At this year’s PhoCusWright Conference—an annual gathering of the world’s most influential travel innovators—all eyes were on the Innovation Summit and the presenting entrepreneurs. But not all of the talent in attendance was on stage. In a short Q+A series we will introduce you to three new companies that are also poised to change the way we travel.
First up, is Cheryl Rosner, the visionary behind Stayful.com, a website whose proprietary bidding system allows travelers to suggest their own rates at amazing independent and boutique hotels in six (soon to be 10) U.S. cities. As the former Hotels.com president and president of Expedia Corporate Travel, Rosner is a discerning traveler who prides herself on seeking out unique properties with great design and enduring character—but who also likes a bargain.
Based in Vienna, Austria, Julian Breitenecker is the founder and CEO of Locca, a technology company that launched LoccaMini, the world’s smallest GPS tracking device. Ideal for checked and carry-on luggage, the 1.7-inch gadget has a 30-day battery life, it’s waterproof and shockproof, and it’s loaded with features such as a motion detector and audio responder that can be managed from your smart phone, tablet or desktop.
Below, Breitenecker, who often jet sets to tech summits in cities like Dublin and Cologne, Germany, tells us more about Locca—and shares his top travel tips.
Q: What inspired you to create the LoccaMini?
A:My motivation wasn’t actually business-based. I was traveling in Tel Aviv and lost my two-year-old son for a few terrifying minutes. I thought about creating a device that could keep track my child’s whereabouts and soon realized it could easily apply to important belongings as well. Locating luggage is one of the most popular uses.
The U.S. ramen scene is booming—and it’s about to get even more exciting with the arrival of one of Tokyo’s hottest noodle gurus, Ivan Orkin. The New York native—who earned serious food cred in Japan at his two Ivan Ramen restaurants—is returning to his roots, bringing two outposts of his cult brand to Manhattan. Here, Orkin, whose first cookbook is out this month, gives us the lowdown on the soup that made him famous.
Q: How did you break into the Tokyo dining scene?
A: It was a crazy idea for a white guy from New York to open a ramen restaurant there. But in Japan, people respect passion and a good work ethic, and I think that came across. Also, when I started, making your own noodles was very uncommon, and I decided to do mine in house.
The Formula One U.S. Grand Prix—where some of the world's fastest and most expensive cars will compete—kicks off tomorrow in Austin, Texas. People travel from all over the world to attend.
On the eve of the second-to-last race of the season, we thought we’d check in with Nicholas Frankl, die-hard F1 fan, founder of My Yacht Group, Olympian bobsledder (who has a friendly but competitive bobsledding rivalry with HSH Prince Albert of Monaco), and collector of many things—yachts, cars, and, yes, even refrigerator magnets.
Being health-focused isn’t always easy—especially when you’re on the road. I asked Dr. Nicola Finley, of Canyon Ranch Tuscon Resort, for her top tips for wellness while traveling (unfortunately, supersizing a fried food order isn’t one of them). Three of Dr. Finley’s tips that are sticking with me:
You don’t have to go to the gym. “There are a multitude of workout videos on YouTube you can access in your room from a computer, iPad, or phone. This is a chance to try a new kind of workout—in privacy! Also keep in mind that little bursts of exercise—running for a flight, or walking to the hotel from a few blocks away—counts.”
When Napa-based wine master James Cluer told his client, Qatar Airways, that he would be out of contact for a month and a half, the airline asked questions. Where was he going? And why for so long? Cluer disclosed he was planning to fulfill a lifelong dream and climb Mt. Everest (29,000 feet above sea level)—a trip that had been years in the making. Qatar Airways suggested he might want to conduct a wine tasting to learn how altitude affects the palette outside of a plane cabin. Cluer agreed. Enter a few seasoned sherpas.
The story is a funny one—either the ultimate marketing gimmick, or an extreme experiment in satisfying one’s curiosity. Turns out, it was the latter. Cluer and Qatar Airways both take wine seriously. The Doha-based airline has won numerous awards, including Best Airline Wine List, and all of its flight attendants are WSET certified and able to provide sommelier services. And Cluer has dedicated his life to the grape. In addition to consulting, buying, and selecting what wines to serve onboard Qatar Airways flights, he also runs 16 wine schools in the U.S. and Canada and operates a luxury wine tour business called Fine Vintage Ltd.
The New York City Opera and Brooklyn Academy of Music present the highly anticipated American premiere of the opera Anna Nicole now through September 28. The work about the one-time Playboy Playmate, femme fatale, and reality television personality Anna Nicole Smith is by English composer Mark-Anthony Turnage and librettist Richard Thomas and was first produced at London’s Royal Opera House, Covent Garden in 2011. American soprano Sarah Joy Miller takes on the title character and speaks with T+L about the opportunity and the challenge.
One recent evening in New York City, I traveled to Memphis, and back. At City Grit, a culinary salon founded and nurtured and helmed by Food & Wine’s 2010 Home Cook Superstar Sarah Simmons, diners are invited to new tastes and experiences, often supplied by guest chefs who sometimes fly in just to make a single meal. It’s one of the coolest ways we know to travel and still stay at home.
The evening’s spotlight was on two Tennessee chefs, Michael Hudman and Andrew Ticer, whose restaurant Hog & Hominy blends Southern and Italian cooking, and has earned legions of pork-loving fans.
Tonight the duo is back. To celebrate today’s release of their new cookbook “Collards and Carbonara,” Ticer and Hudman are again firing up the stove at City Grit, with Simmons playing back-up.
Susana Balbo has been making a name for herself in the wine industry for over 30 years. She was Argentina's first female winemaker and the first woman president of Wines of Argentina, an organization that promotes the country's wine industry to a global market. Blending is Balbo's specialty and her talents have served her well. In 1999, she began building Dominio del Plata Wineryin her hometown, Mendoza, Argentina. Today, the 75,000-square-foot winery is surrounded by 47 acres of vines that produce two million liters of wine per year.
Ahead of Glasgow-based band Franz Ferdinand’s new album, Right Thoughts, Right Words, Right Action, front man Alex Kapranos shows T+L there’s more to touring than partying like a rock star.
Q: What are some perks of traveling as a musician?
A: You pick up all sorts of musical influences. I love Colombian cumbia and Peruvian chicha. The melodies have great melancholy, but the rhythms are lively.
Q: Do you bring home souvenirs?
A: I try to collect unusual instruments. My favorite is an earthenware bowl used at weddings in Peru. It has a space between two layers that’s filled with fine stones. After you eat, you shake the bowl to make a percussive sound while everyone dances.