Why You Should Add This Glamorous Tented Camp in Luang Prabang to Your Bucket List

Travel and Leisure - Fri, 10/05/2018 - 17:55
<p>As a British expat living in <a href="" target="_blank">Bangkok</a>, I often travel to <a href="" target="_blank">Luang Prabang</a>, Laos, to escape the madness of my adopted city. I’ll spend my days writing on the outdoor terraces of the restaurants lining the Mekong River, and settle into a different rhythm. On my latest visit, I stayed at the <a href="" target="_blank">Rosewood Luang Prabang</a> — a departure from the hotels I have come to know in the former Laotian royal capital, and a pleasant surprise.</p><p>Luang Prabang is one of the few remaining cities in Southeast Asia that retains its physical connection to the past as a royal city. The Buddhist temple complexes are interconnected by pathways; there are no vast roadways. The city is not overshadowed by skyscrapers; rather, one feels close to the mountains and the life of the river. This feeling only grows more pronounced at the Rosewood, located a few miles outside the city center.</p><p>The resort is a sprawling park of paths and wooden suspension bridges that run past torch ginger flowers, frangipani, and other structures until they reach a series of six safari-style tents. Each is raised on stilts and floats above the tree canopy, with views of emerald mountains receding to the horizon. Within 10 minutes of arriving at my tent, I drank a pot of jasmine tea on the balcony and became so relaxed that I fell asleep.</p><p>Three hours later, I woke to the sound of the rushing river below and the sight of the moon strangely obscured by violent rain.</p><p>The Rosewood was designed by Bill Bensley, the famed architect responsible for many properties throughout Southeast Asia, including the Four Seasons Tented Camp Golden Triangle in Chiang Rai, Thailand, and his own Shinta Mani brand hotels in Cambodia. “We wanted to re-create a Lao villa of the French period,” Bensley told me over the phone from Bangkok during my visit. “A house that could easily have been that of the consul general in the 1890s.” Indeed, the resort, which can accommodate up to 46 guests in its various rooms, suites, villas, and tents, is a reincarnation of the home of Auguste Pavie, France’s first vice-consul in Laos. This is not the first Luang Prabang hotel to resurrect French-colonial chic in a Lan Na context: the Amantaka and the Avani, both set in historic buildings, have done so quite successfully. But the Rosewood takes the genre to new heights.</p><img alt="Interior of a Waterfall Pool Villa at the Rosewood Luang Prabang, in Laos "src=""><p>The main lobby, a cool, open-air structure known as the Great House, rises from the driveway path atop a series of steps, and inside this central space huge chandeliers with elephant motifs illuminate the dinner tables. From here, eating a dinner of excellent pork curry and river fish with banana flowers, I could look out at the small shaded swimming pool and, behind it, a waterfall feeding into the little river.</p><p>To one side of this structure stands the wood-paneled Elephant Bridge Bar, where I would head for a cocktail made with herbs from the garden. Laotian sweets were set on the open counters, waiting for passersby. As I sat on the extended balcony of my tent, the staff crossed the bridges with buckets of champagne and platters of sticky rice in woven containers. Only the small driving range carved out of the jungle below my balcony seemed incongruously touristic. But that became invisible as the night closed in.</p><p>The atmosphere is more private house than resort; the idea is that you should feel as if you are a guest of Pavie’s. There are several framed portraits of the Frenchman, leaving the visitor to ask: who exactly was he? Born in Brittany in 1847, Pavie spent time in <a href="" target="_blank">Cambodia</a>, <a href="" target="_blank">Vietnam</a>, and <a href="" target="_blank">Thailand</a> before moving on to Laos, where he won the confidence of Oun Kham, the aging king of Luang Prabang. By the time the king died in 1895, Laos had become a French protectorate, with Pavie as its consul general. He also launched a series of explorations of Indochina, including remote areas of Laos, and these ethnological and geographic surveys are celebrated throughout the Rosewood. In most rooms there are both tribal artifacts and ghostly photographs of the early French explorers posing in their rakish, wide-brimmed hats.</p><p><strong>Related</strong>: <a href="" target="_blank">The Top 10 Resort Hotels in Southeast Asia</a></p><p>Sitting outside at dusk as the rain forest came alive with frog song, I felt that this nostalgic framing had been achieved thanks to the considerable work that went into the details: the handmade furniture, the lacquered chairs, the escritoires with their antique telephones. The world of my great-grandfather, faithfully rendered. It is a style derived from a selective-romance perspective of the colonial venture, which chooses not to address the darker aspects of French rule.</p><p>Indeed, many hotels in this part of the world are returning to the past as the futures of their countries brighten. I was recently at the Capella Shanghai, Jian Ye Li, which artfully harks back to the French Concession days of that city. The new JW Marriott Phu Quoc Emerald Bay, in Vietnam, also designed by Bill Bensley, similarly references the French-colonial aesthetic.</p><p>That era has become a source of renewed inspiration in Asia, and the reasons are no doubt complex. Perhaps the French presence feels distant now, supplanted by the threats and concerns of the modern world. Perhaps the French were just brilliant architects. For me, beyond the impeccable design, it was the sense of quiet and solitude that made the Rosewood so beguiling — that, and the feeling that the trees are not devoid of their own spirits.; doubles from $820.</p>
Categories: Travel

This Human-like Video of a Corkscrew Riding a Roller Coaster Is Kind of Genius

Travel and Leisure - Fri, 10/05/2018 - 17:27
<p>Everyone loves a good thrill ride. Even inanimate objects.</p><p>Comedian <a href="" target="_blank">Sam Fletcher</a> captured a video of Mr. Bottle Opener (yes, he’s literally a wine bottle corkscrew) “riding” a <a href="" target="_blank">roller coaster</a> and posted it on Twitter. Clearly, Mr. Bottle Opener is having a great time, raising his arms with every peak and valley. And the best part is, we get to go on this journey with him.</p><p>Of course, he’s not really on a roller coaster. The ride that the corkscrew is on is actually just a video that Fletcher played for him, but it looks thrilling nonetheless. And anyway, Mr. Bottle Opener seems to be having fun. </p><p>Hey, as long as our kitchen utensils are having a good time, that’s all that matters. Frankly, this little object sums up the thrill of being at your <a href="" target="_blank">favorite amusement park</a> better than most roller coaster videos out there.</p><p>Who knew a corkscrew could be so relatable?</p>
Categories: Travel

Richard Branson Found Himself 'Seconds Away From Certain Death' on His Latest Adventure

Travel and Leisure - Fri, 10/05/2018 - 17:01
<p><a href="" target="_blank">Richard Branson</a> is perhaps one of the most adventurous people in the world. But, with all that climbing, sailing, and <a href="" target="_blank">space travel</a> comes plenty of risks, which proved to be true in late September, when the billionaire and his son, Sam, came within seconds of death on one of the world’s highest peaks.</p><p>“At the end of our first day climbing <a href="" target="_blank">Mont Blanc</a> for the Virgin Strive Challenge we found ourselves trapped on the side of the mountain as a huge rock fall caused boulders the size of small cars to fall on us,” Branson shared on his <a href="" target="_blank">blog</a>. “We are lucky to be alive. Three seconds earlier we would all certainly have been killed.”</p><p>According to Branson, the team had enjoyed a lovely day of climbing before approaching the last section and heading to their base camp. The section — a 100-yard crossing known as Gouter Couloir or the "Gully of Death" — can be treacherous to say the least. However, the guides on the hike thought it may be safe to cross.</p><p>“Climbing in teams, myself, Sam, Susie Ma and James Benamore and guides were the last group to traverse the crossing,” Branson wrote. “Within seconds of getting across we heard the most horrible sound. A side of a cliff had broken away from the mountain further up and seconds later huge boulders the size of small cars were bouncing towards us. Rocks rained down on us from every angle. I am not exaggerating when I say four of our team were seconds away from certain death.”</p><p>To escape, the entire team had to dive behind a small boulder and wait for the rockslide to pass. One small rock even clipped Sam’s helmet. Sam filmed the event and shared it on Instagram.</p><p>The team came to rest that night at base camp with tears streaming down their faces after they all made it out. The team eventually made it to the summit, and in the process raised more than $1 million toward their Big Change partners and projects. As Branson explained, that money will go toward projects that help young people thrive in life.</p><p>“It’s been a fantastic challenge that has seen us cycle, sea kayak, hike and climb 2000km across Europe, to the summit of Mont Blanc, the highest mountain in Western Europe,” Branson added. “We’ve experienced every human emotion at their extremes, but every time we’ve heard that little tempting voice in the back of our heads saying ‘why not call it a day’, we’ve pushed through together and reminded ourselves why we’re doing this in the first place.”</p>
Categories: Travel

