How Some Airlines Are Getting Around Trump's Electronics Ban

Travel and Leisure - Sat, 03/25/2017 - 16:03
<p><a href="" target="_blank">Emirates Airline</a> has found a way to comply with recent <a href="" target="_blank">restrictions on the use of large electronics</a> on non-stop flights to the U.S. while still accommodating passengers.</p><p>The Dubai-based airline <a href="" target="_blank">will allow passengers </a>to use their large electronics, such as tablets and laptops, at the gate and up until boarding time, at which point the airline will then securely check these items, <a href="" target="_blank">according to a press release</a>.</p><p>This directive comes <a href="" target="_blank">after a rule issued</a> by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) forbade passengers on flights flying non-stop to the U.S. from 10 airports in the Middle East and North Africa from bringing their large electronics into the cabin.</p><img alt=" "src=""><p><a href="" target="_blank">DHS claimed</a> it was acting on a credible threat that terrorists were attempting to build bombs disguised inside large electronics. Security experts and other industry professionals have <a href="" target="_blank">questioned the motives of this ban</a>, however, asking whether it will actually make the U.S. safer from potential threats.</p><p>The affected airlines have attempted to accommodate the ban, which has no scheduled end date at this time. Many of the people flying from these airports to the U.S. are traveling for business, and access to some of their professional technology is crucial.</p><p>“Our aim is to ensure compliance with the new rules, while minimizing disruption to passenger flow and impact on customer experience," Tim Clark, president of Emirates Airline, said in a statement. </p><p>"Our new complimentary service enables passengers, particularly those flying for business, to have the flexibility to use their devices until the last possible moment," he added.</p><p>Emirates will pack the devices in boxes and return them to passengers upon arrival.</p><p>Turkish Airlines followed suit Friday, announcing it would also allow passengers to continue using iPads and tablets at the gate, where they would then be transferred to the cargo hold for "safe and secure transportation," <a href="" target="_blank"><em>CNN Money</em> reported</a>.</p><p>The staff responsible for redistributing electronics upon arrival will need to check identification to ensure that the proper device is returned to its owner, according to the same report.</p>
Categories: Travel

Hawaiian Islands to Get First Ever Statewide Beach Clean-up

Travel and Leisure - Sat, 03/25/2017 - 15:46
<p>There isn't much <a href="" target="_blank">champion surfer Kai Lenny</a> hasn't done in the water.</p><p>In addition to big-wave surfing, the 24-year-old is a six-time Stand-up Paddleboard World Champion, kiteboarder, and windsurfer who calls riding a wave his "favorite thing in the world." But the Maui-born Red Bull athlete is taking on a new challenge: paddling through the chain of Hawaiian islands.</p><p>His adventure will including passing through the Alenuihaha Channel, known as one of the most dangerous crossings in the world due to its high winds, rough waters, and <a href="" target="_blank">sharks</a>. But Lenny isn't doing this just to be a daredevil: He's doing it to protect his home state's beloved beaches.</p><img alt=" "src=""><p>Along with adventure filmmaker Alison Teal, Lenny is leading the first ever statewide beach clean-up, starting and ending in Oahu with stops in Kauai, the Big Island, Maui, Lanai, and Molokai, from March 25 to March 31. </p><p>Members of the local communities (and visitors, of course) are encouraged to jump in and clean alongside the duo, as part of an initiative from Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii and The 5 Gyres Institute. The stops will prioritize Hawaii's "dirtiest beaches" in an effort to raise awareness about the importance of keeping coastlines clean — and stopping plastics from entering the ocean. </p><p>Have plans to be beachside in the Aloha state this month? You can find the list of events on the <a href="" target="_blank">Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii website</a>. And if you need some inspiration to get out there, just take a scroll through <a href="" target="_blank">our favorite Hawaiian beaches</a>.</p>
Categories: Travel

Save At Least $1,440 On a Zambian Safari

Travel and Leisure - Sat, 03/25/2017 - 09:43
<h2>Peru </h2><p>Get 39 percent off at <a href="" target="_blank">Palacio del Inka, a Luxury Collection Hotel</a>, a centuries-old mansion with colonial furniture and hand-painted frescoes—a perfect place to base your bucket list to Machu Picchu.</p><p><b>Cusco Getaway include</b><strong>:</strong></p>Two nights in a Premium RoomDaily breakfast buffetTransfers to the Cusco airportThermal circuit for two people15 percent discount on additional spa treatments20 percent off on any additional nightsLate check-out at 4 p.m.<p><strong>Original Price: </strong>From<strong> </strong>$789 ($395 per night)</p><p><strong>T+L Price:</strong> From $485 ($243 per night); book by June 30 for travel through December 23.</p><p><strong>Booking details: </strong>Use rate code Travel + Leisure</p><h2>Zambia </h2><p>Get 33 percent off the <a href="" target="_blank">Bushcamp Company</a>: a collection of intimate safari camps in Zambia’s South Luangwa National Park, best known for its leopards and migrant birds.</p><p><strong>Kuyenda Combo Special includes</strong><strong>:</strong></p>A combination of six nights or more at any of the Bushcamp Company’s five camps, or the Mfuwe Lodge (stay must include Kuyenda Bushcamp)All meals and beverages (excluding bottles of wine)Walking safaris and game drivesSouth Luangwa National Park intercamp road transfersLaundry and government tax<p><strong>Original Price:</strong> From $720 per person, per night </p><p><strong>T+L Price:</strong> From $480 per person per night; book by October 31. </p><p><strong>Booking Details</strong>: Email <a href=""></a> </p><h2>Belize </h2><p>Get 30 percent off a stay at <a href="" target="_blank">San Ignacio Resort,</a> a lush estate set along the Macal River. Just don’t miss the on-property conservation project featuring friendly green iguanas. </p><p><b>San Ignacio Suite Deal Special </b><strong> includes:</strong></p>A minimum of two nights in a Premium Suite, including butler serviceDaily breakfastA green iguana conservation tourA medicinal trail tour<p><strong>Original Price: </strong> From $800 ($400 per night)</p><p><strong>T+L Price: </strong>From $562 ($281 per night); valid through June 30</p><p><strong>Booking Details: </strong>Use promotional code TLPROMO</p><h2>Myanmar </h2><p>Get 34 percent off <a href="" target="_blank">Sanctum Inle Resort</a>, an exciting new property with monastery-inspired rooms with inlaid mahogany furnishings, in the country's Inle Lake region. </p><p><b>The Getaway Package </b><strong> includes:</strong></p>Two nights in a Cloister Deluxe RoomCocktails at the barA half-day tour of Phaung Daw Oo PagodaDaily breakfast for two<p><strong>Original Price: </strong> $568 ($284 per night)</p><p><strong>T+L Price: </strong>$372 ($186 per night); valid until September 30</p>
Categories: Travel

