Travel

Prince Charles Mixes Business With Pleasure on Royal Trip to the Caribbean

Travel and Leisure - Fri, 03/22/2019 - 16:13
<p>Prince William and <a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/trip-ideas/island-vacations/luxury-private-resorts-fiji" target="_blank">Prince Harry</a> may get all the attention now, but we’re here to remind you that 70-year-old Prince Charles is the original handsome British Prince of people’s dreams.</p><p>This week, Charles and his wife Camilla kicked off a 13-day tour of the Caribbean. As <em><a href="https://www.townandcountrymag.com/society/tradition/g26850147/prince-charles-camilla-parker-bowles-royal-tour-caribbean-2019-photos/" target="_blank">Town &amp; Country</a></em> reported, the royal pair will make an appearance at a whopping 50 engagements on 10 islands during their stay.</p><img alt="Prince Charles in The Caribbean "src="https://cdn-image.travelandleisure.com/sites/default/files/styles/1600x1000/public/1553098933/prince-charles-caribbean-CHARLESTRIP0319.jpg?itok=r08znEY7"><p>But, even with this ridiculously packed schedule the duo still made time to relax on the beach in Barbados. Because — let’s be real — there’s no way you can go to Barbados and not dive into the <a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/worlds-best/hotels-caribbean-bermuda-bahamas-resorts" target="_blank">crystal blue Caribbean waters</a>. And, the paparazzi photos of Charles reminded everyone that he’s the OG of royal heartthrobs.</p><p>While the photos are dashing the couple is reportedly not all that pleased that their downtime became a part of the bigger story. <em>Town and Country reported that, </em>according to the British Press Association, "a source said the pictures were taken during a brief off-duty moment on a major international tour on behalf of the Government, in circumstances where the couple would have a reasonable expectation of privacy during private down time."</p><p>So, after their quick dip the duo quickly got back to their official royal duties, which are of much greater importance than their swim.</p><p>For example, on their first official stop in St. Lucia, Prince Charles gave a speech that called attention to the local sustainability efforts on the islands.</p><p>“Climate change,” he said, “poses nothing short of an existential threat to this island as it does to every part of this region.”</p><p>According to <a href="https://www.reuters.com/article/us-britain-royals-caribbean/in-st-lucia-britains-prince-charles-touts-blue-economy-idUSKCN1QZ04R" target="_blank">Reuters</a>, the Prince specifically called out a program that aims to map St. Lucia’s seabed, which is supported by the Commonwealth Marine Economies Program, as an effort that holds the “potential to help develop St. Lucia’s vital blue economy in significant and sustainable ways.”</p><img alt="Prince Charles in The Caribbean "src="https://cdn-image.travelandleisure.com/sites/default/files/styles/1600x1000/public/1553098933/prince-charles-and-wife-caribbean-CHARLESTRIP0319.jpg?itok=QKPzj5US"><p>The Prince and his wife are now on their way to other islands including <a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/travel-guide/st-vincent-grenadines" target="_blank">St. Vincent and the Grenadines</a>, St. Kitts and Nevis and Grenada. Prince Charles will also be the first British royal to visit <a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/travel-guide/cuba" target="_blank">Cuba</a>. That trip, Charles’ <a href="https://www.princeofwales.gov.uk/press-release/prince-wales-and-duchess-cornwall-will-visit-st-lucia-barbados-st-vincent-and" target="_blank">website</a> explained, is meant "to highlight the growing bilateral relationship with the U.K. and showcase some of the cultural links between the two countries."</p>
Categories: Travel

