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NEED TRAVEL IDEAS

Activities & Interests

Past travel articles organized by activity and interest.

hotels

Saturday, April 19, 2014

A welcome facelift in the land of plastic surgery

In Los Angeles, there's a lot of chatter about who's real and who's not, what's ''legit'' and what's a fad. The Moment, a new boutique hotel situated on the famous Sunset Strip, is the real deal: the staff are knowledgeable and funny, the rooms funky and chic without being pretentious, and the vibe - to use a terribly played-out L.A. term - is way cool.

Location: Los Angeles;

Subject: hotels; review; tourism; travel

Saturday, April 12, 2014

A Marcel Wanders fairy tale for Hong Kong

This boutique hotel collaboration between rock star designer Marcel Wanders and property design company Yoo (whose founder is none other than Philippe Starck) is the darling of the moment for design aficionados. The 36-floor, 91-room hotel in the up-and-coming Wan Chai district of Hong Kong fills a niche in a destination long on stately escapes, such as The Peninsula and Mandarin Oriental, but short on hip hideaways. From the first-floor lounge to the penthouse, every element of this visual cross between Magical Mystery Tour and Through the Looking Glass has been carefully thought out. A moody house-music track plays in the lobby and bar accompanied by a ubiquitous subtle violet scent created just for the hotel. The staff's Grace Choi-designed day-and-night outfits seem a backdrop for a contemporary and experimental piece de theatre.

Location: Hong Kong;

Subject: hotels; review; tourism; travel

Saturday, April 5, 2014

A hotel to enjoy the Dallas arts scene - inside and out

The the neo-gothic Joule is a twin-towered luxury boutique-hotel that's undergone a $78-million (U.S.) reno developed by local oil billionaire and film producer Tim Headington (Argo, Hugo, The Tourist). The hotel has double-barelled ambitions: becoming a main attraction for visitors and to reflect the city's widening arts scene. Apart from its own art collection, which includes Andy Warhol's set of screen prints Electric Chairs and restored local tile mosaics, it follows a literary trend among hotels by offering a bookstore with Teutonically cool art books from Taschen.

Location: Dallas; Texas;

Subject: hotels; review; tourism; travel

Saturday, March 29, 2014

A story behind every stay: Three new Manhattan hotels steeped in history

''Does anyone still wear a hat?'' Elaine Stritch first posed the question in 1970 in Stephen Sondheim's Company - and the short answer is: no. The upside to the decline in women's headwear, however, is that a former millinery factory just a few blocks away from where Stritch sang The Ladies Who Lunch has been recently transformed into one of New York's hottest new boutique hotels: Refinery Hotel.

Location: New York City;

Subject: hotels; review; tourism; travel

Saturday, March 29, 2014

When a massage is not enough

It's a snowy afternoon in Andermatt, Switzerland, and I'm mentally and physically exhausted from a day on the slopes - including a stressful chairlift ride escorting three small Swiss children, who excitedly swung their legs and chatted to each other in German while I calculated exactly what to do if they slouched too far down and started to slide off the seat.

Location: Switzerland;

Subject: hotels; spas; tourism; travel

Saturday, March 29, 2014

A story behind every stay: Three new Manhattan hotels steeped in history

The corner of New York's 57th Street and 6th Avenue had seen better days. The Buckingham Hotel, as most short-term Manhattan accommodations do, once played host to many early-20th century luminaries, including Georgia O'Keeffe and pianist and Poland's first prime minister, Ignacy Jan Paderewski. Having faded in glamour of late, the property was bought and reopened as the Quin in late 2013. It would be easy to consider its address the most important asset, but the range of amenities and services make it hard to leave the hotel despite the environs.

Location: New York City;

Subject: hotels; review; tourism; travel

Saturday, March 29, 2014

A story behind every stay: Three new Manhattan hotels steeped in history

If Jack Kerouac, Maggie Smith, Julie Andrews, John Barrymore and Lenny Bruce once slept here, it's good enough for me.The Marlton hotel was built in 1900, and later became a cheap sleep for the Beat Generation and its central Manhattan location, and affordability meant it attracted the creative class for decades. In 1987, the building turned into a dorm for the nearby New School, until hotelier Sean MacPherson, he of hip haunts such as the Jane and the Bowery, purchased the historic property in 2012.

