Stephanie Wu headshot
Stephanie Wu headshot

Stephanie Wu

Stephanie Wu is a writer and editor specializing in travel, food, and other lifestyle topics. She has been on staff at Travel + LeisureCondé Nast Traveler, and Town & Country, among other publications. She is the co-founder of MochiMag.com, a publication for Asian American women, and is the author of "The Roommates: True Tales of Friendship, Rivalry, Romance, and Disturbingly Close Quarters" (Picador). She grew up in Taipei, Taiwan, and now lives in New York City.
How to pick an all-inclusive hotel in the Turks and Caicos that’s right for you.
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There are several things that can make or break a trip: airport accessibility, hotel availability, the number of great restaurants. But there are also amenities you may not think about until you arrive—how easy it is to get a taxi or Uber, the attentiveness of the hotel staff, or the view from your hotel bathtub. If you've never booked a trip based on the bathtub view, these photos may change your mind. We asked travel company Epic Road, who can plan ultra-luxurious safaris and vacations, to share their favorite bathtub perches. And if this does inspire a trip, they’re the ones who can help you get the exact room—and the exact view.
“Travel has become a sea of black bags,” Rockefeller says. After working together at a Spanish fashion brand, she and Krantz decided to do something about that, so they launched a line of water-resistant canvas bags with leather trim in four eye-catching colors. Paravel, which is made with fabric from mills in Lake Como and Tuscany, is well priced (from $45 to $345) and doesn’t skimp on design—the products were created as a system, with cubes to keep things organized and collapsible cases to bring for souvenirs. As for what the founders would pack themselves? Krantz’s essentials include a warm sweater and multipurpose boots—great for trips to Jackson Hole, Wyoming, one of the duo’s favorite spots. Rockefeller likes to bring a faux-fur scarf and an instant camera: “People get goofy when the Polaroid comes out.”
Laure Heriard Dubreuil's favorite beaches include Laamu Atoll, Maldives; Palawan, Philippines; and, naturally, South Beach. “I love anywhere you can swim—it clears my mind and is incredibly relaxing,” she says. For beach outfits that go from day to night, she likes embroidered Valentino tunics, leather slides, and silk earrings from Rebecca de Ravenel (“lightweight and perfect for travel”). Louis Vuitton perfumes are her gifts of choice: “Each is based on a different flower, and they’re refillable, which makes them eco-friendly.”
Sitting at the table or skipping town? We’ve answered all of your burning questions about Thanksgiving travel.
The cities of Southeast Asia are on the rise. Urban centers in the region, such as Bangkok; Siem Reap, Cambodia; and Luang Prabang, Laos—hailed for their affordable and delectable dining, historic sites, warm locals, and exciting culture—made up more than half of our list of Best Cities in Asia list this year. There’s never been a better time to go to Asia, particularly to these spots, with a number of stunning hotel openings, an increase in flights from the U.S., and favorable exchange rates. 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, islandscruise lines, spas, airlines, and more. Readers rated cities on their sights and landmarks, culture, food, friendliness, shopping, and overall value. Whether you're in town for business, on a backpacking trip, or stopping over before hitting the beaches, these cities have more than enough attractions to keep you entertained. Chiang Mai might not be Thailand’s largest city, but it’s first in our readers’ hearts—probably because it’s much more manageable. It has a busy downtown with restaurants and must-see markets, but quiet resorts are a quick drive away. Kyoto, last year’s Best City Overall, clearly remains a favorite. It has seen plenty of growth recently, including the spring 2015 opening of Suiran, a Luxury Collection Hotel, and shows no signs of slowing down. And the inclusion of Siem Reap, which is the gateway of architectural and historical treasures that are visited by millions a year, proves that timeless attractions never lose their appeal. Asia’s top capitals, including Bangkok and Tokyo, remain favorites as well, perhaps because they continue to provide reasons to go back, from intriguing art in Bangkok to the second wave of cool cocktail bars in Tokyo. As one reader wrote of Tokyo, “this is a world-class city and a must to visit.” The same could be said of all the places on this list.  
