Jacqueline Gifford

Ellie Hollander sees firsthand the fallout of COVID-19. She talked with T+L's editor in chief about what readers can do.
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T+L editor in chief Jacqui Gifford recently met Boulud to discuss how he's giving back to his adopted city.
Hawaii has too many incredible beaches to visit in one lifetime, so let us be your guide.
Recently Travel + Leisure sent its May Europe issue to press. Editor in Chief, Jacqui Gifford, included a letter which we would like to share with you now, knowing that the coronavirus pandemic is an evolving situation. Our hearts go out to every destination and every individual, worldwide, who has been impacted by the disease.
For decades, Blackberry Farm has nourished and welcomed and served its guests with a highly refined taste of the South. With a second, wellness-focused hotel now open, brand Blackberry is branching out, while staying true to its core.
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On a first-time mother-son sailing, T+L’s Editor in Chief succumbs to the whimsy, fun, and sheer sensory overload of a voyage with Disney Cruise Line.
On a three-night beach vacation at the Ritz-Carlton, Naples, T+L’s editor in chief, Jacqui Gifford, was able to rest and recharge — and pick up some tips for future family vacations.
Demand for polar and cold weather cruising is at an all time high. Here are several cool (pun intended) cruising companies to check out.
One of the most beautiful resort destinations in the Caribbean has bounced back in the year since Irma — and there's never been a better time to visit. Here's what Anguilla's like now, plus what to do once you're there.
Sailing on an intimate ship has many benefits, from being able to reach harder-to-access ports to smoother disembarkation. These destinations and brands are ideal for this style of cruising.
Since when did we become so obsessed with wellness? Americans of all ages are now trying Fitbits and the Paleo diet, DNA testing and meditation, all in their quest to become better versions of themselves. When it comes to travel, they’re turning to destination spas more than ever before. Perhaps it’s in response to the pervasiveness of technology or the 24/7 news cycle. But retreats that emphasize disconnecting and quieting the mind are suddenly all the rage. Every year for our World’s Best Awards survey, T+L asks readers to weigh in on travel experiences around the globe — to share their opinions on the top hotels, resorts, cities, islands, cruise ships, spas, airlines, and more. In the domestic destination spas category, readers rated properties on their accommodations and facilities, treatments, service, food, and overall value. RelatedThe 2018 World's Best Awards Opened by Mel and Enid Zuckerman in 1979 with just a handful of guest rooms, Arizona’s Canyon Ranch in Tucson was a pioneer in wellness travel. And it continues to resonate with our readers, thanks to its challenging desert hikes, restorative sound bowl sessions, and in-depth sleep consultations, among many amenities. Guests get a daily credit toward spa treatments — facials, detox massages, reflexology, you name it. “The breadth of activities for the mind and the body — as well as the spa treatments — are the reasons to come here,” wrote one fan. Lake Austin Spa, a, 40-room retreat in the Texas Hill Country, also prioritizes fitness: think boxing, Bosu balance training, and tai chi. The lakeside setting also plays into the programming, with stand-up paddleboard flow yoga and guided kayaking happening out on the water. Once a year Wallace J. Nichols, biologist and author of Blue Mind, gives a talk about the power of aquatic therapy. The Lodge at Woodloch, in Pennsylvania’s Pocono Mountains, by contrast, emphasizes the regenerating power of nature through forest-bathing sessions led by certified guides. And guests can exercise the left side of the brain during silk-scarf painting, coloring, and paper marbling. But the No. 1 property this year is set among the towering Red Rocks of Sedona, Arizona, a town famous for its vortexes, or energy fields. Read on for the full list of winners.