Location: New York City;

Subject: hotels; review; tourism; travel

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Equestrian luxe deep in the heart of Virginia horse country

In the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains sits the elegant Salamander Resort and Spa. Opened last summer, the five-star resort covers 138 hectares deep in the heart of Virginia's horse country, making this equestrian-themed hotel a must-stay for guests who love to ride or love to hang out with the monied horsey set.

Location: Middleburg; Virginia;

Subject: hotels; review; tourism; travel

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Ian Schrager delivers another 'it' hotel

The paparazzi camped out front of the hotel are completely unfazed by my comings and goings. They're more enthusiastic about London TV host Nick Grimshaw, model Daisy Lowe and boy band heartthrob Harry Styles who are all here to celebrate the birthday of current ''it'' girl, Alexa Chung. The doormen who keep the photographers at bay take it all in stride, and even the crowds in the lobby at the Edition, London are nonplussed by yet another celebrity making the scene. If there's such a thing as an ''it'' hotel, this collaboration between celebrity hotelier Ian Schrager and the Marriott group is it. The lobby is heaving, the restaurant nearly impossible to get into at peak hours, and the wood-lined rooms as cool and seductive as a Bond vixen.

Location: Great Britain; London;

Subject: hotels; review; tourism; travel

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Stretching out in Switzerland

The first word that comes to mind when wandering around the Chedi Andermatt is spacious: spacious rooms and bathrooms, spacious hallways, a spacious restaurant with spacious kitchens. All that room can be disorienting, but mostly it feels cozy since the modern-Swiss decor is paired with Asian flair and plenty of soothing colours and wood accents - not to mention a fireplace in every room.

Location: Andermatt; Switzerland;

Subject: hotels; review; tourism; travel

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Let yourself be seduced by the view

It's been almost a decade since Berlin Mayor Klaus Wowereit famously described his city as ''poor, but sexy.'' In recent years, however, as the economy has boomed, the first part of that equation has been altered by an influx of wealth, leading to grumbling about gentrification from artsy types. No doubt, the gorgeous new, five-star Waldolf Astoria hotel in the posh Charlottenburg neighbourhood is a sign of richer times for the German capital - but does it make the city sexier?

Location: Berlin; Germany;

Subject: hotels; review; tourism; travel

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Capture and share your stay at Sydney's Instagram hotel

If you want a peek at the 1888 Hotel, look up Instagram (#1888hotel). As the world's first ''Instagram hotel,'' it might have started a trend, as other hotels take its lead. Guests can take selfies in the lobby, and see them instantly appear on screens near the reception desk. The best Instagram shots win a free night in the hotel.

Location: Australia; Sydney;

Subject: hotels; review; tourism; travel

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Victoria's elegant escape for the business set

The most glamorous way to swoop into Victoria, barring a gigantic yacht teeming with manservants, is by floatplane. In half an hour a Harbour Air seaplane takes you from downtown Vancouver to Victoria's Inner Harbour, just blocks away from the Magnolia Hotel and Spa. On request, hotel staff can meet you and pull your bag up the mild slope. The Magnolia is tucked into Courtney Street, close to the grand, neo-Georgian Union Club of B.C. (est. 1879) and the Chateau-style Fairmont Empress (est. 1908). In other words, this is a historic neighbourhood, and although the Magnolia is only 15 years old, its recently refurbished style is elegant faux heritage rather than trendy.

Location: British Columbia; Victoria;

Subject: hotels; review; tourism; travel

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

London's sexy cigar rooms

The cigar room at The May Fair Hotel in London is the antithesis of the stodgy, clubby, smoking rooms of the past, with vast leather chairs and stuffed animal heads on the wall. It has swinging chairs, chainmail and colourful ambient lighting. It is closer to Austin Powers than it is to Boodle's, London's storied private club. The question is whether the May Fair's fabulous cigar room represents the future of smoking or its last gasp.

Location: Great Britain; London;

Subject: hotels; smoking; tourism; travel

Saturday, February 8, 2014

A resort with sex appeal - and peekaboo showers

Viceroy Riviera Maya will come, at first, as a shock to the system. It took my bemused husband to explain that the rose-coloured thingys strewn on our king-sized duvet were, in fact, petals (as opposed to decorative sewing). But this was just a warm-up.

