Nowadays it’s easy to find hotels that stick to one subject. But at what cost?
The world’s first panda-themed hotel opened a few months ago in Sichuan, China. Guests at the Panda Inn luxuriate in black and white surroundings overlooked by panda paintings and enormous panda teddy bears. Meanwhile in Buenos Aires, fans of the Boca Juniors soccer team are luxuriating at the new Hotel Boca, self-billed as el primer hotel temático de fútbol en el mundo—one of those phrases that fleetingly raises one’s hopes of having acquired the ability to comprehend all of Earth’s languages. The décor pays only discreet homage to the team colors of yellow and blue, but balances this restraint with pictures all over the place of the world’s least restrained man, former Boca superstar Diego Maradona. Even in gritty, unpretentious Liverpool, visitors now have a choice of nautically themed hotels: one modeled on the Titanic, the other, more disconcertingly, on the Beatles’ “Yellow Submarine.”
Imagine having Breakfast at Tiffany’s to fuel up for an afternoon adventure in Petra, Indiana Jones-style? Then ending the day with a dreamy sunset on The Beach in Thailand? Hardcore (wealthy) movie buffs can now live out their dreams with a 90-day itinerary by Very First To. The extensive trip—which visits 20 famous film sets across 10 countries—costs a hefty $321,000. But the price tag does come with perks: business-class flights for two for the full three months; overnight stays in lavish hotels like London’s The Savoy and the Hotel Bel-Air in L.A.; and of course, serious bragging rights.
Google Maps gives travelers a birds-eye or street view of a location—but now, one tourist board Down Under is offering a live, hipster's-eye view of its city, as a way to entice travelers to plan a trip.
Tourism Victoria last month launched a “go before you go” promotion as part of its Play Melbourne campaign, inviting Facebook or Twitter users to virtually explore the city using “remote control tourists.” You could tell these virtual travelers where to go and what to do around the city, whether that's trying on a sweater in a boutique or checking out a live band.
Hyatt recently hosted a day-long Twitter chat that it dubbed the “World's Largest Focus Group,” tapping into current travel trends among its clients. Most of the results were not all that surprising—respondents' top wish was for seamless check-in, bypassing the front desk and heading straight to the room.
But by far the most important takeaway regards business travelers' clothing preferences when working from their hotel rooms:
65 percent of women opt for pajamas or workout gear
50 percent of men prefer casual business attire
2.5 percent of both genders forego clothing altogether
Think about that the next time you receive an email from a colleague on a business trip...!
Peter Schlesinger is a research assistant at Travel + Leisure. You can follow him on Twitter at @pschles08.
An Italian developer last week unveiled a plan to create a 10-acre amusement park in the heart of Venice, complete with gigantic Ferris wheel, roller coaster, bobbing boat rides, a log flume, a swinging galleon, and what look suspiciously like Polynesian thatched huts selling trinkets. The proposal is by no means assured, and must still be approved by local authorities. But nonetheless it answers the age-old question: No, nothing is sacred anymore.
The developer, Antonio Zamperla, has chosen as its site the ill-used San Biagio Island, a man-made spit of landfill that has long been exploited as a garbage dump. The builder said it will first clear the land and remediate the ecological damage before constructing the park. Among the attractions: re-enactments of the naval Battle of Lepanto, between the Turks and Venetians, in an artificial pond; Carnival-themed performances on an outdoor stage; interactive exhibits of the lagoon ecosystem; augmented-reality installations based on the city’s history; and a spinning, stand-up, half-pipe ride called a Disk’O, which is best enjoyed before you eat lunch.
Travelers simply scan their boarding passes—with the help of an Anthon Berg “stewardesses”—and, voila, the stewardess will give them a "chocolate upgrade." Someone in a middle seat near the bathrooms at the rear of the plane, for example, will walk away with an eye mask, a neck pillow, and a large bar of chocolate. Anyone with an aisle seat towards the front, on the other hand, will receive only a small chocolate sample.
Halloween (or should we say, howl-o-ween) is tomorrow and we’re taking notice of the best travel costumes this side of the kennel. Jackson, above, will be donning his aviator gear in Healdsburg, CA, according to T+L Twitter follower @Green4Lori. This little guy proves that even if you can’t be a jet setter, you can most certainly dress like one.
Is your pet dressing up this weekend? Show us using the hashtag #TLDogs on Twitter and Instagram—we’ll repost the best! Click here for how we may feature your photos.
Virgin America's added a little twist to their in-flight safety video. Grooving nuns, rapping kids, and auto-tuning robots guide you through the airline's safety regulations. This won't be the last dance, either. Virgin America has already posted a casting call on Instagram for future video stars. And if you can't get down with the funk, Virgin America's offer—20% off flights for today only—is sure to make you jump. Simply use the promo code "GETDOWN" upon checkout.
Maria Pedone is on the digital team at Travel + Leisure. Follow her on Twitter at @mariapedestrian.
It’s sad when an ancient painting or fresco becomes almost unrecognizable due to vandalism or just time. But it may be even worse when it gets fixed so badly that it goes from “ruins” to “ruined.”
That seems to be the case with a nearly 300-year-old Buddhist fresco hanging in a temple in Chaoyang, in the northeastern Chinese province of Liaoning. The original paintings had been crumbling for years, and a recent “refurbishment” gave them a serious face lift, according to this article in the Daily Telegraph.