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Whether you’re looking for an adults-only retreat, a luxe all-inclusive, or a family-friendly property with tranquil shores for kids, the Caribbean Islands, Bermuda, and the Bahamas do not disappoint. Our readers’ favorite hotels in the region cover all three types of properties — and then some. Every year for our World’s Best Awards survey, T+L asks readers to weigh in on travel experiences around the globe — to share their opinions on the top hotels, resorts, cities, islands, cruise ships, spas, airlines, and more. Hotels were rated on their facilities, location, service, food, and overall value. Properties were classified as city or resort based on their locations and amenities. RelatedThe 2018 World's Best Awards This year’s list spans 12 countries and territories, including St. Bart’s, Aruba, the Bahamas, Bermuda, and Anguilla. But St. Lucia took home the most winning hotels — five, to be exact, including honeymoon mainstays Jade Mountain, Anse Chastanet Resort, and Ladera Resort. “Most romantic hotel ever,” said one reader of the 30-year-old Ladera, which has jaw-dropping views of the Pitons from the open-air suites. “The rooms are an experience out of this world, and cannot be described in words or photos.” Sister properties Jade Mountain and Anse Chastanet Resort earned similar raves for their open-air rooms — Jade, in particular. “The service, private beach, and views were incredible,” remarked one honeymooner of Jade Mountain, which sits higher up on the hill from Anse. “We hope to go back for our 10th anniversary.” We should note that two properties — Eden Rock and Malliouhana, of the Auberge Resorts Collection — are currently closed because of last year’s devastating hurricanes. (They are expected to reopen this winter.) That didn’t stop readers from singing their praises. “My heart aches for Eden Rock given the last hurricane season,” said one fan. “But our babymoon spent on their beaches was a vacation we will not soon forget.” Anguilla’s Zemi Beach House and Four Seasons Resort & Residences were also briefly closed; they reopened this spring. “Beautiful, modern rooms,” praised one Zemi fan. “Snorkeling was amazing!” Jamaica also fared well this year, with four properties on the list. The affordable Rockhouse draws couples to the cliffs of Negril, while Round Hill attracts the family crowd in Montego Bay thanks to its spacious villas, calm shoreline, and welcoming staff. “Round Hill is pure peace, and the people working there are the absolute best,” remarked one fan. The No. 1 property is in Anguilla — which, fittingly, was also voted the top island in the region overall. Read on for the full list of top hotels in this diverse part of the world.
Burnt out from the everyday grind, more and more travelers are now choosing wellness getaways over a vacation by the pool, cocktail in hand. And they’re willing to cross borders and fly halfway around the world to unwind. Every year for our World’s Best Awards survey, T+L asks readers to weigh in on travel experiences around the globe — to share their opinions on the top hotels, resorts, cities, islands, cruise ships, spas, airlines, and more. In the international destination spas category, readers rated properties on their accommodations and facilities, treatments, service, food, and overall value. RelatedThe 2018 World's Best Awards Founded in 1940, Rancho La Puerta was one of the first resorts Americans turned to for wellness. With its miles of hiking trails, this retreat, set on 4,000 acres in Baja California, Mexico, continues to be a hit with T+L readers. One fan had been an astounding eight times. Another praised the “quality of the classes,” which include drumming and pool Pilates, and the desert setting as “gorgeous and tranquil.” Some travelers are willing to go even farther for rejuvenation, all the way to Bali’s COMO Shambhala Estate, a resort set high in the hills near Ubud. The 30-room property is renowned for its detox weeks, Balinese massages, and menus that emphasize clean eating: think flaked salmon with cauliflower, or spelt-flour tortillas with spiced chicken. The BodyHoliday, on the Caribbean island of St. Lucia, also focuses on healthful eating, and recently unveiled a new vegan, farm-to-table dinner experience based upon the Ital-Rastafarian diet. But the No. 1 international destination spa this year is in Europe — in the gorgeous Bavarian Alps. A repeat winner from 2017, Schloss Elmau Luxury Spa & Cultural Hideaway has four spas, including one that caters to children, in addition to six restaurants, a concert hall, and thoughtful cultural programming. Read on for more on this resort, and see how the rest of the winners ranked.