This City Had No Monuments to Women — Until Seven Popped up Overnight

Travel and Leisure - Sat, 03/25/2017 - 09:36
<p>Scattered across <a href="" target="_blank">New York City</a> are statues of important women throughout history, including a valiant Joan of Arc riding a horse across Riverside Park, and a fountain dedicated to the first woman to serve on the state’s board of charities, Josephine Shaw Lowell.</p><p>But in one European city, there were absolutely no monuments of women (and only 6 percent of all memorials, mostly in the form of plaques, dedicated to women). Until, that is, brightly colored busts of one woman began popping up around Bulgaria’s capital.</p><p><a href="" target="_blank">According to <em>Mashable</em></a>, artist Irina Tomova-Erka’s bust appeared in seven spots across the Bulgarian city of Sofia on the morning of March 22.</p><img alt="Artist's monuments to women "src=""><p>Beneath each, a plaque reads: “The first monument of a woman in Sofia.”</p><p>Her likeness is part of an installation known as “Monumental Women,” a campaign created by the Bulgarian Helsinki Committee, in partnership with Tribal Worldwide Sofia and Fine Acts, an international non-profit committed to inspiring social change.</p><img alt="Artist's monuments to women "src=""><p>In a statement, Svetla Baeva — the campaign director at the BHC — said “the lack of monuments, honouring historic women, enhances the wrong perception that women have no valuable accomplishments.”</p><p>While the playful busts are only temporary, committee organizers have demanded that permanent monuments to important women be erected in <a href="" target="_blank">Bulgaria</a> by 2018.</p>
Categories: Travel

The T+L Carry-On: Dominique Ansel

Travel and Leisure - Sat, 03/25/2017 - 09:18
<p>We met up with pâtissier extraordinaire <a href="" target="_blank">Dominique Ansel</a> at <a href="" target="_blank">The Bowery Hotel</a> in <a href="" target="_blank">New York City</a>. Ansel, who many of you know as the inventor of the Cronut, finds himself on a plane — Pringles in hand — every few weeks. Read the full interview, below, where we touch on everything from his favorite bakeries in Paris to his latest tech obsession.</p><p>And don’t forget to check out last week’s column with the <a href="" target="_blank">co-founders of Away Travel, Jen Rubio and Stephanie Korey</a>.</p><h2>On his relationship with travel:</h2><p>I travel every two to three weeks, between London, Tokyo, and Los Angeles. I travel quite a lot now. I’ve had so many opportunities to open shops around the world, and so far, I’ve chosen New York, <a href="" target="_blank">London</a>, <a href="" target="_blank">Tokyo</a>, and soon, <a href="" target="_blank">Los Angeles</a>, because I love those cities.</p><p>The places that I travel to are actually the places I love, and the places I love are the places I travel to. I don’t want to open a bakery in a place where I don’t love the city.</p><h2>What Inspires Him:</h2><p>A lot of my inspiration comes from travel, actually. I love traveling, and during my travels so many different things inspire me when it comes to culture, ingredients, and ways of eating. But it’s also more than just focusing on food.</p><p>I was at an Issey Miyake exhibition in Japan that was all about movement. It was fascinating to me, and I always wanted to incorporate movement into the food, and we actually managed to do so with our blossoming hot chocolate that we sell now here in New York.</p><h2>His Top Picks for Visitors Coming to New York City:</h2><p>The Bowery Hotel is one of my favorite places in New York. When you walk in, it feels really comfortable, with the tiles and the lighting. You almost feel like you’re right at home. And they have a really nice restaurant.</p><p>Right next door to the Bowery Hotel is <a href="" target="_blank">Bar Primi</a>, which is actually one of my favorite restaurants. I love all the different sorts of food — it’s so eclectic. There’s such a wide mix of cultures and so many talented chefs that you can eat somewhere new almost every night.</p><h2>His Travel Essentials:</h2><p>I always bring my iPad, and a hotspot, which is very important for when I travel so I can always stay connected — especially when I visit different countries. And I have a converter for every country — it’s important for me to be able to plug in anything, anytime. I recently bought a GoPro — I started playing with it yesterday and I love it. It’s super practical. I’ve been using it to film in the kitchen, and I’m exploring all the things I can do with it, between photos, stop motion, and videos. Sharing what I see and what I’m working on with our followers is very important to me.</p><img alt="T + L Carry On: Dominique Ansel "src=""><p>Then I always travel with sunglasses, wet wipes, vitamin D, and Pringles. Salt and vinegar Pringles are one of my favorite snacks to eat on the plane — I like to have something crunchy and salty and sour during the trip. I always grab a box before getting on a plane.</p><p>And I’m obsessed with flossing — I really can’t sleep if I haven’t flossed. It’s easy and convenient, so I always have some with me. I have this <a href=";ignoreRedirect=true&amp;ppv=2&amp;cm_mmc=Google-ProductSearch-US--c-_-MRP_EN_US_PLA-_-MRP_US_GS_RLSA+%28Medium%29--RLSA+Designers_AM&amp;gclid=CjwKEAjwkq7GBRDun9iu2JjyhmsSJADHCD_HNAJ0X4jZXz66yP_ee8Hc6jvFvVIrUEmeBqUCAghLiBoCm5bw_wcB" target="_blank">Smythson travel wallet</a>, which was a Christmas gift. I travel to so many different countries, so it’s super useful. There are differently colored compartments and pockets, so every time you go to a different country, you can put your different currencies in it. Also, a chef’s coat — mine is by a French brand called <a href="" target="_blank">Clement</a>. </p><h2>His Favorite Bakeries in Paris:</h2><p>I lived in <a href="" target="_blank">Paris</a> for eight years, and I love it — it’s one of my favorite cities. There are so many great bakeries. I love Pierre Hermé, which is one of the best in the city. I love Christophe Michalak as well — he has an amazing shop there. And there’s a lot of young talent right there now, too.</p><h2>His Latest Endeavor:</h2><p>We’re opening our newest location in Tokyo in Ginza Mitsukoshi on March 29, so I’m really excited about this. The first shop we opened in Tokyo is in Shibuya, which is very young and has lots of shopping and things going on. Our second location will be in a department store — in Japan, department stores are really difficult to get. So we have a small shop, but an amazing location, and for the Ginza shop, we’ll be having some very exclusive desserts that are unique to this location.</p><p>I’ve been going to L.A. a lot lately, too. We’re opening our first location there, which will not only be a bakery, but also a restaurant. And then we opened a shop in London about six months ago; we’re launching an afternoon tea this spring — we’re still working on the menu.</p>
Categories: Travel

