often. I can also guarantee that a visit to NYC this winter will be a memorable one. Whether you take the budget route of window-shopping, people-watching, and street food, or use those savings to indulge in some of the thrilling culture, cuisine, and commerce of the city—either way, you’ll leave already planning your next visit.

Ritz-Carlton Central Park

Top photo courtesy of Trump Soho; bottom photo of the Ritz-Carlton, Central Park © Kelly Kollar.

Ann Shields is a senior digital editor at Travel + Leisure.

Sheraton New York Gets $150 Million Makeover

201108-b-sheraton-afterjpgSheraton New York Hotel and Towers recently completed the first phase of a $150 million renovation, and the improvements are pretty sleek. The brand's flagship property has updated its guest rooms, added a state-of-the-art teleconferencing suite, and redesigned its Sheraton Club Lounge.

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Winter 2012 Ski Resort News

Campiglio Val Rendena Val di Sole ski trail

The 2011–12 season ushers in major improvements at these ski resorts.

Northstar California Resort, California
The News: Thanks to a $30 million investment, the mountain welcomes additional trails, a high-speed quad lift, a new 500-seat on-mountain restaurant—plus a 22-foot halfpipe designed by Shaun White. 5001 Northstar Dr., Truckee; 800/466-6784; one-day pass from $85.

Big Sky, Montana
The News: The remodeled, slopeside Solace Spa & Salon expands its treatment rooms and salon services, and Andesite Mountain adds 20-plus gladed acres. 1 Lone Mountain Trail, Big Sky; 800/548-4486; one-day pass $84.

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