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From its dreamy Mediterranean coastline to Istanbul’s thrilling cuisine and nightlife, Turkey basks in the spotlight as one of the hottest travel destinations for 2013. But in recent days, images of the political protests in Istanbul – and volatile clashes with riot police – have been splashed across the international press. As a result, hotel booking engines are reporting a sharp decrease in searches for Turkey. Could this spell a golden opportunity to visit – with major discounts? Or is it unsafe? Read more
Sometimes when you travel, Mother Nature throws a curveball. Usually you’ll only need a raincoat, but more serious and dangerous weather can put a more permanent damper on your trip. With heavy rainfall and floodwaters rising across central Europe, river cruise companies continue to cancel and modify routes throughout Germany, Hungary, and the Czech Republic. So what should you do if your dream vacation is cancelled? Though river cruise companies have not adopted the Passenger Bill of Rights like many North American ocean cruise lines, you still have some options. Read more
The steamy Amazon jungle, the “lungs of the planet,” requires no introduction, but Ecuador’s share of it – known locally as the Oriente – just might; it’s often overshadowed by more developed ecotourism destinations in Peru and Brazil. The rain forest here – a complex system of towering trees, winding rivers and lagoons, and primeval marshlands and swamps, where a staggering array of flora and fauna find haven – comprises one of the most biodiverse and ecologically precious places on earth. All this, overseen by fascinating indigenous tribes who have long served as stewards to the rain forest’s heritage. Read more
Last year when I surveyed the hotel amenities landscape I was wowed by an in-room light switch I discovered in my hotel room that allowed me to toggle on a “Do Not Disturb” light outside my door – rather than dealing with the cumbersome task of opening the door to place a little hanging sign on the knob. I’ve since encountered this nifty switch in other hotels and I’m already at the point where I’m disappointed if my room isn’t equipped with one.
My expectation that even the most basic hotel room will have a “go away” switch – along with bathrobes that won’t tear my skin and above-average bath products – neatly illustrates a historic challenge: When today’s “nice to have” amenity is a “must have” inclusion by tomorrow, how do hotels keep up with and outdo their competition? The answer? Keep plugging away and never stop trying to elicit surprise from your guests, which is what the following crop of amenities tries to do. Read more
Do you know the difference between whiskey, bourbon, scotch, and rye? It can be confusing, especially since all bourbons are whiskey, but not all whiskeys are bourbons, and all scotch is whiskey, but not all whiskey is scotch. (Think of it like bubbly. All champagne is sparkling wine, but not all sparkling wine is champagne.) Here’s your go-to guide on brown booze and where the best distilleries are around the world. Read more
Located about 15.5 miles north of Lijiang city, the Baishui’s riverbed is composed of white marble and limestone. The clear water is crisp and unpolluted, which is why Baishui River is also called “White Water River.” Slate gray mountains and green foliage in the spring and summer make the Baishui River not only one of China’s most scenic destinations, but also its most relaxing. Read more
Manhattan travel is out. Well…not really. But outer borough travel is certainly on the rise, which doesn’t come as a surprise to this New York resident. More and more travelers are flocking across the East River to Brooklyn and Queens to set up a home base for their New York City exploration. And why shouldn’t they? For just a fraction of the price, and even more wow-worthy views, the outer boroughs are where it’s at. Here we take a look at some of the hot hotels rising in the Queens neighborhood of Long Island City, just one quick stop out of Manhattan on the number 7 train.
1. Z NYC Hotel
Topping the LIC charts is the Z NYC Hotel. This boutique hotel is going for an old-New York vibe, with Jazz Age themes set alongside that industrial-chic décor that’s so hot right now. If the décor doesn’t pull you in, stay here for the Manhattan skyline views alone. From Z Roof, a 5,000-square-foot outdoor terrace, guests can take in both signature cocktails and amazing New York City views in 360-degree panorama (see above). Although it may be too late to snag a spot here for the Fourth of July fireworks (but you never know), keep this hotel in mind for next year’s celebrations. Z Roof promises to be the best seat in the house. Rates start at $200/night. Read more
There’s something so American about enjoying a hot dog on a hot summer day – with all the right fixings, of course. To kick off our quintessential summer food series (more to come: BBQ, ice cream, and more!), we’re starting with the hot dog! We’ve found the five best cities to satisfy your frankfurter fix, and exactly what to get when you’re there.
1. Chicago, Illinois
Renowned for its dogs, Chicago is the number one destination for world-famous franks: Other cities and hot dog makers around the world try to replicate the Chicago-style hot dog for its flavorful all-beef frankfurter and soft poppy seed bun. You can find delicious dogs all over the city, but if you want the very best, go to Fat Johnnie’s Famous Red Hots for its Mighty Dog (a hot dog, a tamale, chili, and cheese, all on a steamed bun) or Hot Doug’s for its special foie gras and Sauternes duck sausage with truffle aioli, foie gras mousse, and fleur de sel. Read more
Confession: I’m kind of obsessed with waterfalls. Perhaps it’s because I grew up in a landlocked area of the Ozarks with no access to anything remotely resembling such exoticness, or maybe it’s just because they’re incredible to look at! Whatever the reason, on a recent trip to Costa Rica, I went hunting for these free-flowing forms of Mother Nature – and dove in headfirst. Here are a few of my favorites:
Llanos del Cortez
If you’re flying to or from Libera airport, or visiting the Guanacaste Province, this almost-hidden, semi-secret waterfall is a must-see. Parking is easily accessible and it’s a short hike to get to this amazing swimming hole with a 66-foot-high waterfall for a quick dip. This is where the locals hang, so it feels very authentic and off-the-beaten-path. If you’re lucky, you’ll catch a glimpse of howler monkeys in the trees above and can chalk it up to one of those “best days ever” on a vacation. No entrance fee, but parking fee varies. Read more
1. PGA National Resort and Spa Palm Beach Gardens, Florida
It’s the stuff of legends. Home to the PGA Tour’s Honda Classic, the PGA National Resort and Spa is steeped in golf history. Boasting signature courses like “The Palmer” and “The Squire” (designed and named after Arnold Palmer and Gene Sarazen, respectively), an on-site Golf Academy offering lessons from certified PGA pros, and a newly renovated golf complex, it’s easy to see why this resort is a favorite among golf buffs. Treat dad to the Gold Golf Package, which includes resort accommodation, daily breakfast at the Palm Terrace restaurant, one round of golf daily on selected courses, and unlimited balls and bag storage. Room rates start from $129 per room per night. Read more
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