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Vacationist Hotel Deals: Trips of a Lifetime – Chile, South Africa + Sedona

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The big question: Where to go in 2012? Vacationist makes it easy, offering deals at hotel’s in some of the world’s most coveted destinations, from the iconic Hotel Antumalal in Chile’s Lake District to the intimate Vuyani Safari Lodge in South Africa. Or stay stateside, with a couple nights at Enchantment, Sedona, where a massage at the Mii amo spa is more than a perk—it’s checkmark on our life list.

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Negev, Israel: New Luxury Hotel

Beresheet hotel in Negev, Israel

Thirsting for luxury in Israel’s Negev region? Look no further than this new crater-front property.

In a nation of countless historic natural wonders, Israel’s 200 million-year-old Makhtesh Ramon crater has always stood out. Set in the stark Negev desert region 2 1/2 hours south of Tel Aviv, this 23-mile-long geological depression is rich both in rare wildlife and the archaeological remnants of its first human inhabitants. Now Mitzpe Ramon—the area’s dusty boomtown—finally has a hotel as wondrous as its location. Named after the Hebrew word for genesis, Isrotel’s Beresheet lives up to its weighty moniker. Built using indigenous stone and tropical Brazilian wood, it has 40 low-slung structures housing 111 rooms and suites, including 42 with Israel’s first private infinity-edge pools. All face the 1,000-foot-deep crater, where four-wheel-drive jeeps take visitors to see prehistoric fossils, early dwellings, and endangered birds and mammals. While the surrounding desert is home to a clutch of boutique wineries, you can appreciate other types of local bounty right at the resort. The pan-Mediterranean restaurant sources ingredients from nearby farms and kibbutzim for dishes such as lamb kebabs and pine nuts wrapped in eggplant, and native herbs are used in essential oils at the nine-room spa. After a treatment, head over to the resort’s crater-front pool for a dip—what better way to drink in the desert than from a water-filled oasis? 972-8/659-8000; doubles from $300.

Photo courtesy of Isrotel

Hotel Guests Recruited with Homeland Security TV Spots

USA Today |  The Department of Homeland Security is recruiting hotel guests to join the fight against terrorism.

Starting today, the welcome screens on 1.2 million hotel television sets in Marriott, Hilton, Sheraton, Holiday Inn and other hotels in the USA will show a short public service announcement from DHS. The 15-second spot encourages viewers to be vigilant and call law enforcement if they witness something suspicious during their travels. (…)

The PSA, which will be interspersed with other messages on the welcome screen, will be the same in all 5,400 hotels that LodgeNet serves. It ends by telling viewers to contact "local authorities."

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Vacationist Hotel Deals: Reasons to Book Now for Ski Season – Lake Tahoe + Vail

201111-b-sonnenalpjpgWant to save on your 2012 ski trip? Now’s the time to book your hotels. After Thanksgiving, rates can skyrocket, especially for experiences in some of the country’s best ski destinations, including Vail and Squaw Valley. “Consider Colorado, which had an awesome ski season last year thanks to La Niña.” A-List travel agent Michelle Bemis agrees that travelers should book now, “Airfares will definitely increase as the holiday season approaches,” she says. Get ready: Winter’s just around the corner.

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On Our Radar: Guangzhou, China

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Long viewed as the ugly stepsister to Shanghai and Beijing, Guangzhou is hitting its stride. The Zaha Hadid–designed, daringly asymmetrical Guangzhou Opera House (pictured above) opened recently and it’s garnered a lot of notice among architecture circles for its glass-and-granite frame and spider web-like interiors. Other notable new buildings include the Guangdong Museum, the Guangzhou New Library, and the Canton Tower. Meanwhile, five luxury hotels are opening this year, including the Four Seasons and W Guangzhou.

Jennifer Chen is Travel + Leisure's Asia correspondent. You can follow her on Twitter at xiaochen6.

Photo by iStock

JW Marriott and Christie's Auction House Join Forces

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Art lovers curious to see works that the venerable auction house Christie’s puts on the block don’t need to go to an actual auction. Thanks to a recent partnership with JW Marriott, art from upcoming Christie’s sales will be displayed in special preview exhibits at hotels around the world.

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Vacationist Hotel Deals: California + Nevada

201110-b-terraneajpgIt may be late October, but temperatures are still hovering around 75 degrees in California and Nevada. Where to unpack? Thanks to hotel deals from Vacationist, try Ravella, an Italian-inspired resort just 17 miles from the Las Vegas Strip, where the outdoor activities are a welcome counterpoint to Sin City's nightlife-oriented pleasures. Meanwhile, Terranea Resort, on 102 acres just 16 miles south of LAX, has all the fixings for a warm-weather escape: Pacific views from oceanfront terraces, two Jacuzzis, a 9-hole golf course—even a 140-foot water slide. Or for something more intimate, there's the charming, 16-room Hotel Les Mars, in Sonoma, a one-block walk from downtown Healdsburg.

For hotel deals in Rome, Florence, Bali, and the Caribbean, click here.

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VH1: Top 5 Celebrity Vacation Spots

Travel + Leisure's features director Nilou Motamed chats with VH1's Jason Dundas about where the stars go to get away from it all.

Hotel Staff Taught to Read Guests' Body Language

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USA Today
|  Forget calling the front desk. If you're a guest at an Affinia hotel, the staff will try to figure out what you need just by looking at you.

Starting this month, the boutique chain is bumping up personal service in its five hotels in New York City and one each in Chicago and Washington, D.C. Everyone from housekeeping to management will be tailoring his interaction with guests based on body language.

A body language expert trained employees over the summer on what cues to look for. A guest who makes eye contact while walking down the hall, for instance, may be open to conversation. A corporate trekker constantly tugging on an ear is probably stressed and may be interested in a yoga kit — or perhaps a therapeutic pillow from the hotel's pillow menu.
Photo credit: iStock

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Prince Edward Island Opens First Hotel in 25 Years

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Prince Edward Island
may be best known for its Anne of Green Gables lore and Malpeque oysters, but a sleek new boutique hotel—the island's first in 25 years—is causing quite a buzz. Located in historic downtown Charlottetown, The Holman Grand Hotel opened in August, after a year of renovation, in the former R.T. Holman department store.

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