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Video: Travel Tips for New Orleans

From hotel deals to cooking classes, Travel + Leisure's digital projects director, Sarah Spagnolo, shares her favorite tips for making the most of New Orleans right now.

Just Back: Arctic Circle

arctic circle

When I had the chance to take a bucket list trip to explore the pristine beauty of the Arctic Circle I jumped at the chance (after cobbling together frequent flier miles). First stop: the world famous IceHotel in Jukkasjarvi, Sweden, where the walls, tables, beds, and everything else are made of ice and snow.

While spending a night on ice in 23° F degrees is a big part of the IceHotel’s draw, a thrilling daytime excursion by snowmobile (booked through the hotel) was the main event for me.

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Vacationist Hotel Deals: Italy, California, Costa Rica

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

Sale ends in 2 days!

201203-b-helvetia-bristoljpgHotel Helvetia & Bristol - up to 29% off
Florence, Italy

This 67-room hotel is set in Piazza Strozzi, within walking distance of many of Florence's top cultural attractions and manicured gardens.

Ojai Valley Inn & Spa - up to 40% off
Ojai, California

Ojai Valley Inn, with purple jacaranda trees just 75 miles north of Los Angeles, feels as intimate as a private SoCal estate.


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Bernardus Lodge - up to 35% off
Carmel Valley, California

California Craftsman style meets wine country chic at this secluded retreat in the coastal mountains near Monterey and Carmel.

Hacienda Tayutic - up to 40% off
Turrialba, Costa Rica

This upscale hacienda is set high in the green mountains of central Costa Rica.

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

From top: Photos courtesy of Hotel Helvetia & Bristol; Bernardus Lodge.

ENDING SATURDAY: Vote to Win a $10,000 Dream Trip!

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Saturday is the last day to vote in the 2012 World’s Best Awards Survey!

All respondents will be entered to win a $10,000 dream trip, among other trip prizes.

Go to TLWorldsBest.com and tell us which hotels, resorts, spas, cruise lines, airlines, travel companies, and destinations you love most. We’ll feature your favorite places in the August 2012 issue of Travel + Leisure.

Hurry! Voting closes at midnight on March 31st. Cast your vote now! 

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. The 2012 World’s Best Awards Sweepstakes is open to legal residents of the 50 United States and the District of Columbia age 18 or older. To enter and view complete Official Rules, which govern this Sweepstakes, visit TLWorldsBest.com. Sweepstakes begins at 12:01 a.m. Eastern Time (ET) on 12/01/11 and ends at 11:59 p.m. (ET) on 03/31/12. Sponsor: American Express Publishing Corporation.

Briana Fasone is a digital editorial assistant at Travel + Leisure.

Francis Ford Coppola’s New Hotel: Palazzo Margherita

Palazzo Margherita

For his fifth property, Francis Ford Coppola goes back to his ancestral roots.

“Bernalda bella.” Those were the words Francis Ford Coppola’s grandfather used to describe his birthplace, the quiet hilltop village of Bernalda, Basilicata, in southern Italy. The Godfather director first visited 50 years ago—and has now opened the nine-room Palazzo Margherita (64 Corso Umberto, Bernalda; 39-0835/549-060; doubles from $430), where his daughter, Sofia, was married last August. The interior of the 19th-century estate was dreamed up with the help of French interior designer Jacques Grange, whose clients have ranged from Yves Saint Laurent to New York’s Mark Hotel. Rooms feature restored frescoes, claw-foot tubs, and Juliet balconies overlooking a courtyard garden. In the brick-vaulted kitchen, guests learn to cook regional dishes such as spaghetti with bread crumbs and anchovies. There’s also a screening room with a library of 300 classic Italian films—all selected by Coppola himself.

Photo ©Lisa Limer

Vacationist Hotel Deals: T+L 500 Week!

Stay at some of your favorite hotels, as voted in the World’s Best Awards Survey, for less! Check Vacationist throughout the week for even more deals.

SALE ENDS IN 4 DAYS!

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The Langham Huntington - up to 30% off
Pasadena, California

Rising like a palace over the improbable locale of quiet Pasadena, the red-tiled roof, castle-like Langham Huntington offers Old World luxury, tucked away from the commotion of L.A.