Why the Best Places to Hang Out in Los Angeles Are Its Hotels

Travel and Leisure - Fri, 03/22/2019 - 15:40
<p>It’s a scene that plays out on Saturday mornings across the land: a line of people winds out the door of a small diner where, all weekend long, athleisure-clad families fill the dozen or so stools that flank a curved counter. As they thumb the papers, linger over partially eaten plates of <a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/food-drink/restaurants/best-brunches-in-the-world" target="_blank">eggs Benedict and silver-dollar pancakes</a>, and lift their mugs to request refills of joe, they give no inkling that the Fountain Coffee Room is anything but a neighborhood joint, because that is exactly what it is — an institution that locals casually refer to as the Counter. You’d never know that <a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/hotels-resorts/marilyn-monroe-bungalow-beverly-hills-hotel" target="_blank">Marilyn Monroe</a> loved getting late-night ice cream here or that this is where the members of Guns N’ Roses signed their first record deal. And unless you recognized the embroidered crest on the napkins or the wallpaper emblazoned with waving <a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/culture-design/visual-arts/beverly-hills-hotel-le-refuge-daybed" target="_blank">banana-palm leaves</a> or the Chanel-pink doggie bag boxes bearing the <strong><a href="https://www.dorchestercollection.com/en/los-angeles/the-beverly-hills-hotel" target="_blank">Beverly Hills Hotel</a></strong> logo, you’d also have no clue you’re in a hotel.</p><p>“Of course it’s in a hotel,” says Alison Werner, a thirtysomething talent booker and SoCal native, when I meet her after breakfast. “This is L.A. Here, we actually hang out in hotels.”</p><img alt="Friends having brunch at the Bel-Air Hotel "src="https://cdn-image.travelandleisure.com/sites/default/files/styles/1600x1000/public/1552589622/brunch-at-the-bel-air-LAHOTELS0319.jpg?itok=FIWdNj2b"><p>This comes as some bit of reassurance to me. In the three years since relocating from New York City, I’ve found myself hanging out at area hotels with a frequency that I thought might have branded me an outsider. But it’s like the writer and cultural critic Fran Lebowitz said: “<a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/travel-guide/los-angeles" target="_blank">Los Angeles</a> is a large city-like area surrounding the Beverly Hills Hotel.” Except, with all due respect to the consummate New Yorker, her cheeky observation is incomplete. Actually, there are a handful of hotels, arrayed in a loose cluster across West Hollywood, Beverly Hills, and Bel Air, that compose the true focal point of the city. Their bars and lobbies, dining rooms and poolsides are the City of Angels’ main drags and town squares.</p><p>“I always found Los Angeles singular among world-class cities in its lack of a central hub. There’s literally no there there, as they say,” hotelier André Balazs notes. “A hotel can fill that void.” That was the idea when he purchased <strong><a href="http://www.chateaumarmont.com/" target="_blank">Chateau Marmont</a> </strong>in 1990, understanding that the stately Loire Valley–style château rising above the comedy clubs and nightclubs of the Sunset Strip had long served as a clubhouse for the elite. It’s never been alone in that role, though over the years the cast of hotels has changed as the city has. During Tinseltown’s Golden Age, the <strong><a href="https://www.thehollywoodroosevelt.com/" target="_blank">Hollywood Roosevelt</a></strong> played the same part, as did the <strong><a href="https://www.fourseasons.com/beverlywilshire/" target="_blank">Beverly Wilshire</a></strong>, which is now staking its claim anew as a Four Seasons. Even as the city is awash in fresh energy, with ever richer culinary offerings, thriving art and cultural scenes, and the ascendance of Downtown L.A. and Venice, the tradition of treating hotels as hearths has happily endured.</p><p>“A hotel, if done correctly, serves as a second home,” says hotelier and restaurateur Jeff Klein, whose locally landmarked Art Deco <strong><a href="https://www.sunsettowerhotel.com/" target="_blank">Sunset Tower Hotel</a></strong> fills the bill by design, thanks to the dinner destination Tower Bar and the recently renovated pool and terrace. Several other properties — old and new — do the same, each in its own distinct way: the opulent, hidden-in-plain-sight refuge <strong><a href="https://www.viceroyhotelsandresorts.com/en/beverlyhills" target="_blank">Viceroy L’Ermitage Beverly Hills</a></strong>; the intimate and welcoming <strong><a href="https://www.palisociety.com/hotels/west-hollywood/" target="_blank">Palihouse West Hollywood</a></strong>, which packs boho-chic charm; and the venerable <strong><a href="https://www.dorchestercollection.com/en/los-angeles/hotel-bel-air/" target="_blank">Hotel Bel-Air</a></strong>, a canyon retreat whose faraway feel belies its proximity to West L.A.</p><p><strong>Related:</strong> <a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/worlds-best/hotels-in-los-angeles" target="_blank">The Top 10 City Hotels in Greater Los Angeles</a></p><p>For out-of-towners, Los Angeles’s hotel-as-hub phenomenon can put an improbable, ironic twist on an itinerary. In most cities, the authentic local experiences visitors crave come from leaving the hotel — not blocking out more time there. “In the case of the Chateau,” Balazs says, “the same thing that appeals to visitors actually is something of vital necessity to residents of L.A. — a sense of place.” The Castle on Sunset, as the Chateau is also known, dates from 1929 and exudes Old Hollywood appeal. Long before the mismatched aesthetic was in vogue, the Chateau embraced eclectic, lounge-worthy furniture that would deliver the comforts of home. Over the years, many famous figures have taken up full-time residence here, but even lingering for a few hours can act as a salve for the loneliness that tends to afflict Angelenos, isolated in their cars and secluded hillside abodes.</p><p>And the Chateau is a celebrity in its own right, steeped in <a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/articles/secrets-of-hollywood" target="_blank">Hollywood history, glamour, and legendary bad behavior</a>. Jean Harlow hosted lovers here during her honeymoon, Jim Morrison swung from the balconies, and John Belushi died of an overdose in one of the bungalows. (The dishy new book <em>The Castle on Sunset </em>marks the Chateau’s 90th year with a history of its trysts, deals, addictions, and art.) The property may as well be the uncredited lead in Sofia Coppola’s <em>Somewhere</em>, a film ostensibly about displacement and ennui that also shows the human connection and bonhomie a hotel can provide. It’s a love letter to the Chateau’s many charms, including the intimate pool and personable waiters and valets, who in real life somehow manage to learn your name and know which car is yours before you can shift into park. These touches add to the Chateau’s air of exclusivity, which, while overstated, is reinforced by the star power on display during seemingly every visit.</p><img alt="scenes from iconic LA Hotels "src="https://cdn-image.travelandleisure.com/sites/default/files/styles/1600x1000/public/1552589622/bel-air-bar-tower-bar-LAHOTELS0319.jpg?itok=n1HgYws1"><p>While eating dinner on the veranda recently, I see several pop starlets at the tables. During a visit to the bungalow housing Chateau Hanare, Marmont’s year-old kaiseki restaurant, the cast of a premium cable show spills out of a private dining room. Over the course of one recent day, Quentin Tarantino sits in the sunken living room writing out notes in longhand on script pages, first on a low chair, then on a higher love seat, before finally settling into an armchair that seems to get his artistic juices flowing. A few days later, the space plays host to music executives lunching before meeting with colleagues and counterparts, taking calls, then wooing a pair of hip-hop artists over a drink — all without changing their location — until it’s time to amble a few yards for their dinner reservation.</p><p>Call this devotion to place enlightened inertia, an increasingly popular approach to efficient planning in this traffic-congested city whose mantra is map twice, drive once. Even established hotels have adapted to become multi-act stopovers, encouraging post-lunch laptop sessions that blend into evening engagements. At the Sunset Tower, which offers nearly every amenity except a sizable lobby, Klein reimagined the pool patio and the terrace, which had long been afterthoughts, adding a sultry new bar area with banquettes and booths for meetings over drinks. They now present a relaxed daytime precursor and nighttime alternative to the elegant and exclusive Tower Bar across the lobby, which has seen its own evolution.</p><p>Last year, when Gabé Doppelt, a former fashion editor and onetime acolyte of Anna Wintour, replaced Dimitri Dimitrov as the maître d’ at Tower Bar, she assumed the mantle of Hollywood’s most empowered host — and de facto social kingmaker. In Los Angeles, this changing of the guard at Tower Bar was treated like a peaceful transfer of power almost on par with a presidential inauguration. While Doppelt has honored traditions (the dress code and the no-photos rule, instituted after an unfortunate J.Lo incident, remain), she has also ushered in changes. In her hands, the Tower Bar’s reservation lists and seating chart are constructed less around the entertainment establishment and more with an eye toward contemporary eclecticism. Directing traffic with a trace of a South African accent, Doppelt confidently mixes and matches contrasting crowds, as if continuously curating a highly personalized cocktail party. “Changing the mix is essential,” she says. “It stops us from becoming stale.”</p><img alt="Gabe Doppelt at the Tower Bar "src="https://cdn-image.travelandleisure.com/sites/default/files/styles/1600x1000/public/1552589622/gabe-doppelt-tower-bar-LAHOTELS0319.jpg?itok=SA_fnHAF"><p>Reservations remain as elusive as ever, and some area residents will go so far as booking a hotel room, knowing that it’s the best way to score a coveted table. “Guests get preferential treatment in that regard,” Klein says of Tower Bar. “If you’re an out-of-towner and you’re not staying here, it’s going to be pretty hard to get in. The truth is, it’s 80 percent locals every night.”</p><p>That kind of client base is a seal of authenticity sought by all hoteliers, precisely because residents are the most discerning returning customers. “One thing that stunned me is how many people live in the area and come here,” Doppelt says. “We have one guest, Lev, who’s been coming for 12 years, maybe four times a week. He stands in the exact same place at the bar and he knows all our staff. He will even start telling guests about the history of the hotel. He’s a neighbor — that’s it.”</p><p><strong>Related</strong>: <a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/food-drink/los-angeles-food-tour-wes-avila-guerrilla-tacos" target="_blank">Eat Your Way Through Los Angeles With Angeleno Chef Wes Avila</a></p><p>The connection runs both ways. Doppelt also calls Lev part of the family, based on affection for him—not his stature, station, or domestic proximity. “We have guests who, if there’s a death in the family,” Doppelt adds, “we’ll either go to the memorial or the family will come here.”</p><p>These sort of bonds aren’t cemented overnight. “You can’t just open a place and become a hub,” says Avi Brosh, the CEO and founder of Palisociety. “It takes a long time to become part of the fabric within a community. It has to be a friendly neighborhood place. It has to grow on you.” His company opened Palihouse West Hollywood a decade ago, seeking to create “a place that was a little bit less defined, more like a student union.” It was modeled on social-clubs-cum-hotels like Soho House (which opened a West Hollywood location of its members-only club, sans hotel, two years later), with a lobby, bar area, and garden restaurant that flow seamlessly into one another, each inviting like-minded creative types to while away the time. It can feel like a co-working space, a Parisian café, and a cocktail lounge — often all at once. As I perch at the bar, hip young Busy Philipps look-alikes clack away on their laptops, a young foursome toasts, and a spectacled fortysomething professional greets his lunch mate, whom he’s introducing to the place: “My quirky-cool assistant turned me on to it. Small but nice, right?”</p><img alt="Scenes from West Hollywood's Palihouse Hotel "src="https://cdn-image.travelandleisure.com/sites/default/files/styles/1600x1000/public/1552589622/mardi-green-juice-palihouse-lounge-LAHOTELS0319.jpg?itok=xSdhcrLA"><p>Visitors hoping to drink in L.A.’s glitzy energy sometimes come up dry at the illustrious and idyllic Hotel Bel-Air — a sprawling, leafy oasis tucked partway up Stone Canyon that feels far, far away from, well, everything. That, of course, is its appeal to area residents. The sense of serenity begins when you cross the footbridge over Swan Lake and the white waterfowl float by. It continues through what feels like a rambling country estate, which is what the property was until the 1930s. At the time, it was centered around a massive stable — vestiges of which remain around the pool, whose oval shape is an outline of the riding ring that preceded it. The hotel’s 103 rooms and suites are housed in multiple buildings scattered across 12 acres, so that even when it’s at capacity, it never feels crowded.</p><img alt="Hotel Bel-Air gardens "src="https://cdn-image.travelandleisure.com/sites/default/files/styles/1600x1000/public/1552589622/hotel-bel-air-gardens-LAHOTELS0319.jpg?itok=q8UbNjac"><p>One happy exception: Sunday brunch, a buoyant, Bellini-fueled, open-air affair for which well-heeled denizens from all over the L.A. area descend on the hotel’s Wolfgang Puck restaurant. It’s rarefied enough for Balenciaga pumps but relaxed enough for New Balance running shoes. Some locals combine it with a trip to the spa, whose monthly memberships are popular among those who live nearby, while others indulge themselves with <a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/food-drink/why-do-we-drink-bloody-marys-on-planes" target="_blank">Bloody Marys</a> and splurge on sturgeon caviar.</p><p>The most essential weekday meal, fittingly, is at the Los Angeles area’s most iconic institution. That would be the power lunch at the famed Polo Lounge in the Beverly Hills Hotel. (If you’ve heard that the Ivy is still the “it spot,” you’ve likely heard that from tourists, who now make up a disproportionate percentage of the Ivy’s patrons.) There’s comfort in being a Polo Lounge regular. As I enter, a woman in business attire rushes by the host and asks, “Is he here yet?” The host nods affirmatively as the woman heads in, the host knowing precisely whom the woman is meeting and the woman knowing precisely which table she has. The most desirable spots are the small booths opposite the bar and, outside, the oversize banquettes that ring the garden, where producers and moguls mingle in full display for other diners. But the enduring appeal of the property, which opened in 1912 and later inspired the Eagles’ “Hotel California,” has been tested in recent years. The hotel became the subject of an impassioned boycott in 2014, after the Sultan of Brunei, whose sovereign wealth fund owns parent company the Dorchester Collection, instituted aspects of sharia law in his home country. But the opposition gradually lost steam, outweighed by affection for the hotel, its staff, and its role as a headquarters for the neighboring community.</p><img alt="Scenes from the Beverly Hills Hotel "src="https://cdn-image.travelandleisure.com/sites/default/files/styles/1600x1000/public/1552589622/beverly-hills-hotel-polo-lounge-pool-cabanas-LAHOTELS0319.jpg?itok=tRjGzD6O"><p>If the Polo Lounge is the place Angelenos go to be seen, L’Ermitage is where they go to be unnoticed. “No one here uses the front door,” a greeter says — at the front door. As befits a refuge that prides itself on discretion, a more clandestine entry can be accessed on the parking level — one where the red carpet literally gets rolled out for events during Hollywood’s awards season and for visiting dignitaries. (For locals arriving for lunch or a <a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/articles/best-staycation-ever" target="_blank">staycation</a>, too.) Once inside the 116-suite hideaway, you’re enveloped in peace and quiet, despite its location near Rodeo Drive. Every detail is refined and restrained. If it seems like a perfect place to recover, it is. Soon after the residential condos were converted to a hotel in the 1970s, the owner built an entire wing for healing patients. Today, there’s a private floor reserved for postsurgical guests who want to be nursed back in the lap of luxury and away from prying eyes. Michael Jackson often convalesced here for months at a time. Of course, plastic surgery isn’t required to pamper oneself at L’Ermitage. Guests will check in to get primped ahead of galas and weddings, in part because of the renowned full-length triptych mirrors. At every turn, the service is reserved yet highly personal, even for guests who aren’t technically people. During lunch at Avec Nous, waiters alert the kitchen staff to prepare their handcrafted dog food as soon as they spot a familiar Great Dane and his owner sitting on the patio.</p><p><strong>Related</strong>: <a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/travel-tips/celebrity-travel/marin-hopper-los-angeles-guide" target="_blank">Designer Marin Hopper Shares Her Ultimate Guide to Los Angeles</a></p><p>Ultimately, the human touch hotels provide is what makes them so essential to residents. Like many visitors to Los Angeles, Joe Zee, a fashion stylist, creative director, and television host, used to wonder why friends in L.A. would be so eager to meet him at his hotel. “I get it now that I live here,” says Zee, a former New Yorker who has called the Hollywood Hills home for the past three years. “I celebrated my last birthday and New Year’s at Tower Bar.”</p><p>When I meet him there to toast the launch of his new Netflix docuseries <em>7 Days Out</em><i>,</i> we grab drinks, followed by dinner with another friend of Zee’s who is in town. “He probably thinks I did it to make it easy for him,” he says with a laugh as we raise our glasses. “But I made a reservation here before I knew where he was staying.”</p><p>As Doppelt glides through the dining room after seating a group of guests, she stops and leans in to chat with Zee and the rest of us. As she stands to leave a few minutes later, she lights up and calls over an anonymous-looking middle-aged man heading toward the bar with a trio of friends. “You must know Lev,” she says to us. “Don’t you?”</p><img alt="Afternoon scene at the Palihouse West Hotel "src="https://cdn-image.travelandleisure.com/sites/default/files/styles/1600x1000/public/1552589622/palihouse-west-mardi-restaurant-LAHOTELS0319.jpg?itok=XfCldZfq"><h2>Where Angelenos Gather</h2><p>This constellation of six luxe hotels dotted around West Hollywood, Beverly Hills, and Bel Air forms Los Angeles’ true city center.</p><p><strong>Beverly Hills Hotel</strong></p><p>Part of the Dorchester Collection, along with its sister property, the Hotel Bel-Air, the iconic retreat houses two of the city’s most popular dining destinations: the brunch favorite Fountain Coffee Room (entrées $8–$27) and the power-lunch den Polo Lounge (entrées $20–$75). <em><a href="https://www.dorchestercollection.com/en/los-angeles/the-beverly-hills-hotel" target="_blank">beverly​hills​hotel.com</a>; doubles from $595.</em></p><p><strong>Chateau Marmont</strong></p><p>Hotelier André Balazs’s hideaway welcomes Angelenos and travelers seeking a respite from the city — whether you’ve come for a leisurely meal at the kaiseki restaurant Chateau Hanare (from $90) or a stay in one of the legendary bungalows. <em><a href="http://www.chateaumarmont.com/" target="_blank">chateau​marmont.com</a>; doubles from $450.</em></p><p><strong>Hotel Bel-Air</strong></p><p>Ensconced in Bel Air’s labyrinthine canyons, this former estate feels ultra-private, thanks to lush gardens and discreet service. Carve out time for brunch at Wolfgang Puck ($95 per person). <em><a href="http://www.dorchestercollection.com/en/los-angeles/hotel-bel-air/" target="_blank">hotel​bel​air.com</a>; doubles from $595.</em></p><p><strong>Palihouse West Hollywood</strong></p><p>This eclectic property blends elements of a boutique hotel and an extended-stay residence to foster a welcoming vibe, particularly in its Lobby Lounge (entrées $29–$57), a fashionable spot for after-work drinks. <em><a href="http://www.palisociety.com/hotels/west-hollywood/" target="_blank">palisociety.com</a>; doubles from $335.</em></p><p><strong>Sunset Tower Hotel</strong></p><p>One of the city’s buzziest scenes can be found at the Art Deco landmark’s Tower Bar (entrées $32–$57), where celebrities and area residents congregate nightly. <em><a href="http://www.sunsettowerhotel.com/" target="_blank">sunset​tower​hotel.com</a>; doubles from $395.</em></p><p><strong>Viceroy L’Ermitage Beverly Hills</strong></p><p>Known for its understated elegance, the hotel draws visitors of all stripes with its 116 spacious suites and the panoramic views of the Hollywood Hills from its rooftop pool. <em><a href="http://www.viceroyhotelsandresorts.com/en/beverlyhills" target="_blank">viceroy​hotels​and​resorts.com</a>; doubles from $525.</em></p>
Categories: Travel

