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As tourism destinations, many major cities across the globe — New York and Paris, Stockholm and Sydney — are certainly monumental or historical or beautiful or all of the above. What they often aren’t, however, is cheap. The good news is that if you’ve got your mind set on visiting any of these metropolises, you can often find free activities to enjoy when you’re there. We’ve built a list of museums, cultural events, and even transportation that won’t cost you a thing in 10 notoriously pricey locales.
In these days of AirBnB and Couchsurfing, travel that highlights the local experience is becoming more attractive. Traditional travel companies need to compete; this is how some hotels are doing just that.
Hip East London favorite The Hoxton Hotel is gearing up to open its second property this week. The Hoxton Holborn will be opening in Central London on September 25. The new hotel will offer 174 guest rooms in four different sizes and price points: from the smallest 129-square-foot Shoebox to Snug, Cosy, and — the biggest at 150-square-feet — the Roomy. There will also be two restaurants run in partnership with Soho House: Hubbard & Bell restaurant and a Chicken Shop serving rotisserie chicken.
Here are a few reasons why you should get to know this exciting and growing chain.
If you’re traveling internationally or even just across the country, chances are you’ll have a layover somewhere during your journey. Rather than waiting for hours inside the airport, why not take advantage of your location and head into the city? You’ve already paid to get there, after all. Whether you’ve landed in Honolulu or London, Beijing or Reykjavík, these cities are easy to visit from the airport, even if you just have a few hours.
As much as we appreciate hotel loyalty programs, accumulating points from just one hotel brand can feel like quite a slog, and a little uninspiring — who, besides the very frequent business traveler, wants the same brand experience each and every time they check in?
Just over a year ago, Preferred Hotel Group introduced a loyalty program, iPrefer, that honors stays at the more custom, bespoke hotels over the big box brands; it’s the world’s only loyalty program available at a global collection of truly independent hotels. Here’s how it works, and how you can join.
Exclusive and sometimes quirky, pop-up restaurants offer a festive alternative to the traditional, reservations-needed dining experience we’re accustomed to when we got out for a gourmet meal. These underground experiences can be trick to plan for on vacation, considering the location is often undisclosed until right before the event, and there’s only one seating. But for friendly foodies, it’s absolutely worth pursuing — it’s a great way to interact with locals, taste ingredients sourced from the area, and be a part of the fun experiments that up-and-coming chefs are dreaming up. Here’s how you can secure your place at the table:
The Morgans Hotel Group, which offers a spate of stylish, upscale properties around the world, is in the midst of some major expansion. The Mondrian London at Sea Containers is set to open September 30, followed by the Mondrian Doha, and the Mondrian Istanbul. The hotel group is also preparing to open their Delano brand in Las Vegas this fall, followed by Cesme, Turkey; Moscow; and Cartagena; then another in Karaköy, Istanbul. With all this new activity in mind, we took a step back to see how their second Mondrian property, in South Beach, Miami, which opened way back in 2008, is holding up.
Who doesn’t love a new hotel pool, especially when it’s on the 52nd floor of a luxury hotel in one of our favorite cities in the world — London?
The Skypool at the Shangri-La Hotel at The Shard just opened, and we’re swooning. Not only is it the highest pool in Western Europe, it also offers views of St. Paul’s Cathedral and the London Eye, and it’s heated.
At the beginning of the boutique hotel boom, luxury was defined by money; how much of it you had and what it could buy you. But that has long since changed. The emergence of creative “lifestyle” hotels have transformed the industry — as the annual LE Miami trade show in South Beach pointed out — with rising demand in experiences that are unique and culturally connected. These days, rather than high prices, luxury is about authenticity, storytelling, and innovation.
So how does this shift in the very definition of luxury translate to a more authentic, value-driven experience on your next trip?
Last week, Norwegian Air Shuttle launched non-stop service between New York and London, as the first budget airline to fly the route since Laker Airways in 1977. And it’s not a huge surprise — the low-cost market is the fastest growing airline sector, with other budget carriers rumored to be keen on grabbing a piece of the transatlantic market, too. This is partly due to the emergence of more fuel efficient, economically viable, long-range aircrafts. Norwegian’s new long-haul routes to the U.S., for example, will run on the airline’s new 787-8 Dreamliner.
But the all-important question remains: How competitive will travel costs on these budget carriers’ transatlantic services be?
If you think that DJ sets, mixology events, sleek common spaces, LEED certification, book signings, and lightening-fast internet don’t sound like hallmarks of most big-brand hotels, you’d be right. But the Renaissance hotels, owned by Marriott, are striving for a more boutique aesthetic these days. Of course, that means having to shrug off the stereotypes of outdated rooms, subpar restaurants, and uninspired common spaces that people associate with big corporate hotel chains. And that means making its newest properties less cookie-cutter and more bespoke than ever.
In Europe, when temperatures drop, so do the prices. Traveling to Europe outside of the summer season almost always guarantees savings — but this year you can get an even earlier start by jumping on this special offer from Lufthansa. The respected airline, a member of the Star Alliance, is offering low rates starting at $532 round-trip between the United States and a number of European cities, including Istanbul, Vienna, Berlin, Warsaw, Prague, and even Moscow. Read more
When it comes to hotels, it’s always refreshing to see new takes on the four-walls-and-a-bed formula. In these five treehouse suites, woodsy interiors, jacuzzi tubs, and floor-to-ceiling windows give the idea of a childhood hideout a creative update. If you’re ready to stay among the treetops, and shell out some major cash, you too can have this once-in-a-lifetime experience.
There’s been quite a bit of action on the hotel front in London recently, and across a wide spectrum of hotel types, too. Shangri-La at The Shard has been hogging most of the spotlight – it is the city’s tallest building, to be fair – but it’s not just luxury travelers that are being targeted by the new crop. On your next stay, you’ll find mid-range and budget options, and everything in between. Here’s a sampler of the four newest places that should be on your radar:
Thirty years ago, we wondered if today’s world would have flying cars, hover boards, and a sports almanac that would change the sports-betting industry forever — at least that’s what “Back to the Future” told us. While those things haven’t exactly come to fruition, it seems like the only thing limiting the travel of the future is our collective imagination. Here’s a taste of what travel could look like in the not-so-distant future:
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