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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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New Hot Spots in Champagne, France

Le Parc

There’s much more to Champagne, France, than sparkling wine. Just an hour-long TGV ride from Paris, the region is now bubbling over with new spots to sip, eat, and stay.

An 18th-century mansion turned 12-room eco-retreat, the charming Hôtel Jean Moët opened last summer in the heart of Épernay, just off Avenue de Champagne. Its lovely wrought-iron-and-glass atrium doubles as a tea salon that serves (yes) champagne cocktails. 7 Rue Jean Moët; 33-3/26-32-19-22; doubles from $169.

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Vacationist Hotel Deals: Urban Escapes in New York, Rome, and Venice

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Whether you prefer the fast-paced streets of Manhattan, the ancient ruins of Rome, or the romantic gondolas of Venice, we’ve got your next vacation covered—all for more than 30 percent off standard rates. And don’t forget that all Vacationist reviews include tips, a room to book, and destination information from T+L insiders, so you can explore the world’s most exciting cities like a true insider.

PLUS This month we’re also offering special two-day sales at over 100 Preferred Hotels thanks to the Check-in For Japan program, and all proceeds will be donated Japan relief. So no matter what you’re looking for, we have an experience for you.

Still not a member? Click here to join.

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New Website Helps Travelers Pick the Best Hotel Room

Brad Gerstner

Who He Is: As founder and CEO of Altimeter Capital, a hedge fund that specializes in travel-themed tech companies, Brad Gerstner spends a lot of time on the road as both a business and a leisure traveler. As a result, he knows how to spot a good hotel room (“on a high floor and away from the elevator”)—a skill he leveraged when creating his latest company.

His Big Idea: The website room77.com promises to help travelers pick the perfect hotel room. (Sort of like what SeatGuru did for airline seats.) The site offers floor plans, pictures, user reviews, and window views for rooms in 2,500 three-star-plus hotels (and counting). A new iPhone app provides the same service for free, on the go. So now guests can book a room and not worry about that blocked ocean view the hotel’s website neglected to mention.

Photo courtesy of Brad Gerstner

Big Sky Ranch Lodges Go Glam

Resort at Paws Up

Pack your spurs: two ranches are adding a new dose of glamour to Big Sky Country. Opening this June in Wyoming, the Lodge & Spa at Brush Creek Ranch (doubles from $1,200, all-inclusive) is located on 13,000 sprawling acres. On the itinerary? Twilight tours past a roaming buffalo herd, juniper-oil massages, and plenty of relaxing in the 17 cabins with roaring stone fireplaces. Outside Missoula, Montana’s Resort at Paws Up (doubles from $820, including all meals) is unveiling a new six-tent camp with oversize tubs and butler service this summer.

Photo courtesy of Resort at Paws Up

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