Say Goodbye to the Flintstones This Summer — Bedrock City Is Shutting Down

Travel and Leisure - Fri, 03/22/2019 - 09:46
<p>There won’t be any "yabba dabba-doos" in our future — at least after this summer.</p><p>According to <a href="https://www.usatoday.com/story/travel/destinations/2019/03/20/flintstones-bedrock-city-arizona-open-for-final-summer-roadside-attraction-on-way-to-grand-canyon/3228198002/" target="_blank"><em>USA Today</em>,</a> the <a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/slideshows/kitschiest-roadside-attractions-in-america" target="_blank">quirky roadside attraction</a> known as Bedrock City will be going away for good after this summer. So, say goodbye to Fred, Wilma, Barney, Betty, and all your other pre-historic cartoon faves.</p><img alt="Bedrock City, Arizona "src="https://cdn-image.travelandleisure.com/sites/default/files/styles/1600x1000/public/1553190248/camera-bedrock-city-BEDROCK0319.jpg?itok=VT6zE6Lw"><p>Bedrock City, a send up to the classic Hanna Barbera cartoon, "The Flintstones," has been operated by Linda and her late husband Frank Speckels since 1972, according to radio station <a href="https://kjzz.org/content/754389/flintstones-themed-bedrock-city-arizona-quietly-closes-after-nearly-50-years" target="_blank">KJZZ</a>. The family sold the property to Troy Morris and his business partner Ron Brown back in January, <em>USA Today</em> reported.</p><p>Morris and Brown are turning the 30-acre property into a new attraction called Raptor Ranch, but we’re guessing Fred’s old pet Dino isn’t going to be making an appearance there. According to <em>USA Today</em>, Morris breeds falcons and other birds of prey, which he eventually intends to make part of his new attraction.</p><p>Bedrock City has kitschy Stone Age themed features like a themed, concrete entertainment complex, statues of the beloved "Flintstones" cartoon characters, and a brontosaurus slide.</p><img alt="Bedrock City, Arizona "src="https://cdn-image.travelandleisure.com/sites/default/files/styles/1600x1000/public/1553190248/dinosaur-home-bedrock-city-BEDROCK0319.jpg?itok=NZ1c2p3_"><p>Construction for the new Raptor Ranch could take up to five years, according to <em>USA Today</em>, so this summer may be the last chance in a while that anyone can pass by the area for a quaint roadside experience.</p><p>Morris is hoping people will come to see the original Bedrock City one last time and even bring photos of their past visits there for old time’s sake. He plans to renovate the RV park, gift shop and the diner for its farewell season.</p><img alt="Bedrock City, Arizona "src="https://cdn-image.travelandleisure.com/sites/default/files/styles/1600x1000/public/1553190248/fred-house-bedrock-city-BEDROCK0319.jpg?itok=tiBuidOA"><p>According to <em>USA Today</em>, Morris intends to open Bedrock City around mid to late June.</p><p>While some roadside attractions have managed to stay in business over the decades, others have been sold off to new owners, for better or worse. <a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/travel-news/worlds-greatest-miniature-village-for-sale" target="_blank">Roadside America in Shartlesville</a>, Pennsylvania, a popular miniature village, as well as the <a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/hotels-resorts/boutique-hotels/clown-motel-for-sale-vegas" target="_blank">iconic Clown Motel near Las Vegas</a>, were both looking for buyers in 2018.</p>
Categories: Travel

Lake Michigan Is Turning Into a Giant Pit of Ice Shards and It's Oddly Beautiful

Travel and Leisure - Fri, 03/22/2019 - 09:23
<p>It must be <a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/trip-ideas/nature-travel/spring-equinox" target="_blank">spring</a>, because Lake Michigan is thawing out into an otherworldly patch of glittering ice shards.</p><p>The water beneath the <a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/travel-tips/weather/lake-michigan-frozen-chicago-polar-vortex" target="_blank">lake’s frozen surface</a> has begun to thaw and is creating a sea of ice shards that look like something out of a Disney film or <em>Game of Thrones </em>scene. As the water below the surface melts, it pushes the remaining ice into a formation like the quills of a porcupine.</p><img alt="Shards of ice pile up on Lake Michigan along the South Haven Pier in South Haven, Michigan. "src="https://cdn-image.travelandleisure.com/sites/default/files/styles/1600x1000/public/1553192366/ice-shards-lake-michigan-SHARDS0319.jpg?itok=h6c_RgFJ"><p>Although the ice may look beautiful, it is most definitely not safe for people to explore.</p><img alt="Shards of ice pile up on Lake Michigan along the South Haven Pier in South Haven, Michigan on March 19, 2019 "src="https://cdn-image.travelandleisure.com/sites/default/files/styles/1600x1000/public/1553192366/ice-lake-michigan-SHARDS0319.jpg?itok=tqcRqGP1"><p>"No ice is safe ice, especially this time of year," U.S. Coast Guard boatswain’s mate chief petty officer Grant Heffner <a href="https://eu.usatoday.com/story/travel/experience/america/2019/03/21/lake-michigan-ice-shards-beautiful-but-not-safe/3232048002/" target="_blank">told Michigan Live</a> on Wednesday. "The ice is certainly deteriorating and breaking up."</p><p>The lake has been frozen since January when a polar vortex walloped the area and brought subzero temperatures. After the storm, <a href="https://www.standard.co.uk/news/world/polar-vortex-lake-michigan-covered-in-stunning-ice-shards-as-warmer-weather-hits-frozen-surface-a4097316.html" target="_blank">ice shelves formed over 56 percent of the lake’s surface</a>. The <a href="https://fox17online.com/2019/02/19/lake-michigan-ice-shelves-are-dangerously-unpredictable/" target="_blank">Coast Guard warned against walking out on the ice</a> as its instability created sudden patches where it became unpredictable. Warmer temperatures over the past two weeks have caused the unusual and beautiful ice shard formations.</p>
Categories: Travel

You Can Surf With Dogs and Swim With Sharks at This Hawaiian Resort

Travel and Leisure - Fri, 03/22/2019 - 09:11
<p>When it comes to vacationing in <a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/travel-guide/hawaii" target="_blank">Hawaii</a>, it’s hard to go wrong. Sun, sand, sunsets, and a cocktail is all it takes — until the opportunity to <a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/animals/world-dog-surfing-championships" target="_blank">surf with dogs</a> changes the game.</p><p>Visitors to Oahu’s North Shore typically come to surf the legendary Pipeline, Sunset Beach, and Waimea Bay, but why surf alone when you can “hang 10” with a surf-loving pup? Hina and Kahuna, <a href="https://www.turtlebayresort.com/" target="_blank">Turtle Bay Resort’s</a> two surfing dogs, join visitors for surf and paddleboard expeditions. Along with their owner, North Shore native Rocky Canon, the dogs help surfers catch a wave or paddle around the clear waters of the Pacific Ocean.</p><img alt="Turtle Bay Resort "src="https://cdn-image.travelandleisure.com/sites/default/files/styles/1600x1000/public/1553194176/surfing-beach-turtle-bay-SURFINGDOGS0319.jpg?itok=ZS9q9xis"><img alt="Dog surfing "src="https://cdn-image.travelandleisure.com/sites/default/files/styles/1600x1000/public/1553194176/kids-and-dog-surfing-SURFINGDOGS0319.jpg?itok=82278r7R"><p>If surfing with dogs isn’t your thing, the resort – which is known for their animal adventures – also offers glass-bottomed kayak adventures among the once-endangered green sea turtles, ocean-side yoga on horses, and shark cage diving experiences.</p><p>The resort is located in Kahuku, a 55 minute drive from the Honolulu International Airport and 15 minutes from the historic town of there's litera. Turtle Bay Resort sits right on the Pacific Ocean among banyan tree groves. Their animal adventures are a big draw but visitors also come to play the resort’s two championship golf courses — Arnold Palmer and George Fazio — or to experience the <a href="https://www.turtlebayresort.com/Oahu-Spa" target="_blank">Nalu Kinetic Spa</a>.</p><img alt="Dog surfing "src="https://cdn-image.travelandleisure.com/sites/default/files/styles/1600x1000/public/1553194176/dog-and-people-surf-crew-SURFINGDOGS0319.jpg?itok=XetDklmn"><p>Whether you come to surf with dogs, swim with sharks, golf, or visit to experience the North Shore’s legendary surf breaks Pipeline, Sunset Beach, and Waimea Bay, Turtle Bay Resort makes a point to give visitors a taste of Hawaii’s wild side.</p>
Categories: Travel

Here’s How Far in Advance You Should Book Your Flights in 2019 (Video)

Travel and Leisure - Fri, 03/22/2019 - 08:45
<p>Flight prices can fluctuate greatly, which is why knowing when to book tickets can make a big difference in the final price of a trip. </p><p>To help travelers as they plan out their upcoming vacations, CheapAir.com has pulled together its annual <a href="https://www.cheapair.com/blog/cheapair-coms-5th-annual-airfare-study-reveals-the-best-time-to-buy/" target="_blank">airfare study</a> on the best times to book flights in 2019 based on 917 million airfares from last year. </p><p>Airfares changed an average of 61 times before a trip in 2018, CheapAir.com found. This can make tracking exact times to book tricky, but there are overarching patterns travelers can look at to make sure they don’t miss out on deals.</p><img alt="Find out the best times to book flights for the top deals. "src="https://cdn-image.travelandleisure.com/sites/default/files/styles/1600x1000/public/1553114689/cheap-air-best-time-to-book-FLIGHTBOOK0319.jpg?itok=5GG7esva"><p>“Five years ago, we started crunching airfares because so many travelers felt like the market was volatile and random,” CheapAir.com CEO Jeff Klee said in a statement. “Today, we’re seeing that there are stable patterns; if you know the basics, you can almost always buy within a few percentage points of the lowest price.”</p><p>Overall, the study found 76 days before a trip to be the best time to book domestic flights, though there are various booking periods that come with their own benefits. </p><p>Take a look at the six booking zones CheapAir.com has identified below, showcasing how airfares generally look from the time they are published at about 11 months before a trip to the last minute travelers are able to buy tickets:</p><strong>First Dibs (about 10 months to 6.5 months in advance): </strong>CheapAir.com representatives recommend this window for travelers who care more about securing specific flight times or seats than getting the best price. These tickets can cost around $50 more than those available in the most affordable zone.<strong>Peace of Mind (about 6.5 to 4 months in advance): </strong>Travelers booking during this period can expect to pay around $20 more than the most affordable booking zone on flights, but they should find a decent amount of flight options.<strong>Prime Booking Window (about 4 months to 3 weeks in advance): </strong>This booking window is when travelers can expect the biggest savings, according to CheapAir.com.<strong>Push Your Luck (2 to 3 weeks in advance): </strong>Travelers might still find cheap tickets during this time, though the odds are not as good as they are in the prime booking window. Seat selections also start to dwindle during this period, so travelers may spend additional money to book a better seat option.<strong>Playing With Fire (1 to 2 weeks in advance): </strong>While waiting this long will often mean limited choices and higher prices than the prime booking window, booking during this time is still close to $135 less on average per ticket than buying at the very last minute.<strong>Hail Mary (less than a week in advance):</strong> This is when travelers can expect the highest prices, with tickets costing close to $220 more than what they typically do during the prime booking window.<img alt="A breakdown of various booking zones for flights. "src="https://cdn-image.travelandleisure.com/sites/default/files/styles/1600x1000/public/1553116148/cheap-air-best-times-to-book-FLIGHTBOOK0319.jpg?itok=MeF2fm_S"><p>While the study found that the specific day of the week a flight is booked won’t have a major effect on its price, the days travelers fly can. Tuesday was the cheapest day of the week to fly, with flights up to $85 cheaper on average than on the most expensive day of the week to fly (Sunday).</p><p>Flight prices also fluctuate depending on the season. </p><p>For winter, travelers can find affordable options as long as they steer clear of flying on Christmas week and to ski destinations. The average best time to book is 94 days (about three months) from the date of travel, with the prime booking window running from 74 to 116 days before a trip. Winter tends to be the most expensive season to travel, with domestic flights averaging $433.</p><img alt="Here's how far in advance you should book flights for every season. "src="https://cdn-image.travelandleisure.com/sites/default/files/styles/1600x1000/public/1553116311/cheap-air-season-booking-FLIGHTBOOK0319.jpg?itok=_fqCT6cB"><p>Planning ahead becomes important for spring flights, thanks to increased family and <a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/trip-ideas/cheap-spring-break-getaways" target="_blank">spring break travel</a>. The average best time to book is 84 days (about three months) before the travel date, and the prime booking widow is 47 to 119 days before. Average domestic fares are around $354 for the spring, the study found.</p><p>Traveling in August and September is a better time for snagging summer deals, with the average best time to book at 99 days before travel. The prime booking widow for summer is between 21 and 150 days before departure.</p><p>Finally, fall can be a sweet spot for budget travelers, offering average domestic fares of $342 with the best time to book landing on 69 days before travel. The prime booking window is 20 to 109 days before a trip.</p><p>It’s important to note that results on the best times to book flights can vary from one report to another. A recent <a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/travel-tips/best-times-to-book-flights-expedia" target="_blank">report from Expedia</a> and the Airlines Reporting Corporation found that the best deals can be found when booking three weeks in advance from most parts of the world, while <a href="https://www.skyscanner.com/tips-and-inspiration/best-time-to-book-usa?AID=13268017&amp;PID=7597878&amp;SID=58287X1516333Xfd0d67a8bb564f1932673730c9f2a316&amp;associateid=AFF_TRA_00014_00004&amp;utm_source=commission+junction&amp;utm_medium=affiliate&amp;utm_campaign=us-travel-2617611-7597878&amp;utm_content=us-travel-13268017&amp;_tck=b/fqwn9l6MTFqFPLF1/8ilVE0fESuLlDT8coKepLQog" target="_blank">Skyscanner also recommends</a> booking two to three weeks in advance for the best domestic prices. </p><p>While noting these time frames can be a good starting point for travelers, combining it with tools like <a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/travel-tips/how-to-save-money-on-flights-with-airfare-alerts" target="_blank">flight alerts</a> and <a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/travel-tips/google-flights-explore-destinations" target="_blank">Google Flights</a> can help make sure you don't miss the best deals, no matter when they happen to be. </p>
Categories: Travel