Location: Mexico; Quintana Roo;

Subject: hotels; review; tourism; travel

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Vacation near the glow of an active volcano

In 1846, the first visitors to Volcano House bedded down in a one-room grass hut to be as close as possible to Kilauea, an active volcano on Hawaii Island (or the Big Island). Larger and more comfortable versions of the hotel followed, but when the latest closed in 2010, locals feared the inn that hosted such notable guests as Mark Twain and Robert Louis Stevenson might be lost to history. Three-and-a-half years and $7-million (U.S.) in renovations later , the hotel is again welcoming visitors for a front-row seat on the volcanic action.

Location: Hawaii;

Subject: hotels; review; tourism; travel

Saturday, February 1, 2014

In Maui, Hawaiian hip that's fit for the Hollywood A-list

If Hawaii makes you think of luaus, pupu platters and tiki drinks, it's time for a revisit. There's a Hawaiian cultural renaissance under way, and the Andaz Maui is at the forefront of a hip contemporary vision of Hawaii - with no kitsch.

Location: Maui;

Subject: hotels; review; tourism; travel

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

A great example of how to treat the road-weary woman

People who travel for work are often the envy of those who are chained to their cubicles. This is foolish. Yes, corporate jet-setting carries an element of glamour - but it is more likely to be chock full of mediocre room service and dreary isolation. A lesson in how to make things better for road warriors - those of the female persuasion especially - is found at the recently renovated Loews Hotel Vogue Montreal. Make no mistake: It is also makes for a lovely vacation. But it seems to have business travel down pat. For starters, the WiFi is free throughout the hotel. Hallelujah.

Location: Montreal;

Subject: business travel; hotels; review; tourism

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Step into 1920s New York at this art-deco escape in Greenwich Village

The Jade offers a different feel than the big brand hotels usually found in New York's busy Midtown. Turn onto the quiet tree-lined, 13th Street in Greenwich Village, and you'll feel like you've taken a step back in time once you reach this art-deco inspired boutique hotel.

Location: New York City;

Subject: hotels; review; tourism; travel

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Brooklyn's hottest hangout

It's a noisy 30-minute train ride from Lower Manhattan to reach Wythe Hotel in the funky neighbourhood of Williamsburg, Brooklyn, but we didn't regret the commute once the sun started to set. Our room looked toward Manhattan, and through floor-to-ceiling windows we gazed in awe at the evening sky ablaze in pink and purple hues with the Freedom Tower, Rockefeller Center and other familiar landmarks visible in the distance. Visitors don't just come here for the sunsets, though.

Location: Brooklyn; New York;

Subject: hotels; review; tourism; travel

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

'Nothing is complicated on this island'

Dreamers wistful for the first Gilded Age and curious about the current one can plunk down some considerable loot and book into the resplendently restored Fisher Island Club Hotel (once a Vanderbilt vacation home) located on a private island just minutes from Miami Beach.

Location: Florida; Miami;

Subject: hotels; review; tourism; travel

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Ski up to the bar at the Alps' new hot spot

There are small villages in the Swiss alps that are quiet, unassuming witnesses to the grandeur that surrounds them, where the few hundred inhabitants are as likely to ski to work as they are to swoosh down a piste. And perhaps Verbier was once one of them. But with the world's first W ski resort's opening in December, the town is most certainly one no longer. This is an international hot spot, up there with its Teutonic neighbours Gstaad, Zermatt, Andermatt and Davos. If you like that kind of thing, as I do, it may be time to go.

Location: Switzerland; Verbier;

Subject: hotels; review; skiing; tourism; travel

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Coco Chanel's refashioned escape

It was at the Beau-Rivage Palace Hotel, on the shores of Lake Geneva in Lausanne, Switzerland, that Coco Chanel used to settle in for months at a time, so smitten was she with the view of Evian-les-Bains, France, across the water. So it's perhaps no surprise that another icon of design is now rethinking vast swaths of this Swiss national historic landmark. Following a years-long renovation of its public spaces, last month the 152-year-old hotel unveiled two floors of rooms and suites - another two follow next spring - reimagined by Pierre Yves Rochon, whose earlier remakes include London's Savoy, Paris's George V and the 16th-century palazzo that's now the Four Seasons Florence.

Location: Lausanne; Switzerland;

Subject: hotels; review; tourism; travel

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Hot chocolate: Crushing on cocoa in St. Lucia

Restaurant tables are set with salt and pepper, but also a cocoa nib grinder. At the spa, massage oil options include cocoa-peppermint and cocoa-nutmeg-cinnamon. Just outside your window, baby cocoa pods cling to trees in shady groves. And above it all towers St. Lucia's magical, magnificent Pitons.