Google Assistant Will Now Let You Hail a Car Just by Asking

Travel and Leisure - Fri, 10/05/2018 - 17:00
<p>Even if you aren’t a top-level executive, you can still have a personal assistant. It may be in your pocket and it may not be human, but it’s getting a bit smarter every day.</p><p><a href="" target="_blank">Google Assistant</a> — which is available for iPhone, Android, and the Google Home — can now call you a car.</p><p>If you say “Hey Google, get me a taxi to Los Angeles International Airport,” the assistant will show a list of ride services — including Uber, Lyft, Ola and several others — along with estimated prices and wait times. (You can also override this step by saying “Hey Google, book an Uber to the airport.”) Select the ride service and the app will open to confirm the ride.</p><p>The feature will be especially useful when you’re running late, with no free time to spare to compare rides. Being able to see all wait times and prices in one place without having to switch back and forth between apps could be the difference between you making it on time to the meeting or walking in sheepishly late.</p><p>Google Assistant is becoming a nifty hands-free way to plan your vacation. The assistant can <a href="" target="_blank">teach you a foreign language</a>, find you flight options, and help you pack with information about the weather. Earlier this year, Google introduced a feature that allows Assistant to <a href="" target="_blank">book restaurant reservations and salon appointments</a>.</p>
Categories: Travel

This Bar Was Just Named the Best in the World — and You Better Go Soon Before It Closes

Travel and Leisure - Fri, 10/05/2018 - 16:48
<p>In a lavish ceremony in London, bartenders and restaurateurs from all over the world gathered to find out what bar had been named the best in the world by the <a href="" target="_blank">World's 50 Best </a>organization. </p><p>This year, <a href=";utm_medium=Website%20Button&amp;utm_campaign=London" target="_blank">Dandelyan</a> in <a href="" target="_blank">London</a>, owned by Ryan Chetiyawardana and Iain Griffiths, took home the prestigious award. Described as a "high-end but accessible" spot on the World's 50 Best Bar's website, with "trendy pink, green and gold décor", the bar offers "relaxed but emotionally intelligent service and cocktails that make you think." The American Bar at the Savoy in London which was named the top bar in 2017 came in second this year.</p><img alt="Dandelyan World's Best Cocktail Bar Mondrian Hotel London UK "src=""><p>In a surprising twist, it was <a href="" target="_blank">announced earlier this week</a> and reiterated during the acceptance ceremony that Dandelyan will be closing their doors after four years in operation. While no closing date was officially announced, those who would like to try the inventive cocktails need to make their way to the celebrated bar fast. </p><p>“I made an announcement to a lot of you on Monday that we’re going to kill Dandelyan, we’re going to close it,” Chetiyawardana said during his acceptance speech. “It feels so wonderful to do it at this point. To then move on to what we can do next.”</p><p>Chetiyawardana made no mention of what his future plans would entail.</p><p>London establishments made a strong showing this year with four in the top 10, including Bar Termini (#6), Connaught Bar (#5), and American Bar (#2). According to organizers, the winners were chosen by a panel of 510 judges (cocktail aficionados) who had to adhere to a set of guidelines when voting. Each voter must have visited the establishment within the previous 18 months, votes are based on personal best bar experience, temporary or guest bar experiences are not eligible, and voting is carried out on a secure site.</p><p>The World's 50 Best organization is also known for their annual list of the <a href="" target="_blank">best restaurants in the world</a>, which is highly regarded in the industry. This year, <a href="" target="_blank">chef Massimo Bottura</a>'s Osteria Francescana in Italy <a href="" target="_blank">took home the top prize</a>. </p><h3>The full list of the World’s 50 Best Bars:</h3><p>50. Lost Lake – Chicago, USA</p><p>49. Bar Benfiddich – Tokyo, Japan</p><p>48. Buck and Breck – Berlin, Germany</p><p>47. Salmon Guru – Madrid, Spain</p><p>46. Swift – London, UK</p><p>45. Fifty Mils – Mexico City, Mexico</p><p>44. Trick Dog – San Francisco, USA</p><p>43. Schumann’s – Munich, Germany</p><p>42. Candelaria – Paris, France</p><p>41. BlackTail – New York, USA</p><p>40. Tommy’s – San Francisco, USA</p><p>39. El Copitas – St Petersburg, Russia</p><p>38. Indulge Experimental Bistro – Taipei, Taiwan</p><p>37. Paradiso – Barcelona, Spain</p><p>36. La Factoría – Old San Juan, Puerto Rico</p><p>35. Happiness Forgets – London, UK</p><p>34. 28 HongKong Street – Singapore</p><p>33. Little Red Door – Paris, France</p><p>32. Linje Tio – Stockholm, Sweden</p><p>31. Tales and Spirits – Amsterdam, Netherlands</p><p>30. Black Pearl – Melbourne, Australia</p><p>29. Three Sheets – London, UK</p><p>28. Scout – London, UK</p><p>27. Central Station – Beirut, Lebanon</p><p>26. Employees Only – New York, USA</p><p>25. Lost &amp; Found – Nicosia, Cyprus</p><p>24. Le Syndicat – Paris, France</p><p>23. Operation Dagger – Singapore</p><p>22. Baba Au Rum – Athens, Greece</p><p>21. Sweet Liberty – Miami, USA</p><p>20. Speak Low – Shanghai, China</p><p>19. Himkok – Oslo, Norway</p><p>18. Coupette – London, UK</p><p>17. Oriole – London, UK</p><p>16. The Dead Rabbit – New York, USA</p><p>15. Attaboy – New York, USA</p><p>14. Florería Atlántico – Buenos Aires, Argentina</p><p>13. Native – Singapore</p><p>12. Bar High Five – Tokyo, Japan</p><p>11. Licorería Limantour – Mexico City, Mexico</p><p>10. The Old Man – Hong Kong, China</p><p>9. Dante – New York, USA</p><p>8. Atlas – Singapore</p><p>7. The Clumsies – Athens, Greece</p><p>6. Bar Termini – London, UK</p><p>5. Connaught Bar – London, UK</p><p>4. The NoMad – New York, USA</p><p>3. Manhattan – Singapore</p><p>2. American Bar – London, UK</p><p>1. Dandelyan – London, UK</p>
Categories: Travel