Virgin Australia Apologizes After 9-year-old Unaccompanied Minor Had to Sleep Overnight in Airport Lounge

Travel and Leisure - Fri, 03/22/2019 - 08:41
<p>There are lots of rules in place when it comes to unaccompanied minors at airports, but every so often, a perfect storm of mishaps ends up causing a world of trouble for both the children and their parents.</p><p>According to <em><a href="https://www.usatoday.com/story/travel/flights/2019/03/20/virgin-australia-unaccompanied-minor-spend-night-airport-lounge/3221257002/" target="_blank">USA Today</a></em>, a 9-year-old boy had to spend a night in an airport lounge in Melbourne, Australia after his Virgin Australia flight from Brisbane to Sydney was diverted.</p><p>The boy, John Meredith, was on his way to visit his grandparents in Sydney last week, reported <em>USA Today</em>. When he was returning home, his flight ran into some bad weather, which caused a diversion to Melbourne Airport. But, since the F1 Grand Prix was in town that week, the airline was not able to find accommodation for most of the passengers on such short notice, according to <a href="https://www.news.com.au/travel/travel-updates/virgin-australia-apologises-after-unaccompanied-boy-spends-night-at-airport/news-story/ed38de754ff4da57a0e53ca354c9d6ad" target="_blank">News.com.au</a>.</p><p>One of those passengers ended up being John, who ended up sleeping in the airport lounge overnight. John was actually one of three unaccompanied minors on the flight who ended up in the lounge that night, according to News.com.au.</p><p>To make matters worse, John’s family was not notified about the diversion when it happened. At Sydney Airport, his grandparents were still awaiting his arrival at the normal time. Back in Brisbane, John’s mother, Katie Meredith, had to check a flight tracker app in order to find out about the diversion when her parents told her that John’s plane hadn’t arrived.</p><p>“My parents were sitting in an empty airport,” Meredith said. According to News.au.com, she had to use her Find My iPhone app to track down John’s iPad at the Melbourne Airport to confirm he was there.</p><p>After some confusing back and forth with the airline, John’s family was finally given his new flight details. John was put on a new flight the next morning and made it to Sydney to see his grandparents.</p><p>The airline has since apologized to Meredith for the confusion, saying in a statement, “We take the utmost care when transporting unaccompanied minors and aim to ensure their nominated guardians are aware of any developments as they arise.”</p><p>The airline added, “We apologize for any breakdown in communication between our team and the child’s guardian during the course of the evening.”</p><p>Meredith told News.au.com that she was more concerned about not being able to track down her child rather than him sleeping in an airport lounge.</p><p>“I couldn’t get onto anyone all night, I was on hold for an hour or so with Virgin,” she said “They need to have a 24-hour emergency number so parents and guardians can get in touch at all times about unaccompanied minors.”</p><p>She added, “It isn’t so much about where he stayed, it’s about not knowing where your child is 100 percent of the time.”</p><p>Unaccompanied minors can make many travel situations complicated, which is why both families and airline employees should take great care in making sure the child is looked after if an issue comes up during their trip.</p><p>However, airlines can still make mistakes, like when <a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/airlines-airports/unaccompanied-minor-kicked-off-virgin-flight" target="_blank">Virgin Atlantic ended up kicking an unaccompanied boy off a flight</a> because there were too many on the flight.</p><p>But some airlines are trying to combat blunders with unaccompanied minors with new technology, like <a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/articles/air-new-zealand-tracking-bands-children-traveling" target="_blank">Air New Zealand’s wristbands</a> that help parents track their kids while traveling.</p><p>In the end, peace of mind for parents benefits everyone.</p>
Categories: Travel

This Canyon in Iceland Is Closed to Tourists and Authorities Say Justin Bieber Is to Blame

Travel and Leisure - Fri, 03/22/2019 - 08:17
<p>Love him or hate him, <a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/travel-tips/celebrity-travel/justin-bieber-hotel-slippers-house-of-drew" target="_blank">Justin Bieber has influence</a>. And sometimes that influence can have unintentionally negative results. In late 2015, he shot his “I’ll Show You” music video in a little-known canyon in southeast Iceland. Four years later, the Fjaðrárgljúfur canyon <a href="https://www.lonelyplanet.com/news/2019/03/20/fjadrargljufur-justin-bieber/?utm_source=twitter&amp;utm_medium=social&amp;utm_campaign=travel+news" target="_blank">closed all public paths</a> to the area after it became clear that the increased foot traffic was destroying its fragile vegetation, according to <a href="https://www.lonelyplanet.com/news/2019/03/20/fjadrargljufur-justin-bieber" target="_blank"><em>Lonely Planet</em></a>.</p><img alt="Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon "src="https://cdn-image.travelandleisure.com/sites/default/files/styles/1600x1000/public/top-of-fjaorargljufur-canyon-biebercanyon0319.jpg?itok=RU8rNDTb"><p>According to <em><a href="https://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/news/justin-bieber-iceland/" target="_blank">The Telegraph</a></em>, the number of visitors to the canyon increased from 150,000 to 282,000 between 2017 and 2018 and Daníel Freyr Jónsson from the Environment Agency of Iceland told <a href="http://www.ruv.is/frett/bieber-addaendur-stodvadir-vid-fjadrargljufur" target="_blank">RUV</a> that he believes it’s directly related to Bieber’s music video, which to date has received 440 million views on YouTube. The agency initially planned to close the gorge for two weeks to allow for recovery, but extended the closure to June 1 after seeing the extent of the damage.</p><img alt="Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon "src="https://cdn-image.travelandleisure.com/sites/default/files/styles/1600x1000/public/fjaorargljufur-canyon-biebercanyon0319.jpg?itok=qCLmzoP7"><p>“This canyon was somewhat unknown,” Jónsson told RUV. “But I think Icelanders have known about it a lot longer. The great increase in foot traffic began after Bieber came. There has been an increase of 50% to 80% between 2016, 2017 and 2018.”</p><p>Fjaðrárgljúfur is located near the village of Kirkjubæjarklaustur and was formed during the last Ice Age. The <a href="https://www.south.is/en/moya/toy/index/place/fjadrargljufur" target="_blank">official travel guide</a> to south Iceland reports that the canyon is about 100 meters deep and two kilometers long. Waterfalls are nested deep in the canyon and previously, visitors could walk inside the gorge or on the walking path on the canyon’s edge, enjoying the view from above.</p><p>Thanks to Bieber’s reach, a whole new generation of visitors to Iceland are discovering Fjaðrárgljúfur, but so far, the canyon’s fragile vegetation doesn’t seem to be on board with the Beliebers.</p>
Categories: Travel

George W. Bush Just Made His First Hole-in-one at Age 72

Travel and Leisure - Fri, 03/22/2019 - 07:46
<p><a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/travel-tips/how-to-travel-world-after-retirement" target="_blank">Retirement</a> isn’t a time to give up your goals.</p><p>After years of golfing, former President George W. Bush celebrated his first hole-in-one with an Instagram post on Wednesday.</p><p>The 72-year-old former POTUS was golfing at Trinity Forest Golf Club, a private club in <a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/travel-guide/dallas" target="_blank">Dallas, Texas</a>, this week. At the par-three 12th hole, Bush said he sank his first hole-in-one, with some coaching help from executives of the Bush Presidential Center.</p><p>“Next golf goal: live to 100 so I can shoot my age,” Bush wrote in the caption.</p><p><a href="https://www.golfdigest.com/story/george-w-bush-makes-his-very-first-hole-in-one-at-trinity-forest-golf-clubat-age-72" target="_blank">According to <em>Golf Digest</em></a><i>, </i>Bush plays with a handicap of 10 points — so it wouldn’t be unheard of for him to shoot his age sometime in his 80s.</p><p>Bush is no stranger to the green. Golf even played a controversial part of the first term of his presidency. In 2003, Bush temporarily quit the sport after a bomb went off in Baghdad, killing more than a dozen people while he was golfing.</p><p>“I don't want some mom whose son may have recently died to see the commander in chief playing golf,” Bush said in 2008, <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/sports/2019/03/21/george-w-bush-says-he-hit-his-first-hole-in-one/" target="_blank">according to <em>The Washington Post</em></a>. “I feel I owe it to the families to be in solidarity as best as I can with them.”</p><p>In retirement, he took up the sport again. In 2017, he <a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/syndication/obama-clinton-bush-presidents-cup" target="_blank">joined fellow former presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama at the Presidents Cup</a> at Liberty National Golf Course in New Jersey. A few years earlier, he defended President Obama after his successor was photographed on the golf course.</p><p>Trinity Forest Golf Club will host the AT&amp;T Byron Nelson Championship in May and then it will host the PGA Championship a week later.</p>
Categories: Travel

Here’s What’s Happening With Brexit — and When You Need to Start Worrying About It

Travel and Leisure - Fri, 03/22/2019 - 06:52
<p>We’ll know for sure next week whether or not it’s time to start worrying about Brexit.</p><p>On Wednesday, British Prime Minister Theresa May asked the European Council for a three-month extension to continue Brexit negotiations. Donald Tusk, the president of the European Council, said the commission would likely grant an extension — but only if British parliament votes in support of May’s proposed deal next week.</p><p>“In the light of the consultations that I have conducted over the past days I believe that a short extension will be possible but to be conditional on a positive vote on the withdrawal agreement in the House of Commons,” Tusk said in a statement on Wednesday.</p><p>May approached the European Council this week and asked to extend Brexit negotiations until June 30. The decision is hanging on a vote scheduled to take place in the British House of Commons next week.</p><p>“If the leaders approve my recommendations, and if there is a positive vote in the House of Commons next week, we can finalise and formalise the decision on the extension in a written procedure,” <a href="https://www.consilium.europa.eu/en/press/press-releases/2019/03/20/statement-by-president-donald-tusk-on-brexit/" target="_blank">Tusk said in a statement</a>. “However, if there is such a need, I will not hesitate to invite the members of the European Council for a meeting to Brussels next week.”</p><p>Multiple European leaders, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel, said that they would work "until the last hours" to avoid a situation that would cause the U.K. to leave Europe without a deal, <a href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-47648565" target="_blank">according to the BBC</a>. But Europe’s willingness to approve an extension doesn’t mean it will necessarily be so. May has already twice presented a Brexit plan to parliament and it has twice been shot down.</p><p>The current Brexit deadline is March 29. <a href="https://inews.co.uk/news/brexit/no-deal-brexit-what-meaning-uk-leave-uk-consequences/" target="_blank">If parliament does not pass the withdrawal agreement</a>, the U.K. could leave Europe with “no deal,” which would cause long delays at borders and passport control, temporarily halt trading and likely cause the British sterling pound to tank on the international market.</p><p>Although May has said she is not interested in pushing back Brexit any further than June 30, the European Commission could also approve a longer extension. Parliament could vote on a new deal, hold a vote of “no confidence” (which would force May to step down) or bring the Brexit vote back to the public with a referendum to remain in the European Union.</p><p>May is expected to make a formal statement on Thursday evening.</p><p>If the U.K. does leave Europe at the end of the month, it will still be possible to travel there. However, travelers will likely find longer waits at customs and may not have easy access to European-produced goods.</p>
Categories: Travel