These Lakeside Teepees Are the Glamorous New Way to Camp Outside Yellowstone

Travel and Leisure - Sat, 03/25/2017 - 08:47
<p>Yellowstone is the oldest U.S. national park (it just <a href="" target="_blank">celebrated its 145th birthday</a>), but that doesn't mean its visitors are behind on the times. A new retreat near the park, opening for the season on June 7, is for those embracing the glamping trend with open arms.</p><p>Five wood and canvas teepee-like tents make up the <a href="" target="_blank">Yellowstone Collective Retreat</a>. They sit along an alpine lake beneath 11,166-foot-high Lone Peak, a popular ski spot in Big Sky, Montana's scenic <a href="" target="_blank">Moonlight Basin</a>.</p><img alt="Yellowstone Glamping "src=""><p>Inside, each "tent" looks more like a luxury wilderness lodge, with rustic-chic furniture including a plush wooden bed and rocking chairs, tribal-print accents, and an antler-inspired chandelier. And glampers won't be cooking their own meals over an open flame — a chef from neighboring Three Peaks Lodge sources local meats and produce and prepares farm-to-table breakfasts and dinners. </p><img alt="Yellowstone Glamping "src=""><p>The site is not inside Yellowstone — it's located just under an hour from the park's west entrance — but the 8,000-acre Moonlight Basin offers plenty of nature-centric activities of its own, from horseback riding and fly fishing to paddleboarding and kayaking. </p><img alt="Yellowstone Glamping "src=""><p>Tents fit two adults and two kids, and run for $500 to $700 per night. Bookings can be made <a href="" target="_blank">online</a>.</p>
Categories: Travel

Trump’s Budget Could Shut Down Airports in Many of the Counties That Voted for Him

Travel and Leisure - Sat, 03/25/2017 - 06:12
<p>About 31,000 people live in Jamestown, New York. It sits between Buffalo and <a href="" target="_blank">Pittsburgh</a>, although it’s not particularly close to either. The city is famed in a few circles, but not quite yet on the national radar.</p><p>Jamestown is where Lucille Ball was born — and where the <a href="" target="_blank">Lucille Ball Desi Arnaz Museum</a> is now located. It hosts an annual comedy festival that attracts the likes of Jerry Seinfeld, Trevor Noah, and Jim Gaffigan.</p><p>To get there, visitors have only two options: drive a few hours from one of the closest cities or fly in through the <a href="" target="_blank">Jamestown Regional Airport</a>.</p><p>“It’s our portal, the way that our residents and business community connect to the rest of the country,” Ron Almeter, manager of airports and parks in Chautauqua County, told <em>Travel + Leisure</em>.</p><p>However, the future of the Chautauqua County-Jamestown Airport is unclear. It is one of <a href="" target="_blank">112 regional airports across the continental U.S.</a> where funding will be cut if the Trump administration’s budget proposal passes.</p><h2>The $175-million Question</h2><p>In 1978, the Airline Deregulation Act passed, allowing airlines freedom to determine which markets to service and what prices to charge. However, amidst fears that smaller, rural markets would be forgotten as airlines moved to more lucrative markets, Congress approved the Essential Air Services (EAS) program, as part of the Federal Aviation Act.</p><p>The EAS was enacted to “guarantee that small communities that were served by certificated air carriers before airline deregulation maintain a minimal level of scheduled air service,” <a href="" target="_blank">according to the Department of Transportation</a>.</p><p>But according to the Trump administration’s <a href="" target="_blank">proposal documents</a>, released last week, these airports now cost more than they are worth. The flights are rarely full and “have high subsidy costs per passenger.” The administration also believes that the communities who use these subsidized airports “could be served by other existing modes of transportation.”</p><p>The EAS costs the nation about $175 million per year. Policymakers believe that cutting the EAS program would “'make the system more efficient and innovative while maintaining safety,” the budget proposal stated. “This would benefit the flying public and taxpayers overall.”</p><p>Over the past few decades, the EAS program has become a contentious issue — with both sides making persuasive arguments.</p><img alt=" "src=""><h2>How it Works</h2><p>Most airports that receive benefits from the EAS are given enough funding to provide two round-trip flights per day to a hub airport.</p><p>In 2014, amidst concerns that the EAS was becoming an unwieldy financial burden, the DOT placed a cap on program funding. No airport would receive subsidies greater than $200 per passenger unless they were <a href="" target="_blank">at least 210 miles from the nearest hub airport</a>.</p><p>But that doesn’t mean that spending on the program has been completely reigned in. There are instances where subsidies rose as high as $900 per passenger. And the Lancaster Airport in Pennsylvania, for example, receives EAS funding although it is only about 35 miles away from Harrisburg International Airport. There are <a href="" target="_blank">several other similar examples throughout the country</a>.</p><p>The most expensive airport in the EAS program is the Pierre Regional Airport in South Dakota, which receives about <a href="" target="_blank">$4.5 million in annual subsidies</a>. The airport offers daily service to Denver. The next closest airport is the Sioux Falls Regional Airport, about 225 miles away.</p><p>However this is certainly not the case for every airport. And not every airport that currently receives funding has needed to do so since 1978. The Falls International Airport in International Falls, Minnesota has received EAS funding for only the past four years.</p><p>It used to operate on its own until the 2008 recession. “Then our number of passengers traveling from our airport declined significantly enough that the airline that served us could not continue without some subsidy,” Bob Anderson, the town’s mayor and chair of the airport commission, told T+L.</p><p>Anderson said that it’s 300 miles (a five-hour drive) to the closest major airport in Minneapolis-St. Paul.</p><h2>How the Airports Make Money</h2><p>“While we’re dependent on EAS subsidies from a business model standpoint, it’s only a part of the portfolio,” Almeter said.</p><p>Although many of the smaller airports act as a link for locals and businessmen looking to invest in smaller areas, many are also used by more high-profile passengers who choose to fly private.</p><p>Because the Falls International Airport is located directly on the border between the U.S. and Canada, it has been a point for many travelers to pass through customs before continuing on to private airports — Anderson cited Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie as celebrities who have passed through customs there.</p><p>The airports also make money by charging airlines directly for use of counter space and other facilities.</p><h2>The Battle</h2><p>There are over 100 regional airports around the country that are eligible for support from the EAS. The vast majority of the counties in which these regional airports exist <a href="">did vote for Trump in the 2016 election</a>, however the battle over slashing EAS funding is neither new nor unique to this administration.</p><p>With every new Congress, the legal battle over EAS funding is given renewed energy. The program was originally only meant to last 10 years, to help rural airports transition into self-sufficiency — obviously, that never happened. It has since been viewed by some as a money-suck for taxpayers.</p><p>“Contrary to a lot of folks’ understanding, the money for the EAS does not come from income taxes. It comes from user fees — taxes on the tickets — fuel taxes paid by the airlines and a tax for using the Air Traffic Control system,” Anderson told T+L. “It’s the people who are using these airports and flying these airlines that are paying for it.”</p><p><a href="" target="_blank">According to a Congressional study</a>, the program is funded by “overflight fees paid to FAA by foreign aircraft that transit U.S. airspace without landing in or taking off from the United States,” in addition to “discretionary annual appropriations of varying size.”</p><p>Despite the fact that politicians have, over the past few administrations, continuously considered eliminating the EAS program, spending on the program has increased 600 percent since 1996 — the two biggest funding increases in the program’s history were immediately after the 9/11 terrorist attacks in 2001 and following the economic downturn in 2008.</p><p>According to a study Congress commissioned in 2015, many of the reasons the EAS budget has increased are external, including the rising price of fuel and higher pilot wages. But the study also admitted that “certain features of the EAS program itself may have contributed to the rising costs,” including the fact that airlines are not obligated to choose the most cost-effective services when receiving subsidies.</p><h2>The Impact</h2><p>Since the EAS program was introduced in the '70s, Anderson has gone to Washington to speak to Congress about the impact the program has on smaller communities. When asked if he thought he would have to head to Washington to talk about the EAS again this year, Anderson laughed and said: “That would not surprise me.”</p><p>Anderson said his mission in going to speak to Congress is to educate “the new people in Congress and the new administration about the value of air service to small and medium-sized cities.”</p><p>Many of the communities and <a href="" target="_blank">counties who, overwhelmingly, put this administration in office</a> rely on small regional airports as their main connection to the rest of the American transportation system.</p><p>“If you’re going to have mines to mine minerals, if you’re going to have paper mills, they need to be located where the natural resources are,” Anderson said. “And so, the question becomes: Should there be regional airports and should there be access for the miners and the timber harvesting paper makers of the world? Should there be service out to these communities? Should those locations have access to the transportation system of the world?”</p>
Categories: Travel