The Iceland Tour Game of Thrones Fans Have Been Waiting For

Travel and Leisure - Fri, 10/05/2018 - 13:01
<p>Winter was coming. Or, rather, I was coming for winter.</p><p>Long before dawn in late January, I took a bumpy, twin-prop flight from Reykjavík into the bleak darkness of <a href="" target="_blank">Iceland</a>’s north. When the plane touched down on the icy airstrip of Akureyri Airport at 8 a.m., the sky was still inky black. And, though I was wearing more wool than most sheep, I was still freezing.</p><p>A bit like <a href="" target="_blank"><em>Game of Thrones</em></a> hero Jon Snow, who trekked to the north of  Westeros, I was on a quest to northern Iceland — where the TV show filmed its most frigid scenes. <em>Travel + Leisure</em> had challenged me, an amateur photographer and professional pop-culture obsessive, to study landscape photography on a guided <em>Game of Thrones</em>–themed tour. I hoped to return with my grail: publishable photographs and a sense of how the Land of Fire and Ice inspired the books that inspired the show, George R. R. Martin’s fantasy series <em>A Song of Ice and Fire</em>.</p><p><strong>Related</strong>: <a href="" target="_blank">The Ultimate 'Game of Thrones' Travel Guide</a></p><p>Since the birth of pop culture, fans have flocked to Hollywood and New York to see Sunset Boulevard or Manhattan; to Dyersville, Iowa, to see the real Field of Dreams; or even to Austria, to see the place that inspired <em>The Sound of Music</em>. But over the past few decades, as our TV and movie franchises have become bigger and travel has become more affordable, there has been a boom in entertainment travel, drawing fans like me to the locations of <em>Lord of the Rings</em> in New Zealand or the ensorcelled England of <a href="" target="_blank"><em>Harry Potter</em></a>. Over the years, Iceland has played host to scores of production crews, providing the backdrop for everything from The Empire Strikes Bac<i>k</i> to Batman Begins. But the local travel industry has seen nothing like the impact of<i> </i><em>Game of Thrones</em>. Since the show launched in 2011, <em>GoT</em> fans have descended on Iceland from all over the globe.</p><p>On my personal quest, I was accompanied by a band of merry companions: six British photography enthusiasts, eager to shoot the <a href="" target="_blank">aurora borealis</a> and the rugged, untouched landscapes that lie outside Iceland’s well-trodden Golden Circle. We met at baggage claim in Akureyri Airport, where I quickly surmised that I was the group’s most knowledgeable <em>Game of Thrones</em><i> </i>fan and least experienced photographer — in both cases, by far.</p><p>Luckily, I had a mentor: our tour guide, photographer Niall Benvie. A soft-spoken, thoughtful Scot, Benvie greeted us warmly in the tiny airport café and, over coffee and hot chocolate, broke down a few basics. The short Arctic days, he said, are not as limiting for photographers as one might imagine. Since the sun barely rises above the horizon at this time of year, we wouldn’t lose hours to midday glare, and would have extra time to shoot during dawn and dusk, when the sun hovers below the horizon for nearly an hour.</p><p>Briefing over, we headed out into the wilderness. Driving northeast along the coast, I watched the sky slowly brighten, revealing a world of endless snow. A couple of hours later, Benvie pulled off the highway and parked our van at the foot of a hill. As we loaded up our cameras, he issued a final safety lesson: “It’s dangerous out there. Pay attention to what’s outside your viewfinder, or you could slip off a cliff and into an icy chasm.” As we set off up the hillside, stamping fresh footprints into virgin powder, his warning immediately made sense. Around us there was no contrast, no horizon, just a disorienting scroll of white landscape bleeding into a bright, white sky.</p><img alt="Steaming sulfur pits in Iceland "src=""><p>Then, at the top of our climb, we came to a cliff edge. Peering over, we saw a giant tear in this blank page, where water thundered over a huge semicircle of black cliffs. This was Goðafoss falls, one of the most spectacular locations in the whole of Iceland. I was convinced I’d seen the falls on <em>GoT</em>, but it turned out the series never filmed there; these waters were legendary long before the show came along. The name means “waterfall of the gods” and was coined sometime around the year 1000, when a pagan priest named Þorgeir Ljósvetningagoði converted to Christianity and declared it the religion of the realm. At Goðafoss, he obliterated the old Norse gods by casting their statues into the falls.</p><p>I stepped back from the brink, feeling woozy. Bundled up in winter gear and whipsawed by gusts of wind, I clumsily unzipped my new camera bag. I had never used anything but an entry-level DSLR, but just as Jon Snow wielded the extraordinary sword Longclaw, I had borrowed my own Excalibur: the Sony a7R III, a state-of-the-art mirrorless DSLR. Excited to try out my new equipment, I began snapping away. But when I reviewed the photos, the waterfall of the gods looked puny — more like a birdbath of the gods. I told Benvie that I didn’t know how to capture the scale of it all.</p><p><strong>Related</strong>: <a href="" target="_blank">Travel the Seven Kingdoms by Visiting the Filming Locations of 'Game of Thrones'</a></p><p>Speaking over his breath-frosted scarf, he suggested that, since I was feeling overwhelmed, I should start by zooming in and grounding my framing with foreground detail. “Don’t try to get it all,” he said. “Pick the story you want to tell.” It was good advice. Setting up my tripod for the first time and swapping lenses with freezing fingers, I took hundreds of photos. I framed rocky outcrops against the falls and zoomed in tight on the cliffs. I even slowed the shutter speed down to blur the water and get that misty effect — though, I admit, it mostly looked cheesy.</p><p>The rest of the day’s journey passed in a movie-montage rush of jagged mountains, lunar craters, whistling snowy gales, and empty horizons. Like all adventurers, we suffered early setbacks: next to the intimidating Ytri-Selbunga mountain, we attempted to shoot a group of Iceland’s photogenic wild horses, but they galloped away before we could grab our cameras. And though I had lost sleep watching <a href="" target="_blank">“How to Photograph the Northern Lights”</a> videos on YouTube, the Icelandic weather service’s aurora forecast (a local news fixture, like Oahu’s surf forecast) was dismal. Due to cloud cover, the northern lights would not be visible all week.</p><p>Later that night, I reviewed the absurd number of photos I’d taken — more than a thousand — and was disappointed by every one. Most were sharp enough, thanks to my camera, and plenty were serviceable in a “Hey, check out this crazy crater” kind of way, but they lacked the cinematic drama — the fantasy — that I had come to capture.</p><p>Closing my laptop, humbled, my <i>Game of Thrones</i> hero’s catchphrase echoed in my mind. “You know nothing, Jon Snow.”</p><p><img src="" /></p><p>On our icelandic journey, base camp was a group of rustic wood cabins named the Dimmuborgir Guesthouse, located on the shore of Lake Mývatn, a strange, shallow body of frozen water punctuated by jagged volcanic rocks and plumes of steam belching from submerged hot springs. Looking out at this eerie view the next morning, I breakfasted on local smoked fish and traditional Icelandic dark rye bread. As I ate, the innkeeper told me that the eighth Fast &amp; Furious movie had staged a chase on the frozen lake with a Lamborghini, a tank, a Hummer, and — thanks to CGI — a submarine. “It was crazy,” said the innkeeper. “Huge explosions!”</p><p>Fittingly enough, the snowy roads were so impassable that day, Benvie had to call in a vehicle that would have made the Rock proud: an American military-surplus Hummer fitted with giant snow tires. We rumbled off through pristine expanses of crystallized snow, glittering in the rising sun, toward the Dettifoss — the most powerful waterfall in Europe. It’s often called “the Beast,” in contrast to “the Beauty” — Goðafoss — though I knew it from the Ridley Scott sci-fi film <em>Prometheus</em><i>,</i> where the 150-foot-high waterfall looked so otherworldly that I imagined it had to have been a special effect.</p><p>But when we arrived at the edge of Dettifoss, after hiking about a mile through knee-high snow, I couldn’t see it. The geothermally heated water surging over the falls was so much hotter than the Arctic air that it threw off giant, rolling waves of steam that cloaked the falls entirely. Some of my companions were disappointed, but I found the strangeness exhilarating.</p><img alt="Geothermal park in Iceland "src=""><p>Catching this mystery on camera was confounding, however. I asked Benvie how to shoot when there was nothing but white snow, white steam, and black rock. He suggested I lean into it. Instead of looking for colors that weren’t there, he advised me to focus on the black-and-white extremes and embrace the high-key contrast. I took shots of waves of white steam cresting between black cliffs, and close-ups of the ice crystals that covered every rock and quivering leaf like a sorcerer’s spell.</p><p>The next day we visited Dimmuborgir, or the “Dark Fortress” lava field, which inspired the name of our cabins. It is also where Game of Thrones filmed scenes featuring the wildlings — the uncivilized “free folk” who live beyond civilization’s northernmost border. Hiking through this jagged labyrinth, I saw profiles of trolls and giants in the craggy rock faces, and tried to capture them on camera. Then I pulled out two faces of my own: <em>Game of Thrones</em> action figurines of Jon Snow and his wildling lover, Ygritte. I staged silly, cinematic shots of the two statuettes, imagining how the show’s directors shot their real-life avatars in this exact setting. Just then three Turkish tourists materialized, as if from thin air. They spoke very little English, but pointed at my figures shouting, “Jon Snow! Jon Snow!” One managed to ask me if I was working on the show; when I told her I was not, their grins disappeared, and then they did too, like fangirl Cheshire cats.</p><p><strong>Related</strong>: <a href="" target="_blank">The Best Photo Gear for Travelers</a></p><p>Over the next few days, Benvie led us from one photographic location to the next, like a hunting guide goosing the odds of our getting a great shot. We visited Námafjall, with its roiling geothermal mud pits that stank of the sulfur once mined for medicine and gunpowder. As we explored, I found that, despite the brutal cold, I was starting to enjoy the ritual of walking, hiking, and looking. Focus became more than a lens ring I twisted; it became a way of seeing the world.</p><p><img src="" /></p><p>On the last day<b>, </b>I decided to stay behind and edit photos on my laptop. Reviewing the small proportion of images I hadn’t deleted, I began to see some progress. Because I hadn’t been thinking about technique as much over the past few days, my photographs had begun to look a little less clichéd. My favorite was a group portrait of my fellow travelers, all lined up in a near-blizzard, appearing to photograph nothing but blank whiteness.</p><p>I looked up from my laptop to see Benvie’s wife, Charlotte, our cohost and an enthusiastic amateur photographer, walking in the direction of a nearby farm, camera in hand. Pulling on my coat to join her, I realized, in a panic, that Benvie had left with the van containing my bag and my magic camera. Reluctantly, I grabbed my six-year-old, entry-level Canon Rebel — and rushed to catch up with Charlotte, who was already shooting horses outside the farm.</p><img alt="Horse in Iceland "src=""><p>While I played around with my wide-angle lens, trying to exaggerate the horses’ features, the sky suddenly erupted in color over our heads. It wasn’t exactly a sunset; Benvie later explained it was a display of “polar stratospheric clouds” — the most intense example any of the locals could remember. The clouds were filled with ice crystals, which refracted the sinking sunlight into shards of green and pink and orange, sending them slicing across the horizon and reflecting off the lake.</p><p>All I knew was that it was the most spectacular sunset I’d ever seen, and I didn’t have my magic camera to capture it. I didn’t even have my tripod, so I had to wedge my camera into the snow. When my memory card filled up, I deleted photos; then my camera battery died, so I just sat and let the colors wash over me.</p><p>I admit, I had been skeptical about taking a <em>Game of Thrones</em> tour. I’d always cringed at tourists who treat whole countries like backdrops for TV-inspired selfies. But out in that field, I realized I’d never looked so closely at any place I’d visited. The camera helped me to see details I would otherwise have missed.</p><img alt="Detail of a birch tree in Iceland "src=""><p>As I watched the sky ripple with color, I remembered a blog post I’d read by George R. R. Martin. “Reality is mud brown and olive drab,” he wrote. “Fantasy is obsidian veined with gold and lapis lazuli…. We read fantasy to find the colors again.” As I watched the strange, iridescent sky turn dark, I realized I’d found the colors again. My quest was complete.</p><h2>How to do Northern Iceland</h2><p>Venture into the extreme landscape that inspired the frigid north in <em>Game of Thrones</em><i> </i>— either on a weeklong photography tour or a regular sightseeing trip.</p><h2>Getting There &amp; Around</h2><p>Fly into Keflavík Airport outside Reykjavík and spend a day taking in the sights of the capital. From there, it’s a 45-minute flight to Akureyri, on the northern coast. In winter, weather can be extremely unpredictable, so if you decide to rent a car, make sure it’s a four-wheel-drive with snow tires. An even safer option is to use a local company like <a href="" target="_blank">Geo Travel Iceland</a><i>,</i> which can get you around the island in everything from a Hummer to a dogsled.</p><h2>Akureyri</h2><p>Make Iceland’s second-largest city your jumping-off point. After snapping a few pictures of the oddly geometric <a href="" target="_blank">Akureyrarkirkja church</a> in the quaint downtown area, I picked up a collection of Norse mythology at the <a href="" target="_blank">Eymundsson bookstore</a>, some backup winter wear at the <a href="" target="_blank">66°North</a> shop, and an excellent coffee at Bláa Kannan Café (96 Hafnarstræti; 354-461-4600).</p><h2>Lake Mývatn</h2><p>In warm weather, this shallow lake is a haven for bird-watchers. In winter, it’s an icy base camp from which to explore the caves, waterfalls, and hiking trails of the region. We stayed at <a href="" target="_blank">Dimmuborgir Guesthouse</a> <em>(doubles from $116)</em><i>,</i> a collection of wooden cabins on the lake’s eastern shore. It offers spectacular sunset views and simple meals of local food, including some delicious smoked fish. It’s also a 10-minute drive from <a href="" target="_blank">Mývatn Nature Baths</a><i>,</i> one of the largest and best-reviewed hot-spring spas in Iceland.</p><h2>Tour Operator</h2><p><a href="" target="_blank">Wild Photography Holidays</a> offers a variety of guided photography tours to Iceland, including Northern Lights, Waterfalls, and Game of Thrones Locations. Instruction in the field is complemented by tutorials in photo development and editing back at base camp. <em>(Seven nights from $3,935 per person.)</em></p><h2>What to Pack</h2><p>Invest in a <a href="" target="_blank">solid camera kit</a>, including lenses, laptop, and plenty of absorbent cloths for wiping off snow. (Buy your gear before you leave; camera stores are not plentiful in Iceland.) Batteries die faster in the cold, so bring spares. If you’re hoping to shoot the aurora borealis, don’t leave home without a fast, wide-angle lens and a headlamp. Waterproof winter wear is very important: head-to-toe woolen thermals, sturdy walking boots, and tactical gloves for your camera hands are all highly recommended.</p>
Categories: Travel