Imagine sailing the Seine on an intimate ship that pays homage to France in all the right ways: think champagne, decadent cheeses from Normandy, and tasteful aquatints that depict 19th-century Paris. Uniworld’s Boutique River Cruise Collection’s Joie de Vivre reflects France in all those ways — and more. It’s one of the many reasons T+L readers love this river cruise line, which took the No. 1 spot this year. Uniworld emphasizes the destination in the décor and programming of its 18 unique vessels. “The Joie de Vivre really carries the flavor of France with its fine artwork, décor, and alternative bistro dining,” said one fan. “The greatest part was arriving back in Paris our last night to watch the lights of the Eiffel Tower come alive. It was truly magical.” Every year for our World’s Best Awards survey, T+L asks readers to weigh in on travel experiences around the globe—to share their opinions on the top hotels, resorts, cities, islands, cruise ships, spas, airlines, and more. Readers rated individual cruise ships on their cabins/facilities, food, service, itineraries/destinations, excursions/activities, and value. Those assessments were combined to generate results for the cruise lines in five categories, including river cruising. RelatedThe 2018 World's Best Awards Not far behind at No. 2 was Viking Cruises, which has an astounding 64 ships in its fleet worldwide. One fan who sailed the Danube with Viking last year loved the experience enough to quickly book a two-week cruise to Russia for 2018. Said that traveler, “I have friends who have sailed as many as ten times with Viking, and they all say it is the absolute best!” Smaller lines also proved to be popular with our readers. Aqua Expeditions (No. 4) has only two ships in its fleet. One sails the Mekong between Vietnam and Cambodia, the other, remote stretches of the Amazon in Peru. “Not the usual cruise line or boat,” said one reader. “Very small, wonderful food and service.” Crystal River Cruises (No. 6), which launched its river cruise brand in 2016, now has five ships, all in Europe. The sleek vessels feel modern, the cabins extra spacious (what traveling couple doesn’t love a double vanity in the bathroom?). “Crystal has taken luxury to a whole new level,” said one fan. “The best of the best,” added another. Read on to see how these lines stacked up this year in the rankings.
Travelers to Miami Beach have some tough decisions to make. Do they want their hotel to come with an impressive art collection — including a massive Damien Hirst sculpture of a woolly mammoth? Check in to the Faena Hotel, which placed 10th this year in our list of readers’ favorite hotels. Or how about a buzzy Italian restaurant where the kitchen makes its own pasta and flies in the burrata fresh from Italy? Stop by the new Four Seasons Hotel at the Surf Club (No. 4), where said restaurant, Le Sirenuse Miami, is keeping locals and guests well fed. At either of these properties — plus the other eight that made the cut — there are plenty of diversions to keep one entertained. Every year for our World’s Best Awards survey, T+L asks readers to weigh in on travel experiences around the globe — to share their opinions on the top hotels, resorts, cities, islands, cruise ships, spas, airlines, and more. Hotels were rated on their facilities, location, service, food, and overall value. Properties were classified as city or resort based on their locations and amenities. RelatedThe 2018 World's Best Awards The Betsy, built in 1942 and unique in the city for its Georgian-style architecture, continues to impress our readers with its cultural programming. The property hosts an a cappella festival in November and a chamber music festival in the summer. It also invites authors to come and stay in its Writer’s Room, honing their craft while participating in community service. “Love their style, service, and dedication to arts and literature,” said one reader. Wellness is another thing these properties emphasize. The 74-room COMO Metropolitan Miami Beach features a hydrotherapy pool on the roof, Dr. Hauschka facials, and specialty juice menus. Acqualina Resort & Spa, in Sunny Isles, has a 20,000-square-foot space that includes an over-the-top Royal Spa Treatment Suite built for two. “This is a beautiful property, right on the beach and family owned,” said one fan. “The employees all care very much for their clients.” Indeed, when it comes down to it, superior service, as well as proximity to the Miami area’s immaculately kept shores, is what all of these 10 hotels have in common. But one did take home top honors this year — read on for more on the winner, and to see how the other resort hotels ranked.