These Are the Cheapest Days to Fly This Summer

Travel and Leisure - Sat, 03/25/2017 - 06:09
<p>For travelers looking to book a cheap getaway this summer, the date you choose to leave could have a big impact on airfare.</p><p>According to data from KAYAK, those looking to travel around the U.S. this summer should book with a departure date of Saturday, June 3 for the best shot at a cheaper ticket.</p><p>Travelers heading abroad can find the best deals on international travel if they leave on Wednesday, August 23.</p><p>On the opposite end of the spectrum, the most expensive dates for travel this summer are June 25 for domestic travel and June 30 for international.</p><img alt=" "src=""><p>Travelers who are debating when to leave can rest assured that prices for domestic travel tend to stay about the same all summer; the biggest price difference can be found based on day of the week. But travelers heading abroad will see a significant drop in prices for international travel later in the summer.</p><p>Of course, it bears noting that these dates are just general trends and there is no guarantee that travelers cannot find better prices leaving on different days.</p><p>Those still waffling on deciding a date and destination for summer travel should keep an eye peeled towards <a href="" target="_blank"><em>Travel + Leisure</em>’s travel deal</a> updates.</p>
Categories: Travel

See Dazzling Photos From the World's First Chartered Flight to the Southern Lights

Travel and Leisure - Sat, 03/25/2017 - 05:31
<p>For the 134 passengers flying aboard the world’s first chartered flight to see the Southern Lights, the journey was all about the unforgettable views.</p><p>The Air New Zealand Boeing 767 charter plane left Dunedin, New Zealand on March 23, taking guests on a journey to get an up-close look at the mesmerizing Aurora Australis, which can have colors ranging from greens to oranges, pinks, purples, and gold.</p><p><strong>Related: <a href="" target="_blank">The Best Places to See the Southern Lights</a> </strong></p><p>Dr. Ian Griffin, director of the Otago Museum in New Zealand, came up with the concept after flying as a guest on a NASA observatory plane and catching a glimpse of the spectacular display, <a href="" target="_blank">according to the <em>Associated Press</em></a>.</p><p>Just five days after the thrilling journey was opened for booking, it was sold out and had travelers coming from far-flung destinations like Spain to experience the trip.</p><p>The trip included only window seats and those immediately adjacent to offer the best views, with one seat in economy costing roughly $1,400 and business seats coming in at double the price.</p><p>Travelers were able to view the phenomenon for about five hours while traveling below the 60th parallel south. They flew through the aurora zone several times to ensure all of the passengers got a look at the views.</p><p>“We were right under it,” Griffin told the <em>AP</em>. “There were beautiful streamers, auroral streamers; this green-colored stuff that moves quickly, it looks like you’re looking into a green, streaky river."</p><p>A video taken on the flight showcases just how incredible the view was. </p><p>Similar to the Northern Lights, <a href="" target="_blank">the Southern Lights occur</a> when solar winds bring electrically charged particles from the sun into the atmosphere, combining with natural gases and our planet’s magnetic fields to create the colors seen in the sky.</p><p>While the display is just as dazzling, it <a href="" target="_blank">can only be seen</a> in select areas like Antarctica, New Zealand, Argentina, and the Falkland Islands, making it all the more rare of a sight to see. </p><p>Thanks to the success of the journey, Griffin told the <em>AP</em> he’s thinking about bringing it back next year. </p>
Categories: Travel

Romantic Hotel Chain Offers Refunds to Guests Who Get Divorced

Travel and Leisure - Sat, 03/25/2017 - 05:11
<p>The fallout of a divorce can be excruciating. On top of the heartbreak that comes with a long-term relationship ending and the daunting task of starting a new life on one's own, there is the economic loss. </p><p>One Swedish hotel chain wants to offer at least a small pittance for couples who divorce within a year of staying at their hotels: They’re promising to refund the money for their stay.</p><p><a href="" target="_blank">Countryside Hotels</a> operates 40 hotels across <a href="" target="_blank">Sweden</a>, and the brand's leaders said they hoped the offer would encourage couples struggling in their marriage to attempt to work on reconciliation.</p><img alt=" "src=""><p>“We have welcomed couples to our hotels and mansions around Sweden and seen how beneficial it can be to get away for a while and devote time to each other,” Countryside Hotels' marketing officer Anna Madsen <a href="" target="_blank">told<em> The</em> <em>Local</em></a>.</p><p>If this alone time doesn’t work and the couple divorces within a year of their stay, Countryside will reimburse the cost of a two-night stay. Couples must reference the offer upon making their reservation and provide the hotel with court documents in the case of a divorce, <a href="" target="_blank">the <em>BBC</em> reported</a>.</p><p>“We have also desired to spread this information to more people and decided to take a radical approach and hope it will make more people understand how important it is to invest in your relationship in time,” Madsen said.</p><p>Other hotels in Europe have made similarly radical offers, with several hotels in Italy making a deal on the opposite end of the spectrum. At 10 hotels in <a href="" target="_blank">Assisi</a>, Italy, if a couple conceives a child during their stay, <a href="" target="_blank">they get refunded</a> for the cost of the stay.</p>
Categories: Travel