The Tokyo 2020 Olympic Torch Design Is Here — and It Looks Like a Cherry Blossom

Travel and Leisure - Fri, 03/22/2019 - 06:41
<p>The official torch for the 2020 Olympic Games in <a href="https://travelandleisure.com/travel-guide/tokyo" target="_blank">Tokyo</a> was released this week, and its design is a bit flowery.</p><p>Indeed, the rose-gold aluminum torch was crafted in the shape of a Sakura cherry blossom, the national flower of <a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/destination-of-the-year" target="_blank">Japan</a>. When glimpsed from overhead, it displays five sections, or petals, that resemble the flower. Each petal produces its own flame, which are united as one bright flame in the center.</p><p>The torch for the summer games was designed by artist Tokujin Yoshioka. It’s made with <a href="https://www.olympic.org/news/tokyo-2020-reveals-olympic-torch-design-ambassadors-and-relay-emblem" target="_blank">aluminium recycled</a> from the temporary housing that was constructed after the Great East Japan Earthquake of 2011.</p><img alt="Tokyo 2020 Olympics torch unveiling "src="https://cdn-image.travelandleisure.com/sites/default/files/styles/1600x1000/public/1553186474/torch-detail-TOKYOTORCH0319.jpg?itok=ZMUVsSkx"><p>“I designed the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Torch in the wishes for peace and healing of hearts in recovering area,” Yoshioka wrote on his <a href="https://www.tokujin.com/works/2019-the-tokyo-2020-olympic-torch/?l=en" target="_blank">website</a>.</p><p>To achieve its one-of-a-kind shape, Yoshioka used the same aluminum extrusion technology that’s employed in the manufacturing of Japanese bullet trains, per <a href="https://www.olympic.org/news/tokyo-2020-reveals-olympic-torch-design-ambassadors-and-relay-emblem" target="_blank">Olympic.org</a>.</p><img alt="Tokyo 2020 Olympics torch unveiling "src="https://cdn-image.travelandleisure.com/sites/default/files/styles/1600x1000/public/1553186474/torches-group-TOKYOTORCH0319.jpg?itok=GqgdZqmU"><p>It’s appropriate the torch’s cherry blossom design debuted in March, as it’s the beginning of Japan’s celebrated <a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/trip-ideas/spring-vacations/japanese-cherry-blossoms-peak-2019" target="_blank">cherry blossom season</a>. March is also when the Olympics Torch Relay begins, a time when the torch is brought across <a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/travel-tips/best-time-to-visit-japan" target="_blank">Japan</a> and delivered to the Olympic Games. This relay marks the first time the torch will be displayed during the ceremonies next year. The torch’s <a href="https://tokyo2020.org/en/special/torch/olympic/schedule/" target="_blank">121-day journey</a> from Fukushima to Tokyo kicks off on March 26, 2020.</p><p>“In 2020, the Olympic flame will traverse throughout Japan like cherry blossoms blooming, and lights our way to hope,” Yoshioka wrote.</p>
Categories: Travel

This Massive New Theme Park in Turkey With Over 2,000 Attractions Is 3 Times Bigger Than Disney’s Magic Kingdom

Travel and Leisure - Fri, 03/22/2019 - 06:36
<p>Thrill-seekers around the world have a new destination to add to their bucket list.</p><p>According to <em><a href="https://metro.co.uk/2019/03/21/europes-biggest-theme-park-opened-want-go-now-8961138/" target="_blank">The Metro</a></em>, Wonderland Eurasia has officially opened in Ankara, Turkey — and it has plenty of impressive attractions for visitors to enjoy.</p><img alt="View of Wonderland Eurasia, Europe's biggest theme park "src="https://cdn-image.travelandleisure.com/sites/default/files/styles/1600x1000/public/1553185331/wonderland-eurasia-ferris-wheel-WONDERLAND0319.jpg?itok=PAG5Uo6x"><p>Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan was there to open the park on Wednesday, <a href="https://uk.reuters.com/article/turkey-election-park/turkeys-erdogan-opens-giant-theme-park-in-ankara-amid-safety-concerns-idUKL8N2162LK" target="_blank">Reuters reported</a>, boasting that the new, 1.3-million-square-meter (about 14-million-square-foot) park “isn’t just a symbol of pride for Ankara, but all of Turkey.” And considering all the attractions guests can enjoy at the park, it’s clear to see why.</p><img alt="A ride at Wonderland Eurasia in Turkey "src="https://cdn-image.travelandleisure.com/sites/default/files/styles/1600x1000/public/1553185331/wonderland-eurasia%3Dride-WONDERLAND0319.jpg?itok=7N8lpNhB"><p>The park consists of 26 major rides, including 14 roller coasters, and a whopping 2,117 smaller attractions, according to Reuters. There are also several stages for concerts, a "Digital Dark Ride," a 75-meter (246-foot) tower ride, and a 20,000-square-meter (over 21,000-square-foot) “dinosaur jungle” area that has a 70-meter (about 229-foot) animatronic T-rex.</p><img alt="Wonderland Eurasia theme park opens in Turkey "src="https://cdn-image.travelandleisure.com/sites/default/files/styles/1600x1000/public/1553185331/wonderland-eurasia-theme-park-WONDERLAND0319.jpg?itok=clyN3dZJ"><p>On top of all the attractions and rides, the park is also home to the world’s second largest fountain, reaching up to 120 meters (about 394 feet) in height.</p><p>But not everyone is thrilled about the new park. According to Reuters, the park took 1.4 billion lira ($256 million) and over five years to complete. The park project began nearly six years ago and was only completed last year. Along with the exorbitant time and money spent on the park, there are still safety concerns surrounding its opening, according to Reuters.</p><img alt="Wonderland Eurasia "src="https://cdn-image.travelandleisure.com/sites/default/files/styles/1600x1000/public/1553185331/wonderland-eurasia-video-games-WONDERLAND0319.jpg?itok=tExQzLQN"><p>The Ankara office of the Union of Chambers of Turkish Engineers and Architects (TMMOB) told Reuters that they saw evidence of rust on roller-coasters and foundation issues of some attractions in photos.</p><p>Still, President Erdogan insisted that the new park will bring in 50 million lira a year in revenue, according to Reuters, and the park's general manager, Cem Uzan, believes that it will attract 5 million visitors in its first year. </p><p>Bigger theme parks have consistently been a big draw over the years. The <a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/attractions/amusement-parks/dubai-theme-park-largest" target="_blank">world’s largest indoor theme park</a> can be found in Dubai, while the <a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/travel-news/worlds-largest-underwater-theme-park-coming" target="_blank">world’s largest underwater theme park</a> is located in Bahrain.</p><p>Issues with safety aside, the new park has already generated a lot of buzz from thrill-seekers hoping to take a spin on the new park’s attractions.</p>
Categories: Travel

A Family in the U.K. Is Offering $53,000 a Year to a Part-time Nanny Willing to Dress Like a Disney Princess Every Day

Travel and Leisure - Fri, 03/22/2019 - 05:47
<p><em>This article originally appeared on <a href="https://www.thisisinsider.com/uk-family-seeks-nanny-willing-to-dress-like-disney-princess-2019-3" target="_blank">Insider.com</a>.</em></p><p>If you've never grown out of wanting to be a <a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/trip-ideas/disney-vacations" target="_blank">Disney Princess</a>, your dream job may have just become available.</p><p>There's just the tiny matter of looking after two small children, too.</p><p>A British couple are looking to hire a nanny for their 5-year-old twin girls, but with a specific and unusual addition to the role.</p><p>The nanny will be required to be permanently in character as a Disney Princess.</p><p>This means the successful candidate will get to spend their days dressed up as some of Disney's most iconic characters, including Belle, Cinderella, Anna, Moana, Rapunzel, and Merida.</p><p>What's more, the Disney Princess nanny will be paid a salary of £40,000 ($53,000) for working part-time.</p><p>The parents are hoping the nanny will teach their children about strong female role models and instill important values such as determination, fearlessness, and compassion.</p><p>In the job advert posted on <a href="https://www.childcare.co.uk/" target="_blank">Childcare.co.uk</a>, the UK's largest online platform for childcarers, parents, tutors, and schools, the mother of the twins said the family are looking for a part-time nanny to work during the week, based in Brookmans Park, Hertfordshire.</p><p>"Like most 5-year-olds, our girls are obsessed with Disney and we feel this would be the best way to communicate some important values," she wrote.</p><p>"We know this isn't a normal request for nannies, however we think it would be a great way to teach our girls about things like determination, compassion, fearlessness, and ambition from strong yet relatable female role models like Princess Tiana, Princess Anna, Belle, and Cinderella.</p><p>"We are looking for someone who can commit to a character and create a really fun atmosphere in our home, but also won't be afraid to be a disciplinarian if the twins are naughty or act out — they can be little terrors at times!"</p><p>The ad goes on to say that "the right person will have a real creative flare as well as a passion for all things Disney and will be able to share that love of those characters with our girls."</p><p>The role will involve picking the twins up from school four days a week, organizing Disney-related activities such as arts and crafts, baking, singing, cooking dinner, and sometimes putting them to bed.</p><p>On top of the salary, the parents will cover the costs of all costumes.</p><p>"We think it's a great opportunity for someone to get really creative and add a little magic to our girls' lives!" the mother wrote. "So, if there are any Disney-mad nannies out there who'd be able to help us out, please get in touch."</p>
Categories: Travel

A Look Inside Lake Como’s Hottest New Boutique Hotel

Travel and Leisure - Thu, 03/21/2019 - 16:26
<p>Travelers are always on the hunt for the most under-the-radar destination, the coolest new hotel, the just-opened restaurant. Not in a place as timelessly alluring as <a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/travel-tips/celebrity-travel/chrissy-teigen-john-legend-lake-como" target="_blank">Lake Como</a>, where part of the appeal is that things stay more or less the same.</p><p>In the stunning lake region, the “hottest” hotels aren’t the ones with sleek furnishings and lively co-working spaces, but century-old summer palaces with gilded surfaces and frescoes. Similarly, the restaurant that you can’t score a table at isn’t a buzzy vegan spot, but a family-run trattoria that’s been around for decades. Even the transportation of choice — mahogany cigarette boats that whisk VIPs from one glamorous hotspot to the next — hark back to another era.</p><p>So, it’s rare for something entirely new — whether it’s a hotel, restaurant, or spa — to break onto the scene, much less capture the attention of Lake Como’s well-heeled visitors.</p><img alt="Vista Palazzo Lago di Como "src="https://cdn-image.travelandleisure.com/sites/default/files/styles/1600x1000/public/1552488140/master-bedroom-sitting-area-vista-palazzo-PALAZZO0319.jpg?itok=8qqi4Lcr"><p>Enter <a href="http://vistalagodicomo.com/en/" target="_blank">Vista Palazzo Lago di Como</a>, an elegant boutique hotel that did just that when it opened in the city center last summer. A renovated Venetian-style palace on the Piazza Cavour, the four-story property is the vision of the Passera family, who have been in the hospitality industry around Lake Como for nearly a century.</p><p>Unlike Lake Como's old-school hideaways, the 18-room property boasts classically good looks (marble bathrooms, hand-hewn marquetry, sumptuous Dedar fabrics) <em>and</em> modern conveniences like fitness trainers and personal concierge.</p><img alt="Vista Palazzo Lago di Como "src="https://cdn-image.travelandleisure.com/sites/default/files/styles/1600x1000/public/1552488140/living-room-vista-palazzo-PALAZZO0319.jpg?itok=kUJ8Ei-8"><p>“We wanted to capture Lake Como’s tradition and beauty, but combine it with innovation and modern amenities,” Bianca Passera told <em>Travel + Leisure</em>.</p><p>As its name implies, the property offers sweeping views of the lake, whose yacht-dotted waters and sunbather-lined shores are best seen from the hotel's rooftop bar and restaurant.</p><img alt="Vista Palazzo Lago di Como "src="https://cdn-image.travelandleisure.com/sites/default/files/styles/1600x1000/public/1552488140/bathroom-vista-palazzo-PALAZZO0319.jpg?itok=mKmLb0sO"><p>Take a seat at one of the terrace counters and order the Alessandro Volta cocktail — crafted with Dalmore 15 single malt whiskey and served in a light bulb-shaped glass — and the caramelized pumpkin risotto, topped with aged parmigiano, chopped pecans, and powdered coffee.</p><img alt="Vista Palazzo Lago di Como "src="https://cdn-image.travelandleisure.com/sites/default/files/styles/1600x1000/public/1552488140/staircase-vista-palazzo-PALAZZO0319.jpg?itok=_PCpLoLB"><p>But it’s not just the aforementioned restaurant — the first rooftop restaurant in Lake Como — that’s setting the bar for “new luxury” in the area. The property encourages travelers to skip go-to “excursions” (think: elaborate tasting menus and over-priced boat tours) for more off-the-beaten-track adventures like sea plane tours and wine tastings in nearby Franciacorta.</p><p>“People come to Como from all over the world,” said Passera. “So, we take that as an opportunity to show off the best of everything we have to offer in and outside the hotel’s walls.”</p>
Categories: Travel

