Did you know some hotels are now charging for early check-ins? International editor Mark Orwoll shares the latest hidden hotel fees—what to ask, and how to avoid them.
Moscow’s Sheremetyevo International Airport is experimenting with an innovation that air travelers have fitfully dreamt of for years: a safe and clean place to grab a few hours’ sleep.
Installed a month ago in the AeroExpress terminal, the prototype Sleepbox shows travelers a small, private oasis in which to spend layovers. The 13-sq.-ft. box, covered with an attractive pale ash veneer, is efficiently kitted out with two bunks, LED reading lamps, electrical outlets for laptops or phone charging, WiFi, ventilation and sound systems, under-bunk space to stow luggage, and motor-controlled blinds. Apparently, there is even an automated process to change the linens between guests.
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.READ MORE
Photo credit: Hotel ICON
Leading Korea's new culinary wave is Jung Sik Dang, where chef Jung Sik Yim takes local ingredients to prepare dishes like kimchi consommé, pork jowl with yuzu, and even an amuse bouche with grasshoppers. Less experimental is Bistro Seoul, which presents Korean standards in an austere space. While Japanese and Chinese have long happily paid through their noses for expensive renditions of their cuisines, Koreans—like Thais—are just experiencing the phenomenon of taking familiar fare, gussying it up, and serving it in lovely locations. It’s not fusion, but modernization. You’re seeing this elsewhere in Asia—KL has some notable modern Malay restaurants. And while the Thais are kicking and screaming about this trend, other parts of Asia are embracing it.
Jennifer Chen is Travel + Leisure's Asia correspondent. You can follow her on Twitter at xiaochen6.
Photo of Jung Sik Dang courtesy of TomEats/www.tomeats.com
Baby showers aren’t typically something we cover here at T+L, but I went to an adorable one recently that I simply had to write about. The excited parents-to-be are major globe-trotters, and so the theme chosen by the hostesses was, fittingly enough, Tiny Traveler.
Just how popular is bacon? Google the word and you’ll get 144 million results (and how many of those are really about Francis Bacon?). There’s practically a tweet every minute under #bacon. There’s bacon ice cream, bacon cocktails, and, of course, burgers piled high with bacon in cities across the U.S. What gives?
Who cares! This salty meat treat has become a dietary staple—it’s practically an honorary member of the food pyramid (or plate, or whatever it is now). So go join a grease feast: the Des Moines-based Blue Ribbon Bacon Festival is taking its show on the road, to Keystone, Colorado for the Blue Ribbon Bacon Tour from June 24-26. It’ll be an all-bacon, all-the-time weekend, with bacon tastings, bacon lectures (?!), and bands made up, one would assume, of non-vegetarians.
We’d go if we were closer—it’s only $30 for stuff-yourself-silly (i.e. unlimited) bacon tastings—but we’ll have to satisfy ourselves with New York–style bacon: with an egg, on a roll. And, hey, that’s not so bad.
Photos courtesy of the Blue Ribbon Bacon Tour
Cheesy travel slogans are a dime a dozen. There's something decidedly square in the art of selling destinations, and rightly so. Not only must you lure new travelers, you also have to represent the locals who live in these places—and you probably shouldn't tick them off.
So, it's all the more interesting to notice some chance-taking of late. A few brave tourist boards—hoping to zap awake a sleepy economy, defibrillator-style—have unveiled a slew of over-the-top, playfully arm-twisting slogans.
Anyone still wondering where to go on vacation in the next few months might get some ideas from the 20 top hotel destinations searched for this coming summer on Kayak.com, the price-comparison travel site. Most popular: Las Vegas, where the average hotel rate from June through August is $130, down slightly from summer 2010. Most expensive: New York, where rooms averaged $218, up nearly 15 percent from a year ago. Biggest increase: Bangkok, whose average room rate was up a whopping 40 percent from last year. (On the other hand, the summer average for a hotel in Bangkok is just $117, so stop complaining.) Cheapest: San Jose, Costa Rica, with an average rate of $94.
Ten chefs, nine cities, and one pop-up kitchen. No, it’s not the set-up of some new reality TV show on Bravo, but an inventive initiative by the Singaporean government to showcase the city’s vibrant fine dining scene. Dubbed Singapore Takeout, the project starts its yearlong world tour in London on June 9.
It’s no secret that the French are enamored with New York. Not the whole state, however, just the city. Astounding Parisians not only by its sheer size, energy, and unapologetic excesses but also by its boundless food choices, Manhattan is like a culinary amusement park. For the French, whose food scene has long been dominated by traditional, bistro fare, the diversity in NYC is understandably appealing. But what seems to seduce French appetites most is not the ethnic variety so accessible in NY but rather straight up, all-American comfort food—bagels and cream cheese, cheeseburgers, hot dogs, milkshakes, cupcakes and “real” NY cheesecake.