It’s Official: Say Goodbye to Virgin America

Travel and Leisure - Fri, 03/24/2017 - 16:37
<p>Bad news for travelers who love Virgin America: <a href="" target="_blank">In a statement</a> on Wednesday, Alaska Airlines announced that the Virgin name would be retired in 2019.</p><p>“While the Virgin America name is beloved to many,” explained Alaska Airline’s vice president of marketing, Sangita Woerner, “we concluded that to be successful on the West Coast, we had to do so under one name — for consistency and efficiency.”</p><p>When <a href="" target="_blank">Alaska Airlines acquired Virgin America</a> for $2.6 billion in April of 2016, many passengers worried that Virgin’s <a href="" target="_blank">famous sense of humor</a>, on-board mood lighting, and snack trolleys stocked with local San Francisco treats would be dissolved.</p><p>But Alaska is promising to adopt many of the elements that enthusiasts loved about the <a href="" target="_blank">top airline in the United States</a>.</p><img alt=" "src=""><p>Alaska Air Group’s CEO, Brad Tilden, explained that goal has always been to create a “go-to airline for people on the West Coast,” with affordable fares, frequent and convenient flights, and excellent customer service.</p><p>In fact, many of the changes may be favorable, even to Virgin loyalists. Alaska Airlines is encouraging Virgin Elevate members to <a href="" target="_blank">transfer miles to an Alaska Mileage Plan</a> with generous incentives: a 1 to 1.3 transfer ratio when turning Elevate points to Alaska miles, 10,000 free Alaska miles or $100 airfare credit (valid through April 30, 2017), and reciprocal elite status.</p><p>Alaska Airlines’ announcement also mentioned new uniforms by Seattle-based designer Luly Yang in 2019, a redesigned cabin with blue mood lighting in 2018, and free in-flight entertainment as just a few of the perks travelers can expect from the reinvigorated airline.</p><p><a href="" target="_blank">According to <em>SFGATE</em></a>, Alaska also plans to operate daily flights to 42 destinations by the end of 2017—nearly doubling its market presence.</p><p>If you’re still bummed about the loss of Virgin America, you’re not alone. In a very <a href="" target="_blank">heartfelt letter</a> to his team and to his customers, Sir Richard Branson expressed his despair over Alaska’s decision to retire Virgin America.</p><p>"This was the ride and love of a lifetime," he wrote. "I feel very lucky to have been on it with all of you. I'm told some people at Virgin America are calling today "the day the music died". It is a sad (and some would say baffling) day. But I'd like to assure them that the music never dies."</p>
Categories: Travel

Relax in a Hot Spring Infinity Pool Overlooking Volcanic Mountains

Travel and Leisure - Fri, 03/24/2017 - 12:00
<p>Let's be real for a minute: We haven't met an infinity pool we didn't like. But one spot in Mexico's Mezquital Valley puts even the most luxurious hotel swimming holes to shame.</p><p>Las Grutas Tolantongo, or the Tolantongo caves, are a collection of hot spring pools built into a cliff in Hidalgo. The definition of a bucket list destination, they sit three to four hours northeast of Mexico City in a picturesque canyon.</p><img alt="Tolantongo Hot Springs Mexico "src=""><img alt="Tolantongo Hot Springs Mexico "src=""><p>The pools are filled with warm, naturally mineral-infused water that's heated by the surrounding volcanic mountains. There are also caves and a tunnel to explore for a dose of adventure, a hot spring river to swim in, and a kid-friendly pool with a waterslide.</p><img alt="Tolantongo Hot Springs Mexico "src=""><img alt="Tolantongo Hot Springs Mexico "src=""><p>If you're so mesmerized by this magical spot you'd like to plan your entire vacation around it, we understand. Expedia claims you can save up to $570 by booking one of its <a href="" target="_blank">package deals</a>, which include flights and a stay at a nearby hotel. If you want to stay within the resort area, go for the <a href="" target="_blank">Paraíso Escondido</a> hotel. Otherwise, have your pick of options at the base of the valley.</p><p> </p>
Categories: Travel

The Blue Lagoon Is Getting a Luxury Hotel — Inside a Lava Flow

Travel and Leisure - Fri, 03/24/2017 - 10:00
<p>A new luxury hotel and spa, the <a href="" target="_blank">Lava Cove and Moss Hotel</a>, will open at the Blue Lagoon in Iceland this fall.</p><p><a href="" target="_blank">Iceland</a>'s <a href="" target="_blank">Blue Lagoon</a> is one of the country's most iconic and popular attractions. The geothermal spa has been open to public bathing <a href="" target="_blank">since 1987</a>, and attracts <a href="" target="_blank">hundreds of thousands of people each year</a>.</p><img alt=" "src=""><p>For travelers who don't like crowds — and who have the means — the luxury property could make a trip to Iceland even better.</p><img alt="Lava Cove and Moss Hotel will open at Iceland's Blue Lagoon in the fall. "src=""><p>The new luxury project has four connected properties: Lava Cove is a “subterranean wellness experience;” the Lava Lagoon is a lagoon sourced from the same volcanic aquifer as the Blue Lagoon, but is open to guests only; Moss Hotel is a 62-room luxury hotel surrounded by the Lava Lagoon; and Moss Restaurant is fine dining that focuses on Iceland's culinary heritage.</p><p>All of that is built on an 800-year-old lava flow surrounded by volcanic rock that provides plenty of privacy.</p><img alt="Lava Cove and Moss Hotel will open at Iceland's Blue Lagoon in the fall. "src=""><img alt="Lava Cove and Moss Hotel will open at Iceland's Blue Lagoon in the fall. "src=""><img alt="Lava Cove and Moss Hotel will open at Iceland's Blue Lagoon in the fall. "src=""><p>The property is about a 10-minute walk from the Blue Lagoon.</p>
Categories: Travel