For the sixth year in a row, Charleston was voted the best city in the United States by T+L readers. And where do they like to stay when visiting the Southern town? In properties as atmospheric as the place itself. Every year for our World’s Best Awards survey, T+L asks readers to weigh in on travel experiences around the globe — to share their opinions on the top hotels, resorts, cities, islands, cruise ships, spas, airlines, and more. Hotels were rated on their facilities, location, service, food, and overall value. Properties were classified as city or resort based on their locations and amenities. RelatedThe 2018 World's Best Awards The newest hotel on the list, the Dewberry, immediately earned raves when it opened in the winter of 2016. Set in a mid-century former federal building overlooking Marion Square, the 155-room property feels like a chic throwback to the 1960s — complete with a brass-clad bar and vintage Danish pieces in the lobby — and is an interesting departure from Charleston’s more traditional hotels. “The interior design is unreal, and the food is magical,” said one reader. Last year’s No. 1 winner, the Vendue, slipped to No. 7 on the list. But it still delights with its contemporary art collection, which one fan described as “thoughtful,” and another said was “exquisite.” Romance was on our readers’ minds at the Wentworth Mansion: many wrote that they chose this 21-room boutique hotel, which boasts crystal chandeliers and hand-carved marble fireplaces, for a honeymoon or anniversary stay. “They brought a bottle of champagne and flowers to our room to mark our 30 years of marriage,” remarked one reader. “We felt like royalty. Thank you!” Charleston is a big food and drink town — so it’s no surprise that several properties on the list are noted for their restaurant and bar scenes. At the Market Pavilion Hotel, guests can sip sweet-tea martinis at the rooftop Pavilion Bar, a hangout for visitors and locals alike, while at the Planters Inn, they can indulge in a multicourse dinner of seared foie gras, jumbo blue crab salad, and pan-seared snapper at the upscale Peninsula Grill. If you go, be sure to save room for dessert. “The Peninsula Grill is just the best,” added one fan. “My wife can’t stop talking about the coconut cake!” Read on for the full list of winners.
There are many advantages to sailing on a large ship (hello, three-story slides and Broadway-style shows). But for some, the ship plays second fiddle to the destination: it’s truly just a vessel, albeit a very comfortable one, to get them to some of the most remote corners of the earth. T+L readers are so passionate about expedition cruising — whereby passengers experience adventure-focused destinations such as the South Pacific, Antarctica, and the Galápagos — that they overwhelmingly voted many small-ship lines specializing in this style of travel as the World’s Best.  Every year for our World’s Best Awards survey, T+L asks readers to weigh in on travel experiences around the globe — to share their opinions on the top hotels, resorts, cities, islands, cruise ships, spas, airlines, and more. Readers rated individual cruise ships on their cabins and facilities, food, service, itineraries and destinations, excursions and activities, and value. Those assessments were combined to generate results for the cruise lines in five categories; small-ship ocean cruise lines have vessels that can carry up to 249 passengers. RelatedThe 2018 World's Best Awards One thing is clear when it comes to UnCruise Adventures (No. 8). “It really is all about a rustic, active adventure trip — not your typical cruise experience,” said one reader of this line, which focuses on Hawaii, Alaska, and the Pacific Northwest. “The crew made it feel like my own yacht,” added another. “Want to follow whales? We’ll follow whales. Want to see sea turtles? We’ll stop at this incredible cove.” Lindblad Expeditions (No. 5), the first cruise line ever to sail to Antarctica, now has company down there: Silversea (No. 9). Though their vessels may vary in style, both brands focus on bringing knowledgeable scientists on board to speak with guests and lead outings ashore on Zodiacs. “Antarctica was a real adventure with Silversea,” said one fan.  Indeed, visiting hard-to-access places is part and parcel with being on a small ship. Crystal Yacht Expedition Cruises (No. 7) visits scenic, intimate ports, such as Split, Croatia; Kotor, Montenegro; and St. Bart’s, in the Caribbean. “Great service and team — small and personal,” praised one reader. The No. 1 small-ship cruise company this year has just two vessels in its fleet — but they sail to a destination that many put at the top of their bucket list. Read on for more on this line, and the full list of the Top 10.