Asia’s biggest capitals are major destinations for both business and leisure travelers. Often, these travelers are one and the same: a huge number of business travelers in Asia tack on a weekend of sightseeing after a week in a conference room. This is just one of the reasons why Asia has some of the best city hotels in the world. In cities like Bangkok, Hong Kong, and Beijing, which are saturated with visitors, the best hotels stand out for their convenient locations, up-to-the-moment design, and impeccable service. Every year for our World’s Best Awards survey, Travel + Leisure asks readers to weigh in on travel experiences around the globe — to share their opinions on the top hotels, resorts, cities, islandscruise lines, spas, airlines, and more. Readers rated hotels on their rooms and facilities, location, service, food and drink, and overall value. Properties were categorized as city or resort based on their locations. This year’s winners for best city hotels in Asia are in some of the continent’s busiest hubs. Large brands known to sophisticated travelers around the globe dominated the list — and those based in Asia made an especially strong showing, including the Peninsula, Swire Hotels, The Leela, Oberoi, and Mandarin Oriental. All are known for their five-star service, with staff who are often able to predict their guests’ needs before a request is made. “A grand hotel with impeccable service in all areas,” one T+L reader commented about the Leela Palace New Delhi, which ranked third in the category. “The staff saw to our every need with a greeting and a smile.” 
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When a country has more than 7,000 islands, there are bound to be some gems. That’s certainly the case with the Philippines, which this year dominated the list of Best Islands in Asia, nabbing four out of the top five spots. 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, islandscruise lines, spas, airlines, and more. Readers rated islands on their natural attractions and beaches, activities and sights, food, friendliness, and overall value.  The country’s largest island, Luzon, home to Manila, made the list. So did Cebu, which offers excellent diving, and, being roughly in the middle of the archipelago, makes a good launching pad for island-hopping. Of Boracay, the runner-up in the category, one reader wrote: “Nothing beats the feeling of sinking your feet in the cool powdery white sands.” And then there's Palawan, an island province in the western Philippines with untouched beaches and lush jungle. The only island to crack the top five that isn’t in the Philippines is Bali, a tried-and-true beach destination in Indonesia that’s beloved by honeymooners, backpackers, and families. “Wonderful history and architecture, breathtaking scenery, delicious food, and very sweet people,” said one survey-taker. “High up on my list of favorites.” When you start planning your next vacation, keep in mind that you don’t have to choose just one of the winners—it’s not hard to create an itinerary that includes all five. 
The nation’s capital is, unsurprisingly, one of the most popular destinations in the U.S. From the historic monuments to the free museums to the explosion of cherry blossoms in the spring, there’s more than enough to keep visitors entertained, no matter how long they stay. Given the number of travelers Washington, D.C., attracts, it’s no surprise that the area has some of the best hotels around.  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, islandscruise lines, spas, airlines, and more. Readers rated hotels on their rooms and facilities, location, service, food and drink, and overall value. Properties were categorized as city or resort based on their locations, and Washington, D.C. includes the city and surrounding areas.  Washington, D.C.’s hotels are known for their service and discretion, hosting not only tourists, but dignitaries and politicians from around the globe. The high standards have expanded beyond the boundaries of the city—so much so that two hotels in Virginia (the Lorien Hotel & Spa and the Ritz-Carlton, Tysons Corner) cracked our list. Location within the city is important to readers as well—the Rosewood, this year’s number one winner, is right in the heart of Georgetown, while the Hay-Adams, which came in at number two, is across the street from the city’s most famous address: 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. “I wish the walls could talk,” one respondent wrote. They’d surely have some fascinating tales to tell.
Asia’s biggest capitals are major destinations for both business and leisure travelers. Often, these travelers are one and the same: a huge number of business travelers in Asia tack on a weekend of sightseeing after a week in a conference room. This is just one of the reasons why Asia has some of the best city hotels in the world. In cities like Bangkok, Hong Kong, and Beijing, which are saturated with visitors, the best hotels stand out for their convenient locations, up-to-the-moment design, and impeccable service. Every year for our World’s Best Awards survey, Travel + Leisure asks readers to weigh in on travel experiences around the globe — to share their opinions on the top hotels, resorts, cities, islandscruise lines, spas, airlines, and more. Readers rated hotels on their rooms and facilities, location, service, food and drink, and overall value. Properties were categorized as city or resort based on their locations. This year’s winners for best city hotels in Asia are in some of the continent’s busiest hubs. Large brands known to sophisticated travelers around the globe dominated the list — and those based in Asia made an especially strong showing, including the Peninsula, Swire Hotels, The Leela, Oberoi, and Mandarin Oriental. All are known for their five-star service, with staff who are often able to predict their guests’ needs before a request is made. “A grand hotel with impeccable service in all areas,” one T+L reader commented about the Leela Palace New Delhi, which ranked third in the category. “The staff saw to our every need with a greeting and a smile.” 
