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The Futurist: Hong Kong's Teaching Hotel

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BBC Travel's Passport Blog
|  A new hotel opening in Hong Kong’s Tsim Sha Tsui East neighborhood on 21 September is really one with a difference.

The Hotel ICON is owned by the Hong Kong Polytechnic University and helps educate students at the School of Hotel & Tourism Management. But this is no bare bones facility. Top architects and designers like Terence Conran and Vivienne Tam were recruited to create the restaurants and suites, and the general manager comes to the hotel from the luxury Shangri-La chain of hotels.

With the private member’s dining room, open-air pool and Angsana Spa, hotel guests may never realize they are part of a learning experience. But 100 interns from the school will be working alongside the professional hotel staff to get on-the-job training and mentoring.

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Photo credit: Hotel ICON


C’est l’amour! New York Welcomes Ladurée

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Yes, I'll confess. I'd never had a macaron until last night, when I braved the line, and the rain, for my first-ever taste of those light and lovely (and unequivocally French) treats by luxury Parisian patisserie Ladurée. No, I wasn't in the City of Love (though in love I fell…and hard). The brand’s newest outpost finally opened its doors to New York City, and America, last Tuesday, just in time for Fashion Week. And if that line, seemingly unabated since the opening, is any indication, this Upper East Side pastel-colored jewel is shaping up to be Manhattan’s next macaron mecca. (Move over, Bouchon Bakery!)

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English Country Hotels On Our Radar

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Longford Fivehead - 

Dewsall (above)
The always spot-on tasteful Lulu Townsend of Chic Retreats has just added a lovely—and rather unorthodox—new property to her portfolio. Dewsall is a gorgeous listed and restored Regency house in Herefordshire, near the Welsh border, which can be rented in its entirety—when, that is, it’s not in its other guise, that of a chic little pop-up hotel a few weeks a year. The house is perfectly, ravishingly restored, with huge ensuite bedrooms, entertainment rooms (with all the mod cons) and a kitchen to make regular World of Interiors readers sigh with longing. A bonus: their Great British Safari—whereby guests hike into the Black Mountains, take kayaks or canoes from Glasbury to Hay, or go pheasant shooting—complete with luxury tents and gourmet meals.

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Rogue 24: A New 24-Course Tasting Menu in D.C.

Last month saw the opening of Rogue 24, a new restaurant by James Beard Award-winning chef RJ Cooper, in Washington D.C. Chef Cooper, previously the chef de cuisine at D.C.’s acclaimed Vidalia, was inspired to create his own restaurant concept after “going rogue” at his former post—creating a new, 24-course tasting menu for Vidalia diners.
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Ritz-Carlton's Second-Ever "Reserve" to Open in Puerto Rico

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Soon there will be a new reason to be enchanted by Puerto Rico. The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company announced that it will open its second-ever Reserve property—one built to LEED Silver standards—in Dorado Beach. The luxury island destination first grabbed travelers' attention when Laurance S. Rockefeller opened one of his eco-friendly RockResorts in the area more than 50 years ago. In December 2012, the Ritz-Carlton Reserve hopes to boost interest in the tropical sanctuary with a 115-room oceanfront hotel and residences and a renovation of the original Dorado Beach Resort.

The brand's exclusive Reserve extension features "low-density" boutique resorts in exotic corners of the world, with more indigenous materials, as well as local products and traditions. At this time, the only other Reserve location is Phulay Bay in Krabi, Thailand.

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Wake Up (and Tune In) to Wild Africa

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It's one thing to watch a herd of wildebeest thundering across an obscenely large, 3D flat screen dangling precariously from your living room wall. It is quite another to witness the Great Migrations in the flesh, accompanied by the sweet smell of your morning coffee swirling with the kicked-up dust from the Serengeti plains as the high-pitched trumpets of young elephant calves (or grunts from those numberless gnu) waft into your bedroom.

Toss away that remote. Two new properties, new to Tanzania and Kenya, obliterate the "Channel" and key in on the "Discovery" of the African wild.

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Hotelier Vikram Chatwal Has (Another) Otherworldly 'Dream'

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The newest addition to Vikram Chatwal's Dream hotel line may be his trippiest yet. The aquatic Dream Downtown opens this week on the brim of NYC's Meatpacking District to much chatter. A converted structure that once housed the city’s homeless is now home to the notably hyped Romera New York, where the pre-fixe will set guests back a cool $245.

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Mandarin Oriental Paris Opens Today

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Today, the Mandarin Oriental's hotly anticipated new Paris location opens its doors, complete with 138 rooms, a prime location, and (of course) a killer spa. Located at 251 rue Saint-Honoré in the city's First Arrondissement, the art deco-meets-contemporary property is literally steps away from a number of favorite Parisian sights, like the Louvre, the Tuileries Gardens, and the Garnier Opera.

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'1,001 Inventions' Celebrates Muslim Heritage

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Did you know that a Turkish cartographer drafted one of the oldest surviving maps of the Americas? That a Muslim woman in Morocco founded the world’s first modern university, which still holds classes today? That a man named Abbas ibn Firnas tried to invent a flying machine... more than a thousand years before the Wright Brothers finally succeeded? That the word candy came from the Arabic qand?

With the recent congressional hearings on Muslim Americans and the furor surrounding the community center near Ground Zero, it’s easy to overlook all the positive contributions Muslims have made to modern society. So “1,001 Inventions: Discover the Muslim Heritage in Our World,” which opened May 27 at the California Science Center, in Los Angeles, couldn’t have come at a more opportune moment.

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New Hamptons Hot Spot Opens

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Memorial Day Weekend always kicks off the summer season in the Hamptons, and after weeks of endless rain, east coasters have never been more keen on escaping to the glamorous sliver of earth that juts into the Atlantic on New York’s Long Island. The race to define the newest in vogue summer spot is an annual ritual on the Gold Coast. This year the buzz is behind South Pointe, the newest and most robust addition to the Hamptons night scene.

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