Related: It List: The Best New Hotels 2013.
1. NATURAL PARADISE: Big Cedar Lodge, Ridgedale, Missouri
A great family getaway set on 800 acres in the heart of the Ozark mountains, overlooking bass-filled Table Rock Lake. 81 just-renovated cabins have wood-burning fireplaces and western-inspired interiors, but who wants to stay inside when the great outdoors await? DON’T MISS Paddleboard yoga on the shimmering private marina, and, come evening, the Campfire Wagon Tours in an antique wagon. PRICE $149 a night. BOOK NOW.
2. GATSBY-ERA GLAM: Raphael Hotel, Kansas City, MO
Fronting chic County Club Plaza, one of the nation’s oldest outdoor suburban shopping centers, 126-room Raphael Hotel is a landmark 1920’s Renaissance Revival building, with custom mahogany millwork and travertine marble flooring. DON’T MISS Jazz dinners at Chaz on the Plaza, where local musicians perform Tuesday through Sunday evenings. PRICE $209 a night. BOOK NOW.
3. ART-FILLED RETREAT: 21C Museum Hotel, Louisville, KY
Designed by New York architect Deborah Berke, this 90-room property has a multi-million dollar art collection worthy of MoMa. Explore the exhibits—which are free and open to the public—or just hang out in your spare-but-polished room, with exposed brick walls and cheeky details, such as rubber ducky’s in the shower. DON’T MISS The Urban Bourbon Trail, a walking tour of 50-plus bourbons with a stop at 21c’s Proof on Main. PRICE $229 a night. BOOK NOW.
Related: T+L's Weekend Getaways
T+L's International Editor Mark Orwoll appeared in on CNN this weekend to discuss the airline quality rankings released last week. Watch as he discusses the rise of customer complaints about surcharges, ticketing, and personnel and offers tips about getting the seat you want and not getting bumped.
T+L's International Editor Mark Orwoll appeared on CNBC's On the Money With Maria Bartiromo to discuss the cruise industry this weekend. Watch as Orwoll shares his insights into the state of cruising, post-Carnival Triumph and whether it's the right time to book your trip.
Travel + Leisure's Mark Orwoll appeared on NBC's TODAY Show this morning to discuss the airline performance report released this week. How will it impact you? Watch the clip (above) and find out.
Would you drop out of an Ivy League university for chocolate? Former University of Pennsylvania undergrad, David "Mott" Green did.
Originally from New York City, Mott left Penn to pursue a more altruistic (and sunny) lifestyle in Hermitage, Grenada. After noticing how exploitive the chocolate industry was on the island, he thought, Why don’t cocoa farmers produce the chocolate themselves? Since then, Mott has spent the last 25 years operating the bean-to-bar Grenada Chocolate Company. His efforts to bring Grenadian citizens back into agriculture have helped create a sustainable alternative to the harsh chocolate industry.
Ditching the classroom to eat, live, and breathe chocolate? Sounds like the sweet life to us!
Maria Pedone is a digital editorial intern at Travel + Leisure.
Not every tourism board video posted on YouTube can boast nearly 1.3 million views in less than two weeks, but then, few of them have the same gentle, openhearted feel of Visit Japan's "Discover the Spirit of Japan" clip (above). As Talking Travel Tech's Kevin May noted just after the video was posted earlier this month, one secret of the clip's success may be that it focuses on Japanese people, not their country's destinations, cuisine, or activities: "The idea is to showcase the culture, traditions and history of Japan from the perspective of its population rather than simply a fancy cascade of traditional tourism hotspots such as Mount Fuji and Tokyo skyline," May wrote.
Whatever its secret, the clip is working. It's been viewed over a million more times since May wrote that on March 17. And if you read the YouTube comments—"amazing!" "Japan is amazing country with great people and great culture"—it's clearly connecting with viewers.
On February 10th, “We Found Love” earned R&B superstar Rihanna her sixth Grammy, this time for best short form music video. That’s nice, but the songstress has another video that T+L readers may find even nicer. It’s a tourism promotional video for Barbados, Rihanna’s home country, and one of the Caribbean’s top destinations.
Check it out:
Okay, so now that we all officially want to go to Barbados but know nothing about it, T+L can help. Here are some things the video didn’t tell us that make a visit to this Caribbean isle more enticing:
T+L's Nilou Motamed stopped by The Today Show this morning to talk about budget-friendly vacations with Matt Lauer and Yahoo's Farnoosh Torabi. They discussed New Orleans, Hawaii, and affordable road trips. Watch the clip above.
Travel + Leisure's Sarah Spagnolo presents easy weekend getaways from Memphis on the Weather Channel's Wake Up and Go.
1. CULTURE SPOT: Bentonville, AR
This small city is being transformed into a world-class arts destination, thanks in part to the Crystal Bridges Museum, which opened in 2011. It’s owned by Wal-Mart heir Alice Walton, and houses her collection of American art. WHERE TO STAY The new 21C Museum Hotel, just off the city’s town square, has contemporary art from the 21st-century—hence the name—and a buzzy restaurant, The Hive. PRICE $175 a night. BOOK NOW
2. FOODIE ESCAPE: Greenwood, MS
Inspired to see the locations from the film The Help? Try Greenwood, a low-key culinary mecca just two hours south of Memphis. WHERE TO STAY The Alluvian hotel is home to 45 rooms, five suites, a Viking Cooking School, and Giardina’s restaurant, a southern spot that’s been open since 1936. PRICE $205 a night. BOOK NOW
3. MUSIC HAVEN: Nashville, TN
Music City has that perfect mix of old-school Southern class and modern country flair. It’s also known for its friendly people. And we’re in the middle of Vanderbilt University’s basketball season! WHERE TO STAY The Hutton Hotel debuted on the T+L 500 list this year. A secret: there’s a complimentary wine hour from 5–6 p.m. PRICE $249 a night. BOOK NOW
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