This Emirates Flight Attendant Won Miss Scotland 2018 — and Then Got Right Back to Work

Travel and Leisure - Fri, 10/05/2018 - 11:15
<p><em>This story originally appeared on <a href="" target="_blank"></a></em></p><p>Meet 24-year-old Linzi McLelland, who recently won Miss Scotland 2018 then went straight back to work as a flight attendant for Emirates airlines.</p><p>McLelland beat out 11 other contestants to win the coveted crown in <a href="" target="_blank">Glasgow this June.</a> She had previously <a href="" target="_blank">competed unsuccessfully in 2014</a>.</p><p>This week, the Dubai-based airline launched flights to Edinburgh — and McLelland has been at the forefront of their PR campaign.</p><p>Flights between Dubai and Edinburgh are now scheduled for one a day for the rest of the year, according to <a href="" target="_blank">Emirates Woman</a>.</p><p>McLelland has lived in Dubai for the last two years, but told <a href="" target="_blank">Scottish press</a> she is glad to be back in her homeland as the country's new poster girl.</p><p>"Being Miss Scotland is not just about outer beauty, it's about inner beauty too, and what you can do for others," she <a href="" target="_blank">said</a>.</p><p>"I also travel the world in my job and see how beautiful Scotland is."</p><p>The flight attendant regularly posts pictures of her travels on Instagram, even though much of her time is now spent on <a href="" target="_blank">Emirates' Promotions Team</a>. Here she is in Monaco...</p><p>...and Paris.</p><p>She recently climbed Ben Nevis in Scotland in support of the Scottish Association for Mental Health. She's also a Suicide Awareness Ambassador, according to her <a href="">Instagram bio</a>.</p><p>Alongside her day job at Emirates, McLelland is competing in the Miss World grand final held in China later this year.</p><p>McLelland is not the only notable member of staff Emirates has onboard.</p><p>Last week the airline announced that <a href="">a female member of the UAE royal family</a> had flown passengers to Italy.</p>
Categories: Travel

You Could Get a Free Flight to Hawaii If You Book a Norwegian Cruise (Video)

