History and hipsters coexist on the leafy, laid-back streets of Chiang Mai’s Wat Gate quarter.
A former home base of the 19th-century teak exporter East Borneo Company has been revived as 137 Pillars House Chiang Mai, a hotel whose 30 suites are decorated with four-poster beds, claw-foot tubs, and bright orchids. Book a room on the second floor for a well-shaded veranda. 2 Na Wat Gate Soi 1. $$$
The open-air Hinlay Curry House serves terrific (and super-affordable) Indian dishes such as aloo gobi, pumpkin curry, and flaky rotis. Save room for the house-made coconut ice cream—a perfect salve for the tropical climate. 8/1 Na Wat Gate; 66-53/324-621. $
An island of panache in a sea of hoodies and jeans, Wingtip is a haven for nattily dressed San Francisco gentlemen. In addition to such modern-classic labels as Peter Millar and Luciano Barbera, the store stocks all manner of accoutrements (carved-horn shaving kits; cut-to-fit-belts; champagne sabers)—and even employs a tailor, shoe shiner, barber, and hatmaker. This spring, the full-service haberdashery adds a private club upstairs, where guests will be able to smoke cigars, taste wine, or practice their golf swings, all while debating the next big start-up. 550 Montgomery St.; T+L readers can access the club free with a $50 purchase.
Jaime Gillin is Travel + Leisure's San Francisco correspondent.
Pros: It's made with ingredient du jour Moroccon Argan oil—"loaded with vitamin E, antioxidants and omega 3 and 9 fatty acids." I love the packaging (sleek pink and black); plus the fact that the mascara stays on all day but rinses away easily with soap and water.
Cons: It's very clumpy right out of the tube, but personally I like that. Gives my delicate Irish lashes a little Liz Taylor-esque ooph!
Kathryn O'Shea-Evans is an associate editor at Travel + Leisure.
I finally pitched my Droid2 for an iPhone recently and am still floored by how good the camera on it is. But now that I've figured out Instagram, I'm excited to see there's a bunch of new iPhoneography apps out there to play with. Here are some of my favorites:
Piction—$0.99 Want to add text to your photos? With Piction you can easily add captions in a variety of different fonts, seen above, including a few custom ones alongside classics like Futura (so you can make all Instagram photos look like screen grabs from a Wes Anderson movie, if you're so inclined).
Vine—free Vine is like Instagram but for small gif-like looping videos. I'm still figuring out how to use this (confession: my entire feed is just videos of my cat, so far), but it has a lot of potential to share something more compelling than just snapshots. Be warned, the most recent update includes a requirement that users must be 17+ due to some, ahem, questionable content cropping up on the app.
Q: We’re spending two weeks in Stockholm in February, and I want a new warm winter coat. I can only take one, so I’d like it to be versatile. Recommendations? —Marna Eklund, Palo Alto, Calif.
A: I’m currently obsessing over Jia Collection, a line of convertible clothing by Chinese designer Jia Li that includes dresses, cardigans, and more. Her hunter green cashmere-and-Italian-wool jacket with leather trim ($940) is toasty and reverses to ash gray. Two for the price of one!
Brand New China, a loft-like shop in Beijing's trendy Sanlitun neighborhood, takes aim at the Made in China stereotype by showcasing the country’s emerging fashion designers. Several other noteworthy boutiques are doing the same, such as Shanghai Trio and the enigmatically named Even Penniless. Beijing also saw the opening of Dover Street East, the six-story outpost of Rei Kawabuko’s cutting-edge emporium.
Jennifer Chen is Travel + Leisure's Asia correspondent. You can follow her on Twitter @xiaochen6.
Are the latest beauty and wellness products worthy of a spot in your teensy carry-on? T+L Associate Editor Kathryn O’Shea-Evans shares her take.
The Product: Aveda Stress-Fix Concentrate, $22.
Pros: The lipstick-sized rollerball dispenses a highly-soothing blend of essential oils (French lavender, lavandin, and clary sage are sustainably derived from the sun-lit fields of northern Provence). Perfect for pre-flight jitters or a jet lag sleep aid.
Cons: Unfortunately, the scent didn’t last on my skin longer than ten minutes (probably because it’s all natural and not filled with chemicals… perhaps that’s actually a pro?).
Kathryn O'Shea-Evans is an associate editor at Travel + Leisure.
For this sharp shoe designer, flying is all about unplugging and head-to-toe comfort.
As the creative director of Via Spiga—not to mention the talent behind a namesake line of women’s shoes and the men’s footwear brand Casbia—Edmundo Castillo has a pretty hectic life. Which is why he loves air travel: “It’s my time to disconnect and not have the phone ringing,” he says.
Castillo gets ample time to himself en route to factory visits in Milan (where he keeps an apartment), business trips in China, and vacations in Hawaii, the Dominican Republic, and his native Puerto Rico. In flight, he watches 30 Rock and Mad Men on his iPad, which he carries in a vintage-corduroy sleeve by Milan-based Pijama(from $38). When he wants to sleep, Castillo relies on his Beats by Dr. Dre headphones (from $200) because “they block all the noise.” As for his on-the-go outfit: “I usually land and go straight to work,” he says, “so it’s important to stay in style, but also feel comfortable.”
Q: I’ve seen a lot of folding travel shoes that seem like they’d be comfortable (especially after an evening in high heels). Which are your favorites? —Cass Mitchell, Santa Monica, Calif.
A: You’re right—there are dozens of collapsible shoes on the market, but some are flimsy. Personally, I love Tieks by Gavrieli(from $165), which have a sturdy rubber sole and a breathable leather innersole. Each pair comes in a pouch—and with a small nylon bag to carry your heels. They’re incredibly versatile, transition easily from day to night, and are available in bright patent-leather colors for extra kick.
As Trip Doctors, we’re always on the hunt for great luggage to support our regular, on-the-job abuse. So when Biaggi’s collapsible suitcases made their way into my home recently, I found myself surprised that a new brand could bring so much innovation to a fairly standardized market. The premise: each bag’s sturdy sides snap into place while in use, and fold flat when you’re ready to store. The result? Ultra-compact storage—that doesn’t require you to play Russian dolls with your whole set to unearth the carry-on. A stylish design, super-sturdy handle, and four-wheel spinner function add to the appeal—and the pretty colors don’t hurt, either.
Nikki Ekstein is an Editorial Assistant at Travel + Leisure and part of the Trip Doctor news team. Find her at on Twitter at @nikkiekstein.