When a country has more than 7,000 islands, there are bound to be some gems. That’s certainly the case with the Philippines, which this year dominated the list of Best Islands in Asia, nabbing four out of the top five spots. 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, islandscruise lines, spas, airlines, and more. Readers rated islands on their natural attractions and beaches, activities and sights, food, friendliness, and overall value.  The country’s largest island, Luzon, home to Manila, made the list. So did Cebu, which offers excellent diving, and, being roughly in the middle of the archipelago, makes a good launching pad for island-hopping. Of Boracay, the runner-up in the category, one reader wrote: “Nothing beats the feeling of sinking your feet in the cool powdery white sands.” And then there's Palawan, an island province in the western Philippines with untouched beaches and lush jungle. The only island to crack the top five that isn’t in the Philippines is Bali, a tried-and-true beach destination in Indonesia that’s beloved by honeymooners, backpackers, and families. “Wonderful history and architecture, breathtaking scenery, delicious food, and very sweet people,” said one survey-taker. “High up on my list of favorites.” When you start planning your next vacation, keep in mind that you don’t have to choose just one of the winners—it’s not hard to create an itinerary that includes all five. 
The nation’s capital is, unsurprisingly, one of the most popular destinations in the U.S. From the historic monuments to the free museums to the explosion of cherry blossoms in the spring, there’s more than enough to keep visitors entertained, no matter how long they stay. Given the number of travelers Washington, D.C., attracts, it’s no surprise that the area has some of the best hotels around.  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, islandscruise lines, spas, airlines, and more. Readers rated hotels on their rooms and facilities, location, service, food and drink, and overall value. Properties were categorized as city or resort based on their locations, and Washington, D.C. includes the city and surrounding areas.  Washington, D.C.’s hotels are known for their service and discretion, hosting not only tourists, but dignitaries and politicians from around the globe. The high standards have expanded beyond the boundaries of the city—so much so that two hotels in Virginia (the Lorien Hotel & Spa and the Ritz-Carlton, Tysons Corner) cracked our list. Location within the city is important to readers as well—the Rosewood, this year’s number one winner, is right in the heart of Georgetown, while the Hay-Adams, which came in at number two, is across the street from the city’s most famous address: 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. “I wish the walls could talk,” one respondent wrote. They’d surely have some fascinating tales to tell.
Chicago is packed with things to do all year round. Spring is a great time to enjoy the 606, a rail line­-turned walking and biking trail; summer is ideal for exploring the outdoor parks (or avoiding the heat at the spectacular art museums); and fall is the season to visit the city’s top tourist attractions, like the Willis Tower and the Bean. The winter cold is a great excuse to hide out in the city’s restaurants, like Duck Duck Goat, a new Chinese-inspired spot from Top Chef winner Stephanie Izard, and secret bars, like Three Dots and A Dash. It’s little wonder that Chicago has received record numbers of tourists in the past few years — and that its hotel scene has been expanding. Some of the city’s new additions have made a major splash: the Langham, the Thompson, the ACME, and the Godfrey all opened in the last five years, and are among Travel + Leisure’s Best Hotels in Chicago. 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, islandscruise lines, spas, airlines, and more. In the hotels category, readers rated properties on their rooms and facilities, location, service, food and drink, and overall value. The winners in the Chicago hotels category were all commended for their well-appointed rooms, great locations (many are right on the Magnificent Mile), and the restaurant and bar offerings. The No. 1 winner, the Langham, was praised for its “stunning views and stunning rooms.” The upscale hotel opened in 2013, and has floor-to-ceiling windows that allow guests to take in views of the Chicago River and the skyline. The newly renovated Peninsula Chicago received high marks as well. All the rooms are now done in shades of cream, with sleek navy-and-black detailing. One subscriber highlighted its pampering services, saying “the spa was a magnificent way to wind down after a day of shopping and sightseeing.” Read on for the full list.