Travel and Leisure - Fri, 10/05/2018 - 11:02
<p><a href="" target="_blank">Norwegian Cruise Line</a> really wants you to try their service from Hawaii. So much so that they’ll pay to get you there.</p><p>Travelers who book a trip on the cruise line’s Pride of America ship can get free or reduced round-trip airfare to the ports of Hawaii, <a href="" target="_blank">according to <em>Travel Weekly</em></a><em>.</em></p><p>Those flying out of five gateway airports on the West Coast will be able to nab free round-trip airfare for their trip to Hawaii. Those coming from other western states will be able to get a discounted rate of $299. Travelers flying from Miami to Hawaii will pay $799 in round-trip airfare.</p><p>Norwegian is hoping that the airfare deals will lure travelers back to Hawaii. After the <a href="" target="_blank">eruption of the Kilauea volcano</a> in May, the state experienced a summertime slump in tourism numbers.</p><p>On Sept. 22, <a href="" target="_blank">Hawaii Volcanoes National Park</a> reopened to the public after being closed for about four months. "The destination is open, we just need to spread the word," Norwegian Cruise Line CEO Andy Stuart told <i>Travel Weekly</i>.</p><p>The airfare credit is effective from Oct. 4 on all Pride of America cruises from Hawaii. Book quickly as the offer is a limited time deal. </p>
Categories: Travel

This 'Fake' Drew Barrymore Interview Might Be the Strangest Article Ever Published in an In-flight Magazine

Travel and Leisure - Fri, 10/05/2018 - 10:44
<p>An airline magazine published a potentially fake interview with <a href="" target="_blank">Drew Barrymore</a>, wherein the actress was supposedly quoted about leaving acting to raise her daughters, how she lost weight after childbirth and why she has had several failed relationships.</p><p>The article starts off by saying, “Despite being unstable in her relationships most of her life,” and continues with the same tone throughout the piece, accounting her failed relationships to a lack of a steady male presence in her life.</p><p>The piece claims that Barrymore said “women exert tremendous efforts that men are incapable of exerting due to their numerous commitments and obligations” and that she encourages “every woman who is overweight to work on regaining her beauty and body, especially that it is not as hard as one may think; it is all about determination and following the appropriate diet under the supervision of a physician.”</p><p>The president of Barrymore Brands, Chris Miller, <a href="" target="_blank">told <em>Buzzfeed</em></a>, "I'm not aware of this and don't<em> </em>have any record of this interview happening." A spokesperson for Barrymore <a href="" target="_blank">told the <em>Huffington Post</em></a><i> </i>that the actress never had an interview with the writer and that her team is “working with the airline PR team.”</p><p>EgyptAir has denied any knowledge of the interview being false, saying on Twitter, “this a professional magazine interview conducted by Dr. Aida Tekla Former president of the HFPA (Hollywood Foreign Press Association) and one of the voting members of the Golden Globes.”</p><p>Miller went on to tell <em>Buzzfeed</em> that Tekla — who is known as <a href="" target="_blank">Dr. Aida Takla-O'Reilly</a> professional — “did write the Q&amp;A portion of the interview based on what she says she heard Drew say at one of these [HFPA] press conferences." Tekla, who was at one point the president of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, claims she did not write the intro, but that she did interview Barrymore.</p><p>Whatever the truth is behind the article, this is the Drew Barrymore-EgyptAir drama we didn't know we needed. </p>
Categories: Travel

Kate Middleton's Brother James Is Now a Tour Guide in Scotland (Video)

Travel and Leisure - Fri, 10/05/2018 - 10:15
<p>While spending time with Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge, is likely out of the question, you can now get in a bit of quality time with her almost-royal brother, James. And it will only cost you $1,700 a night.</p><p>No, he’s not becoming a gigolo, but rather, he’s taken on a new role as a guide at his sister <a href="" target="_blank">Pippa’s father-in-law’s Scotland hotel</a>.</p><p>In case you didn't know, <a href="" target="_blank">Pippa is married to hedge fund manager James Matthews</a>. His family owns a resort known as the <a href="" target="_blank">Glen Affric Estate</a>, which was first <a href="" target="_blank">built sometime around 1860</a> and is located in the Scottish Highlands. On the property, guests who rent out the entire estate are invited to go hiking, fishing, hunting, or just spend time in the great outdoors on 32,000 lush acres of land. As its site notes, the land is “particularly suitable [for] family reunions, filmmaking, fashion shoots and in particular, corporate gatherings where privacy, security and discretion are considerations.”</p><p>And James will be on hand to help with all that and more.</p><p>The <a href="" target="_blank"><i>Daily Mail</i></a> also got a hold of a few publicity shots of James on the property. In one photo, which the <i>Daily Mail</i> called “cringe-worthy,” he is pictured sporting tweeds and a deerstalker hat. In another, he’s sitting at a rather fancy-looking dinner alongside a few of the hotel’s guests.</p><p>"The countryside is where I'm happiest and I'll be taking my four dogs to Glen Affric with me," James recently shared in a magazine interview, hinting at the idea that this move may indeed be a permanent one.</p><p>But really, Kate and Pippa's little bro may be lucky to have the break. As <i>Cosmopolitan</i> also reported, his latest company, which manufactured custom-made marshmallows, recently reported a loss of nearly $4 million. So hopefully all that fresh country air will do him good.</p>
Categories: Travel

Leonardo DiCaprio Almost Starred in 'Hocus Pocus' — and 6 More Secrets You Never Knew

Travel and Leisure - Fri, 10/05/2018 - 08:44
<p><a href="" target="_blank">"Hocus Pocus"</a> is ready to put a spell on you once more this Halloween. The <a href="" target="_blank">Disney cult classic</a> is officially hitting participating AMC theaters around the country from Oct. 26 to Oct. 31 in celebration of its 25th anniversary.</p><p>In case you’ve somehow lived under a rock for the last two and a half decades, the film follows the story of a teenage boy named Max Dennison, his little sister Dani, and their friend Allison as they explore an abandoned home in Salem, Massachusetts.</p><p>Allison warns the two that the home once belonged to the Sanderson sisters, three presumed witches who were killed during the Salem witch trials. Max unwittingly releases the witches from their death spell by lighting a candle. From there, both hilarity and spookiness ensue.</p><p>Before you head out to the theaters to re-watch this Halloween classic — or introduce it to your kids for the first time — read up on seven fun facts you may have missed from the film.</p><p>Max was almost played by <a href="" target="_blank">Leonardo DiCaprio</a>. According to <em>Variety</em>, he was offered "more money than [he] ever dreamed of" but turned down the role to do "What's Eating Gilbert Grape" instead.</p><p><a href="" target="_blank">Rosie O’Donnell</a> almost starred in it too as Mary Sanders. However, she turned down the role as she thought it was a little risqué to play a character who murdered children.</p><p>When Billy’s mouth is cut open for the first time, those are real moths that fly out of his mouth. According to <em><a href="" target="_blank">Buzzfeed</a></em>, the actor used a dental dam to make sure the moths didn’t fly down his throat.</p><p>The director used <a href="" target="_blank">nine different cats</a> to play Thackery Binx.</p><p>If you watch closely you’ll see <a href="" target="_blank">Sarah Sanderson’s hair</a> switch from curly to straight and back to curly throughout the film.</p><p>In many other countries, the film is known as “Abracadabra.”</p><p>Hocus Pocus wasn’t originally a Halloween movie; it was released in August of 1993. But, a classic is a classic no matter when it came out.</p>
Categories: Travel

Drunk Birds Are Going on 'Berry Benders' in Minnesota

Travel and Leisure - Fri, 10/05/2018 - 08:09
<p>Somebody needs to cut off the <a href="" target="_blank">birds</a> of Gilbert, Minnesota, because they’re all drunk.</p><p>According to local authorities, birds in the region are getting a bit tipsy thanks to an early frost, which caused berries to ferment on the vine. When the birds consume a few too many they tend to fly into windows and act a fool. In fact, the birds are getting so out of control that the local police department had to warn citizens about their behavior.</p><p>"We've sort of nicknamed it ‘berry benders’ now that these birds are on a berry bender,” Gilbert police chief Ty Techer told <a href="" target="_blank">Fox 9</a>. “The young birds’ livers can't process it as well; they seem to be loopier, for lack of a better term.”</p><p><strong>Related:</strong> <a href="" target="_blank">Drunk Wasps Are Going on 'Stinging Rampages' at U.K. Beer Gardens</a></p><p>According to park ranger Sharon Stiteler, the birds are typically cedar waxwings and American robins, who like to feast on the berries. "Drunk birds are totally a thing. I've had to give sober rides to cedar waxwings from uptown,” she joked.</p><p>But, the police department also wants locals to know that they are aware of the situation, so <a href=";theater" target="_blank">please stop calling them about it</a>.</p><p>“There is no need to call law enforcement about these birds as they should sober up within a short period of time,” the department posted on Facebook. “However, we would like you to call the Gilbert Police Department if you see the following: Heckle and Jeckle walking around being boisterous or playing practical jokes. Woodstock pushing Snoopy off a dog house for no apparent reason. The Roadrunner jumping in and out of traffic on Main Street. Big Bird operating a motor vehicle in an unsafe manner. Angry Birds giggling and laughing uncontrollably and appearing to be happy. Tweety acting as if he’s 10 feet tall and getting into confrontations with cats.Any other birds after midnight with Taco Bell items.”</p><p>And if you really feel compelled to help the drunk birds, Stiteler said to "try putting it in a box in a dark place where it can kind of sleep things off."</p>
Categories: Travel

