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Connecting to Local Culture: ILTM Asia

The term "authenticity" is one we've heard again and again (tired of it yet?), though it remains on the tongue of industry insiders thanks to an influx of travelers who continue to seek out local experiences around the globe. At the recent travel conference ILTM Asia, in Shanghai, which brings together travel agents, hoteliers, and the media, T+L's Sarah Spagnolo once again dug into the trend of connecting travelers with local culture. Watch the video for a couple examples of new programs.

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New Shutters on the Beach Program Lets You Order Beach Reads in Advance

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Still prefer real books to e-readers—but hate having to lug them in your suitcase? Shutters on the Beach, the iconic Santa Monica hotel, is introducing a new Beach Book Bag program, allowing guests to order their beach reads before stepping foot on the plane.

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We Love Urban Cowboy Bed and Breakfast in Williamsburg

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On a Thursday night in June, the open-air communal living room at Urban Cowboy—a new four room B&B on a leafy Williamsburg, Brooklyn, block—is echoing every stereotype about a borough that’s now considered the universal fulcrum of cool.

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New York City’s Knickerbocker Hotel Partners with Celebrity Hairstylist Ted Gibson

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An exciting new development is about to hit Times Square—famed stylist Ted Gibson is moving into the Knickerbocker Hotel, a Beaux Arts-style landmark property opening this fall.

The scissor siren will oversee on-site salon services (in addition to his Fifth Avenue flagship and outpost at the W Fort Lauderdale); provide cuts for high-end clients that include Angelina Jolie and Lupita Nyong’o (a service that will set you back $1,200); and, most importantly—take on the newly minted role of Style Curator.

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Kimpton Introduces Progressive New Karma Rewards

Just as airline loyalty programs are making it harder to cash in on rewards, hotels are upping the ante, letting guests earn points for tweets and social media interactions—not just night stays. The latest to join the nascent trend is Kimpton, who today announces a new loyalty program to replace InTouch. The name, Karma, says it all—the more love you give Kimpton, the more love comes back to you. Here’s how it works:

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The Waldorf Astoria Amsterdam Captures the City's New Golden Age

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A hotel captures the city’s reclaimed luster.

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Go! Julien Farel’s JF Men Spa at the Loews Regency New York

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To all American men, I have an announcement: it’s time to let go of your spa phobias. Set aside any machismo sentiments, because there’s never been a better time to be a man—and a well-groomed one, at that.

As an editor who covers beauty and wellness, I’m always on the lookout for the latest in skin-care, cosmetics, spa treatments—you name it. Few trends have been as hard to miss as the current emphasis on men’s grooming. And few have found a way to capitalize on the increasing spa-friendly audience as famed stylist Julien Farel with JF Men, his new men’s-only floor dedicated to full-service grooming, at the Loews Regency Hotel in New York City.

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The Ultimate British Columbia Road Trip

British Columbia

The vast, epic landscape of British Columbia, from the Rockies to the Pacific coast, from backwoods encampments to wine country to the deluxe lodges of Vancouver Island--T+L embarks on a 750-mile Canadian road trip.

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New Hotels from Soho to South Bank

Soho and South Bank

In the London neighborhoods of Soho and the South Bank, two properties with serious design pedigrees bring new forms and new thinking to the hotel landscape.

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Making a Splash: The New Park Hyatt New York

Park Hyatt New York

In Manhattan, where light and space are luxuries, the 25th-floor pool at the new Park Hyatt New York seems all the more indulgent. With its three-story windows and rippling marble walls, this sun-flooded aerie feels at once soaring and intimate. So does the hotel itself, thanks to the generous scale of the rooms and their residential-style details: a hand-painted mini-bar; a walnut desk-that’s-actually-a-desk. “We imagined a family of art collectors, native New Yorkers with confidence in their taste,” says Glenn Pushelberg of design firm Yabu Pushelberg. “Where would they live?” Apparently right across from Carnegie Hall—location being the ultimate luxury. $$$$

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Peter Jon Lindberg is Travel + Leisure's editor at large. You can follow him on Twitter @PeterJLindberg.

Photo: Adam Friedberg

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