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TODAY Show: T+L 2011 World's Best Winners!

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What are the best hotels in the world? Travel + Leisure's features director, Nilou Motamed, shares the winners of this year's annual World's Best survey. Plus, our readers also weigh in on the best cities, cruises, famiy travel, and more. Find a complete list of award-winners here, and start planning your next vacation today!

Hotelier Vikram Chatwal Has (Another) Otherworldly 'Dream'

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The newest addition to Vikram Chatwal's Dream hotel line may be his trippiest yet. The aquatic Dream Downtown opens this week on the brim of NYC's Meatpacking District to much chatter. A converted structure that once housed the city’s homeless is now home to the notably hyped Romera New York, where the pre-fixe will set guests back a cool $245.

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Ireland's Ballyfin: A World-Class Country-House Hotel Opens Its Doors

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If Ballyfin in County Laois, Ireland, intends to become one of the great country-house hotels of Europe—and the ambition of its owners surely runs in that direction—then it certainly has all the qualifying hallmarks. It is, in a word, amazing.

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Vacationist Hotel Deal: Virginia's Homestead Resort, By The Numbers

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To celebrate the upcoming July 4th holiday weekend, Vacationist is spotlighting one of America’s oldest resorts, The Homestead, a Virginia grande dame that’s welcomed almost two dozen U.S. Presidents.

Here, a by the numbers review:

STATISTICS

3,000 – Acres of land at the property, set within Virginia’s Allegheny Mountains
75 - Miles from Virginia's Roanoke Regional Airport
22 – Number of U.S. Presidents who have visited the resort (including Thomas Jefferson and James Madison)
22 - Number of Corinthian columns in the hotel's Great Hall
195 – Average square feet of the Classic guestroom
630 – Square feet of the Landmark Suite (complete with two bedrooms and a porch with mountain views)
50 – Years the Maître d' Woody Pettus has welcomed visitors to the Homestead’s dining room

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Mandarin Oriental Paris Opens Today

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Today, the Mandarin Oriental's hotly anticipated new Paris location opens its doors, complete with 138 rooms, a prime location, and (of course) a killer spa. Located at 251 rue Saint-Honoré in the city's First Arrondissement, the art deco-meets-contemporary property is literally steps away from a number of favorite Parisian sights, like the Louvre, the Tuileries Gardens, and the Garnier Opera.

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NYC Businesses Celebrate Gay Marriage With Fab Deals

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The effects from the recent legalizing of gay marriage in New York are already starting to take shape. In peparation for the day legal ceremonies will finally be able to be performed—July 24—Mayor Bloomberg is preparing to launch a new campaign called "NYC I Do," which will seek to bring in gay tourists looking to get hitched. What does that mean for the city? About $400 million in estimated revenue over the next three years, just from gay marriage–related spending!

To boot, many of the NYC’s businesses have quickly shown their support for the historic decision, and are celebrating by offering special discounts for the many couples that have been patiently waiting for their time to come. Here are just a few I was able to find. (Without a doubt, more will surface as July 24 nears.) Happy Pride!

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Strange Hotels More Popular Than Ever

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Savvy travelers are turning to websites like iStopover.com and Airbnb.com to find affordable alternatives to staying in expensive chain hotels. What you may not realize is that some of these accommodations have way more character than your average roadside motel. Here we've gathered up a few of the bizarre and unique options found on iStopover.com. Ever wanted to live in a shoe? Now’s your chance . . .

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Pride Month 2011: One Last Weekend to Celebrate!

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Take a break from all the politics (I’m looking at you, New York) and celebrate diversity during the last weekend of Pride Month! While events in Philadelphia, Portland, Los Angeles, and Washington, D.C. have come and gone, there’s still time to join in on the party, with four of the best events still to come.

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Sing Your Way to a Free Hotel Upgrade

Remember that scene in Heartbreakers, when Sigourney Weaver’s con artist character staged a dramatic fall for Jennifer Love Hewitt’s character in the marble-decked lobby of an über fancy hotel, all for the sake of getting a sweet suite at the hotel, free of charge? Funny as that was, there are other—and much more legal—ways to get a free upgrade at a hotel. There are hotel reward programs. Or, for those who like to have a little fun, just sing a song!

Seriously.

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Vacationist Hotel Deals: T+L 500 Hotels for Less!

201106-b-esperanzajpgThere’s nothing better than a guaranteed stellar hotel stay, which is why, every year, we spotlight the top 500 hotels as voted by our savvy readers—so that you can rest assured that your next trip will be top-notch. And this week, you can stay at three of these winning hotels for less, thanks to deals on Vacationist.

In search of a mountain retreat in Vail? Try Sonnenalp Resort, a Bavarian style lodge with a unique sensibility. Looking for a sexy beach getaway? There’s Esperanza, an Auberge Resort, in Los Cabos, with views that overlook a private cove. Or toast your deal-finding luck in Dublin, where you’ll stay at the historic Shelbourne for 30 percent less.

Still not a member? Click here to join.

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