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In South Beach, Burger King Goes Glam

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Well, maybe not glam, but Burger King’s new "Whopper Bar" in South Beach, Miami—an industrial-chic, “boutique” rendition of the distinctly unglamorous orange-themed fast-food chain—will grill you up something called a “Black & Bleu Steakhouse XT” (oh la la, beyond-fries French).

Care to wash down that seven-ounce, flame-broiled beef patty with a nice cold beer? The Whopper Bar offers a selection of artisanal American brews, serving everything from, uh, super-hip Budweiser to luxe Miller Light.

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British Holiday Inns Debut Human "Bed Warmers"

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- Bed made...check!
- Guestroom cleaned prior to arrival...check!
- Mini-bar fully stocked...check!
- Wireless internet working...check!
- Hotel staff member warming bed...ch—wait, what?

One of the more notable traits of a worthwhile hotel is its attention to details. Whether it's a personalized welcome letter from the G.M., goodies for your accompanying canine companion, or just the personal touch that comes with staff greeting you by name when you walk through the lobby, it's the little things that really entice guests to keep coming back again and again.

But Holiday Inn is taking that attention to detail just a little bit further....In a new campaign, three of the hotel's some 1,300 properties—two in London and 1 in Manchester, England—are offering their guests the option to have their beds warmed up prior to arrival. Not by heated blankets. Not by hot bottles of water. But by willing staff members outfitted with fleece...onesies!

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Going Overboard: A "Titanic" Museum?

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Planning a roadtrip to Dollywood next year? While you're in the kitschy wonderland of Pigeon Forge in eastern Tennessee, be sure to add the brand-new Titanic Museum to your must-see list. The three-deck replica of the ill-fated ship will guarantee an educational (albeit ridiculous) experience in addition to riding the roller-coasters at the buxom blonde's theme park.

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The Best Travel Jacket Ever?

That’s me and Pepper, just back from a stroll about the grounds of Chateau Orwoll. I’m wearing the Quantum Jacket from ScotteVest, or SeV, which I wish I had had with me a month ago during a two-week multi-country trip, because it’s the best travel jacket I’ve ever worn. The main reason it’s so great? Storage.

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London's Claridge's Hotel Unveils Galliano Xmas Tree Today

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I'm dreaming of a Dior Christmas. Provocative designer John Galliano's holiday on ice now rises next to the grand staircase at Claridge's, a frozen confection enlivened by a lurking snow leopard, dragonflies and parrots. So whenever I holly go lightly through this glittering Art Deco lobby on Brook Street in London's Mayfair district for the next month, my season will be brightened by this Arctic orchid tree from Dior's outré elf.

Shane Mitchell is a special correspondent for Travel + Leisure.

Photo courtesy of Claridge's

Mapquest Pinpoints Local Ghosts

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In the mood for a thrill ride? Mapquest has modified its maps for Halloween. Go to the map for your destination city, then click the shrieking ghost icon on the right-hand  tool bar to display all the haunted houses, creepy corn mazes, and ‘screamparks’  open for business through Halloween. You’ll find happenings  like Austin House of Torment,  Cleveland’s 7 Floors of Hell, or the haunted house at Pennsylvania’s de-commissioned and ultra-skeevy Eastern State Penitentiary.

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Denmark Full of Shiny, Happy People

200910-b-christian-alsing3jpg The Danes have come up with an unusual way to lure travelers to their country. They’re very happy, and if you visit, it might rub off on you! (And save you some money.)

The claim of joyfulness is based on scientific surveys, not merely on, say, an interview with a Copenhagen resident after a few glasses of schnapps on a Friday evening. In one recent research endeavor—the World Values Survey, the work of a global network of social scientists—Denmark came out on top when it comes to the happiness of its residents.

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Brave or Crazy? Swimming in The Devil's Pool at Victoria Falls

If you ask any of my closest friends, they'll tell you that, while I may be a spontaneous, even adventurous, person, I'm not much of an extreme thrill seeker. You won't catch me on any of the frightening rides we reported on last summer. Think you can convince me to jump out of a plane? Not a chance. And tethering myself to a bridge and hurtling myself off? You can't be serious.

That being said, I'm a little shocked by my intense fascination with a certain natural attraction: "The Devil's Pool" in Zambia. You can't even begin to fathom the magnitude of scariness/awesomeness that comes from this naturally formed pool of water. Enter YouTube:

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Red Dawn: Sydney Wakes to Wild Dust Storm

In a scene reminiscent of a really really good Hollywood disaster movie, Sydneysiders woke up Wednesday to find their city had turned red overnight.

A freak unprecented storm carried an estimated 5 million tons of Outback dust that settled over buildings, parks, and beaches; it even set off a cacophonous chorus of smoke alarms in Business District and almost totally obscured Sydney’s famous Opera House and Harbour Bridge in a ruddy Mars-like haze.

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L.A.'s Dirty Secrets Found on Bus

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When I was a little kid in Los Angeles, my dad would take our family of 7 on long Sunday drives. Once he drove us over a desert pass to a ranch Hollywood had used for old Westerns and where he'd heard there were pony rides. When we pulled off onto the dusty road, it became clear that the decrepit ranch was no longer open for tours.

Dad blithely drove into the movie-set town, wooden sidewalks and Western building facades attached to the fronts of battered house trailers. He made a U-turn and drove back through.  "John," my mother hissed, "Hippies!" A few very scruffy men had ventured out onto the sidewalks and more faces appeared in windows, watching our Ford wagon hightail it back to the highway.  Months later, from news coverage of the Sharon Tate murder trial, my parents realized that those hippies out at the Spahn Movie Ranch had been the Manson Family. Thus, my first (and only, to date) true-crime road trip adventure.

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