Carnival Cruise Line Has Two Breweries at Sea — and Now They’re Canning Their Own Craft Beer

Travel and Leisure - Thu, 03/21/2019 - 16:18
<p>Forget those classic photos of your family wearing cocktail dresses and tuxedos as a <a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/cruises/reasons-to-cruise" target="_blank">souvenir from your next cruise</a>. Carnival Cruise Line wants you to take home a six pack: The cruise line is releasing its own private label of craft beers.</p><p>The first cruise line to offer a private label, <a href="https://www.carnival.com/" target="_blank">Carnival</a> is teaming up with Florida-based Brew Hub to can and keg the beer, which is actually produced on two ships, the <em>Carnival Horizon</em> and <em>Carnival Vista</em>. In 2016, Carnival became the first North American cruise line to open a brewery at sea, according to the company. Since then, they've served nearly 300,000 beers to people sailing on the high seas.</p><p>“With the success of our breweries on <a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/cruises/carnival-vista" target="_blank">Carnival Vista</a> and Carnival Horizon the obvious next step was to let all of our guests fleetwide enjoy our refreshing craft beers,” Edward Allen, Carnival’s vice president of beverage operations, said in a statement.</p><p>“To be the first cruise line to ever scale up its beverage operations by canning and kegging their own beer is unprecedented,” he added. “My hope is that our guests will take a four-pack home with them to share with family and friends a refreshing and memorable reminder of their cruise.”</p><strong>Related:</strong> <a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/travel-news/carnival-mardi-gras-roller-coaster-sea" target="_blank">Carnival’s Newest Ship Will Have the First Roller Coaster at Sea</a><p>Like a regularly brewery — you know, one not on a ship — Carnival has taken advantage of seasonal ingredients to create specialty brews like Miami Guava Wheat and Pumpkin Spice Ale. For the new venture, Carnival plans to can three beers: ThirstyFrog Caribbean Wheat, an orange and spices-flavored wheat beer; the “hoppy and intense” ParchedPig West Coast IPA; and ParchedPig Toasted Amber Ale, featuring hints of toasted caramel and biscuit.</p><img alt=" "src=""><p>“Carnival’s team of brewers have created three amazing craft beers, and we could not be more excited to be working together,” Tim Schoen, CEO and Founder of Brew Hub, said in a statement.</p><p>The beers will be available in 16-ounce cans and on tap on all 26 Carnival ships, plus at all of the company’s private destinations.</p><p>The <a href="https://www.carnival.com/cruise-ships/carnival-panorama" target="_blank"><em>Carnival Panorama</em></a>, a ship set to debut in California this December, will feature Carnival’s next brewery at sea.</p>
Categories: Travel

The End of March Is the Best Time to See the Northern and Southern Lights — Here's Where to Catch Them

Travel and Leisure - Thu, 03/21/2019 - 16:06
<p>It's been a good year for the northern lights, with <a href="https://twitter.com/search?q=%23AuroraBorealis&amp;src=tyah" target="_blank">Twitter packed with great photos</a> of the twisting, pulsing green and red polar lights. However, the nights are getting shorter in the Arctic regions and, with the <a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/trip-ideas/nature-travel/spring-equinox" target="_blank">arrival of spring on March 20</a>, aurora hunters in the northern hemisphere tend to pack away their snow boots for the season.</p><p>That's a mistake because the spring equinox actually increases the possibility of stronger, more impressive aurora. What's more, the Southern Lights season is about to start in the southern hemisphere, so there's no need to cease the search for the entrancing, dancing spectacle of the aurora.</p><h2>How does the spring equinox affect the aurora?</h2><p>Earth revolves on an axis that tilts by 23.5°, and at both the spring and fall equinoxes, our planet's tilt is side-on to the sun. That's important because the cause of the aurora at both poles is the solar wind from the sun, and in March and September that solar wind's magnetic field is in sync with Earth.</p><p>It's not an exact science, and more a case of maximizing your chances, but it's always worth planning an aurora hunt towards the end of March. Just pray for clear skies.</p><img alt="View of the Southern Lights taken from Boronia Hill Reserve, south of Hobart, Tasmania. "src="https://cdn-image.travelandleisure.com/sites/default/files/styles/1600x1000/public/1553089417/southern-lights-tasmania-australia-MARCHLIGHTS0319.jpg?itok=g1LbgQFv"><h2>Why avoid the Super Worm Moon?</h2><p>This year the spring equinox and a full moon dubbed the "<a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/trip-ideas/nature-travel/super-worm-moon-2019" target="_blank">Super Worm Moon</a>" both occur on March 20. There's no special significance to that celestial match-up, but it does mean that bright moonlight could blot out the aurora for most of the week. So it's worth delaying a trip to northern latitudes until the last week of March when a less bright moon will be rising much later at night. Although it's worth avoiding the full moon for the very best seeing conditions, the biggest enemy by far on any aurora hunt is cloud cover.</p><h2>Where to see the Northern Lights</h2><p>The auroral zone is centered on the Arctic Circle, so get yourself to anywhere between 65°N and 75°N latitude and you should have a good chance of catching the aurora. Alaska, northern Canada, Iceland, and the northern <a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/trip-ideas/best-things-to-do-swedish-lapland" target="_blank">Lapland region that covers Norway, Sweden, and Finland</a> are all reliable destinations.</p><h2>Where to see the Southern Lights</h2><p>In the southern hemisphere, the auroral zone is between about 65°S and 75°S latitude. Look on a map and you'll see that there's far less landmass in that region, which is why the southern lights are less observed. The viewing season is the opposite to in the northern hemisphere, stretching from March through September when the nights are longest. Key places to watch the aurora are Tasmania in Australia, Dunedin in New Zealand, the Falkland Islands, and the South Georgia Island, a British Overseas Territory and "gateway to Antarctica." Cruise ships tend to visit in the southern hemisphere's summer from December to March, so it's best to plan a visit as late as possible in March if you want to glimpse the aurora in the night after spending the day penguin and whale-spotting.</p><h2>Are the Northern and Southern Lights identical?</h2><p>Apparently not. For many years, scientists assumed so because the poles are connected by magnetic field lines, and auroral displays are caused by charged particles streaming along these field lines. It would make sense that the auroras would be mirror images of each other, but in January 2019 <a href="https://birkeland.h.uib.no/agu-asymmetry-press-release/" target="_blank">a study by the Birkeland Centre for Space Science</a> in Norway revealed that the solar magnetic field arriving from the sun interacts with the Earth’s magnetic field differently in the north and in the south. Thought to be caused by a magnetic tail that extends away from our planet, a tilt is caused in the Earth’s magnetic field on the nightside of the Earth, causing aurora of different shapes and in different locations in the two polar regions.</p><h2>How to see the aurora</h2><p>Get yourself to the auroral zone at the right time of year, and be outside (or near a window, ready to venture out at a moment’s notice) as soon as it's dark. Whatever local people tell you about the time of night the aurora tend to appear, generally ignore that advice because the aurora can, and will, appear at any time of night. Since they're most often observed between sunset and midnight, that is when people tend to be on the lookout, but they can just as easily appear at 3 a.m. An easy way of making sure you see them is to stay in a hotel that offers an aurora wake-up call. Just keep your snow boots by your bed!</p>
Categories: Travel

Unruly Passengers Force Hawaiian Airlines Flight to Turn Back 2 Hours Into Trip

Travel and Leisure - Thu, 03/21/2019 - 16:05
<p>It’s important to remain calm while you’re flying. If not, you might end up causing real problems for everyone around you.</p><p>A pair of unruly passengers caused a Hawaiian Airlines flight bound for Los Angeles to turn back to Honolulu's Daniel K. Inouye International Airport on Tuesday night after a fight broke out mid-air, <a href="http://www.hawaiinewsnow.com/2019/03/20/hawaiian-airlines-flight-lands-back-oahu-after-mid-air-disturbance/" target="_blank">Hawaii News Now</a> reported.</p><p>Details are unclear as to how the fight began. According to Hawaii News Now, many passengers said that it was due to one man bumping another man’s chair.</p><p>“I heard a bunch of shouting coming from behind me — about three rows back. Some dude was in another dude’s face telling him to [expletive] off,” passenger Justin Moore-Brown told Hawaii News Now.</p><p>Other sources say the fight was due to some sort of verbal exchange involving the two men’s companions.</p><p>According to <a href="https://www.khon2.com/news/local-news/unruly-passengers-the-cause-of-aircraft-s-return-to-honolulu/1862433329" target="_blank">KHON2</a>, passenger Stanson Chung said, “I don't know if it was wife or girlfriend, but was like ‘Don't talk to her like that, you shouldn't talk to her like that’.” He added, “And then the guy said, ‘Don't you talk to me like that,’ and that kinda triggered him to charge him or something.”</p><p>Some passengers claim there was no physical contact involved in the fight, according to Hawaii News Now. However, even in verbal altercations in the air, flight crews are often forced to make emergency landings as a precaution.</p><p>Hawaiian Airlines said in a statement to Hawaii News Now, “Approximately two hours into the flight, the captain elected to return the aircraft to Honolulu due to two unruly passengers. Local law enforcement met the aircraft upon arrival at 6:38 p.m. There were 276 passengers and 11 crew onboard. Safety is our priority, and we apologize to our guests for the inconvenience.”</p><p>At least one of the men involved in the fight was removed by authorities, Hawaii News Now reported. Other passengers were able to reboard and continue to Los Angeles. The flight took off again around 8 p.m. local time.</p><p>If you’ve been noticing that unruly passengers seem to be worse than ever in the last few years, you’re not alone. A <a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/airlines-airports/unruly-airline-passenger-incidents" target="_blank">report from 2017 noted that while instances of unruly passengers seems to have gone down</a>, the incidents that have occurred tended to be more violent than in the past.</p><p>It’s no surprise that airlines are now cracking down on misbehaving passengers because of this — Hawaiian Airlines, especially. One <a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/airlines-airports/unruly-passenger-pays-major-penalty-hawaiian-airlines" target="_blank">passenger back in 2017 had to pay the airline nearly $98,000</a> for making threats to the flight crew.</p>
Categories: Travel

JetBlue Is Having a Spring Sale With Flights Starting at $49

Travel and Leisure - Thu, 03/21/2019 - 14:09
<p><a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/airlines-airports/jetblue" target="_blank">JetBlue</a> is celebrating the first day of spring with cheap flights around the U.S. and to the Caribbean. Fares for travel from March through June start at $49 one-way.</p><p>In addition to the cheapest flights — available between Atlanta and Fort Lauderdale, and Pittsburgh and Boston, among other cities — there are also $59 flights between cities including Orlando and Austin, and New York and Boston; $69 between Cleveland or Chicago and Florida; and $79 between Buffalo and Fort Lauderdale, Fort Lauderdale and Barbados, Long Beach and Reno, and Chicago and New York.</p><p>JetBlue flies to several picturesque destinations in the Caribbean, including Puerto Rico, Turks and Caicos, the Bahamas, Barbados, Bermuda, and Jamaica, just to name a few. They also fly to a few destinations in Central and South America, including Costa Rica (Orlando to San Jose is $89 one-way), and Colombia ($119 one-way). To see where they fly from your airport, <a href="https://www.jetblue.com/deals/spring-sale-19/" target="_blank">check out JetBlue's</a> site.</p><p>Fares include government taxes and fees, and are JetBlue's <a href="https://www.jetblue.com/flying-with-us/our-fares" target="_blank">“Blue” fare</a>, which does not include checked baggage.</p><p>To take advantage of the JetBlue sale, travelers must <a href="https://www.jetblue.com/deals/spring-sale-19/" target="_blank">book by March 21, 2019</a>, for travel between March 25 and June 13, 2019. There are blackout dates around Easter and Memorial Day.</p><p><a href="https://www.jetblue.com/deals/spring-sale-19/" target="_blank">See the full list</a> of sale fares.</p>
Categories: Travel