Travelers at Newark Airport May Have Been Exposed to Measles

Travel and Leisure - Fri, 10/05/2018 - 07:11
<p>Travelers at <a href="" target="_blank">Newark Liberty International Airport</a> may have been exposed to the <a href="" target="_blank">measles</a>. </p><p>According to <a href="" target="_blank"></a>, a traveler on a flight from Tel Aviv has been diagnosed with the virus. The unidentified man was reportedly traveling through Newark Liberty Terminal B on Sept. 28 and then continued on to Rockland County, New York.</p><p>The New Jersey Department of Health said in a statement that anyone traveling through the airport between the hours of 5:30 a.m. and 10:30 a.m on Sept. 28 could have been exposed to the virus. Those who are unvaccinated and were in Terminal B at the time have the highest risk, though it’s possible that the man could have traveled to other parts of the airport as well.</p><p>According to the <a href="" target="_blank">CDC</a>, symptoms for the measles include high fever, cough, runny nose, red, watery eyes, and tiny white spots inside the mouth about two or three days after initial symptoms. The measles can also lead to more serious symptoms and even death for those with weakened immune systems.</p><p>It’s important to note that symptoms may not occur immediately. Those exposed may not even be aware that they are sick until as late as Oct. 19.</p><p>State epidemiologist Dr. Christina Tan said in a statement that “two doses of measles vaccine are about 97 percent effective” in preventing the disease. But if you are unvaccinated and concerned you may have been exposed, it’s important to contact your doctor.</p>
Categories: Travel

Save 50% off Stays at One of the Hottest New Hotels in the Bahamas

Travel and Leisure - Thu, 10/04/2018 - 16:01
<p><em>T+L launched Operation Vacation to inspire workers to use their days off and get away, offering exclusive travel discounts as incentive. For the latest deals on hotels, airfare, cruises, and trip packages, visit <a href="" target="_blank"></a></em></p><p>Bahamas: 50 percent off at <a href="" target="_blank">Grand Hyatt Baha Mar</a>, a long-awaited beach resort with 1,800 coastal-inspired rooms. Don’t miss live jazz, tapas, and cocktails at the Blue Note and sophisticated seafood on the patio of 3 Tides.</p><p>The Grand Escape includes:</p>A minimum of three nights in a standard room A food and beverage creditA round of golf, including use of a golf cart One hour court time for two at the Racquet ClubA morning fitness class A couple’s massage for the price of a single massage<p>Original Price: From $1,385 (or $461 per night)</p><p><strong>T+L Price:</strong> From $675 (or $225 per night); valid until December 20, 2018</p><p>Booking details: Use promo code FALL when booking <a href="" target="_blank">online</a></p><p>Availability: Blackout dates include Oct. 7 – 10, 16 – 19, Nov. 20 – 30, 2018.</p>
Categories: Travel

The Most Popular and Most Affordable Holiday Destinations

Travel and Leisure - Thu, 10/04/2018 - 14:11
<p>Kayak released its <a href="" target="_blank">2018 Holiday Travel Hacker</a> on Wednesday, highlighting this year's popular destinations.</p><p>From the most popular destinations for ringing in the <a href="" target="_blank">New Year</a>, to trending ski destinations, to the most affordable places in North America for spending the holidays, the report offers a guide for when to find the best holiday travel deals.</p><p>For Thanksgiving, Kayak generally suggests booking flights eight weeks in advance based on 2017 data. For Christmas, it's four weeks in advance for domestic flights, and five weeks for international flights.<p>Booking eight weeks in advance also seemed ideal for domestic New Year’s travel, however the best median airfare for international New Year's trips was seen just two weeks beforehand. As always, when the best fare for your vacation will be available will vary depending on the destination and desired travel dates. To save, <a href="" target="_blank">set up alerts</a> and use fare calendar tools to see if <a href="" target="_blank">adjusting your schedule a little can help you save</a>.</p><p><a href="" target="_blank">The Bahamas</a> saw the biggest increase in interest for New Year’s Eve, followed by several other Caribbean islands along with a few European destinations. (The list is based on the greatest year-over-year search increases for travel between December 25 and January 2.)</p><h2>Top Trending New Year’s Eve Destinations</h2>The Bahamas (111% increase in searches)Florence, Italy (73%)Palm Springs, California (47%)Cartagena, Colombia (45%)Jamaica (30%)U.S. Virgin Islands (25%)New Orleans, Louisiana (24%)Aruba (23%)Zurich, Switzerland (22%)Paris, France (20%)<p>Kayak also found the top 10 budget-friendly destinations for the holidays, based having the lowest median airfare rates for travel between November 16 and January 2. Toronto topped the list, followed by Boston and Orlando.</p><h2>Top 10 Wallet-friendly Destinations in North America for the Holidays</h2>Toronto, CanadaBoston, MassachusettsOrlando, FloridaLas Vegas, NevadaNew York, New YorkAtlanta, GeorgiaCharleston, South CarolinaVancouver, CanadaChicago, IllinoisNashville, Tennessee<p>Several ski destinations in Canada, including Banff and Quebec City, have seen the highest year-over-year increase in searches for travel from November 16 to January 2.</p><h2>Top Trending Ski Destinations</h2>Banff, Canada (29% increase in searches)Quebec City, Canada (28%)Taos, New Mexico (27%)Big Sky, Montana (26%)Stowe, Vermont (21%)Jay, Vermont (17%)Mont-Tremblant, Canada (11%)Mammoth Lakes, California (4%)North Conway, New Hampshire (3%)Breckenridge, Colorado (3%)<p>Kayak's <a href="" target="_blank">Holiday Travel Hacker</a> additionally offers info in each category on median airfare and hotel rates, real-time flight deals, and average temperature and precipitation data for each destination.</p>
Categories: Travel

