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PhoCusWright "Young Leaders" Q+A Series: Ruzwana Bashir of Peek.com

Ruzwana Bashir

At last month’s PhoCusWright Conference, the travel tech industry’s much-anticipated annual event, some of the most exciting, buzz-worthy attendees were the wunderkinds behind travel start-ups and high-profile online products. Travel + Leisure sat down with select Millennial entrepreneurs—or maybe a better moniker is disruptors?—shaping the next generation of Travel:

Ruzwana Bashir, the British-born 29-year-old co-founder of Peek.com, is part of the exclusive club of PhoCusWright “Young Leaders.” In October of this year, she launched a new website that provides an attractive, centralized place to book vacation activities. It also highlights “Perfect Day” itineraries supplied by travel insiders, luminaries, and in-the-know locals.

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Q&A: Director Fernando Meirelles

Fernando Meirelles

The Brazilian director is best known for his visually arresting films, such as 2002’s City of God, set in a Rio de Janeiro favela. His newest, 360, with Jude Law and Rachel Weisz, goes global. Shot in five different countries, it touches on the Arab Spring, euro crisis, and prostitution.

Q: You were filming on the road for almost 20 weeks. Any favorite hotels?
A:
We were in London for three months, so I rented an apartment. But I like Hazlitt’s Hotel ($$$). You get a key to the front door, and it’s like your own home. In Vienna, we stayed at the 25hours Hotel Wien (1-3 Lerchenfelder Str.; $). There are bicycles for guests, and the staff doesn’t wear uniforms. After a week or two, we were hanging out with the hotel crew.

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Q+A: Grizzly Bear's Ed Droste Talks Travel

Grizzly Bear band

Members of the band, from left: Ed Droste, Chris Bear, Chris Taylor and Daniel Rossen

Ed Droste—front man of the Brooklyn-based indie-rock band Grizzly Bear, whose long-awaited fourth album Shields comes out on September 18—reflects on some of his favorite destinations and findings from around the world.

Q: It’s been three years since the band’s last album, what can we expect from Shields?
A:
It’s charged, and sort of raw, energetic and exposed. I started out work shopping ideas in Todos Santos, Mexico with our drummer Chris Bear. We often go on little writing retreats together. We went there for a month and wrote ten songs, then the whole band reconvened in Marfa, Texas for a month to start recording.

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Q&A: Actress Greta Gerwig on Italy

Greta Gerwig

The former queen of mumblecore movies, Greta Gerwig, is now starring in such high-profile projects as Woody Allen’s To Rome with Love (out now). Here, her thoughts on truffles, art, and other Italian greats.

Q: Where did you stay while filming?
A: The cast stayed at the Parco dei Principi ($$$),near the far side of Villa Borghese. It was very fancy, but old-school, like seventies-style, which makes sense given Woody Allen. It was definitely built when you wanted to use as much chrome as you could get.

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Instagram Phenom Andre Hermann Shows a Different Side of San Francisco

Andre Hermann photo

André Hermann, a 38-year-old photography instructor at San Francisco’s Academy of Art University, has a rather interesting pastime: After creating 20 photography booklets filled with street images taken from his iPhone, he hides them all over the city, posting a clue to his blog each time. Why? To get people outside, of course, and to have them experience something new in their own home turf. With over 100,000 followers on Instagram and a huge fan base that covers several continents, the project has evolved into something much bigger, something that Hermann plans on expanding. We sat down to talk with him about how this project came about and where he sees it going in the future.

Q: So did you do this project to get to know the city more?

A: I actually know San Francisco really well. I made it my mission to walk all around. It’s finding the pulse of the city, finding its beat. You connect to it as a photographer and you find places that are overlooked, places that are new and or that you knew of already and had passed it, without ever exploring it. It’s street photography. I like watching people and look for things that catch my eye: similarities, contrast, contradictions. Thing like these moments that are overlooked because we’re too busy with our noses buried in our phones.

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Q+A: Mark Conroy, President of Regent Seven Seas Cruises

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In honor of Regent Seven Seas Cruises' 20th birthday, T+L Cruise Editor Jane Wooldridge spoke with Mark Conroy, the President of Regent Seven Seas Cruises with 38 years in the industry.