Location: Caribbean; St. Lucia;

Subject: hotels; tourism; travel

Saturday, January 11, 2014

A Parisian hideaway fit for a future king

In French, Prince de Galles refers to Britain's Prince of Wales. That, in light of the recent addition to the Royal Family, makes the reopening of this 84-year-old hotel particularly apt. The hotel sits immediately beside the Four Seasons Hotel George V. But if the Prince de Galles might have once appeared to exist in the George V's shadow, this is no longer the case. Post-makeover, the hotel commands a lustre all its own. As part of Starwood's Luxury Collection, it is a gem within a city of precious jewel properties.

Location: Paris;

Subject: hotels; review; tourism; travel

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Luxury and silence await at this remote island escape

Cruising the hundreds of emerald islands and islets in the Gulf of Chiriqui, off the Pacific coast of Panama, is like tapping into virtually unchartered territory. Panama is fast becoming one of the truly hot travel destinations in Central America, and because tourism is still in its infancy, opportunities to escape into untouched wilds abound. A good place to start your adventure is the newly built Resort At Isla Palenque, a luxury eco hideaway perched on the rocky outpost of a tropical 162-hectare island in the Gulf of Chiriqui. Here you'll find lush jungle, picture-postcard beaches and endless flora and fauna.

Location: Gulf of Chiriqui; Panama;

Subject: hotels; review; tourism; travel

Saturday, December 28, 2013

A pot of tea, a book and vistas aplenty

Victoria, it's said, is more English than the English, which we all know isn't true, but when crossing the tweed curtain into the tony seaside enclave of Oak Bay, you get the point.

Location: British Columbia; Victoria;

Subject: hotels; review; tourism; travel

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Have a very outrageous Christmas

At this point you're either kicking back with hot cocoa or scrapping with strangers in the supermarket over frozen turkeys. If it's the latter, why not put down the shopping list and pick up your passport? Head to one of these festive destinations and let the pros handle the merriment.

Location: World;

Subject: hotels; list; tourism; travel

Saturday, December 14, 2013

How to find luxury that more sexy, less stuffy

The market for luxury and boutique hotel booking services has long been well served. So when the London-based upstart Mr and Mrs Smith entered the fray a decade ago, the founders had to be clear on what set it apart from industry leaders such as Relais and Chateaux and Small Luxury Hotels of the World.

Subject: hotels; tourism; travel

Saturday, December 14, 2013

After the quake newfound luxury

Haiti is perhaps the one part of the Caribbean Canadians do not think of as a travel spot, but that could change: one hotel at a time. The first is the year-old Royal Oasis. It's part of the Occidental chain, and the first luxury hotel to open in Haiti since well before the earthquake.

Location: Haiti;

Subject: hotels; review; tourism; travel

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Chicago's modernist five-star gem

Mashups are fraught with risk. You can certainly integrate Chinese dishes into a Japanese menu, but media giants AOL and Time-Warner? Not so much. So imagine the $280-million bet London's venerable (somewhat stodgy) Langham brand placed on a modernist gem of a building in the heart of downtown Chicago. Would this property - which already has four North American branches, including the Eaton Chelsea in Toronto - be able to go head-to-head with the Windy City's five other world-class hotels?

Location: Chicago;

Subject: hotels; review; tourism; travel

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

How to woo the uber rich

The first time I had the benefit of WiFi while rolling down a highway, I was aboard a frugally furnished campaign bus during the 2012 Alberta provincial election.The next occasion was last summer, as I fled the stifling heat outside Hong Kong International Airport and slipped into an air-conditioned stretch Rolls-Royce Phantom. Boastfully, I sent e-mails, tweets and Facebook updates without incurring roaming charges. But I would soon discover that my posh ride, dispatched by the Peninsula Hong Kong hotel, was just my first taste of the future of luxury travel.

Location: China;

Subject: hotels; list; tourism; travel

Saturday, November 9, 2013

A butler that will do absolutely anything? Yes, please

The British are experts at creating a dramatic setting, even when that place is the headquarters for an insurance company built in 1914, which explains the original imposing belle epoque architecture, magnificent grand staircase, rare green Swedish marble and the intimate courtyard entrance way. Insurance is all about stability, wealth and confidence, after all. Add an investment of about $140-million, and you're stepping into a forgotten time of grandeur and elegance. Jeeves, my Glenmorangie, please.

