Unless you’re allergic to primary colors—or LEGOS, of course—the biggest problem with the new Legoland Hotel in Carlsbad, California, may be that it’s not taller.
For a lot of grown-up guests, the coolest part about the otherwise kid-centric, three-story hotel may be the “disco elevator.” Inside, the walls are decorated with nightclub-ready LEGO characters, a strobe light hangs from the ceilings, and when the doors close, the lava floor panels light up and the music kicks in: ABBA, the BeeGees, the Village People. It makes you think: How many elevators out there have wasted an opportunity to be fun? (The hotel has figured out how to make everything enjoyable: there’s also a jump-able whoopee cushion corner in the elevator lobby.)
Nigel Woods, the project designer who created the elevator, told us that he felt he had to up the ante set by the elevator at another theme park hotel, the Alton Towers Splash Landing Hotel, in the UK. “It plays some ‘Hawaii Five O’ music,” he told us by email, “which my children (Emily, 9 and Lucy 6) and I loved to dance to as we went up to our room.” Then, he recounts, he saw a YouTube video of a disco elevator, “and fell over laughing. From there, the Legoland disco elevator was born.”
While at least one reviewer has pooh-poohed the elevator as a little intense for toddlers (or parents who haven't had their morning coffee)—most guests at the hotel's opening in April seemed to love it. Some of us may have wished the ride lasted longer than just two floors up from the lobby. Then again, some guests booked on the ground floor were guilty of mere joyriding.
See: World's Greatest Elevator Views.
Photo credit: LEGOLAND California Resort
If you’re anything like me, fighting with travel companions for the window seat—whether in a plane, train, or automobile—is a rite of passage. And with the proliferation of photo apps and filters, it’s never been more tempting to snap a shot of the view (and, of course, post it on Twitter, complete with a humblebrag).
The Los Angeles-based country-roots-rock band Dawes has taken this idea to new heights, inspired by their latest single "From a Window Seat." For the last few weeks, the band and their fans have been tweeting and Instagramming photos taken from airplane windows (and cars, trains, buses, hotel rooms, etc.), using the hashtag #fromawindowseat. Next came a dedicated website, which compiles the photos and highlights the band’s favorites. But before you start snapping, check out these T+L tips for getting the best view in the sky, and don’t miss our recent slideshow of reader-generated photos taken from planes.
Brooke Porter is an associate editor at Travel + Leisure. Follow her on Twitter at @brookeporter1.
Photo credit: caliswag111
The world’s number one DJ ambles into the rooftop lounge PHD at Manhattan’s Dream Downtown hotel, a soft midday light filling the clubby space that was chockablock with the city’s party-set just hours before. Armin van Buuren shoos away a fruit plate from his publicist and goes right for the coffee. He looks a tad sleepy and who can blame him? At this point, he’s on the tail-end of his massive Expedition tour—a celebration of his 600th podcast, A State of Trance—that’s taken him to far-flung locales in every corner of the globe: Minsk, Belarus; Sofia, Bulgaria; Kuala Lumpur; Beirut; Mumbai; Guatemala City; and onto his hometown Den Bosch, Netherlands.
We asked Alison Fensterstock, a consultant for HBO’s Treme, for her top three venues in the Big Easy—winner for Best Music Scene in our America’s Favorite Cities survey.
“D.B.A. has a great mix of local rock, soul, and brass in an intimate setting.”
“The corner of St. Claude and Elysian Fields is a burgeoning music district. Drop into Hi Ho Lounge for acoustic bluegrass.”
“Saturn Bar, a dive in Bywater with a thrift-store feel, hosts casual sets from neighborhood musicians.”
Photo by Cheryl Gerber
Passengers aboard Norwegian Cruise's Getaway can sign up for a truly magic dinner in the Illusionarium, a domed space where Hogswarts meets Jules Verne. The experience, priced at $35, will feature a magic show and dinner, the company announced Wednesday at the Cruise Shipping Miami conference. The project was designed by Broadway director/choreographer Patricia Wilcox, Tony Award-winning scenic designer David Gallo and veteran magician Jeff Hobson.
And get ready to rock. The Getaway, which launches in January 2014 with sailings from Miami, will feature a Grammy Experience venue, with memorabilia and live performances from Grammy winners and nominees. In fall 2014, the ship will host a Grammy Experience themed cruise.