T+L readers have a soft spot for Wind Surf, Windstar’s 310-passenger sailing cruise ship. “From day one, we were treated like cherished members of family,” said a devotee, with another chiming in, “This is one fantastic yacht.” Indeed, many remarked that the intimate size of the vessel allowed them to feel as if they were traveling with dear friends. “The Wind Surf experience is romantic, unhurried, and relaxing,” added another loyalist. All these adjectives are hallmarks of a successful vacation, and are the reason readers voted Windstar No. 1 in the midsize-ship ocean cruise line category this year. Every year for our World’s Best Awards survey, T+L asks readers to weigh in on travel experiences around the globe — to share their opinions on the top hotels, resorts, cities, islands, cruise ships, spas, airlines, and more. Readers rated individual cruise ships on their cabins and facilities, food, service, itineraries and destinations, excursions and activities, and value. Those assessments were combined to generate results for the cruise lines in five categories; midsize-ship ocean cruise lines have vessels that can carry 250 to 599 passengers. RelatedThe 2018 World's Best Awards They may not be sailboats, but French line Ponant’s fleet of three 264-passenger luxury expedition vessels — L’Austral, Le Boréal, and Le Soléal — takes third place this year, no doubt because the ships move passengers to the polar regions in style. “Outstanding cruise to Antarctica,” said one reader. And several readers called out the Michelin-level meals inspired by French cooking. Paul Gauguin Cruises also specializes in sailing to remote corners — specifically, the South Pacific. Its sole vessel, the 332-passenger Paul Gauguin, travels to Fiji, the Cook Islands, and, of course, Tahiti and Bora-Bora. “I can’t think of a better way to see French Polynesia,” said one reader of the line, which was voted No. 2. “We have traveled on this ship 10 times since 2008, and will always choose it because the staff takes such good care of our families.” Read on for the full list of winners, and to see how they scored with our readers.
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Cruising continues to surge in popularity, drawing an astounding 27 million passengers last year. The reason? There are many new, sleekly-designed ships out on the high seas. And our readers are falling in love with them, voting many brands with just-launched or renovated vessels onto the World’s Best large-ship list. Every year for our World’s Best Awards survey, T+L asks readers to weigh in on travel experiences around the globe — to share their opinions on the top hotels, resorts, cities, islands, cruise ships, spas, airlines, and more. Readers rated individual cruise ships on their cabins/facilities, food, service, itineraries/destinations, excursions/activities, and value. Those assessments were combined to generate results for the cruise lines in five categories; large-ship ocean cruise lines have vessels that can carry 600 to 2,199 passengers. RelatedThe 2018 World's Best Awards Seabourn, for example, makes its debut appearance on this list at No. 4 thanks to its new, 600-passenger ship, Seabourn Encore. (The line’s three 458-passenger vessels, the Odyssey class, afforded Seabourn a fourth-place ranking in the midsize-ship category as well.) With its of-the-moment design courtesy of Adam D. Tihany and innovative dining options, the Encore was an instant hit with our readers. “The addition of the new Grill by Thomas Keller is a big plus,” said one reader. “The food has gotten even better, which I didn’t think was possible!” Regent Seven Seas Cruises (No. 3) placed this year, no doubt in part to its 750-passenger ship, the Seven Seas Explorer, which now offers wellness excursions in addition to having a sprawling Canyon Ranch spa with a spacious outdoor deck. The design also impressed readers, too. “Everywhere you looked there was artwork and beautiful fabrics,” said one fan. No. 2 winner Crystal Cruises just put its Crystal Symphony through a multimillion-dollar renovation, changing the cabin décor and even adding unlimited Wi-Fi. (Crystal Serenity will soon follow suit.) “We’ve been on several Crystal Cruises,” said one fan. “How is it possible that they always hit it out of the park?” And our readers are definitely taking note of the on-shore programming: Azamara Club Cruises (No. 7) got special shout-outs for staying late in port and for offering AzAmazing Evening excursions, such as a nighttime concert by the St. Petersburg Symphony Orchestra. Sophisticated design, stellar service, and cultural programming are at the heart of the large-ship cruise line that has now been No. 1 for three years in a row. Read on for more about it, plus the other nine winners.