Location: Great Britain; London;

Subject: hotels; review; tourism; travel

Saturday, November 2, 2013

A leafy neighbourhood with a hip vibe

Visitors to Seattle tend to gravitate toward the vibrant hustle and bustle of the Pike Place Market area. They're likely unaware of Ballard, an invitingly leafy, historic northwestern Seattle enclave a 10-minute drive away. The neighbourhood now has a chic new sleepover location in the Hotel Ballard, a few blocks from busy Salmon Bay, part of the Lake Washington Ship Canal.

Location: Seattle; United States;

Subject: hotels; review; tourism; travel

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Modern luxury hotel within city offers sanctuary from it

Set in Paris's fashion district just half a block from prime Champs-Elysees, this modern, smartly furnished luxury hotel is a sanctuary from the city in the heart of one of its most bustling neighbourhoods. The design by Pierre Yovanovitch (he's a bit of a star around town) is modern and spare: light, calming wood, muted colours, soaring ceilings and just a few well-chosen pop accents. The building is small - there are just 40 rooms and 10 suites. The service feels friendly and intimate. And the location is hard to beat for convenience. Aside from its proximity to top-flight shops as well as the metro, the hotel is a couple minutes' walk from the Laduree bakery, one of Paris's best sweets spots.

Location: Paris;

Subject: hotels; review; tourism; travel

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Culinary star shines as a hotelier

You know all that stuff that apparently happens in Vegas? Well, it's not happening at the Nobu Hotel. But that's precisely what all the buzz is about. Decidedly a hotel for grownups, this hot spot manages an impressive double act - it's at the apex of the action in the bloated belly of Caesar's Palace, while offering a temple of calm in the 24-hour zaniness. Now that culinary ace Nobu Matsuhisa has entered the hotelier arena, expect more unorthodox twists and temptations. Mere minutes before the opening weekend sake ceremony, co-owner Robert DeNiro muses to me on his long-time partners Nobu and film producer Meir Tepper, ''look at the influences around this table - you've got an Israeli, Italian and Japanese building one of the most cohesive brands in the business - that's America.''

Location: Las Vegas;

Subject: hotels; review; tourism; travel

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

A trio of luxurious spots in Vienna

Vienna has experienced a little luxury hotel boom of late, with three properties opening since summer 2012. Which one is right for you? Here's a rundown.Sans Souci Wien

Location: Austria; Vienna;

Subject: hotels; list; tourism; travel

Saturday, October 12, 2013

DEALS

NYC hotel savingsThe buy: Hotel Week NYC is returning with up to 30 New York City hotels charging rates of $100, $200 or $300 per night.The savings: Up to $200 per night.

Subject: hotels; list; tourism; travel

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Historic hotel restored to glory

Originally built as a luxury hotel for distinguished international guests of the 1873 World Exhibition in Vienna, this property never even opened when a cholera epidemic raged through the city killing thousands. Over the years, the hotel languished as an office complex until the German brand Kempinski purchased and restored the building to its original purpose. Open since March, the Palais Hansen Kempinski combines historical architecture with a contemporary interior design offering high-tech touches in all 152-rooms. It's well worth the wait.

Location: Austria; Vienna;

Subject: hotels; review; tourism; travel

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Design and amenities complement flagship hotel's Yorkville address

It's a happy birthday for the Four Seasons Toronto today, as the Canadian brand's flagship hotel celebrates one year in its new incarnation in Yorkville. The property has plenty of reasons to celebrate: It's won acclaim from Conde Nast Traveler, Fodors and enRoute, and dazzled the stars during the Toronto International Film Festival. So what's all the fuss about?

Location: Toronto;

Subject: hotels; review; tourism; travel

Saturday, September 28, 2013

A Midtown hotel that's as unpretentious as it is luxurious

Arrive unreasonably early at most hotels and front-desk staff will give you a strained smile and the bum's rush: Leave your luggage but come back later, a lot later. Our unreasonably early arrival at the Tuscany, a St. Giles luxury hotel in Midtown Manhattan, however, was taken in stride - fruit-infused water is offered, jokes are shared with the doorman and the genial front-desk staff make us feel at home before we've even signed the register.

Location: New York City;

Subject: hotels; review; tourism; travel

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Soothe your soul in rustic luxury

Should a hotel owned by Cirque du Soleil's co-founder be as whimsical and captivating as a live circus performance? Naturally. Daniel Gauthier's Hotel La Ferme (literally, the Farm Hotel) is an extraordinary country-meets-chic property made up of low-rise wooden and glass structures that evoke a modern yet modest look. A performance venue and a tall statue of clowns climbing up a tower on the hotel's grounds are fanciful nods to its owner's circus ties.