Emotional Richard Branson Writes Bitter-sweet Goodbye Letter to Virgin America

Travel and Leisure - Fri, 03/24/2017 - 09:36
<p>When Alaska Airlines announced on Wednesday that it would be <a href="" target="_blank">retiring the Virigin America name</a> in 2019, travelers everywhere felt the loss. (It was the <a href="" target="_blank">top airline in the United States</a>, after all).</p><p>Alaska Airlines, which bought Virgin for $2.6 billion back in April, promises it will keep some of the brand's perks and signature charm, however. Among them: Virgin Elevate members will get to transfer their miles to an <a href="" target="_blank">Alaska Mileage Plan</a> at a 1 to 1.3 ratio. They will also get 10,000 free Alaska miles or a $100 airfare credit to use through April 30, 2017, and their elite status will be honored. Plus, that beloved blue mood lighting is coming to Alaska in 2018.</p><p>But none of that matters right now, because <a href="" target="_blank">Sir Richard Branson is sad</a>, and he needs us. The Virgin Group founder wrote a <a href="" target="_blank">heart-wrenching goodbye letter</a> to his airline in reaction to the news. Grab some tissues, because we're about to give it to you in full.</p><p>Warning: Read at your own risk, because this letter will trigger all the feelings — it will make you laugh (he reminisces about that time he "nearly ripped [his] arse jumping off the side of The Palms in Vegas"), cry (he quotes George Harrison, for heaven's sake), and want to run to your nearest airport and hug the wheels of a Virgin plane (but please don't, for safety reasons).</p><img alt=" "src=""><p><em>Dear Virgin America,</em></p><p><em>With a lot of things in life, there is a point where we have to let go and appreciate the fact that we had this ride at all. Many years ago, I shed tears over selling my beloved Virgin Records for $1 billion, which we needed to fight off British Airways’ Dirty Tricks campaign to try to put Virgin Atlantic out of business. Many tears are shed today, this time over Alaska Airlines’ decision to buy and now retire Virgin America. </em></p><p><em>It has a very different business model and sadly, it could not find a way to maintain its own brand and that of Virgin America.</em></p><p><em>When a company goes public, decisions are made that benefit the shareholders. In the best of times, they also benefit consumers. It remains to be seen what will happen now – for travellers – with fewer airlines in the US than ever. Being different and on a mission to truly reinvent an experience for the customer is increasingly rare in this business. </em></p><p><em>Remember that time from 2004 to 2007 when we leased planes that were sitting on the runway while we waited for the US government to give us a license so that we could make flying good again? Remember the naysayers who said you could not create an experience-driven airline in the US and survive? Remember launch day – August 8th, 2007 – when even an epic tornado didn’t stop our brilliant team getting our first flight an on-time departure? </em></p><p><em>Remember that time in 2014 when Dallas residents signed a petition to make sure city council members did the right thing and gave us two gates at Dallas Love Field? And the party we threw to thank Dallas for letting us fly? The legacy airlines kept trying to stop us flying. But we won over people in Newark, Chicago and Boston in similar fashion. We grew to more than 25 cities, swept every single major consumer travel award and became profitable. Even if the industry ‘experts’ did not, you and your guests always believed that an airline can stay in business by delivering a better flying experience.</em></p><p><em>We went through a lot together. And you were worth every minute, every penny (there were many!), every battle. We earned every loyal guest and fan. Every market was hard-won. The launch parties, the networking, the productivity on flights, the live concerts at 35,000 feet, the marriage proposals, the first in-flight wedding, the Oprah Skype to the plane! And who could forget that time in 2008 when I nearly ripped my arse jumping off the side of The Palms in Vegas?</em></p><p><em>It was a long and hard journey but in the end you are the best consumer airline in America. You invented concepts like ‘moodlighting’ and ‘on-demand food,’ you reinvented cabin amenities from seat-to-seat chat to Netflix in the sky. You chose warm and soothing pink to purple moodlighting that transitions based on outside light. You proved it is possible to run a business with a strategy that does not rely on low fares and a dominant position alone: you attracted premium flyers with a fun and beautiful guest experience. You created the world’s most loved safety video. You proved that it is possible to create a business with a terrific culture and a brand that people love.</em></p><p><em>You let Teammates think differently, and invested a lot of time and money into lifting your Teammates up with extraordinary training. You also gave back at every turn, even when you weren’t yet profitable. Investing in and operating one of the youngest and most fuel and carbon efficient fleets in the US. Starting mentoring conversations among seasoned and aspiring entrepreneurs. Putting the spotlight on adopting animals that need homes on the adorable annual Chihuahua airlift day. One of my favourite moments was joining KIPP students on a flight to watch <a href="">Virgin Galactic</a>’s WhiteKnightTwo fly alongside us; the flight inspired a new generation of engineers and pilots and ensured that an exciting future of transportation belonged to everyone. Throughout it all, you aimed to make flying good again - and you did.</em></p><p><em>To each of your brilliant Teammates, I know that you will continue to do great things, whether you stay on with Alaska or pursue a different path. Build a business that puts its people first. Work with partners who share your same progressive and inclusive values. Focus on delivering a great customer experience, and success will come. Make business a force for good. Stay positive; attitude is everything.</em></p><p><em>To our wonderful guests, I speak for everyone at Virgin America when I say we are eternally thankful. For believing in the little airline that could. For giving up your miles on “<a href="">Blah airlines</a>” - so you could fly us for the experience. For supporting us in every tussle we got in with the big guys. For believing that all airlines don’t have to be the same – and that experience matters.</em></p><p><em>You would not believe the number of people who tell me how much they love flying Virgin America. Keep expecting – and demanding – more from your airlines! If you miss flying Virgin America, you still have your beautiful sisters; Virgin Atlantic is starting service from London to Seattle next week, and <a href="">Virgin Australia</a> is starting direct service from Melbourne to Hong Kong the week after that. Virgin flies on.</em></p><p><em>Businesses come and go but beloved brands make lasting impressions and remain in your heart. Virgin’s purpose is to change business for good. We give humans permission to be and do the best they can. With that simple approach, Virgin builds companies around the world that get into your heart. We earn lasting loyalty and love that you don’t normally see for a bank or a health club or a small satellite launcher. We have all those and more. We have been busy building a number of new and exciting Virgin businesses in the US, and they are gathering pace. Later this year in San Francisco, we will open a Virgin Hotel and put on our first Virgin Sport US festival. We have just launched the Virgin Pulse Global Challenge, Virgin Voyages has started building the first of its three ships, and we continue to expand our space tourism and small satellite launch businesses in southern California. As an entrepreneur’s brand, Virgin is always starting new businesses. And we will not stop.</em></p><p><em>George Harrison once said, “All Things Must Pass.” This was the ride and love of a lifetime. I feel very lucky to have been on it with all of you. I'm told some people at Virgin America are calling today "the day the music died". It is a sad (and some would say baffling) day. But I'd like to assure them that the music never dies.</em></p><p>Need a shoulder to cry on? We don't normally recommend this, but you could join the (very nostalgic) comments section on <a href="" target="_blank"></a>.</p>
Categories: Travel

Workers Paint Over $5-million Banksy Art at Luxury Hotel

Travel and Leisure - Fri, 03/24/2017 - 05:22
<p>Builders at the five-star Geejam Hotel in Jamaica accidentally painted over commissioned Banksy works, thinking that they were just graffiti from “a rogue visitor.”</p><p>The Banksy pieces had adorned the hotel’s walls for over 10 years. They were commissioned by the hotel’s owner, Jon Baker, who is believed to have met Banksy when they were in school together at the Chelsea School of Art in London.</p><img alt=" "src=""><p>“On an early visit in 2006, he left 11 stencils as a gift, and these proved a huge hit with guests,” <a href="" target="_blank">a hotel source told the <em>Daily </em><em>Mail</em></a>.</p><p>Three of Banksy’s signature stencil rats lined the outside walls of one of the hotel’s three-bedroom villas. While performing regular maintenance on the building, workers covered the works with two layers of white paint, thinking they were getting rid of unwanted graffiti.</p><p>After they realized their mistake, the hotel commissioned another company to come in and survey the damage. The estimated cost of stripping off the two layers of paint is expected to be around $150,000 and it’s not guaranteed that the works will look like they did before. The pieces are worth an estimated $5 million.</p><p>The luxury resort is a favorite with celebrities. Over the years, it has hosted not only Banksy (when he was commissioned for his work), but Tom Cruise, Katy Perry, and Sharon Stone. The hotel also has a famous recording studio wherein the Rolling Stones, Amy Winehouse, and Bjork all recorded albums. </p>
Categories: Travel