Q: What was your first cruise-related job?

A:
While attending the University of Miami in 1973, I worked weekends on the pier at NCL. We delivered and picked up the ships’ mail, assisted guests going through customs, ran errands, and sold baggage insurance. I also worked part time in the mail room.

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Mozart Takes Wing at New York’s Lincoln Center

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Mostly Mozart, the 46-year-old summer festival at New York City’s Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, is in full swing and more vibrant than ever.  Significantly, this year’s edition marks the tenth anniversary season of French conductor Louis Langrée as music director who, along with Jane Moss, artistic director, has been responsible for revitalizing Mostly Mozart, in particular, its heartbeat, the festival orchestra. He's credited with raising its playing standards and adding inventive programming that features soloists, both established and debut artists, period instrument bands, and contemporary music ensembles.

Year to year, the mix may include dance, sound installations, film, video.  This year, Mostly Mozart takes up the theme of birds, “the originators of song and an inspiration for countless composers,” according to Moss, as a point of departure for a range of programming.  Indeed, in the age of twitter, birdsong may never sound as pure.  T+L spoke with Louis Langrée earlier in the season during a stopover in New York en route to Paris about Mostly Mozart, a conductor’s role, American audiences, and why the festival remains popular with travelers and New Yorkers alike.

Q: What are your thoughts on your 10th anniversary? 

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Q+A: Harriet Welty Rochefort, Author of "Joie de Vivre"

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Svelteness, style, and sex appeal: why do the French so effortlessly possess these qualities, and why can’t America get on board? Harriet Welty Rochefort knows the tricks of the French trade. A native Iowan who moved to Paris after college and married a Frenchmen, Rochefort is the author of French Fried: The Culinary Capers of an American in Paris, French Toast: An American in Paris Celebrates the Maddening Mysteries of the French, and the soon to be released Joie de Vivre: Secrets of Wining, Dining, and Romancing Like the French (St. Martin's Press, October 2012, $24.99).

She spoke with Travel + Leisure about not being an Ugly American, the best way to exercise in Paris, and why being a little “off” in considered sexy in Pah-ree.

Q: What advice do you give people traveling to Paris?

A: There’s three things. One, you should hang out in cafés as long as you can. Two, don't be loud, whether you’re on the street or in a restaurant. And three, get out of the Left Bank rut and try the 10th arrondissement (Canal St. Martin) or the 11th where all the savvy chefs have emigrated. 

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Q&A: Lenny Kravitz on His Design Concept for the SLS Hotel South Beach

Lenny Kravitz

The musician, actor, and founder of Kravitz Design lends his eclectic ethos to the SLS Hotel South Beach, where he created the penthouse suite and a private bungalow. Here, he reveals his inspirations, his love for Miami, and why he sometimes locks himself in hotel rooms.

Q: So what does a rock star know about hotel design?
A:
I’ve been living in hotels for the past 25 years. When I have a day off on tour, I’ll say, “For twenty-four hours I’m not going to leave this room”—so it’s got to have a personal feeling.

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Insider's London: Black Tomato's Tom Marchant Shares His Favorite City Spots Right Now

Black Tomato's Tom Marchant

The line up for the summer in London is as exciting as it is daunting. Try and do too much and you'll be running all over town, exhausting yourself. Take it too easy and you'll be kicking yourself for missing half the action. A little careful planning will go a long way if you're planning to take part in London's many festivities this summer. We caught up with Tom Marchant, co-founder of bespoke travel company Black Tomato, for his rundown of secret locales, restaurants, and tips.

Q: There's a lot of discussion about the transport system and how it will cope with the millions of visitors heading your way. What's your preferred way of getting around town?
A:
London is bigger than you think so it depends on how far I'm going. I just got a new dog (Ernie), so try and walk as much as I can. When I am not with him, for short distances, I use a Boris Bike (nicknamed after Boris Johnson, our mayor) you can rent them from all over town for a pound a day. When the suns out there's no nicer way to get around. For long distances, I use taxis. My new find is HAILO, an app that lets you hail Black Cabs without even leaving your seat—useful when it's raining! 

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