Location: Baie-St-Paul; Quebec;

Subject: hotels; review; tourism; travel

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Asian luxury in the heart of Toronto

Consider the Toronto International Film Festival one big birthday party for the Shangri-La Toronto. Just days after celebrating its first anniversary, the second North American outpost of the luxury chain will be jumping with wheeling and dealing Hollywood players, late-night/early morning cocktails and other assorted A-list revelry. Your chance of scoring a room during the festival is pretty much zilch, but just give it a couple of weeks.

Location: Toronto;

Subject: hotels; review; tourism; travel

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Hotels push to add life to their lobbies

Hotels want you to stay a while - in their lobbies.Long treated as dead spaces that guests raced through on the way to the elevator, lobbies are being transformed into places to work, surf the Web or meet friends for a drink.

Subject: capital investment; hospitality industry; hotels; renovations; tourism; travel

Saturday, August 31, 2013

The great luxe outdoors

Azuridge - with its nebulous, but soothing name and blue-green logo - could easily be mistaken by its marketing for a new antidepressant. What it actually is, is Alberta's first estate hotel. Nevertheless, tucked away in five hectares of rolling foothills just southwest of Calgary, a visit to this luxurious retreat is likely to lighten your mood. Who needs Prozac when you have deer walking by your window - and, well, butler service?

Location: Alberta; Priddis;

Subject: hotels; review; tourism; travel

Saturday, August 24, 2013

DEALS

Countdown to WinterThe buy: Destination Hotels and Resorts is holding its annual Countdown to Winter promotion.The savings: Up to 40 per cent.The catch: You have to book by Aug. 31. Bookings made Sept. 1 to Oct. 15 get a discount of up to 30 per cent.

Location: China; Vancouver Island;

Subject: hotels; list; tourism; travel

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Old meets new in Philadelphia's Old Town

Set in the nation's most historical square mile, The Hotel Monaco Philadelphia has seamlessly balanced a nod to the founding fathers together with one toward the future.About $89-million (U.S.) went into Kimpton Hotel's renovation of the landmark Lafayette building in Old Town. Originally built in 1906, the 11-storey Empire and Greek revival building maintains its original ambience on the exterior, then immediately wows with whimsy in the lobby; bright colours and contemporary design is found throughout the lobby-cum-living room. Such bold strokes are counterbalanced with furnishings that are inspired with French sartorial details.

Location: Philadelphia;

Subject: hotels; tourism; travel

Saturday, August 3, 2013

The perfect place for drinking in Portugal's Douro Valley

It's amazing that Portugal's Douro Valley has remained relatively off the radar for North American travellers. One of the best places to soak in the ambience of this UNESCO World Heritage site (one of the first demarcated wine regions in the world) is the newly opened Wine Hotel at the historic 70-hectare vineyard, La Quinta do Vollado. Built right into the terraced vineyards, the sleek new building pairs perfectly with the winery's newly refurbished rooms built in the 18th century when the grande dame of the Douro, Dona AntENTITY ERROR: is not recognizednia Adelaide Ferreira, ran the place.

Location: Portugal;

Subject: hotels; review; tourism; travel

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Boutique hotels get in on the bidding action

Love the idea of blind bidding for hotel stays, but less enthused about the soulless, corporate rooms you're typically rewarded with? Stayful.com, a booking website launched Wednesday, promises boutique hotels at the same sort of discounts - minus the guessing game.

Subject: hotels; tourism; travel; websites

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Forget the room: This is a pool with a view

A cool, glassy spire recently installed in the heart of Wanchai, one of Hong Kong's most vibrant and historic districts, Hotel Indigo is very much a reflection of its surroundings. Just opened in May, Indigo offers a boutique feel and a contemporary take on its traditional neighbours, with a commitment to telling the community's stories . Funky lighting throughout carries on Wanchai's history as a place of neon and nightlife. Card drawers and Chinese lettering on the furniture in the Skybar recall a nearby lane once lined with greeting-card vendors. Rubik's cubes and miniature cars on your pillow at night echo Tai Yuen Street. And a giant gold dragon wraps the building, with a glowing pearl - the rooftop, glass-bottom infinity pool - in its mouth.

Location: China; Hong Kong;

Subject: hotels; review; tourism; travel

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