New York may well be the best city in the world for hotels. Whether you want to stay in the tony Upper East Side or stylish TriBeCa, prefer a grande dame or a sleek boutique, would like to live like a celebrity or save your money for the city’s best restaurants, there’s a property that fits the bill. Yet among all that choice, a handful of hotels truly stand out—in particular, for their service and style. 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, islandscruise lines, spas, airlines, and more. Readers rated hotels on their rooms/facilities, location, service, food and drink, and overall value. The greatest hotels serve as mini-sanctuaries from their city surroundings. You can revel in the Broadway crowds around Times Square, then escape into the Chatwal Hotel—No. 10 on the list—a complete change of pace. Robert De Niro’s cozy Greenwich Hotel, in TriBeCa, has an open-air courtyard reserved exclusively for guests. (Little wonder it’s a celebrity favorite.) The renovated Knickerbocker, which has a moody, retro vibe—the staff uniforms have a 1920s feel—but is also completely modern. Breakfast at the hotel restaurant is served in trays with built-in USB chargers, so guests can power up their phones while gearing up for the day. Classic New York properties like the St. Regis made the list, as did newer places like the Refinery Hotel, which opened in 2014. Number one is the sleek and luxurious Surrey hotel, on the Upper East Side, with a black-and-white design scheme punched up with eye-catching modern art. “A gem of a hotel if you want to live in the lap of luxury when in New York.” Sounds good to us.  
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It’s a question that has plagued the travel industry for some time—has the wealth of information on the internet and the rise of digital booking tools signaled the end of tour operators? As our readers have told us time and time again, the answer is no. In fact, some argue, we need travel agents more than ever to cut through the clutter and tell us what is really worth seeing. A top tour operator will negotiate the best rates possible, take care of all logistics, and help out if any issues come up during the course of the trip, such as a missed connection or overbooked hotel. Most importantly, they will plan an itinerary that is just right for you. This year’s No. 1 tour operator in the world excels at just that. Canada-based Gray & Co., which appears in the World’s Best Awards for the first time, organizes custom cycling tours for sophisticated travelers. “Custom trips aren’t an afterthought for us,” says founder Cari Gray. “We specialize in doing it from scratch—and we’re obsessed with the details." 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, islandscruise lines, spas, airlines, and more. Readers rated tour operators on their staff and guides, itineraries and destinations, activities, accommodations, food, and overall value. Gray & Co. isn’t the only cycling operation on our list—longstanding favorites Butterfield & Robinson and Trek Travel also made the cut. And other winners are even more specialized. Mountain Lodges of Peru, for instance, focuses exclusively on journeys to Machu Picchu. “The guides showed excellent knowledge of culture, history, and archaeological digs,” one T+L reader said. “They encouraged respectful interaction with locals and environmentally friendly behaviors. And the destinations were outstanding—there is so much more to the Sacred Valley and the high passes surrounding it than just Machu Picchu.”
In 1922, 24-year-old Mohan Singh Oberoi landed a job as a hotel clerk at the Cecil in Simla, India. From that position, an empire grew.  Oberoi rose to manager of the hotel’s sister property, then persuaded the British owner to sell it to him, mortgaging his wife’s jewelry to finance the deal. In 1934, his company became known as Oberoi Hotel & Resorts. Still family-run, it now encompasses 30 luxury hotels—and for the second year in a row, has been named the best hotel brand in the world by Travel + Leisure voters. 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, islandscruise lines, spas, airlines, and more. Readers rated hotel brands on their locations, rooms/facilities, food, service, and overall value. Midsize, specialty hotel brands won big in this year’s awards. Each of the top five brands has found its niche in a crowded landscape. Oberoi Hotels & Resorts has sumptuous palaces spread out across India and the Middle East, and Oetker Collection has a portfolio of nine grand hotels, including the Bristol in Paris and the Lanesborough in London. Aman—whose most hard-core fans call themselves Amanjunkies—is known for its sleek, minimalist havens in resort areas like Phuket and the Dominican Republic. One&Only’s five-star resorts are popular for family getaways and honeymoons, and Leela has opulent yet contemporary Indian hotels that appeal to both leisure and business travelers. Some bigger, international hotel companies shone as well—perhaps because of their global reputations, strong loyalty programs, and sheer convenience. Four Seasons has hotels in just about every corner of the globe, as do Langham and St. Regis. “Four Seasons is truly the only brand that I know what I'm going to get regardless of the location—impeccable service with extremely comfortable rooms,” one reader wrote.