When New Yorkers glance across the Manhattan skyline tonight they may notice an unfamiliar color scheme illuminating the Empire State Building: a radiant blue and yellow hue will gleam from the midtown monolith, a symbol of Sweden's flag. The unusual combo is a salute to electronic music trio Swedish House Mafia, who begin a five-show run tonight with a Hurricane Sandy benefit at Hammerstein Ballroom in Manhattan.
Axwell, Sebastian Ingrosso, and Steve Angello are on the tail end of their massive international One Last Tour, a last hurrah for the Grammy-nominated group before its members diverge onto solo careers. So far they've touched down in world capitals from Johannesburg to Delhi, togged out in their trademark black leather jackets and whipping rock star-scale crowds into euphoric hysteria.
The New York invasion proceeds with a quadruple-header of sold-out stadium shows—Friday at hallowed Madison Square Garden, Saturday through Monday at Brooklyn's new state-of-the-art Barclays Center—before heading west.
SHM will head off into the sunset March 8th and 9th at Historic Park in Los Angeles where concert-goers will take part in the deejays's famed Masquerade Motel, a costume concert that has been a hallmark of their meteoric rise to stardom.
Nate Storey is an editorial assistant at Travel + Leisure.
Photo © n8n photo / Alamy.
UPDATE: Changes have been made below to the original post to clarify certain details about the import and export of musical instruments that were made using endangered species.
As individual musicians and orchestras make their plans now for the summer touring season, many face the distinct possibility are concerned that their rare and antique instruments may be confiscated when the musicians travel abroad or return to this country they cross international borders. That's because an international convention called CITES prohibits places restrictions on the import and export of musical instruments made from endangered materials like ivory, sea-tortoise shell, and Brazilian rosewood, among others. Enter an unlikely musicians' friend: the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, which announced today that it will propose issuing "musical passports" that would permit international transport of such instruments made before the prohibitions were enacted.
This would be a huge relief to musicians with such instruments as vintage guitars and violins, as well as ivory-keyed pianos, since they currently have to file lengthy and complicated import and export forms every time they travel, for each and every country visit. If the proposal passes (and a FWS spokesperson seemed optimistic at a press conference today), musicians will be able to get an actual passport for their instruments, complete with a physical description on one page and spaces for entry stamps on another. The musical passports would be valid for three years. The proposal is expected to be made at a CITES conference in Thailand on March 3.
This post was updated February 26, 2012.
Mark Orwoll is the International Editor of Travel + Leisure. Follow him on Twitter.
One of the most highly anticipated events of the New York cultural season—The Tempest by British composer Thomas Adès—blows onto the stage of the Metropolitan Opera this week. The work, based on the Shakespeare play about betrayal, retribution, and the redeeming power of love, had its premiere in 2004 at London’s Royal Opera House and garnered for the 32-year-old Adès critical acclaim and popular success. Since then, the contemporary work has made a strong bid for a place in the operatic repertoire, and after productions in Germany and the American premiere by the Santa Fe Opera, The Tempest arrives in New York, in a staging by Robert Lepage.
The Railroad Revival tour is being resurrected for 2012, and this year Willie Nelson and Band of Horses are boarding the train. For the unfamiliar, the tour started last year when folk-rock Brits Mumford & Sons, along with L.A.’s Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, and New York’s Old Crow Medicine, remembered that tour buses and private jets aren’t the only way to embark on a musical journey.
The three bands harnessed the magic of the U.S. rail system for an eight-day, 2,400-mile concert tour by train—from California to Louisiana. The tour was heralded The Railroad Revival, because it was intent on celebrating the—albeit seldom used—U.S. railway, and urging others to hop on board for their own travels. At each stop, the bands set up a stage, summoned fans to come watch, and delivered an all-out performance in the train station.
Members of the band, from left: Ed Droste, Chris Bear, Chris Taylor and Daniel Rossen
Ed Droste—front man of the Brooklyn-based indie-rock band Grizzly Bear, whose long-awaited fourth album Shields comes out on September 18—reflects on some of his favorite destinations and findings from around the world.
Q: It’s been three years since the band’s last album, what can we expect from Shields?
A: It’s charged, and sort of raw, energetic and exposed. I started out work shopping ideas in Todos Santos, Mexico with our drummer Chris Bear. We often go on little writing retreats together. We went there for a month and wrote ten songs, then the whole band reconvened in Marfa, Texas for a month to start recording.