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Exclusive First Look: Thompson Miami Beach

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The countdown is finally over: today, the Thompson Miami Beach opens in the heart of SoBe, bringing just the right mix of sophisticated design and up-all-night fun to Ocean Drive. And we're not the only ones who are excited—as the new flagship for Thompson Hotels, it's a big move for a brand on the rise. Here, five things we can't wait to check out.

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JetBlue’s New Hue: Adds Bag Fees, Cuts Leg Room

The rumors are true: JetBlue—long hailed as the airline holdout for ancillary fees—is adding a highly controversial checked bag fee and taking back some of your legroom.

Only six months after the famously egalitarian carrier debuted its new premium Mint class, JetBlue is taking another step toward becoming more of a traditional airline by introducing, in mid-2015, a tiered airfare structure that will bundle checked bags and other, yet-to-be-named benefits into ticket prices.

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United and OTG Bring Star Chefs and High Tech to Newark Liberty

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For the 20 million travelers who fly through Newark Liberty Airport’s Terminal C each year, a $120 million redesign should vastly improve their experience at the United Airlines hub. Partnering with OTG, United announced the finalized plans this morning, with some changes already underway.

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Belmond to Launch First Train in Ireland

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All aboard! Belmond just announced it is launching its first train in Ireland, the Belmond Grand Hiberian, in summer 2016. Named for Ireland’s classical Latin name of Hibernia, it’ll have 20 luxury sleeper cabins (including four interconnecting suites for families), two restaurant cars, and an observation bar car.

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John Oliver’s Britishisms Give Cookie Monster an Identity Crisis


Since 1776, the war between British and American English has given rise to such battles as lorry versus truck, knackered versus tired, and loo versus toilet. Yet no clash has caused such dramatic, personal agony as the deceptively sweet duel between biscuit and cookie, waged by very-British talk show host, John Oliver, and his Muppet co-star, the Cookie Monster.

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Could Apple Disrupt International Roaming?

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International roaming as we know it is on the verge of becoming obsolete: the EU has proposed a single network for all European countries, T-Mobile no longer charges customers when surf the web abroad, and apps like Ringo help you tap onto local networks to circumvent pricey roaming packages and overages. Now, Apple is also getting in on the act with Apple SIM, a proprietary SIM card built into the new iPad Air 2.

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What It’s Really Like To Use Starwood’s Keyless Entry

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Last year, Starwood unveiled plans to swap plastic keycards for Bluetooth technology—enabling guests to unlock their hotel rooms with a simple wave of their smartphone. We predicted it would be one of the biggest travel trends for 2014, and indeed, Hilton Worldwide and Caesars have since announced plans to bring the technology to their hotels as soon as this winter. But this week, Starwood is back in the spotlight as they pull back the curtain on how mobile entry works—and introduce it to ten properties in the Aloft, W, and Element portfolios.

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To Pack or Not To Pack: Blue Bottle and Timbuk2's Coffee Travel Kit

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As a die-hard coffee obsessive, I’m always seeking out the best brews in any city I visit. But I do need a starter cup to tide me over in the morning, and what I can get in my hotel room is rarely up to snuff (sorry, Nespresso). A new solution: the Coffee Travel Kit by Timbuk2 and Blue Bottle Coffee, a packable pour-over set roughly twice the size of your standard amenity kit. Included are a Japanese-made hand grinder with adjustable grind settings, a pack of filters, two Falcon enamelware mugs with felt cozies, a non-leeching plastic cone dripper, and—of course—a two ounce sample of Blue Bottle beans, all in a waved canvas and leather bag. So how do these expert-grade tools perform on the road? We took the kit for a test drive.

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Indianapolis Airport Introduces Customer Service Robot

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Combine old-fashioned customer service with a novel use of technology, and you get Double Robot. Indianapolis Airport recently rolled out its newest employee to complement guest services and assist in answering passengers' questions—airport transportation, gate locations, direction, more. An airport agent visibly appears and communicates with passengers through a tablet screen, propped up on a roller dressed in a blue customer service shirt similar to other employees. Cute, convenient, or creepy?

Nicoletta Richardson is a freelance editorial assistant at Travel + Leisure

Photo courtesy of Indianapolis Airport


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Crowne Plaza Adds Smart New Sleep Innovation to Guest Rooms

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Big innovation can come from tiny tweaks—at least, that’s what Crowne Plaza has found as they designed their next-generation guest room.

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