Hawaii's Big Island Is Back and Better Than Ever

Travel and Leisure - Thu, 10/04/2018 - 13:01
<p>My daughter, Agnes, has reached an age — 4 — where she asks questions like “Why did the dinosaurs die?” and “Where does hot lava come from?” So after <a href="" target="_blank">Hawaii’s</a> Kīlauea <a href="" target="_blank">began erupting</a> last May, we checked out some YouTube videos of the lava flow into the ocean, which led to a new recurring question: “Why, in Hawaii, is there <a href="" target="_blank">new land</a>?” When I told her a few months later that our family were going to visit the <a href="" target="_blank">Big Island</a> and see the volcano, she expressed her approval, then added sternly, “But we can’t get too <em>close</em>.”</p><img alt="Lava pouring out of Kilauea's Fissure 8 eruption. July 2018 "src=""><p>Then came the hurricane. A few days before we were set to travel, <a href="" target="_blank">Lane</a> had grown into a Category Five storm a couple hundred miles south of Hawaii that, as the headlines blared, threatened a rare direct hit on the archipelago. TV talking heads opined on the lousy luck of this poor, beleaguered paradise, which in 2018 had already endured the <a href="" target="_blank">false missile alert</a> as well as the eruption of Kīlauea. <em>Are you going to cancel your trip?</em>, people asked. <em>Let’s just wait and see</em>, I said.</p><p>I didn’t really think of canceling because I’d dreamed of visiting Hawaii since I was a kid, but had somehow never been, and because we were headed for the <a href="" target="_blank">Four Seasons Resort Hualalai</a>, which I’d been told by many people is the platonic ideal of family vacation destinations. The folks at the resort, in contrast to the sensationalized headlines, were blasé about the hurricane, reassuring me that the property lies on the dry side of the island. When the outer bands of the storm arrived, they reported that it had just gotten a little gray where they were, and it wasn’t even really raining.</p><p>In the ensuing hours, the storm was downgraded to a tropical depression. Our journey went off without a hitch, and the four of us — Agnes, my son Rex, my wife Chi, and I — arrived to scattered clouds and the moderately humid perpetual 84 degrees for which Hawaii is so legendary. After guava juice and damp towels in the lobby, we were ferried by electric cart along serpentine paths, past the volcanic-rock walls and dense native plantings that fronted the villas, to our tranquil Deluxe Suite. It overlooked King’s Pond, a manmade lagoon just behind the beach inhabited by 4,000 fish species, including a spotted eagle ray named Kainalu, who the kids would get to feed the next morning.</p><img alt="View from the terrace at the Four Seasons Resort Hualalai, in Hawaii "src=""><img alt="Inside a suite at the Four Seasons Resort Hualalai, in Hawaii "src=""><p>This area, at the north end of the resort, is definitely the <a href="" target="_blank">most family-friendly</a>, and as we walked the grounds the next few days, I came to understand the Four Seasons Hualalai as an ingenious piece of social engineering. It’s laid out as a series of interlocking crescents along the ocean, each of which speaks to a different life stage: At one end lies King’s Pond; at the other, the golf course, with areas better suited for singles on romantic getaways and families with older kids in between. The resort’s seven pools exemplify this idea: a short walk from our room, we found the Seashell Pool, a classic family pool surrounded by palapa cabanas, with an infinity edge that looks out over the Ocean Pool, a protected area off the beachfront that is an ideal place for children to learn to snorkel. Behind the Seashell Pool is the very shallow, sandy-bottomed Keiki Pool, where Chi could camp out on a chaise and drink rosé, leaving the kids more or less to their own devices, when I got a massage at the spa. Walk a little further along the oceanfront promenade and you’ll come to the more grown-up Beach Tree Pool, where the emphasis is on quietude, and then the truly adult Palm Grove Pool, which has a swim-up bar that serves a sensational Hendrick’s-cilantro-cucumber-jalapeño number called a Cool &amp; Spicy.</p><img alt="Staff by the pool at the Four Seasons Hualalai, in Hawaii "src=""><p>Chi and I took turns at the Palm Grove Pool while the kids were napping. One afternoon I was sitting on one of the submerged benches, engrossed in a novel and enjoying a Cool &amp; Spicy, happy as a clam except that the basalt deck I was leaning on to read was just a bit too hot. Almost the moment I realized I was uncomfortable, a pool attendant appeared with a towel to keep me from burning myself. When I left the pool, I left the tab open for Chi, whose turn it was next. She told me later that she’d been greeted by name and shown to a chaise that had already been made up for her.</p><p><strong>Related</strong>: <a href="" target="_blank">The Top 15 Resort Hotels in Hawaii</a></p><p>This kind of service — anticipatory, empathetic, always nearby but never intrusive — is like a glass of ice water on a hot day. It’s disarmingly bracing on first encounter, then routinely gratifying thereafter. We experienced it wherever we went at the Four Seasons Hualalai. On our first night, we went to Ulu Ocean Grill, steps from the Sea Shell Pool and the beach, for a dinner prepared by the executive chef, Thomas Bellec. Everything was marvelous: the craft cocktails, the kampachi crudo, the ocean view, the special grilled oyster Bellec brought Agnes when he found out she was an oyster lover, and most of all the double rainbow that suddenly appeared over the beach. And then, as will happen with jetlagged kids, suddenly everything fell apart. As Bellec carved the just-caught whole snapper tableside, both children went into full meltdown. “Just go,” he told us. “I’ll have it sent to your room.”</p><img alt="Staff walking down stairs at the Four Seasons Resort Hualalai, in Hawaii "src=""><p>To be honest, I thought that would be the end of the dinner. But, as if by magic, a staffer materialized minutes after we’d gotten the kids to sleep to set up a feast for us on the balcony. We sat in the dark, devouring that beautiful fish, drinking the bottle of lemony Sancerre we’d ordered, and listening to the waves.</p><p>One morning, I got away by myself for a stargazing and sunrise tour of Mauna Kea, the million-year-old dormant volcano whose summit is the highest point in the state of Hawaii. “Thank you for not being afraid of the volcano, and the hurricane, and the 2 a.m. wakeup,” said Justin Larkin, our driver and guide from <a href="" target="_blank">Hawaii Forest &amp; Trail</a>, as the Sprinter van carrying 14 bleary-eyed travelers bumped up the side of the mountain in the predawn light. He explained that the ancient Polynesians had thought of Mauna Kea as the belly button of the Hawaiians. The sunrise, when it came, was ravishing, like filagree lace edging the cloud cover before rushing further to flood us with celestial light. Just as remarkable to me was the shadow Mauna Kea projected onto the atmosphere in the opposite direction, not far from the southern coast of Maui, which was visible in the distance Maui, Larkin had told us, began life where Mauna Kea is now, before wandering over the eons to its current location. Set free for a moment from the realities of parental time, I marveled at the slowness of geological time.</p><img alt="USA, Hawaii, Big Island, Mauna Kea, three tourists watching sunrise "src=""><p>Of course, I had promised Agnes that she’d get to see a volcano too, so the hotel had also arranged a tour for us with <a href="" target="_blank">Paradise Helicopters</a>. As we drove through the lava fields toward the airport, Agnes’s existential questions took a more personal turn: “Papa, why, in our family, aren’t there <em>three </em>children? Why are your parents alive and mama’s aren’t?”</p><p>To my relief, we were soon aboard the helicopter with our our affable pilot, Keith Darby, who informed us and our fellow riders, also Four Seasons guests, that he would do his best to “entice us out of the Garden of Eden.” He kept up a steady patter about the magnificent sights below us, from the perfect white-sand beach where Captain Cook met his end to the green, mist-enshrouded coast above Hilo, once the site of an ill-fated railroad. Rex was airsick, and whined until he fell asleep. Agnes was most excited about asking me questions over her headset, until she too fell asleep.</p><img alt="Volcanoes National Park, Hawaii "src=""><p>We circled the black-and-umber crater of Kīlauea a few times, trying to see in, but the view was obscured by a giant puff of steam and what Darby called the storm’s “residual gunk.” “Not to rub it in,” he said later, when he put down the helicopter for a quick picnic on a secluded mountaintop, “but the lava flow was amazing until August.” Of course, the disappearance of the lava has in many ways been good news for the Big Island, which was able to reopen <a href="" target="_blank">Volcanoes National Park</a> a few weeks after we visited (now <em>sans</em> lava). Agnes told me afterward that she hadn’t seen the volcano, but it was okay, because she’d had fun in the helicopter. And while we didn’t get to see lava — or do other things, like snorkel, that we’ll do the next time — it was okay, because we’d had fun in Hawaii.</p><p><strong>Related</strong>: <a href="" target="_blank">You Can Harvest Your Own Sea Salt on a Volcanic Hike in Hawaii (Video)</a></p><p>One morning as we enjoyed the incredible breakfast buffet at Ulu, I chatted with our server, Tiffany, about Lane’s near-miss. “For those of us who grew up on the island, each day is its own day,” she told me. You get into that mindset very quickly here. The next morning, Tiffany was our server again, and she pointed out a pod of dolphins that had surfaced off shore. Agnes and Rex and I rushed to the beach just as one corkscrewed its body up out of the water and landed with a splash.</p><p>Agnes turned to me, her face alight. “We saw — ” She could barely get the words out. “We saw a dolphin do a <em>trick!</em>” I was as excited as she was.</p>
Categories: Travel