Map Shows the Best Thing to Do in Every Country, According to Tourists

Travel and Leisure - Fri, 03/24/2017 - 05:14
<p>What would a map of the world look like if it was created by tourists?</p><p><a href="" target="_blank">Vouchercloud</a>, a U.K.-based travel deals site, has the answer, and it may or may not surprise you. The site used data from TripAdvisor's "Things to Do" rankings, and pulled the number one attraction for every country in the world. </p><img alt="Tourist Map "src=""><p>Many of the answers are pretty typical when thinking with a tourist's mindset, though they might make locals cringe. Canada gets <a href="" target="_blank">Niagara Falls</a>, Australia <a href="" target="_blank">Sydney Harbor</a>, Peru <a href="" target="_blank">Machu Picchu</a>. Okay.</p><p>The winner in the U.S.? <a href="" target="_blank">New York City</a>'s Central Park. (As a New Yorker who lives just a few blocks from Central Park, I can certainly appreciate this pick. But the best place in the entire United States of America? I'm not so sure.)</p><p>Plenty of museums make the list — <a href="" target="_blank">Paris's</a> Musée d'Orsay in France, the <a href="" target="_blank">Vasa Museum</a> in Sweden, the <a href="" target="_blank">National Museum of Anthropology</a> in Mexico — and so do churches, national parks, and natural wonders.</p><p>Whether you agree with the picks or not (spoiler: you probably won't), it's fun to go through and see how many you've visited. </p><p><a href="" target="_blank">See a larger version of the map here</a>, courtesy of <a href="" target="_blank"><em>The Huffington Post</em></a>.</p>
Categories: Travel

The New Way Weed Dealers Are Finding Tourists? Instagram

Travel and Leisure - Fri, 03/24/2017 - 05:01
<p>Cannabis dealers in the Himachal Pradesh province of <a href="" target="_blank">India</a> may be following in a long tradition of selling their strain, known as Himachali charas, but that doesn't mean they haven't found ways to innovate.</p><p>Residents of the northern <a href="" target="_blank">Indian</a> region have increasingly used Instagram to find potential buyers, <a href="" target="_blank">the <em>Hindustan Times </em>reported</a>.</p><p>Dealers find potential buyers by searching hashtags related to some of the tourist attractions in the region. They then follow such users and send them direct messages, offering to sell quality cannabis via café drop-offs or through the government-run Speed Post, according to the same report.</p><p>Smoking <a href="" target="_blank">cannabis</a> often figures into the practice of certain followers of Hinduism. <a href="" target="_blank">Maha Shivaratri</a> is a yearly Hindu festival in honor of the God Shiva, and attendees often honor Shiva by fasting, taking ritual baths, and smoking “charas.”</p><p>The neighboring state of Uttarakhand is the only place in India where it is legal to grow cannabis plants, according to a 2015 <a href="" target="_blank">report in the <em>India Times</em></a>.</p>
Categories: Travel

Packing Tips for the Plus-size Traveler

Travel and Leisure - Thu, 03/23/2017 - 16:30
<p>The impetus to shove an entire closet into a suitcase is one I understand — but not for all the same reasons you might. As a size 16-18 woman, clothing options become sparse as I wander further away from my safety net of in-store and online retailers that carry my size.</p><p>And even my shopping options at home are inadequate, if I'm being honest. Only <a href="" target="_blank">four out of 25</a> of the largest commercial brands carry above a size 14, making it a burden just to find clothes — and traveling raises the stakes. It's a quick stop to the local store if you forget shampoo or a toothbrush, but forgetting a crucial frock when you're plus-size is a hard gaffe to remedy when availability is not on your side. Thus, the impulse to pack everything I own.</p><p>Before you take that leap and decide to chance the fate of finding an above size 14 bathing suit while on your vacation (and a cute one, at that), here are some helpful packing cues.</p><h2>It All Starts With the Suitcase.</h2><p>Plus-size clothing has more fabric; it's larger. Even with a perfectly curated selection of clothing or the most intricate hand roll technique, luggage must accommodate the lot. This requires a suitcase to be light-weight, compartmentalized, and have the design foresight to open from the middle, displaying equal parts storage on either side.</p><p><a href="" target="_blank">Away suitcases</a> are a true work of getaway magic for the plus-size traveler. <a href="" target="_blank">The carry-on</a> model is sufficient for a four to seven day adventure as it's decked out with a hard shell case weighing in at seven pounds, two compartments, a compression pad that doubles as a nylon laundry bag, and built-in battery for all your USB devices. It's the full package wrapped in a travel-friendly, scratch-resistant capsule.</p><p>"We kept hearing from people that the best part of soft shell luggage was that you could keep stuffing in more, but hard shell luggage had the advantage of always retaining its outside shape and keeping your clothes more organized. We created the compression pad so that you could have the best of both worlds," said Steph Korey, co-founder of Away.</p><img alt=" "src=""><h2>Dress Smart for the Plane.</h2><p>Yes, you could show up to the airport in the most killer sweatpants you own, but this wouldn't be an efficient use of your travel wardrobe. Let this first key outfit guide your packing strategy. It's structural, it has the most fabric, it can be worn a few times on your trip, and it easily transitions from day to night.</p><h2>Think day-to-night.</h2><p>Choose pieces that are easily elevated with a simple accessory. Do yourself a favor and pack <a href="" style="line-height: 1.6;" target="_blank">Universal Standard's Wheaton Sweater Dress</a> — it's going to make your life a whole lot easier. "The Wheaton is a perfect travel companion because it is three garments in one: it's a dress, a tunic, and a sweater depending on how you choose to wear it," says Universal Standard's co-founder and creative director Alex Waldman. </p><p>This triple-threat can compliment a pair of skinny jeans, get tucked into a skirt or paired with tights, be layered under a leather jacket, or be worn as is with a nice pair of loafers. Also, the <a href="" style="line-height: 1.6;" target="_blank">Geneva Standard Dress</a> is available online at <a href="" style="line-height: 1.6;" target="_blank">Coverstory</a> and is as <a href="" style="line-height: 1.6;" target="_blank">comfortable</a> as it is sharp. It's a sound choice if you're not entirely sure where the vacation may take you, as it can be dressed up, down, layered, or even slept in. </p><h2>Utilize Extra Storage.</h2><p>Utilize the extra storage in places you may have overlooked. Stick socks, tights, bandanas, or extra accessories inside your shoes — or even in the cups of your bra. After they're folded in, the remaining concave space is perfect for bundled underwear and tanks. The trick: Lay each piece flat, one on top of the other. Roll from one side until you have achieved the skivvies cylinder, and fold that in half. Bind with a rubber band and plant in the bra nook. Voila!</p><h2>Prioritize.</h2><p>Prioritize packing items you might not find easily in stores while traveling. Quality plus-size denim, swimsuits, and dresses are best found online, so make sure to bring those items with you. Side note: It's important to pack a bathing suit no matter where you're headed. A hotel pool, hot spring, hot tub, or creek could pop up anywhere you go. I went to Utah this past January in the middle of a snowstorm and was thankful I packed my swimsuit for the hotel pool.</p><h2>Think Before You Accessorize.</h2><p>Keep accessories to a minimum, especially anything of value. Buy a necklace, cool enamel pins, or earrings that you can wear when you're back home and remember your trip.</p><p>Do not — I repeat: do not — bring brand new shoes on your trip with you. I know they look amazing and you really want to show them off on this trip, but think of the unnecessary blisters you're going to be experiencing thanks to this luggage space-waster. Do yourself a major favor and bring shoes you know and love.</p><h2>Find Your Technique.</h2><p>If all goes to plan and you're ready to start packing, the last thing you really need to worry about is the technique. Are you a roller or a folder?</p><p>We asked Away's other co-founder, Jen Rubio, what she reccomends: "I fold my clothes flat, never roll. This seems like common sense, but I stack all of my tops together, bottoms together, throw all of my lingerie in a separate little bag. It makes it so much easier to get dressed and put together outfits while on the road."</p>
Categories: Travel

