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Classy Cocktails from Hotel Bel-Air: Tips from a Top Mixologist

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.

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EX-PATS: Surfers Conserving Costa Rica

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.

TODAY Show Video: Options If You're Stranded by a Storm

 

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Travel + Leisure's trip doctor, Amy Farley, gives tips for tracking airlines on social media and the best ways to re-book a canceled flight.

For more info, see Trip Doctor: Winter Storm Nemo—Resources for Stranded Fliers.

Amy FarleyHave a travel dilemma? Need some tips and remedies? Send your questions to news editor Amy Farley at tripdoctor@aexp.com. Follow @tltripdoctor on Twitter.

TODAY Show Video: Top Travel Sites and Apps

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

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.

See More of the Best Travel Websites and Apps

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.

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TODAY Show: 13 places to visit in 2013

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

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.

TODAY Show: How to Pack Like a Pro

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

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.  

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Wake Up in Paradise: EX-PATS Escapes to Belize

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.

Weather Channel Video: Weekend Getaways From San Francisco

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 

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Tech Thursday: Digital Tools to Aid Your Travel Experience

GenConnect interviewed Sarah Spagnolo, T+L's digital projects editor, about our latest tech tools that can help you get the most out of your travels.

video platformvideo managementvideo solutionsvideo player

Weather Channel Video: Weekend Getaways From Cleveland

Travel + Leisure's Sarah Spagnolo presents easy weekend getaways from Cleveland on the Weather Channel's Wake Up and Go.

1. Geneva on the Lake, Ohio
Ohio’s first summer resort, on sparkling Lake Erie, has both a state park (for hiking and bird-watching) as well as an undiscovered wine region. WHERE TO STAY Try the Lodge at Geneva on the Lake, a quaint cottage right on the water. The hotel’s wine shuttle brings guests to nearby vineyards. PRICE $139 a night. BOOK NOW

2. Laurel Highlands, Pennsylvania
Want to see Frank Lloyd Wright’s Falling Water? Head 3.5 hours southeast of Cleveland to Pennsylvania’s Allegheny Mountains. WHERE TO STAY The 1907 Summit Inn, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, is a charming spot with an expansive deck lined by rocking chairs. Besides being the closest inn to Falling Water, it also has a nine-hole golf course founded by Pete Dye’s father. PRICE From $120 a night. BOOK NOW

3. Cincinnati, Ohio
Cincy is an emerging cultural destination, and two notable stops are the Contemporary Arts Center by Zaha Hadid and the new National Underground Railroad Freedom Center. Up next: the soon-to-open 21C Museum Hotel, where works by contemporary artists will be on display. WHERE TO STAY Until 21C opens later this year, try the city’s grand Cincinnatian Hotel, complete with in-room fireplaces and soaking tubs and an afternoon tea service. PRICE $179 a night. BOOK NOW

For more easy escapes from major cities, sign up for our new Weekend Getaways newsletter here.


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