You've picked a proposal location—now how do you get the ring there without ruining the surprise?
Island hopping in South East Asia is on many a bucket list, and for a good reason. The sheer variety of beautiful places, each within an easy boat or plane ride from one another, makes for a tempting trip. It’s a popular option for spring break, a graduation trip, a honeymoon, or even a multi-generation trip, because between the fantastic hotels, great food, and no lack of activities, there’s something for everyone. In recent years, the increased airlift has also made it much more easier for Americans to visit. Most opt to fly into Hong Kong or Singapore, and then take smaller, regional planes from there to the many islands in the area. Whether you’re planning a girls’ trip to Thailand or a family getaway to Malaysia, the beach will certainly be the star of the trip. And while you could certainly string several of these beaches into one vacation, if you’d prefer to stay in one place and be pampered, there are great resorts with private beaches on this list as well. Travelers are also starting to move past the tried-and-true spots in Bali and Phuket, to islands that are more off the beaten track, from the Philippines to Borneo. And in countries that aren’t known for their beaches, like India and Cambodia, lovely sandy resorts have popped up as a great addition to any trip. And best of all, many of these trips can be done in a completely affordable way. If you can avoid Christmas or Chinese New Year, there are often flight deals to Asia that range between $500 round-trip from the West Coast to $700 round-trip from the East Coast. Hotels, especially the three- and four-star options, are relatively cheap, and of course, you’ll be able to eat like royalty for a fraction of what you’d pay stateside. There may be plenty of beautiful beaches closer to home, but these spots are a must for any Asia itinerary, and provide a nice escape from the bustling urban areas. Read on for our list of the best beaches that should be on every traveler’s list.
It goes without saying that Thailand has some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. The country is one of the most popular places to visit in Southeast Asia, largely because the climate is ideal. There are tried-and-true destinations, like Phuket and Koh Samui, but even some of the more remote islands are getting more and more attention from travelers. There are certain things that characterize a Thai beach experience—clear waters, white sand, and the iconic longtail boats that dot the shore. No matter where you go, you’ll find vendors peddling food, drink, souvenirs, or massages. There will be plenty of ice-cold beverages (frozen mixed cocktails, coconuts, or local Singha beer). And most likely, you’ll be elbow to elbow with other people. It’s pretty much impossible to avoid crowds at Thailand’s most popular beaches, but if you’re willing to go a bit further off the beaten path, you might actually find room to stretch out on your towel. Our advice: ask one of the longtail boat vendors to bring you to one of these more isolated islands for a day, where you can sun and play in (relative) peace. And best of all, once you’re well-rested, you’ll be able to return to the resort areas and mingle away at night, as the islands are known for their party scene. From romantic spots known for their sunsets to incredible adventure destinations where you can zipline between islands and amazing resort beaches, our list has it all. It’s a wonderful time to visit Thailand—the food scene is growing, Bangkok is quickly becoming more than just a stopover city—and no trip is complete without at least a few days at the beach. Here is our guide to the best of the best—some well-known, some completely remote—that will keep you more than busy on any trip. 
Barcelona is one of those rare European destinations where you can have the best of both worlds—a bustling city experience as well as gorgeous stretches of sand. Here are some of our favorite beaches in town.
The Oscars gift bag always includes some fabulous perks, but this year, the travel swag is truly over the top.
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New York’s High Line has spawned big public green-space ideas worldwide. Here, the top projects to look for—if they happen at all.
If you fly more than once a year, you need this.
The 37-year-old achieves an industry first aboard the Celebrity Summit.
Hospitality industry bigwigs, including Danny Meyer, Chipotle CEO Steve Ells, and 21c Museum Hotels’ Sarah Robbins, share some of the biggest takeaways from their careers.
Related: Best Brunch Spots in NYC New York City has opened quite a few marquee attractions in the past six months—and where visitors go, restaurateurs will inevitably follow. Meals at tourism hotspots are known for their eye-popping price tags, so it seemed fitting to break down the cost of eating in seven NYC tourism destinations—from the brand new Whitney Museum to the stunning New York Botanical Gardens—to see just how much entrance and a good meal will set you back.