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London's Café Royal Hotel Unveils Apple iOS Bells and Whistles

Cafe Royal Hotel

One of London’s famous landmarks got a modern spin last week, as Café Royal Hotel—which opened just over a year ago on Regent Street—debuted a front- and back-of-house integration with Apple technology that's intended to streamline its entire operations process. Now, guests staying at the property can check in remotely using an iOS device, be it en route from the airport or over a cup of coffee in the restaurant, rather than having to queue up at the desk.

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Book It! How to Get the Best Hotel Rate

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Planning a trip soon? Keep these tips handy. Travel + Leisure’s Mark Orwoll shares the best tools to get you the best deals on your next hotel stay.

Westin's New Wellness Program Gets You a Little More Headspace

Columbus Circle

Travelling is one of the best ways to clear your mind—or at least that’s what Westin is hoping to prove. Starting next month, the Starwood brand will be offering seven meditation-themed video modules curated by London-based company Headspace, who has also created in-flight mediation sessions for Virgin Atlantic. They’ll help travelers zen out at the most stressful moments of their trips (say, at the airport or before a business meeting) or offer calming exercises to practice before bed. Sound a little new age? I tried a session with Headspace founder Andy Puddicombe—a once-Buddhist monk and former circus artist (yes, you read that right)—and was pleasantly surprised. Rather than feeling like a scene from hippie-ville, the 10-minute experience was as relaxing as a full yoga class. And with an emphasis on mindfulness rather than total mental silence, it seemed like a great way to reawaken your senses to the different stimuli of a new place. Find the videos on Westin’s website starting next month.

ne_headshotjpgNikki Ekstein is an Assistant Editor at Travel + Leisure and part of the Trip Doctor news team. Find her on Twitter at @nikkiekstein.


Photo courtesy of Westin Hotels & Resorts

TBT: Badrutt's Palace Hotel, St. Moritz 1930

It's Throwback Thursday, and with freezing temperatures still gripping much of the country, it seems only fitting to look back at one of the world's top winter destinations—St. Moritz, Switzerland. This 1930 video from the iconic Badrutt's Palace Hotel has us ready to hit the slopes in style.

Who can blame a woman for doing yoga in heels (see 0:37) when she's staying at the classiest hotel in the Alps? Badrutt's Palace has just the kind of atmosphere that makes morning back bends an excuse to feel fancy.

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Kayak's Package Search: A New Way to Find the Best Deal

Kayak

True or false: booking a hotel and airfare package is cheaper than booking each component separately. If you guessed true, you’re right—most of the time, anyway. But there are exceptions. Helping you navigate those murky waters is Kayak, which has just launched a tool to aggregate package pricing and help you find the best options.

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Five Ways to Get a Better Hotel Room Rate

better hotel room rate

Looking to score a deal on a great hotel? These digital tips and tricks from T+L will ensure you get the best price in the house.

Know the Market

Timing is key. The Web-based price predictor feature on TheSuitest forecasts how room prices are expected to fluctuate for the next month—use it to find the right time to buy in any market. Then cross-check with DealAngel and Bing's Hotel Rate Indicator—both compare quoted rates with a hotel’s average cost, telling you which deals are really worthwhile.

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Loews Hotels and FIAT Announce New Partnership

Fiat

Guests checking in to select Loews Hotels have an exciting new amenity to look forward to this week—chauffeured service in the latest vehicle from Italian car brand FIAT.

The New York-based hotel group recently unveiled the exciting partnership, which takes place at properties from New York City to Washington, D.C., and offers guests the chance to be driven around town in the all-new (not to mention adorable) 2014 Fiat 500L.

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Why Do European Hotels Require Passports at Check-in?

passport

There’s a long tradition throughout Europe of statutes requiring hotels to collect information on guests—including name, nationality, and ID number—enabling law enforcement to cross-check for wanted individuals, criminals, or missing persons. The European Union has since made such data collection a requirement for hotels in member states. Most of this information is simply stored to be made available to authorities upon request, though in certain areas (notably Italy), it is regularly collected. In the past, some hotels would hold guests’ passports for hours or even overnight to manually complete the registration process. Today, you usually just have to show it at check-in.

Related Links:
How to Quickly Renew a Passport
Travel Etiquette Do’s and Don’ts
Hotel Travel Tips

Amy FarleyHave a travel dilemma? Need some tips and remedies? Send your questions to news editor Amy Farley at tripdoctor@timeinc.com. Follow @tltripdoctor on Twitter.


Photo by Chris Rout / Alamy

From Thrillist: Germany's V8 Hotel Lets You Sleep in Your Favorite Cars

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Giving new meaning to the phrase "asleep at the wheel", the V8's a 34-room German hotel dedicated to all things car that boasts a vintage auto museum, elaborately themed rooms tricked out with original parts/ memorabilia, and its own brew pub.

READ MORE AT THRILLIST.COM

Photo Courtesy of V8 Hotel/Frank Hoppe

Ritz-Carlton, Rancho Mirage Now Accepting Reservations

201403-hd-rancho-mirage-firepitjpg

The Ritz-Carlton, Rancho Mirage will begin accepting reservations today for the property, set to reopen on May 15th.

Closed for seven years, the resort sits high above Palm Springs on a bluff in the Santa Rosa mountains. Guests will choose from 244 rooms and suites, each featuring Frette linens and Asprey amenities. Natural stone, wood, and a muted color scheme dominate, embracing the desert surroundings and blurring the line between inside and outside—a smart design choice, given the resort's enviable location and many outdoor activity options. The resort is also within easy striking distance of dozens of world-class golf courses.

Also on site will be a double-decker spa and two new restaurants—one a test kitchen, and the other a luxe steak and seafood spot. For reservations, which go on sale today, visit the hotel's website.

Peter Schlesinger is a research assistant at Travel + Leisure and a member of the Trip Doctor news team.

Courtesy of The Ritz-Carlton, Rancho Mirage

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