Sure, you can travel between New York and the United Kingdom in just seven hours by plane. But why not take things slow on a weeklong cruise aboard the Queen Mary 2, Cunard’s glamorous, Art Deco–style vessel? Our readers are so in love with this 2,691-passenger ocean liner — and this throwback style of travel — that they have voted the company World’s Best Mega-ship ocean cruise line three years in a row. “There is only one Queen, and there is no comparison,” wrote in one loyalist. Every year for our World’s Best Awards survey, T+L asks readers to weigh in on travel experiences around the globe — to share their opinions on the top hotels, resorts, cities, islands, cruise ships, spas, airlines, and more. Readers rated individual cruise ships on their cabins and facilities, food, service, itineraries and destinations, excursions and activities, and value. Those assessments were combined to generate results for the cruise lines in five categories; mega-ship ocean cruise lines have ships that can carry 2,200 passengers or more. RelatedThe 2018 World's Best Awards The QM2 also has plenty of bells and whistles — a ballroom, dog kennels for those who can’t leave their pooches behind, and the only planetarium at sea — to keep folks amused. Indeed, the brands that resonated most with our readers are going above and beyond with onboard amenities. Princess Cruises, which ranked third, has a partnership with Discovery Communications, and is revamping its fleet’s youth and teen centers on a rolling basis. (For example, the Beach House, which caters to ages to 13–17, now has a surf-themed lounge.) Speaking of families, Disney Cruise Line continues to earn high marks with its four action-packed ships. Some readers noted that the fleet showed its age (Disney does have new additions on the horizon), but that didn’t deter them. “The Magic is an older vessel, but well done all the way around,” said one. And Disney, contrary to what you might expect, also emphasizes sense of place: “I did a Norway cruise, and loved how they brought the local culture on board in the food, the crew’s costumes, even the music in the hallways.” Read on for the full list of this year’s winners, and see how these lines scored.
To stand out in a crowd, a superior city hotel should have a prime location in a prime neighborhood, or a clubby bar that draws both locals and guests (an especially hard trick to pull off). Or how about stylish rooms that serve as tranquil oases from the hum of urban life? These are just a few of the factors our readers took into consideration when voting on the top city hotels in the continental U.S. this year. The results, as always, continue to surprise us. Every year for our World’s Best Awards survey, T+L asks readers to weigh in on travel experiences around the globe — to share their opinions on the top hotels, resorts, cities, islands, cruise ships, spas, airlines, and more. Hotels were rated on their facilities, location, service, food, and overall value. Properties were classified as city or resort based on their locations and amenities. RelatedThe 2018 World's Best Awards New York and Los Angeles have six winners on the list between them, a testament to their enduring popularity with our readers. Coming in at No. 12 is newcomer Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills, a T+L It List 2018 winner. Several readers called out the buzzy rooftop pool and restaurant, where you can see an air-kissing local crowd. “Waldorf got it right, in a very big way,” one fan said. “A whole new era of Beverly Hills.” New York’s debut entrant, Hotel 50 Bowery, is breathing new life into Chinatown, which didn’t have a luxury hotel before now. Like the Waldorf, it has a rooftop bar scene, though the views include landmarks like the Empire State Building. But Hotel 50 Bowery also nods to the past by displaying centuries-old artifacts unearthed during construction (it sits above former local hangouts like taverns and a movie theater) and details on the history of the neighborhood. “Beautiful design, a one-of-a-kind property,” one guest said. Three hotels made it from our reader’s favorite city in the United States: Charleston, South Carolina. The Spectator (No. 2), Planters Inn (No. 6), and French Quarter Inn (No. 11) are all in the historic district, and many readers wrote in to say that they loved being close to all the action. “Planters’ location cannot be beat: it feels like a quiet and refined oasis in the heart of the city,” one reader said. Readers also loved the setting of the Inn of the Five Graces, a low-slung adobe building that is quintessential Santa Fe. “This hotel has it all and is only one block away from the historic plaza,” raved one fan, who also couldn’t get enough of the mosaic-tiled bathrooms and kiva fireplaces. “Each room is a masterpiece of colors and textures.” And the 317-room Pendry San Diego (No. 4), in the heart of the Gaslamp Quarter, got shout-outs for its food — there are no fewer than six restaurants and bars on site. “I ate at all of them and the food was simply amazing.” Where is the No. 1 urban stay? For that, we’re traveling back to New York City, to the heart of the Upper East Side. Read on for more on the winner — and to see the full list.