Sugar Mill Hotel - up to 30% off
Tortola, British Virgin Islands

Set on the site of a 370-year-old old sugar mill, this cozy cottage colony is steps from picturesque Apple Bay and features one of the Caribbean's most romantic restaurants.

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Sanderling Resort and Spa
Up to 29% off

Duck, North Carolina

The Sanderling is the only full-service resort in North Carolina's Outer Banks, one of the country's best coastlines for sand dunes, secluded beaches, and waterfront wildlife.

 

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Royal Palms Resort & Spa

Up to 40% off

Phoenix, Arizona

Resembling an expansive Mediterranean residential manor rather than a resort, Royal Palms offers a sophisticated and tranquil retreat for couples looking to practice the art of doing nothing at all.

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

From top: Photos courtesy of Langham Huntington; Sanderling Resort & Spa; Royal Palms Resort & Spa.

Tingo: A New Way To Get Hotel Discounts

Tingo

Tingo, a new travel site that launched this morning, expects to be a game changer in the way customers book hotels. Parent company Smarter Travel Media says Tingo is the first site to automatically rebook a hotel reservation if the price drops, then refund the difference between the original prepaid rate and the final rate at check-out.

Tingo (the name derives from travel and bingo) is not the first site to offer a refund if the rate drops. Orbitz, for example, has a Price Assurance policy, but it requires that another Orbitz customer book the same room type at the same hotel on the same travel dates at a lesser rate. Not so with Tingo. According to the company, if the rate for your reservation drops, you qualify for a refund, credited to your charge card after you have checked out of the hotel, regardless of whether another traveler has also booked the lower rate.

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TODAY Show: Affordable Beach Getaways

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

It's not too late to plan a beachy spring break. T+L Features Director Nilou Motamed shares her finds for an affordable beach getaway.

For more ideas, check out our sliddeshow: Best Affordable Beach Resorts

Vacationist Hotel Deals: Greece, California + Paris

Vacationist: On sale NOW!

SALE ENDS IN 3 DAYS!

201203-b-vacationist-margijpgThe Margi Hotel - up to 28% off
Vouliagmeni (Athens), Greece
The Margi Hotel's neighborhood is one of the most exclusive in Athens, with superb access to the Aegean Sea, the historic city center, and major airports and train stations.

SALE ENDS IN 4 DAYS!

The Farmhouse Inn - up to 30% off
Forestville (Sonoma County), California
If roasting s'mores over the fire and munching on farm-fresh berries for breakfast is your idea of heaven, then this upscale country retreat is made for you.

SALE ENDS IN 6 DAYS!

201203-b-vacationist-regina-1jpgHotel Regina - up to 20% off
Paris, France
Paris visitors flock to the Hotel Regina for its proximity to French culture (the Louvre; the Tuileries) and fashion boutiques (Lanvin; Chanel).

Don't see what you're looking for? Click here for even more deals.

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

From top: Photos courtesy of The Margi Hotel; Hotel Regina.

3 Weeks Left: World's Best Sweepstakes!

201112-b-worldsbest-logo.jpg

Take T+L’s World’s Best Awards Survey and enter to win a $10,000 Dream Trip!

March is underway, which means there are only a few weeks left to cast your vote.

Go to TLWorldsBest.com and rate your favorite hotels, resorts, spas, cruise lines, airlines, and travel companies—and your top picks might make it into T+L’s annual World’s Best Awards issue in August 2012! Voting ends March 31, so time is running out.

A bonus? Respondents will be entered to win a $10,000 dream trip, among other first, second and third place trip prizes. What are you waiting for? Vote now!

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. The 2012 World’s Best Awards Sweepstakes is open to legal residents of the 50 United States and the District of Columbia age 18 or older. To enter and view complete Official Rules, which govern this Sweepstakes, visit TLWorldsBest.com. Sweepstakes begins at 12:01 a.m. Eastern Time (ET) on 12/01/11 and ends at 11:59 p.m. (ET) on 03/31/12. Sponsor: American Express Publishing Corporation.

Briana Fasone is a digital editorial assistant at Travel + Leisure.

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