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The Suitest's Hotel Room Price Predictor

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Considering a visit to New York but turned off by the sky-high hotel prices? Try browsing The Suitest, a suite-focused hotel search engine whose new Price Predictor advises on the probable fluctuation of room rates in any major destination. Much like Bing’s airfare search, the tool also provides insight as to whether rates are likely to climb, decline, or sell out entirely in the next week. It’s all calculated with an algorithm that riffs off Wall Street hedge funds, which use the similar models to analyze mortgage-backed securities (topics not nearly as exciting as planning your vacation). Ignore the “Deal Grades,” or snapshots of a quote’s relative value—they seem largely arbitrary—and focus instead on our two favorite features: “fair value assessments” that compare your quote to the hotel's “usual price” and a six-month calendar showing the average rate each night in the city of your choosing.

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

Photo courtesy of TheSuitest.com

Kung Fu Coasters? Jackie Chan to Open Theme Park

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China may already have an Angry Birds amusement park, but the nation is about to seriously up its theme park street cred.

According to a recent Guardian article, action film star Jackie Chan has announced that he will open his own theme park in Beijing, to be called JC World.

No doubt, we love the idea of rides inspired by Chan’s action films—who wouldn’t want to go on a rollercoaster called Snake in the Eagle’s Shadow? How about an It’s-a-Small-World-style dark ride called The Forbidden Kingdom, followed by turkey legs and adult beverages at the Drunken Master concession area?

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Must-Reads for the Week Ending September 20, 2013

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The Telegraph's Soo Kim reports on plans to open a Jackie Chan theme park in Beijing. The best news? Admission is expected to be free. (Peter Schlesinger)

Skift takes a look at budget airline Ryanair's first foray into social media. Famously brash, the company is now tweeting with attitude. (P.S.)

I'm a sucker for commercials with nice music. This new Carnival Cruise Lines ad (the company's first TV spot since the Triumph debacle last spring) fits the bill. Showcasing Instagram photos from passengers, it is an upbeat step forward for the beleaguered cruise line. The New York Times reports. (P.S.)

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Time-Lapse Video: Raising the Costa Concordia Cruise Ship

After nearly 20 months since Costa Concordia's shipwreck off the coast of Italy, the vessel is finally upright. The above video shows the ship over the course of a 19-hour operation to pull it up from its capsized state.

Maria Pedone

 

Maria Pedone is a digital editorial intern at Travel + Leisure. Follow her on Twitter at @mariapedestrian.

Indian Festival Lights Up Times Square

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Nina Davuluri, who was just crowned Miss America 2014, is already setting off sparks as the first Indian-American to receive the beauty title. And as a Syracuse native, it’s no wonder the Empire State is ready to celebrate with a display as monumental as her win.

Diwali, known in India and across parts of Asia as the Festival of Lights, is fittingly being brought to Times Square, one of New York City’s brightest areas. This Sunday, plan to wander Broadway from West 45th to 46th streets for a sampling of Indian culture. Starting at 11 a.m., you can nibble on South Asian eats, learn how to drape a sari, and take dance lessons in traditional styles—think Miss America’s energetic Bollywood number for the talent competition.

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New Concert Series Cements Columbus Circle as a Top Jazz Destination

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New York City’s Columbus Circle has been on the music map for almost a decade, thanks to Jazz at Lincoln Center’s outpost in the Time Warner Center. On the fifth floor, its Dizzy’s Club brings jazz “out of the basement,” showcasing the genre’s best acts and serving up soul food—all with a Central Park and skyline view.

Now, thirty flights directly above Dizzy’s, the Mandarin Oriental, New York—a T+L World’s Best Award winner seven years straight—is adding its own take on the jazz club with a weekly series of concerts in its Lobby Lounge. Thursdays from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m., musicians from the Juilliard School perform, while hotel guests and visitors soak in the lounge’s 35th-floor panorama of the city—and maybe a cocktail or two.

Peter Schlesinger is a research assistant at Travel + Leisure. You can follow him on Twitter at @pschles08.

Photo courtesy of Mandarin Oriental, New York 

Luxury Travel Grows On Sina Weibo

When the Chinese travel abroad, what do they want? Traditionally, they’ve been more focused on luxury products than luxury hotels. But as more Chinese develop a taste for high thread counts, that trend is changing—quickly. One important sign of this change: Ritz-Carlton has just launched on the Twitter-like Chinese-language social media site Sina Weibo, joining other luxury hoteliers like Mandarin Oriental and Four Seasons (as well as luxury brands like Mercedes Benz and Burberry).

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Tech Thursday: Foursquare’s New Menu Search

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In an ever-increased push to highlight the app’s exploration features, Foursquare has rolled out a new “menu search” feature that lets users find the best local spot for whatever it is they’re craving. Whereas users could previously search for general categories—Southern food; French restaurants—it’s now possible to hone in on more specific requests, like fried pickles or gluten-free dishes. For road warriors with picky palates or dietary restrictions, it’s a real game-changer, and one we hope will help broaden Foursquare’s reach to a wider demographic of travelers.

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

Photo courtesy of Foursquare

Former TWA Terminal at JFK to Become Hotel

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After much back and forth, the New York Port Authority has chosen famed hotelier André Balazs to transform the former TWA terminal at JFK Airport into a hotel.

Completed in 1962, the Eero Saarinen-designed building is on the National Register of Historic Places and serves as a ceremonial entrance of sorts to JetBlue's Terminal 5. It's been largely unoccupied since 2001.

Balazs—known for his Standard hotels in Miami, Los Angeles, and NYC—had long been listed as a contender for the project, although the New York Post reported in August that his style had clashed with the Port Authority's hopes for the terminal. Now, according to the same newspaper, Balazs is the only designer in the running.

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Joint Venture: Jamaican Farms Entice Visitors with Special “Ganja Tours"

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Wine lovers have Napa Valley. Beer snobs have Oregon. And now, potheads may have their own vacation paradise: wandering the lush grounds that perhaps inspired Bob Marley to sing, “let’s get together and feel alright.”

According to a new AP report, tour operators in Jamaica are increasingly taking visitors to see the marijuana farms that produce the local “ganja”—such as spots near Nine Mile, Marley’s hometown, and outside Negril.

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