Why South Cambodia’s Lush Private Islands and Luxurious Jungle Camps Should Be A Part Of Your Angkor Wat Trip

Travel and Leisure - Thu, 03/21/2019 - 10:30
<p>This, believe it or not, was the job: to check out intriguing new luxury hotels in a country I had not been back to in some 15 years. The country was <a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/articles/cambodias-new-look" target="_blank">Cambodia</a>, and the only catch was — well, there wasn’t a catch.</p><p>I first went to Cambodia in 1996, at the invitation of an old friend and fellow journalist. He was writing for a newspaper named the <em>Cambodia Daily</em>. He insisted I come see this place. I did. My two-week visit stretched into a life-altering year, then longer.</p><p>The country captured me, charmed and confused me. It has that effect on people, it draws them in. I abandoned my plans, canceled medical school, dropped out of a relationship with a wonderful girl, and wrote half of a juvenile novel about expat life, about the streams of bats that blackened the skies at sunset and the conflict of feeling so happy and free in a country savaged by genocide and war.</p><p>I got a motorcycle, a rented room, a new love, and a new sense of purpose. It was a thrilling time. My friend had been right: there really was no more interesting or important place. Cambodia was on the cusp, emerging from the nightmare of the cultural cleansing carried out by Pol Pot’s Khmer Rouge; between 1975 and 1979 an estimated 1.7 million people, nearly a quarter of the country’s population, had been killed by starvation, overwork, or outright murder. But the intervening years had pushed the Khmer Rouge into hiding, and after another decade of civil war, the country seemed to finally be ready for peace — a democracy, even. And perhaps, we all dreamed, we might somehow help it along.</p><p>In the late 1990s, the little ruined riverside capital of Phnom Penh had a fledgling free press and fragile peace held together by an elderly king and blue-helmeted UN peacekeepers. The countryside was rough and raw and unspeakably beautiful. It wasn’t just the crumbling French-colonial villas and floating villages and miles of pristine coastline, or the ancient spires of Siem Reap’s <a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/attractions/landmarks-monuments/angkor-wat-unique-facts-history" target="_blank">Angkor Wat</a>, rising like a prayer from the jungle. It was the people. It sounds like a cliché, and it’s certainly a generalization, but the Cambodians I met were good people, pure-hearted somehow. Perhaps, because they were survivors, they considered themselves lucky. Those who visited, people like myself, quickly realized how much we had taken for granted, and how much we had to learn.</p><img alt="People and places of Cambodia "src="https://cdn-image.travelandleisure.com/sites/default/files/styles/1600x1000/public/1552585277/people-and-places-cambodia-CAMBODIA0319.jpg?itok=vJ4c9htT"><p>Cambodia has undergone a staggering transformation since then. In 2012, the elderly king, Norodom Sihanouk, died, and these days the UN peacekeepers have been supplanted by Chinese investors. The country didn’t turn into a democracy, exactly, as the ruling party gradually removed opposition voices from the streets and the newspapers, and even the ballot. But the majority of the country has experienced a novel degree of stability, and with it a swell of development. Over half the population is under 25 years old, too young to remember when their country was a destination mostly for journalists, backpackers, and fugitives. Now Angkor Wat is one of the world’s most popular tourist attractions.</p><p>That said, those temples, and perhaps Phnom Penh, are all most visitors ever see of Cambodia. But now a new generation of high-end properties has begun drawing visitors beyond the usual circuit. The coastal islands and jungle mountains in the south and west have been largely inaccessible to visitors for decades. This was a Cambodia I’d never seen. Did I want to? my editor asked.</p><p>I write for work, usually about difficult things. This wasn’t exactly war reporting; it sounded fun, and I needed a break. And I could bring my partner, Gabrielle, on what would be her first visit to Asia. Did I want the job?</p><p>Sure, I said. It’s a living.</p><p><img src="http://cdn-image.travelandleisure.com/sites/default/files/orange-line-3.jpg" /></p><p>The Phnom Penh I knew didn’t have stoplights, a functioning movie theater, or an ATM. It certainly didn’t have a host of spas and luxury hotels. Now it has several. The hotel currently at the top of the food chain, <a href="https://www.rosewoodhotels.com/en/phnom-penh" target="_blank">the Rosewood</a>, occupies the top floors of the second-tallest building in Cambodia, the Vattanac Capital Tower.</p><p>As well as creating a striking contrast with the low French-colonial buildings that defined the city I remembered, this new monolith of glass and steel provides a remarkable view of the city. You can take it in from Sora, the rooftop bar — already a destination for the city’s newly affluent, see-and-be-seen crowd. Similar views are also available via floor-to-ceiling windows in all the public floors of the hotel, from the fine-dining restaurant to the spa, the art gallery to the café.</p><p>But it was only when Gabrielle and I entered the plush serenity of our suite that I finally had a chance to sit and take the view in. The experience was like being in a hot-air balloon above a cornfield, the entire city a scale miniature. Gradually, I recognized shapes below me: the Central Market, the temple. And there, partly obscured by trees, were my rooms on 178 Street, across from the National Museum. Were the bats still here?</p><p>We had only 36 hours in the capital and we overfilled them, exploring Buddhist temples and wandering streets I half remembered, cruising the humming night markets and generally reacquainting myself with the uniquely open and delightful people of this city. Arriving in a new place can be jarring, but Cambodia is easy, because Cambodians are easygoing. At least I’ve found it so, and I was delighted, and a bit relieved, to discover that Gabrielle felt the same. This wasn’t exactly sightseeing, it was slowing down and seeing, and we wanted to stay. But we had another trip to make.</p><p><img src="http://cdn-image.travelandleisure.com/sites/default/files/orange-line-3.jpg" /></p><img alt="Scenes from Cambodia "src="https://cdn-image.travelandleisure.com/sites/default/files/styles/1600x1000/public/1552585277/six-senses-krabey-island-rosewood-phnom-penh-view-CAMBODIA0319.jpg?itok=iSDkY5VP"><p>The last time<b> </b>I traveled from Phnom Penh to the southern province of Sihanoukville, I rode on the train. That is to say, I rode on the roof of one, the way a surfer rides a wave. It was a budget travel option for locals, though neither safe nor strictly legal. The nearly 150-mile journey is still long and hot, but I’m older and lazier. This time, we drove to Sihanoukville in an air-conditioned car.</p><p>We were headed for a resort named <a href="https://www.sixsenses.com/resorts/krabey-island/destination" target="_blank">Six Senses Krabey Island</a>, the latest in a handful of private-island escapes to have opened along the Cambodian coast in recent years. Our driver, Sathya Soun, made great time, working the horn and the gas and the brake across the mountains. Five hours later we crested a final hill and suddenly there was the Gulf of Thailand: a blue line of horizon, broken by the distant green humps of the islands.</p><p>We pulled up to the Six Senses boathouse, where we traded our luggage for chilled hand towels and house-made ginger-and-lemongrass tonic. At the dock our boat awaited, bobbing on sapphire-blue water. Slender fish skimmed the surface like tiny barracuda; swarming shadows of bait pulsed and darted in the depths. “There were dolphins this morning,” our captain said, and we whooshed off toward Krabey Island on twin 250-horsepower engines. There, a small contingent of staff was waiting, hands pressed together in welcome as we exchanged greetings and climbed the pathway to the 40 villas discreetly tucked into the rocks and coves and jungle of this little island paradise.</p><p>You may have heard about the Six Senses philosophy: at its resorts, the emphasis is on a sustainable, authentic, experiential, and, if you choose, wellness-centered stay. Want to sleep better? Eat better? Or just chill out? Krabey is not a large island, but there are places to walk, to explore, to play and swim. There’s a glass-roofed hilltop spa and wellness center with a lighthouse view of the world.</p><p>Ours was villa No. 30: secluded and, I thought, particularly stunning. Its design was naturalistic without being rough-hewn—less Fred Flintstone, more Frank Lloyd Wright. A wall of sliding glass doors faced a small patio and plunge pool, merging with a view of the gulf, a broad-limbed tree fitted with a rattan swing chair, and, at cocktail hour, the setting sun.</p><img alt="Scenes from Six Senses Krabey Island "src="https://cdn-image.travelandleisure.com/sites/default/files/styles/1600x1000/public/1552585277/six-senses-krabey-island-CAMBODIA0319.jpg?itok=XqwCBf99"><p>Arriving here, the first impulse is to play house. You can control the curtains, the lighting, the fans and the temperature on a tablet supplied in every villa; you can also stream reggae through the Marshall Bluetooth speakers, check the mini-bar for cold bottles of the local Brewlander craft beer, and jump naked into the pool. The journey had been interesting but not short, and now what we wanted to do was: nothing. Perfectly nothing.</p><p>But while Gabrielle puttered around our new nest, I pushed back out into the heat, touring the facilities (common pool, ice cream parlor, water-sports center), mopping my forehead with a krama, the traditional Khmer scarf, which doubles as a sarong, belt, and turban. There were fishing communities to visit and local fish to pick from the nets, cooking classes to attend, bottles of chilled white wine to sample, and facial scrubs to prepare.</p><p>An expert elbow-heavy deep-tissue massage brought me to the edge of begging for amnesty, but somehow unknotted the ravages of a four-year book project and a 16-hour flight. Later, the resident wellness consultant, Dr. Anand Peethambar, led me in a personal early-morning beachside yoga session, something I have seen pictured in resort brochures and antidepressant commercials but did not actually believe happened in real life.</p><p>I’d return to the villa and find Gabrielle kneeling on the tiles studying a snail the size of a croissant or collecting praying mantises, their jagged arms cocked like paper soldiers. Or legging through the tidal pool like some giant bird, stalking translucent shrimp with luminous eyes.</p><img alt="Scenes from resorts Southeast Asia "src="https://cdn-image.travelandleisure.com/sites/default/files/styles/1600x1000/public/1552585277/six-senses-alila-villas-CAMBODIA0319.jpg?itok=SFRGjtLI"><p>We discovered that life on a private island quickly begins to resemble an Agatha Christie mystery, with a cast of characters destined to interact. There was a procession of workers who shyly waved, orange-robed monks brought in to chase evil spirits into the sea, and Parag Mahajani, the resort’s visiting astronomer. Mahajani genuinely wanted to show us the moon’s Sea of Tranquility — the lunar landing site of Apollo 11. Each night he was heartbreakingly optimistic that the clouds would part; each morning I’d see him in the tree-house-like restaurant, still hopeful, peeling his breakfast oranges with a distinctly Euclidian air. I hated to let him down.</p><p>Could we have stayed on at Six Senses? Lord, yes. I wanted to. Gabrielle wanted to. It had been, what, two days? Three? But there were other places to have opinions about. And so we stuffed our (mostly unworn) clothes back into the bag, boarded another boat in a profusion of byes and bows and clasped hands, and headed for another resort.</p><p><img src="http://cdn-image.travelandleisure.com/sites/default/files/orange-line-3.jpg" /></p><p>I sometimes have a problem with “luxury” travel, because luxury can create a barrier from the difficulties and annoyances of daily life. Travel, meanwhile, is an opportunity to experience something unfamiliar and perhaps even uncomfortable — the lives of real people in other places. At our final destination, however, I discovered a version of luxury travel I could live with: a rare and extravagant feast of the senses hidden deep within the jungle; an unexpected, delightful conversation named <a href="https://www.shintamani.com/wild.php" target="_blank">Shinta Mani Wild</a>.</p><p>To get to that conversation required another boat and a four-hour drive through towns and villages and wedding processions, then an unpaved road and a two-track wooden bridge. The mountains got bigger, the undergrowth greener. At some point we switched to a jeep, so we could crawl the ruts in low gear.</p><p>For now, this is the only form of arrival at Shinta Mani Wild, but eventually, general manager Sangjay Choegyal told me, most guests will enter via a 1,000-foot zipline over the jungle canopy and across a thundering waterfall. (The jeep option will still be available for the fainter of heart.) This is theater with a mission: to separate guests from their workaday mind-set and prepacked expectations, as quickly and completely as possible.</p><p>Which is to say, to get them out of their heads and into Cambodia.</p><p>Shinta Mani Wild is the latest offering from Bill Bensley, the celebrated, Bangkok-based designer of some 200 hotels in more than 30 countries. Bensley is justly thought to have redefined luxury in the hotels of Southeast Asia, and in recent years he has developed a particular passion for this kingdom.</p><p>The resort is something unique and new to Cambodia — not only a distinctive property in a relatively uncharted region but also one driven by a commitment to helping preserve, nurture, and highlight this country and its character.</p><p>How to describe Shinta Mani Wild? First, there is the location: a 1.7-million-acre national park preserve deep in the southern Cardamom Mountains, part of the largest unspoiled patch of jungle in Southeast Asia. Not long ago, the reserve was isolated; then a highway was cut across it, providing access for loggers and developers to nibble at its edges, and creating a barrier to the migration of animals between the high plateaus of Cambodia’s famous Bokor National Park and Kirirom National Park. Private money, including Bensley’s, established a new reserve, and the land was saved.</p><p>Then there’s the design. The technical term is “tented camp,” as the 15 guest units — each of which sits perched over its own private stretch of the untamed Thmor Roung River — evoke a glamping aesthetic. But there’s really no confusing this for anything approaching camping, or anything other than a Bensley property.</p><p>When examined from a distance, each villa reveals itself to in fact be built something like a giant boat. The tented portion contains the interior living space; the outdoor space resembles a deck, ringed by netted wings that extend over the river, serving as enormous hammocks. It’s as if someone built an ark out of pieces of a North Indian hill station, a jumble of 19th-century African and Cambodian hardwood furniture, and remnants of Barnum &amp; Bailey circus canvas. The vibe is curated fun mixed with local flavor, a mixture of the antique and the fabulous and the foreign, of old-money grace and old-world eccentricity. It is, in short, a room that you do not want to leave.</p><p><strong>Related</strong>: <a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/slideshows/it-list-the-best-new-hotels" target="_blank">It List 2019: Our Editors’ Picks of the Best New Hotels in the World</a></p><p>“Heaven,” was how Gabrielle put it as she flitted from river to orchid to hammock. There was a short happy dance and, eventually, a facedown flop on the great four-poster bed in the middle of the tent.</p><p>“Bill’s only rule, in developing this, was just don’t cut down any trees,” Choegyal, the general manager, told me. I told him it sounded impossible. “But it wasn’t,” Choegyal said. Instead, structures were built around the trees. “There’s always a solution — that’s one of the things Bill has taught me.”</p><p>It’s a harmony of nature and design that you feel, rather than notice outright. Like the structures at Shinta Mani, Cambodia’s wild spaces must find a way to both resist and accommodate, to bend and not break.</p><p>It was tempting, after so much moving around, to just stop and hang the <a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/travel-news/edoardo-flores-collects-do-not-disturb-hotel-signs" target="_blank">Do Not Disturb sign</a> across the bridge leading to our suite (yes, there is a rope and a bridge). To listen to the river below, to read a book — or not read one. But there were things to do. There were adventure butlers on hand, young men in fitted camo vests more Savile Row than deer hunter, some of whom doubled as resident butterfly experts, others as specialists in the Cambodian martial art of <em>bokator</em>. Tulga, a Mongolian fishing guide, wanted to show us his version of <em>tenkara</em>, the meditative Japanese art of catch-and-release fly-fishing. I caught two trees, one rock, and no fish, and Gabrielle’s luck was no better. <em>Tenkara</em> was one option; if a guest wanted to do something else, like forage for mud crabs for that night’s dinner, that was possible too.</p><img alt="Street scenes from Cambodia "src="https://cdn-image.travelandleisure.com/sites/default/files/styles/1600x1000/public/1552585277/scenes-from-cambodia-CAMBODIA0319.jpg?itok=0TUDLCRR"><p>Later, we hopped on the backs of the mopeds driven by Chen Oudom, a young soldier, and Yervon Von, a local anti-poaching specialist. Both are part of a group Shinta Mani Wild supports called Wildlife Alliance, which fights a war of attrition against the chain saws and snare traps that threaten these forests. Its ultimate goal is to create enough of an ecotourism industry here that villagers see these wild spaces as a resource to preserve, not plunder. Elephants, leopards, and gibbons are regularly captured near Shinta Mani; attempting to catch poachers in the act, or dissuade them from trying, is daily work. We spent the afternoon foot-patrolling the jungle paths the poachers use, eyes peeled for illegal snares that maim and kill any animal that happens upon them.</p><p>We had only two nights at Shinta Mani Wild, but they were full, late ones full of stories and fun, jungle sounds mixing with the laughter of the rushing river below. We had dinner, then drinks, then Mongolian vodka. For after-dinner entertainment, Gabrielle learned some bokator moves, then the resort’s collection of antique front-desk bells were brought out to create a surprisingly pleasing symphony at the dinner table.</p><p>A giant Indian moon moth hung over one of the light bulbs high in the tent top, and a great white tokay gecko arrived to keep us company. Gabrielle called it “Friend.” Friend didn’t disagree, and stuck around. Sometime later, the sky became lighter, the rocks and mountains and river became visible again, and we were there, very much there, in a place like no other.</p><p>We were leaving in a few hours. But somehow it seemed that we had finally just arrived.</p><img alt="Krabey Island, Thailand "src="https://cdn-image.travelandleisure.com/sites/default/files/styles/1600x1000/public/1552585277/island-in-cambodia-CAMBODIA0319.jpg?itok=ZuRhuNE8"><h2>Plan a Trip to South Cambodia</h2><p>also Make the capital of Phnom Penh your base for a trip to the unspoiled islands off the coast, followed by a stay in a jungle camp.</p><h2>Getting There &amp; Around</h2><p>We flew <a href="http://cathay​pacific.com" target="_blank">Cathay Pacific</a> from New York to Phnom Penh, with a layover in Hong Kong. You can buy a visa on arrival for $30 — just make sure your passport is more than six months away from expiration. Regional carriers connect the Cambodian capital and the airport at Sihanoukville in less than an hour. A hired car with a driver takes longer, but you see more.</p><h2>Where to Stay</h2><p><strong>Rosewood Phnom Penh</strong></p><p>High above the city in the Vattanac Capital Tower, the city’s newest upscale hotel has sleek, contemporary rooms with spectacular views. Don’t miss a drink at the vertiginous Sora rooftop bar. <em><a href="https://www.rosewoodhotels.com/en/phnom-penh" target="_blank">rosewood​hotels.com</a>; doubles from $224.</em></p><p><strong>Six Senses Krabey Island</strong></p><p>Just three miles off Cambodia’s unspoiled southern coast, this private island has everything you’d expect from a Six Senses resort: ravishing waterfront villas, many with private pools, plus extensive spa and wellness facilities. Activities range from watersports and stargazing to cooking classes and tours of fishing villages. <em><a href="https://www.sixsenses.com/resorts/krabey-island/destination" target="_blank">six​senses.com</a>; doubles from $430.</em></p><p><strong>Alila Villas Koh Russey</strong></p><p>On the nearby island of Koh Russey you’ll find a more familiar tropical beach vacation hotel experience: lounge chairs, a pool, and a cash bar on a crescent of sandy beach. The food here is excellent — from the Khmer-style beef <i>loc lac</i> to the croissants. <em><a href="https://www.alilahotels.com/kohrussey" target="_blank">alilahotels.com</a>; doubles from $463.</em></p><p><strong>Shinta Mani Wild</strong></p><p>Bangkok-based hotel guru Bill Bensley has brought luxury to an untrodden part of Cambodia. Fifteen tented villas are arranged around a river in South Cardamom National Park, where adventure butlers offer guided activities including patrols with local anti-poaching NGO Wildlife Alliance. <em><a href="https://www.shintamani.com/wild.php" target="_blank">shinta​mani​wild.com</a>; doubles from $2,345, all-inclusive.</em></p><p><strong>Tour Operator</strong></p><p><a href="http://wild​frontiers​travel.com" target="_blank">Wild Frontiers</a> has a team of local specialists who can plan a southern Cambodia itinerary, as well as Angkor Wat extensions <em>(from $7,460 per person for nine nights, excluding travel)</em>. They can also arrange a tour of Phnom Penh with the moped-riding <a href="http://www.motogirltour.com/" target="_blank">Motogirls</a> <em>($38 per person)</em> or a trip to the <a href="https://www.wildlifealliance.org/wildlife-phnom-tamao/" target="_blank">Phom Tamao Wildlife Rescue Center</a> <em>($150 per person)</em>, where you can help care for rescued bears.</p>
Categories: Travel

