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The Futurist: Hong Kong's Teaching Hotel

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BBC Travel's Passport Blog
|  A new hotel opening in Hong Kong’s Tsim Sha Tsui East neighborhood on 21 September is really one with a difference.

The Hotel ICON is owned by the Hong Kong Polytechnic University and helps educate students at the School of Hotel & Tourism Management. But this is no bare bones facility. Top architects and designers like Terence Conran and Vivienne Tam were recruited to create the restaurants and suites, and the general manager comes to the hotel from the luxury Shangri-La chain of hotels.

With the private member’s dining room, open-air pool and Angsana Spa, hotel guests may never realize they are part of a learning experience. But 100 interns from the school will be working alongside the professional hotel staff to get on-the-job training and mentoring.

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Photo credit: Hotel ICON


Lamu, Kenya: New Hot Spots

Lamu, Kenya

This far-flung archipelago has become the location of choice for the style set. T+L drops in to check out the latest openings.

The Glamorous Retreat: Originally a private residence for a wealthy Italian family, the Majlis (Manda Island; 254/204-441-164; doubles from $841, including meals) has been converted into a 24-room resort with soaring beamed ceilings, two sexy pools, and lanterns everywhere.

The Authentic Find: Red Pepper House (Coconut Beach; 254/727-606-691; doubles from $1,450, including meals) celebrates Swahili design: its thatched-roof bungalows are modeled after native houses. The resort also helps fund a hospital and an orphanage nearby.

The Afforable Hideaway: At the Moon Houses (254/722-209-490; doubles from $290), a series of chic villas scattered around the islands, you’ll have plenty of privacy—plus, a personal chef to cook fish caught that very morning.

The Must-Visit Shop: African fashion designer Anna Trzebinski (Sea Suq, Shela; 254/720-292-024) chose Lamu for her first freestanding shop. The waterfront space is stocked with her trademark beaded sandals, embellished caftans, and feather-trimmed pashminas.

Photo by Jonathan Bloom

NYC’s New Tech-Focused Hotel

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Innovator Simon Woodroffe

Who He Is: Not since Richard Branson has Britain seen an entrepreneur as iconoclastic as Woodroffe. He designed rock shows for Stevie Wonder and Rod Stewart, launched the chain of conveyor-belt YO! Sushi restaurants, and then created Yotel in 2007, which blends the self-service of Japanese pod hotels (touch-screen check-in kiosks; motorized retractable beds) with a stylish, airplane-cabin vibe.

His Big Idea: Woodroffe’s newest outpost, Yotel Times Square (doubles from $259), in New York City, is a living demonstration of convenience through technology. The hotel features the world’s first luggage robot, a cranelike contraption that retrieves bags and stores them in a sleek white wall of drawers in the lobby. At its restaurant, Dohyo, the tables can be lowered into the floor, opening up the space for performances. Guest “cabins” all have Yotel’s trademark “techno-wall,” with flat-screen TV’s, music and power services, and device-storage areas.

Photo courtesy of Yotel

Vacationist Hotel Deals: Places to Wear White All Year

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Trying to wear your linen pants and white jeans as much as possible before Labor Day?  There’s no need to cram it all in before Monday: this week, Vacationist is offering a handful of deals to destinations where white jeans—not to mention flip-flops, sun hats, and wispy tunics—are de rigueur all year long. So forget fall fashion. Book your endless summer now.

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5 New East Coast Beach Hotels

The Tides Beach Club in Kennebunkport, Maine

From Maine to New York, these new East Coast properties are making a splash.

Kennebunkport, Maine: Housed in a charming Victorian mansion on secluded Goose Rocks Beach, the 21-room Tides Beach Club (doubles from $325) recently opened with several brighly accented suites decorated by Jonathan Adler.

Cape Cod, Massachusetts: Provincetown’s Harbor Hotel (doubles from $179) has 129 mostly turquoise-and-lime rooms, plus art exhibits by local painters.

The Hamptons, New York: With a Cynthia Rowley boutique, a Nobu restaurant, and a poolside Bathing Club, the super-stylish Capri (doubles from $295) is a Southampton standout. For a haute-summer-camp vibe in Montauk, there’s Ruschmeyer’s (doubles from $475), complete with 19 cabins (dubbed “crash pads”) and an on-site beer garden.