France’s Smallest Wine Region Is Also Its Most Underrated

Travel and Leisure - Thu, 03/23/2017 - 15:31
<p>Wine lovers who are weary of the Disneyland-like crowds of Bordeaux and Napa Valley should book a vacation to Jura, which was named one of <em>Travel + Leisure’s</em> <a href="" target="_blank">Best Places to Travel in 2017</a>. France’s smallest wine region, and possibly its most picturesque, is set among limestone cliffs and spruce-lined valleys, with Switzerland to the east and Burgundy to the west, this sleepy, medieval-era enclave managed for decades to fly under the radar as its residents quietly perfected wine- and cheese-making. “It’s untapped by tourism in a really dramatic way,” says Cedric Nicaise, wine director at New York City’s Eleven Madison Park. “For someone looking for an <a href="" target="_blank">oenotourism experience</a> that’s beyond the common, it’s an awesome region to go visit.”</p><img alt=" "src=""><p>In the last few years, interest in Jura has exploded, as U.S. sommeliers discovered that the area’s limpid reds (made from local grapes like trousseau and pinot noir) and distinctive whites (chardonnay and savagnin) were in many cases as good as the wines of the Côte de Beaune, at a fraction of the price. Soon, Jura’s most iconic wine — <em>vin jaune</em>, a pale yellow, nutty, austerely dry wine—was appearing on lists everywhere from Eleven Madison Park to Denmark’s Noma. While the wines are indeed one of the great draws of Jura, the region has an abundance of other charms. “The first thing you notice about Jura is that it’s green,” says Stephane Tissot, a celebrated winemaker. Lazy and Edenic, Jura is suited to aimless walks through alpine meadows scented with wild flowers and dotted with Montbéliarde cows, or meandering bike or car rides along mountain roads, above glittering streams and lakes that teem with trout and perch.</p><img alt="Vineyard, Arbois, Jura, France "src=""><p>Start with Arbois, the gastronomic and oenological capital of Jura. You can take a two-hour train from Paris to Dole, a half-hour from town, or drive in from nearby airports in Geneva or Lyon St-Exupery (a rental car is necessary for traveling in the region). Book a room at <a href="" target="_blank">Closerie les Capucines</a>, a stony 17<sup>th</sup>-century convent turned B&amp;B, or at <a href="" target="_blank">Hotel Restaurant Maison Jeunet</a>, home to the region’s only two-Michelin-star restaurant. Top wineries around Arbois include Domaine André et Mireille Tissot and Domaine Henri Maire (which have tasting rooms in town) and Maison Pierre Overnoy (call ahead to make an appointment to visit, the norm for most wineries in Jura). Get your sweet fix at <a href="" target="_blank">Chocolats Hirsinger</a>, which some say is the best chocolatier in France.</p><img alt="Chateau Chalon, Jura, France "src=""><p>Next, it’s time to head out into the rolling hills of the country. Wake up at the crack of dawn to catch one of the local <em>fruiteries</em> turn gallons of cow milk into Jura’s famous rounds of Comte cheese. In the summer, look for waterfalls like the Cascade de Baume-les-Messieurs where you can take a dip in swimming holes and explore dripping caves. No trip is complete without a stop in Château-Chalon, home to some of Jura’s most prestigious wineries like Domaine Macle and Domaine de Montbourgeau. But it’s the breathtaking beauty of the village itself — with its 10<sup>th</sup>-century Romanesque church and expansive view of Jura’s vineyards — that most encapsulates the charms of Jura. In the words of Jane Berg, a Jura devotee who works at wine importer Kermit Lynch, “It’s like something out of a fairy tale.”</p>
Categories: Travel

Glamping Gets Romantic in This 'Birdhouse' Overlooking the Jungle and Sea

Travel and Leisure - Thu, 03/23/2017 - 15:17
<p>If scrolling through <a href="" target="_blank">The Birdhouse's photos</a> of white sand soaked in orange sunsets and cream-colored tents strewn with dream catchers doesn't convince you glamping can be romantic, just take a look at the couple who opened the boutique hideaway in El Nido, a remote jungle-meets-beach destination on the Filipino island of Palawan.</p><p>After tying the knot, Mark-Anthony and Camille Dimson Villaflor saved up $30,000 and honeymooned for almost a year and a half, covering everywhere from Cambodia to Costa Rica. Their end goal was to "nest" in the Philippines, according to their <a href="" target="_blank">website</a>, and nest they did, quite literally.</p><img alt="Birdhouse "src=""><p>The couple bought a stretch of land in the limestone cliffs over El Nido's lush jungle and put their skills to work: hers in interior design and his in real-estate, respectively. Now they own The Birdhouse, an off-the-grid glamping site consisting of a main lodge and luxury tents (which they call nests) perched among the treetops overlooking the idyllic turquoise waters of Bacuit Bay.</p><p>Getting away from it all is part of the romance, but creating a livable space in such a remote area wasn't easy, Camille told <em><a href="" target="_blank">CNN</a></em>: "We had no electricity except fireflies in our room. We had no running water. It was rainy season and we were collecting rainwater and using it to shower and everything."</p><img alt="Birdhouse "src=""><p>They even had to create their own path so visitors would be able to find them. But travelers today won't feel like they're roughing it — each artfully decorated tent has a queen-size bed along with two singles, a private bathroom, electricity, and a porch for sea and stargazing.</p><img alt="Birdhouse "src=""><p>Most of March and April are already sold out, but a long weekend in May for two adults will cost you 5,500 Philippine pesos a night (about $110). The maximum occupancy per nest is four, and <a href="" target="_blank">bookings can be made online</a>. There is a two-night minimum stay.</p><p>To get there, you'll have to take a flight from Manila to El Nido, or fly into Puerto Pincesa and take a van or bus into the town of El Nido.</p>
Categories: Travel