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Neighborhood Guide to Istanbul

Istanbul

Where to go now—neighborhood by neighborhood in Istanbul.

On my first visit to Istanbul, in the mid 1980’s, donkey carts still trundled across the iron Galata Bridge between the historic Old City and the Europeanized Beyoğlu quarter. And right away I was hooked...on faded Byzantine frescoes and smoky kebabs and tulip-shaped glasses of tea. I’m even more smitten today, as I gaze over the Bosporus boat traffic from the window of a little apartment I bought in the leafy Cihangir quarter. Istanbul is a global megalopolis now, a place where grit and gloss, East and West, secularism and Islam all collide with a jolt—or just as often cohabit gracefully. This is my Istanbul.

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SBE Group to Launch New Brand, SLS Lux

201405-hd-new-sls-lux-brickelljpgFamous for its design-focused properties, the SBE hotel group has been expanding quickly, with the recent launch of The Redbury South Beach (a T+L 2014 It List winner) and the debut of the 1,600-room SLS Las Vegas this August.

Part of the Sin City project’s allure? SLS Lux, an all-suite hotel experience—and separate brand—set in one of three towers. The other two will house SLS Story, with lower prices and more playful rooms (to wit: beds that sit in the center, doubling as a couch/entertainment piece), and SLS World, geared toward the business traveler.

Guests of SLS Lux will have a private entrance and access to a dedicated concierge, who could, for example, get you a last-minute seating at the chef’s table at Katsuya. On the horizon: SLS Brickell, a Philippe Starck-designed hotel and residential project in Miami’s fast-developing business district, along with the 85-suite SLS Lux Brickell, the vision of Yabu Pushelberg.

Jacqueline Gifford is a senior editor at Travel + Leisure.

Photo courtesy of SBE

Galway, Ireland Untamed

Galway Ireland

On a journey to the rugged coast of Galway, Ireland, T+L finds small towns and quiet pubs, raucous musicians, and no shortage of Irish resilience and pride.

The sky is without stars or moon. There are no lights, no sign of life in any direction, only the night—and the road. The car’s headlights shine into blackness, revealing the thin, crooked, ungraded ribbon of tarmac disappearing into mist. When I step out the wind is ripping. The rain has stopped. I think perhaps I can hear something through the wind, someone calling. I listen harder, and then I hear it again. Voices? This is the Bog Road outside Clifden, in Connemara, County Galway, in the far west of Ireland. I’ve been told it’s haunted.

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T+L's Favorite Hotels for Bike Month

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It's Bike Month, and hotels are getting in on the action. Here, a few of our favorite two-wheeler programs at properties around North America:

All that separates Santa Monica's Shutters on the Beach from the ocean is a bike-path. Luckily, the hotel has a fleet of bright-green cycles designed by Kate Spade available to rent.

On the Atlantic, Miami's James Royal Palm has complimentary Republic bikes for guests to ride along the South Beach boardwalk.

And in Puerto Rico, the St. Regis Bahia Beach Resort (pictured above) is a nature preservation unto itself, with secluded paths through a 70-acre bird sanctuary—home to endemic parrots. The hotel provides complimentary bike rentals.

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Ritz-Carlton Rancho Mirage Opens

Ritz-Carlton Rancho Mirage

There’s a noteworthy new spot worth considering for your next weekend getaway. The Ritz-Carlton, Rancho Mirage, set on a bluff above Palm Springs and California’s Coachella Valley, has thrown open its doors again today after a seven-year closure (you can thank the financial crisis for the delayed debut).

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Marriott's New PlusPoints Will Turn Your Tweets into Loyalty Points

201405-hd-marriott-pluspoints-socialjpgSocial media engagement has become increasingly valuable to hotel brands and travel companies—look no further than our own SMITTY Award winners—but today, Marriott is becoming the first company to place a real dollar value on customers’ tweets, check-ins, and likes. With PlusPoints, a new feature of the brand’s much loved rewards program, visitors who download the Marriott Rewards app and synch their social media accounts will now see their points balances increase with every digital interaction—up to 2,000 points each month. Says Rich Toohey, VP of Marriott Rewards, “It’s a way to provide immediate gratification for our members, who happy to be very active on social media channels.” Immediate is right: most interactions (geo-tagged Instagram pics; Facebook comments; check-ins and tweets) will yield an automatic deposited of 25 points to your Marriott Rewards account, while one-time activities, such as liking a property page on Facebook, will boost your balance by 250 points.

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Stephen Colbert's Favorite Things to Do in Charleston

Stephen Colbert

Long before he agreed to take over as host of the Late Show, Stephen Colbert was just another Charleston boy—swimming, fishing, and skateboarding down the quiet streets of what he recalls as a “sleepy Southern town.” Today, the South Carolina city is still one of his favorite vacation spots. Read on for Colbert’s down-home haunts.

Stay: Growing up, Colbert helped his mother run a now-defunct B&B in their house in the South of Broad neighborhood. “Back then, if I booked a guest, I got ten percent. A kid could have a whole weekend of fun on fifteen bucks.” Hotels he remembers from boyhood: the Francis Marion Hotel ($)—with views of the harbor—and 1853’s Mills House Wyndham Grand Hotel ($).

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Discovery Channel Founder John Hendricks on His New Colorado Resort

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After Discovery Channel founder John Hendricks landed on an unspoiled corner of Colorado’s red-rock country to call his own, he just couldn’t keep the secret. His sprawling family retreat became Gateway Canyons Resort, made up of two lodges and 14 luxurious casitas. It’s also where Hendricks hosts TED Talk–like, five-​night Curiosity Retreats, where activities are led by special guests such as violinist Charles Yang and Master Sommelier Larry Stone. We spoke to Hendricks about his love for the land, his new role as innkeeper, and more.

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Daily Transporter: Mackinac Island

grand old resort

The 127-year-old Grand Hotel opens for the 2014 season this weekend, but Lake Huron’s winter hasn’t quite given up. So far, thick ice has kept the ferries from making regular trips across the Straits of Mackinac and the hotel is encouraging guests to fly over instead. (This sunny shot promises summer ahead, though!)

See the Grand in America’s Best All-Inclusive Resorts

Editor’s Picks: Michigan
World’s Most Beautiful Ferry Rides
World’s Scariest Bridges
America’s Best Beach Boardwalks

Ann Shields is a senior digital editor at Travel + Leisure. You can find her on Twitter at @aegisnyc. Get the Daily Transporter newsletter in your in-box.

Photo courtesy of the Grand Hotel

Le Fooding Releases an English App

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Given the rate of their output, if Le Fooding, the indispensable French restaurant guide, has been taking long French-style vacations, well, they’re obviously burning the midnight oil during the rest of the year. Since launching in 2000 as an insert, the annual publication has rolled out traveling food festivals and star chef pop-ups, which have steadily picked up steam, especially in the past three years. 

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