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
From beachfront hotels to snowy mountain retreats, we have an easy—and affordable—weekend getaway for you.
Southeast: Florida Coast Stay:B Ocean Fort Lauderdale The 240 rooms at this hotel come with white-on-white leather furnishings and equally fabulous ocean views. There's a heated infinity pool, a spa suite, a fitness center, and a few dining options including Saia, a sushi restaurant. Guests are also treated to complimentary Wi-Fi, iPad rentals, and Aveda bath products. Doubles from $199/night on weekends.
Northeast: Catskills, NY Stay:The Graham & Co., Phoenicia, NY A three-hour drive from New York City, the Graham & Co. is a new retro-chic inn that's great for families. The décor has a Brooklyn-feel to it, notably the hanging Edison lights and reclaimed-wood tables. There's an outside fire pit, and bikes available to borrow. Special winter offers include discount ski tickets at nearby Hunter Mountain. Doubles from $99/night on weekends.
At the Hotel Bel-Air in Beverly Hills, head bartender Allen Allam will teach you secrets of the Japanese hard-shake method for mixing bespoke cocktails. During an hour-long class in the lustrous bar lounge, learn the recipe for such signature drinks as Dragon's Fire and Monroe's Passion, a potent fusion of ginger juice, fresh passion fruit puree, Thai chili syrup and Barcardi 151 rum. (Actress Marilyn Monroe was a regular at the Bel-Air.) Other tricks of the bar trade are also revealed. Allam demonstrates techniques for stirring and garnish cutting, as well as how to employ essential barware like slow-frozen Clinebell ice, stainless steel muddlers and gold-plated strainers. Beverage director Rob Harpest provides colorful cocktail history commentary as Allam pours. Afterwards, slip into one of the lounge's banquettes under larger-than-life celebrity portraits to further your liquid research. From $100 per person, minimum six per class, 14-day advance reservation required.
Surfers will travel far and wide in search of the perfect pipe. For Florida native Louis Wilson in 1974, this meant a two-month drive from Miami to the then-shack village of Tamarindo, Costa Rica.
In this new episode of the Reserve Channel's series, EX-PATS, host Savannah Jane Buffet catches up with Louis on his love for riding waves and protecting the saltwater jungles of Costa Rica. His passion for conservation led him to open up one of the oldest eco-tourism destinations in Central America, Hotel Las Tortugas. Forty years later, Louis and his fellow ex-pat wife, Carrie, are still living la pura vida amongst the leatherback turtles and tiger-herons.
Check out the full episode for more on Louis' quest to conserve Tamarindo.
Maria Pedone is a digital editorial intern at Travel + Leisure.
Mark Orwoll shares travel websites and apps that will make it easier to book your next trip.
Backbid: Reverse hotel bids Post a reservation request (dates, location, number of stars) with maximum rate you're willing to pay. Hotels in that destination will bid for your business, presenting the lowest rates they can offer. Unlike other bidding sites, you know the specific hotel where you'll be staying using Backbid. When I tried it, I got my first reverse bid within two minutes at a savings of more than 10 percent of what I would have paid on the hotel's own website.
Tingo: Automated hotel rebooking at lower rates Book your hotel through Tingo and if the rates go down, Tingo automatically rebooks you at the lower rate. It's great for those travelers who know which hotel they want to stay at but are concerned whether they really got the "best" rate at time of booking. Tingo only rebooks if there are no rebooking or cancellation penalties and the price difference is refunded automatically to your credit card. All you have to do is enjoy your hotel stay.
If your 2013 resolution is to travel more, watch T+L's feature editor Nilou Motamed reveal the 13 places you have to see in 2013 on the TODAY show, from Puerto Rico and Uco Valley, Argentina, to Amsterdam and Charlevoix, Quebec. See the full list of the Hottest Travel Destinations of 2013 here.
As the holiday season comes to an end, seemingly countless numbers of travelers are making their ways home. But with ever-changing rules implemented by airlines, packing isn't as cut and dry as it once was. So this morning T+L Features Director Nilou Motamedstopped by the set of the Today Show to discuss some strategic tips to help make the process a lot smoother.
EX-PATS, the Reserve Channel’s new YouTube series, showcases people who've abandoned the home front to pursue their passions in a more exotic culture.
In this next episode of EX-PATS, host Savannah Jane Buffet takes a trip to Placencia, Belize to visit Pam and John Solomon. After living the fast life in New York City, the couple decided to resign to paradise, packing their love for food and drink, and opening RumFish y Vino restaurant in this Belizean fishing village.
Now parents, Pam and John are thrilled to be raising their daughter, Libby, in a country where farm- or sea-to-table is the only way to eat. Press play to catch the island breeze.
Maria Pedone is a digital editorial intern at Travel + Leisure.
Travel + Leisure's Sarah Spagnolo presents easy weekend getaways from San Francisco on the Weather Channel's Wake Up and Go.
1. EMERGING FOOD SCENE: Oakland, California
A now-thriving restaurant scene has put this East Bay City—just a 20-minute drive across the bridge from San Francisco—on the traveler’s map. WHERE TO STAY The Waterfront Hotel, a 143-room property right on the marina, with a heated pool, weekday wine and cheese hour, and a fireplace and balcony in every room. PRICE $149 a night. BOOK NOW