Jane Fonda Is Going on an Anthony Bourdain-inspired Food Tour in France

Travel and Leisure - Thu, 10/04/2018 - 12:00
<h2>La Sélection Officielle</h2><p>"This month, I’m going to Lyon, France, to receive a lifetime achievement award at the 10th <a href="" target="_blank">Lumière Festival</a>, one of the largest international festivals of classic cinema. It was in Lyon that Auguste and Louis Lumière invented the cinematograph, so it’s a special place for people who love and work in film."</p><h2>Lyon à La Bourdain</h2><img alt="Fish in puff pastry at the Paul Bocuse restaurant in Lyon, France "src=""><p>"I first visited Lyon in my twenties, with my first husband, Roger Vadim, a Frenchman, but back then, I wasn’t eating, so I didn’t appreciate the city’s food scene. This time, I’m going to dine at the very best restaurants, like <a href="" target="_blank">Maison Troisgros</a><b> </b><em>(tasting menu $513)</em> and <a href="" target="_blank">Paul Bocuse</a> <em>(entrées $80–$103) </em>— the same ones Anthony Bourdain ate at in <em>Parts Unknown</em>. It was actually Bourdain — may he rest in peace — who taught me about Lyon’s history as the birthplace of French cuisine."</p><h2>French Connection</h2><p>"When I’m in France, I like to sit outside at the cafés and go to the museums. I’m traveling with a close girlfriend — the woman Roger married after me — so I’m sure we’ll have lots of fun. As for what I’m packing, I’m all about chic, wrinkle-proof clothing. I’ve traveled so much in my lifetime that I’m now a pro."</p><h2>An American in Paris</h2><img alt="The Musee Rodin, and the Ritz Paris, in Paris, France "src=""><p>"After Lyon, I’m going to Paris, where I’m hoping to visit the<b> </b><a href="" target="_blank">Musée Rodin</a> and stay at <a href="" target="_blank">Le Bristol</a> <em>(doubles from $1,129)</em><i> </i>or the <a href="" target="_blank">Ritz Paris</a><i> </i><em>(doubles from $1,140)</em><i>.</i> I’m also hoping to track down this one vegetarian restaurant on the Left Bank whose name I can’t remember. I had one of the greatest meals of my life there, so I’m planning on retracing my steps and discovering it again."</p><img alt="Promenade of the Saone River in Lyon, France "src="">
Categories: Travel

Southwest Is Having a Winter Sale With Flights Starting at $49 (Video)

Travel and Leisure - Thu, 10/04/2018 - 11:16
<p>Although the temperature may have only just started to cool down, it’s not too early to make your warm-weather contingency plans.</p><p><a href="" target="_blank">Southwest Airlines is having a sale</a> on winter flights, with one-way airfare as low as $49. The deals are valid from November 28 through December 19, and January 3 through February 13, 2019. Deals for international flights to Caribbean destinations are available through March 6, 2019.</p><p>Fair warning: You won’t be able to use these deals to plan your winter weekend getaways. The lowest airfare is not available on Friday and Sunday flights and international deals will only show up for flights on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.</p><p>However, if you’re looking for an excuse to take time off from work, the low prices could make time off requests a lot more enticing.</p><p>From Phoenix, there are $49 flights to <a href="" target="_blank">San Diego</a> and the same price is available between <a href="" target="_blank">Atlanta</a> and Nashville. For $79, travelers in D.C. can ease down to New Orleans or people in Oakland can escape to Denver. Those battling the snow and wind in Chicago can find warmth in Dallas for only $99. Winter warriors stranded in St. Louis can make a break with a one-way flight to San Jose for $129.</p><p>The deals are available until October 4 at 11:59 p.m. (in the flight’s originating city).</p>
Categories: Travel

Oscar Wilde’s Former London Pied-à-terre Is Becoming a Hotel

Travel and Leisure - Thu, 10/04/2018 - 10:45
<p>Oscar Wilde once wrote that one should either be a work of art or wear one. Soon you’ll be able to stay in one.</p><p>After four years and $48 million in renovations, the writer’s former London pied-a-terre will reopen in December as the <a href="" target="_blank">Belmond Cadogan Hotel</a>.</p><p>The Cadogan Hotel was an important location in Wilde’s life. <a href="" target="_blank">After losing a libel case against the Marquess of Queensberry</a> (over Wilde’s homosexuality, a crime in England at the time), the writer was arrested at the hotel on April 6, 1895. There’s even a poem — entitled “<a href="" target="_blank">The Arrest of Oscar Wilde at the Cadogan Hotel</a>” — chronicling the whole ordeal.</p><p>Besides having major historical importance to the literary and LGBTQ worlds, the hotel is likely to become a <a href="" target="_blank">London</a> destination for several other reasons.</p><p>Renovations have restored and preserved many of the hotel’s original design details from the 1800s, including wood paneling, stained glass windows and working fireplaces. There are 57 rooms in the hotel, all decorated with taste that any aesthete should enjoy.</p><img alt="Belmond Cadogan "src=""><img alt="Belmond Cadogan "src=""><img alt="Belmond Cadogan "src=""><p>There are several new dining options inside the hotel, including a tea lounge, terrace cafe and classic British bar. The main restaurant, helmed by chef Adam Handling (of The Frog Hoxton), will offer a menu of sustainable and contemporary British fare.</p><p>Every morning, a breakfast of pastries, croissants, bread and crumpets is delivered to guest rooms. Afterwards, guests can spend time in the private gardens or hotel tennis courts.</p><img alt="Belmond Cadogan "src=""><p>If you’re staying at the hotel, take one other travel tip from Wilde when packing your suitcase. In “The Importance of Being Earnest,” one of Wilde’s characters remarks that he never travels without his diary. “One should always have something sensational to read in the train.”</p>
Categories: Travel

The Best-selling Trtl Travel Pillow Just Got a Serious Upgrade — and It's Comfier Than Ever

Travel and Leisure - Thu, 10/04/2018 - 09:42
<p>In the travel accessories world, the Trtl pillow is something of a phenomenon. Its unconventional approach to supporting the head and neck changed what a <a href="" target="_blank">neck pillow</a> could look like — and how well it could work — thus converting travel pillow non-believers everywhere. (It’s safe to say <a href="" target="_blank">our editors are obsessed</a>.) </p><p>On Wednesday, the folks over at Scotland-based Trtl released the <a data-ecommerce="true" href="" target="_blank">Trtl Pillow Plus</a> via a 30-day Kickstarter campaign. At the time of publish, it had already raised well over $20,000 from more than 500 backers in just a few hours. And oh man, is it great.</p><p>Five years of sleep ergonomics research went into the new version, and two major consumer wishes have been granted: lighter fabric and adjustable height. The new material is far more breathable than the Trtl pillow 1.0's fleece. It's still lined with super-soft micro-fleece, but there's now a mesh panel running along the center that will keep you from overheating. It's also still machine washable for convenience. </p><p><strong>Related:</strong> <a href="" target="_blank">We Put 17 Travel Pillows to the Test, and Only One Got a Perfect Score</a></p><img alt="trtl pillow plus launch "src=""><p>More notably than the fabric change, though, is the new adjustable height feature for the internal support 'V'. Unwrapped, there are two auto-locking toggles that you can twist toward the right to expand or toward the left to shorten. And they operate independently of one another, so your Trtl can be shorter near your face and taller behind your shoulder, for example. Actually, it has 80 possible configurations — 80!</p><p>We tested one and were surprised to learn that once you get your height settings just-right Goldilocks style, you won't even need to wrap the fabric around your neck. The pillow will snuggle itself in between your head and shoulder and just do its thing on its own. </p><p>The price point for the Plus has gone up alongside the quality, with a suggested retail value of $75. (The original generally retails for <a data-ecommerce="true" href="" target="_blank">about $30 on Amazon</a>). If you hurry, though, you may be able to score one for $35 as the first 1,000 Kickstarter backers can get a Trtl Plus for 50 percent off with a free waterproof carrying bag included.</p><h2>Trtl Pillow Plus</h2><img alt="trtl pillow plus launch "src=""><p>To buy: <a data-ecommerce="true" href="" target="_blank"></a>, $35</p>
Categories: Travel