Google Just Made It Easier to Find Hotel Deals — Here's How to Save

Travel and Leisure - Thu, 03/21/2019 - 10:00
<p>One of the hardest parts of planning a vacation is figuring out <a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/slideshows/it-list-the-best-new-hotels" target="_blank">what hotel to book</a>. Between researching different neighborhoods in a city to find the best one for your vibe, to making sure you’re <a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/trip-ideas/budget-travel" target="_blank">sticking to your budget</a>, figuring out where to sleep can be a pain.</p><p>But Google just quietly updated a powerful feature to help ease those hotel booking woes.</p><p>We’ve all used Google to search for hotels before, but now with a totally revamped <a href="https://www.google.com/travel/hotels?tcfs=EgBSAA" target="_blank">Google Hotels</a> site, the tech company has streamlined the process. On arriving at the landing page, travelers can easily put in travel dates and destinations to populate all of the available rooms in that city. You can also easily filter through other standard options like guest ratings and amenities (sadly no hot tub feature, but you can search by <a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/trip-ideas/hotel-pools-with-a-view" target="_blank">properties with a pool</a>) to help make your decision.</p><p>One area where Google seems to be changing the game is by releasing a “deals” feature that only shows customers hotels offering discounted rates. While playing around with the feature on a weekend search for hotels in Nashville, the “Deals” included a luxury hotel billed as 20 percent less than usual and a “Great Deal” that was 30 percent off for a pretty run-of-the-mill hotel chain.</p><p>By clicking into a property, you can get more information about the hotel and the surrounding area. An integration with <a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/travel-tips/mobile-apps/google-maps-lists" target="_blank">Google Maps</a> gives the hotel’s location a rating based on proximity to transit, popular attractions and things to do in the area. This could be helpful when planning a family vacation, where you want to be in the middle of the action, compared to a business trip where tourist attractions aren’t as important. Reviews are pulled in from a handful of sites like Tripadvisor and other booking sites, plus Google, to give plenty of information on each hotel.</p><p>Another major change to Google Hotels is that you can book directly within the platform for the majority of hotels. Though you may actually be booking from Hotels.com, Travelocity, or another booking site, Google acts as the middleman for the transaction. Hotels are also offered directly from Google, as well, and users can use Google Pay to book.</p><p>Google One members will also be notified within Google Hotels if they’re eligible for hotel <a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/travel-news/google-one-members-hotel-discounts" target="_blank">discounts that come with the storage subscription service</a>.</p><p>And if you’re still unsure where to stay after all of that work, may we recommend a <a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/hotels-resorts/boutique-hotels/doyden-castle-cornwall" target="_blank">dreamy British castle</a>, an iconic <a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/travel-news/chrysler-building-could-become-nyc-hotel" target="_blank">New York City skyscraper</a>, or one of the <a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/hotels-resorts/syndication-best-places-to-travel-2019-hotels" target="_blank">best hotels to book in 2019</a>?</p>
Categories: Travel

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