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Hotel Renovation: The Algonquin

Algonquin Hotel exterior

When does a hotel renovation become personal? Well, when you’ve stayed at a property so many times you recognize every changed detail. Or when the hotel is also the view from your office window.

That’s why we at Travel + Leisure have been so interested in the recent renovation of New York’s Algonquin Hotel. It sits directly across the street from our offices, and some editors (including me) look out the window directly to the hotel’s top four floors. So when we heard that the famous hotel was re-opening recently after a five-month renovation, we asked for a peek.

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NOAA Predicts 4-8 Atlantic Hurricanes

CNN  |  A near-normal Atlantic hurricane season is expected this year, with nine to 15 named storms and four to eight hurricanes, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced Thursday.

Of those four to eight hurricanes, NOAA expects one to three to be major. The Atlantic's six-month season begins June 1, although it got off to an early start this year, with Tropical Storm Alberto moving through the Atlantic off the U.S. East Coast last week.

NOAA also said it predicts a near-normal season for the Eastern Pacific, estimating a 70% chance of 12 to 18 named storms – with five to nine hurricanes, of which two to five would be major – for that area. The Eastern Pacific's season is May 15 to November 30.

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Tech Thursday: Ryanair Considering Introducing X-Rated In-Flight Entertainment...Seriously

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You know how annoying it is when the person sitting next to you on a flight is listening to their music so loud you can hear it? Now imagine that same scenario, but instead of loud music, it’s the sound of two people getting their freak on?

Yes, you read that right. And yes, I’m going somewhere with this.

Ryanair announced that it is planning on developing a custom app, which you could download onto your smartphone or tablet; with this app, you’ll be able to connect to the airline’s selection of in-flight entertainment. It’ll allow you to do lots of fun things, like gamble, play games, or kick back and watch some porn.

Once again, I have to confirm: yes, you read that right.

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Tech Thursday: Virgin Atlantic to Debut In-Flight Cell Phone Use

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You know how when you take a bus, and there happens to be that one person who opts to spend the entire ride on their cell phone, and it’s always a really loud conversation, and the whole time you sit there gritting your teeth and trying not to have a meltdown? (Okay, maybe that’s a little dramatic.) Well this same pleasure is making its way onto a different kind of bus. An Airbus. Virgin Atlantic’s Airbus A330, to be exact.

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Close Your Eyes and Think of England: Royal-Themed B&B in London

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A nice lady in the northwest London suburb of Wembley has created a guestroom for a very particular traveler: one who cannot get enough of the royal family, even in this Windsor-giddy period between Kate and Will's wedding and the Queen's Jubilee.

The Sandringham Suite, a visual explosion of Union Jacks and Diana portraits, is available to rent for rates from $121 per night from rental site Wimdu.com. If sleeping amidst more than 10,000 artifacts is not enough, you can supplement the experience by renting a corgi for the day.

Via the Daily Mail.

Ann Shields is a senior digital editor at Travel + Leisure.

Image courtesy of Wimdu.

 

Diabetic Girl's Trauma: Is It Time To Reconsider Full Body Scanners?

A diabetic 16-year-old Colorado girl was emotionally traumatized and her health put at risk by a TSA security check after a full body scanner at Salt Lake City Airport apparently incapacitated her insulin pump, according to a report by a local television station. It's only the latest concern about the scanners, which many consumer advocates consider an intrusive, ineffective, and possibly dangerous form of airport security.

There are now some 700 such machines in use at 180 U.S. airports, according to the TSA. A 2011 report by ProPublica and the PBS NewsHour raised questions about a possible link to cancer. Some scanner models, according to testing by the German government, have mistaken perspiration for dangerous chemicals, casting doubt on their reliability. And many travelers have complained that the scanners invade passengers' privacy by taking "nude" photos of them, although the TSA has since implemented softwarethat eliminates anatomical details from the images. Now the Salt Lake City incident raises the newest fear: Can these "advanced imaging technology" scanners, specifically millimeter wave scanners, be harmful to diabetics wearing insulin pumps?

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Think Before You Stow! Spirit’s Carry-On Fee Spotlights Airline Charges

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You may have heard the news: Spirit Airlines, one of the first carriers to implement a carry-on fee, will charge up to $100 per bag starting November 6. 

That’s up from $45, the current carry-on cost for customers who wait and pay at the departure gate. Even if you plan ahead, you’ll still have to fork over a fee: the carry-on price at the airport kiosk will increase to $50 from $40. (Spirit considers carry-ons to be luggage stored in the overhead bin—passengers will still be entitled to a free personal item that can fit under the seat.)

What can you do to avoid a carry-on crisis the next time you travel?

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Australian Billionaire to Build Titanic Replica

CNN  |  An Australian mining magnate has commissioned a Chinese shipyard to build a replica of the ill-fated Titanic, complete in every detail but equipped with modern technology to prevent a repeat of the original's fateful maiden voyage 100 years ago.

Clive Palmer, a Queensland mining billionaire with strong links to China, told Australian media that he had signed a memorandum of understanding with CSC Jinling Shipyard to build the ship.

He said construction of the luxury cruise ship would begin next year and the ship would be ready to sail in 2016.

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US Airways Makes Move to Take Over American

MoneyWatch | US Airways (LCC) has filed an 8K with the SEC to begin the process of a takeover of American Airlines, which is currently in Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

According to the SEC, Form 8-K is the 'current report' companies file with the SEC to announce major events that must be disclosed to shareholders.

American Airlines has said it wants to emerge from bankruptcy as a standalone carrier. American Airlines parent AMR, which filed for bankruptcy protection on Nov. 29, 2011, is trying to slash its annual labor costs by $1.25 billion and emerge from court supervision. Next week, the struggling airline will try to convince a bankruptcy judge to let it void existing union contracts and impose new ones to secure those spending cuts.

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And the Happiest Country on Earth is....

Huffington Post  |  Denmark has taken the top spot on the United Nation's first ever World Happiness Report, followed by Finland, Norway and the Netherlands.

The 158-page report, published by Columbia University's Earth Institute, was commissioned for the United Nations Conference on Happiness on Monday in order to "review the state of happiness in the world today and show how the new science of happiness explains personal and national variations in happiness."

The rankings in the report were based on a number called the "life evaluation score," a measurement which takes into account a variety of factors including people's health, family and job security as well as social factors like political freedom and government corruption....

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