Shelter Island, New York: Between the patisserie and the pétanque court, not to mention the Côté Bastide toiletries in the eight airy suites, Francophiles will love La Maison Blanche (doubles from $295), just a short walk from the shore.

Photo by Rick Lew

Vacationist Hotel Deals: Coppola’s Belize and Guatemala Retreats

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Psst—here’s travel tidbit: Francis Ford Coppola’s newest hotel, Palazzo Margherita, an 19th-century palace on a hilltop in Bascilicata, Italy, won't open until late September, but his original trio of properties in Central America are ready to welcome vacationists in early fall, all for almost 50 percent off standard rates. Our idea? Make a trip of it, with stays at all three (La Lancha, in Guatemala, is only a one-hour flight from Turtle Inn, which is a scenic drive along the Southern Highway en route to Blancaneaux). If you’re planning two trips this year, there’ll be Margherita, of course, paired with any of Vacationist’s 17 Italy Week properties, also on sale now.

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Extra! Extra! Newspaper Delivery Fading in Hotels

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Passport Blog - BBC Travel
|  The morning newspaper placed outside of your hotel room door may become an anachronism. And that may not be such a bad thing.

As travellers increasingly kick the paper aside in favour of getting a digital dose of morning news from their laptops or mobile devices, cash-strapped hotels have happily responded by cutting back or eliminating the delivery of newspapers because it helps them reduce costs — and appear more environmentally friendly. For me, the morning newspaper, along with a cup of coffee, used to be a ritual, but now I’ll check the news online and likely kick the newspaper aside (or put it in the recycle bin) on my way out the door.

Marriott hotels in the US used to provide every guest with a free morning newspaper on weekdays, whether they asked for it or not....

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Travel Outfit: Andaz Hotel's Jonathan Frolich

Jonathan Frolich

Andaz 5th Avenue general manager Jonathan Frolich keeps it chic from takeoff to touchdown.

“I believe flying should have an air of glamour,” says Jonathan Frolich, the Australian-born general manager of the super-stylish Andaz 5th Avenue, in New York City. “So I dress for the occasion.” While crisscrossing the globe up to 30 times each year during his previous stint as director of operations for Andaz, Frolich learned to balance style with practicality. “Being minimalist works best,” he says. Here’s what makes the cut. “I can scrunch it, throw it in the overhead, and it still comes out looking great,” Frolich says of his wool-blend Scotch & Soda blazer ($212). “My J. Crew cashmere cardigan ($218) is ideal for layering. It’s also durable.” Frolich sports a cotton button-down ($164) by Sydney-based brand Herringbone for “an old-English style with a modern twist,” as well as slim-cut Acne jeans ($270) that are “forgiving in terms of wrinkles.” His calfskin Prada shoes ($650) serve as two pairs in one: “Add laces to dress them up, or slip them on alone for a more casual style.” He’s “not a big accessories guy,” but Frolich’s Tom Ford glasses ($350) complete the look. As for his leather Mulberry carry-on ($1,450)? “I love that it has a flap instead of a zipper—it looks good, and it’s that much easier to use.”

What’s in His Bag?

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Vacationist Hotel Deals: Ode to Italy

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On the heels of T+L’s love letter to Florence, out now in the annual September Style and Culture issue, Vacationist brings you 18 deals across Italy, from Venice to Sicily, and (almost) everywhere in between. Stay near the art exhibitions of the Palazzo Strozzi, in Florence, steps from the Piazza del Popolo in Rome, or even on quiet Giudecca in Venice, all for up to 70 percent off standard rack rates. Looking for tips on how to plan your trip? Become a fan of Vacationist on Facebook, and visit on Friday at 1 p.m. EST for a live chat with an Italian-born expert, before the deals expire on August 28th.

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Singapore's Seedy Neighborhoods and Warehouses Now Hot Spots

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With its Art Deco style wet market and pre-War public housing, Singapore's Tiong Bahru neighborhood has been luring thirtysomething artists, architects, and other creatives in recent years, so it was only a matter of time that funky small businesses began popping up in the area.

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