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The View from Shangri-La's New London Hotel

Shangr-La London

Our favorite new perch to watch the rapid reshaping of London’s skyline: Shangri-La at the Shard, itself located in the city’s most dramatic new addition, Renzo Piano’s 1,016-foot icicle on the South Bank. For its first property in the U.K., the hotel group brings its inimitable Asian polish to the British capital, with contemporary Chinese art, Japanese cherry-blossom wallpaper in the 202 guest rooms, and an Eastern flair (soy-glazed Welsh lamb!) at the restaurant Ting. Teatime here is held in the 35th-floor lounge, where full-length windows showcase the cityscape unfurling across the Thames. Earl Grey? Gracious, no—bring us a pot of green jasmine. shangri-la.com.

Sarah Miller is Travel + Leisure's European Editor.

Photos courtesy of Simon Watson

National 9/11 Memorial Museum Opens Today

201405-hd-9-11-memorial-museum-steeljpgThe National 9/11 Memorial Museum, located in lower Manhattan, on the site of the World Trade Center, opens to the public today, Wednesday, May 21.

Except for the handsome entry pavilion designed by the Norwegian architects Snøhetta, the greater part of the vast 10,000 square feet of exhibition space is 70 feet below ground level, at the foundations of the original twin towers.  Visitors are drawn into the chasm through a series of ramps, escalators, and viewing platforms that lead to the Manhattan core, its bedrock, where the museum—the thoughtful design the work of Davis Brody Bond, a New York City firm—divides into two, large square aluminum structures with a luminous sheen. 

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Ritz-Carlton Rancho Mirage Opens

Ritz-Carlton Rancho Mirage

There’s a noteworthy new spot worth considering for your next weekend getaway. The Ritz-Carlton, Rancho Mirage, set on a bluff above Palm Springs and California’s Coachella Valley, has thrown open its doors again today after a seven-year closure (you can thank the financial crisis for the delayed debut).

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Rosewood Inn of the Anasazi Debuts New Look

Rosewood Inn of the Anasazi

The Rosewood Inn of the Anasazi—six-time World's Best Award-winner and perennial Santa Fe favorite—is debuting a new look this week after a total renovation of the guestrooms.

Designed by the same firm that built the Inn's interiors 22 years ago, the rooms now boast brighter, earth-toned walls and local terracota ceramics. Bathrooms, previously done up in green, have quartz counters and white porcelain tiles. Not everything is new, however. the kiva-style gas fireplaces located in each of the property's 58 rooms? Thankfully, they are staying.

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Ritz-Carlton, Rancho Mirage Now Accepting Reservations

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The Ritz-Carlton, Rancho Mirage will begin accepting reservations today for the property, set to reopen on May 15th.

Closed for seven years, the resort sits high above Palm Springs on a bluff in the Santa Rosa mountains. Guests will choose from 244 rooms and suites, each featuring Frette linens and Asprey amenities. Natural stone, wood, and a muted color scheme dominate, embracing the desert surroundings and blurring the line between inside and outside—a smart design choice, given the resort's enviable location and many outdoor activity options. The resort is also within easy striking distance of dozens of world-class golf courses.

Also on site will be a double-decker spa and two new restaurants—one a test kitchen, and the other a luxe steak and seafood spot. For reservations, which go on sale today, visit the hotel's website.

Peter Schlesinger is a research assistant at Travel + Leisure and a member of the Trip Doctor news team.

Courtesy of The Ritz-Carlton, Rancho Mirage

Avenue Restaurant Brings American Flare to London Food Scene

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With Christie's auction house right around the corner and the Queen’s palace not too far away, Avenue restaurant on the posh St. James Street in the heart of Mayfair, has re-launched, bringing a distinctive Manhattan power-dining scene to London. Everything from the Prohibition era cocktails to the wine list to the menu to the portion sizes to the friendly service is done with a nod to England’s former colony across the pond. This trend toward all things American is not new in London. Every other opening recently has been some variety of burger shack, hot dog stand, or BBQ joint, but Avenue offers a more upscale take on Americana. You get two cornmeal crusted soft shell crabs for a starter and they’re crispy and lovely with the spicy mayo sauce that accompanies them. Meanwhile, the very large lobster macaroni and cheese is positively packed full of lobster meat and the aromas wafting from the “pig” loaf at the next table made me swoon. With reasonable prices and many more items on the list I’d like to try, Avenue made this American girl feel very much at home. 

Sally Hurst is a chef and food writer based in London. You can follow her on Twitter at @chefsallyjane

Photo Courtesy of D&D London

SLS Brickell Hotel in Miami Preps for Swanky 2015 Opening

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Miami’s SLS Brickell hotel won’t open its doors until 2015, but elaborate plans from designer Philippe Starck already have us obsessed. 

Like Starck’s existing properties in Beverly Hills, South Beach, Las Vegas and New York, the SLS Brickell will flaunt a playful-but-polished vibe, attracting Lincoln Road regulars and an artsy crowd from the nearby Perez Art Museum Miami and upcoming Brickell CitiCentre complex.

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Baz Luhrmann's Next Project: Miami's Faena Saxony Hotel

Baz Luhrmann, Faena Saxony Hotel

After decades of directing lavish motion pictures such as The Great Gatsby and Moulin Rouge, Baz Luhrmann is turning his attention to a different kind of spectacle: the Faena Saxony Hotel, set to open later this year in Miami Beach. Along with his wife and collaborator, Catherine Martin, Luhrmann will lead the design efforts as a creative director for the hotel, which is just one element of a massive complex developed by industrialist Len Blavatnik and real estate tycoon Alan Faena, who is known for his buzzy, Philippe Starck–designed boutique hotel in Buenos Aires. The project will also include an arts center by architect Rem Koolhaas and residences by Foster & Partners. T+L talked with Luhrmann about his plans—and his inspirations.

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New Renzo Piano Pavilion Opens at Kimbell Art Museum in Fort Worth

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There may be no greater reason for cultural travel now than the extraordinary new pavilion designed by Renzo Piano for the Kimbell Art Museum in Fort Worth, Texas. The building plays a compliment in design and spirit to architect Louis Kahn's celebrated original structure, a modernist masterpiece of travertine and concrete, renowned for its deployment of natural light. Yet, the Piano Pavilion is its own distinct achievement. It sits on the lawn across from the Kahn and, like it, follows a tripartite plan, distinguished by an arrangement of bleached Douglas fir beams, transparent end walls, and galleries with a roof of fritted glass through which light imparts a singular luminous quality to exhibition spaces. For the next several weeks, much of the Kimbell's permanent collection—a veritable treasury of masterworks—is showcased in the Piano building.

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New Fabergé Museum Opens in St. Petersburg

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St. Petersburg’s first Fabergé Museum, a must see, has opened at the Shuvalov Palace, 21 Fontanka Canal, close to the Imperial Anichkov Palace and a 10 minute walk from the Grand Hotel Europe. Access to the museum will be by appointment only this year and to the general public beginning January 2014. It houses the celebrated Fabergé collection of the Link of Times Foundation owned by Russian Entrepreneur Viktor Vekselberg, which, with its over 1500 choice pieces, now easily outranks the comparatively small collection of the Kremlin Armoury Museum. Mr. Vekselberg has assembled the most formidable collection in the world of works by this great Russian master craftsman, best known for his celebrated million dollar Imperial Easter Eggs.

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