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Activities & Interests

Past travel articles organized by activity and interest.

tourism

Saturday, April 19, 2014

BY THE NUMBERS

120Number of continuous hours the Solar Impulse 2 solar-powered aircraft will attempt to fly in March, 2015. If successful, it will be the longest flight in history for a single pilot.

Subject: statistics; tourism; travel

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 19, 2014

ON THE RADAR

TibetAt the new Shangri-La Lhasa, travellers can unwind and acclimate to the high altitude at the first oxygen lounge in the city. The hotel, which opened this month, weaves Tibetan influences into the design from the grand entrance gate to handcrafted carpets, even the lounge's 6.5-metre chandelier looks like a prayer wheel. It's also well placed for visits to Buddhist sites, including Potala Palace and Norbulingka Palace (both are within walking distance), Jokhang Temple and Sera Monastery.

Subject: list; tourism; travel

Saturday, April 19, 2014

FIND YOUR WILD SIDE

When did I become such a wimp? When I backpacked around Australia 23 years ago with my future husband we hitchhiked - a lot - to hike and camp in remote areas. It was risky, but it was the only way to see more and spend less. And I'll never forget the time we lost the trail and then half our tent in the midst of a three-day coastal walk in Victoria - not to mention the many times we let our rides take us home for free meals. (They were such kind people, really!) Reading my old travel diaries recently I was shocked at how unadventurous I've become - but kids, marriage, middle-age and a full-time job will do that to you.

Location: Australia;

Subject: tourism; travel

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

On the cutting edge

Stockholm's once-gritty Sodermalm district - the setting for author Stieg Larsson's popular Millennium Trilogy - has turned into some of the hippest real estate in the Nordic world. The Hornstull neighbourhood, at its western edge, is the latest area to brush off a murky past and reinvent itself.

Location: Stockholm; Sweden;

Subject: 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 12, 2014

ETHEREAL ISLAND OUTPOST

Squinting in the cavernous darkness - through a cross-shaped slit chiselled into the foot-thick stone wall - I can see nothing but dazzling Indian Ocean azure. Nearly 500 years ago, a Portuguese priest likely stood in this exact spot within the Chapel of Nossa Senhora de Baluarte, yearning for the arrival of a caravel from Lisbon - dreading the sight of a Dutch warship or Arab pirate dhow.

Location: Ilha de Mocambique; Mozambique;

Subject: tourism; travel

Saturday, April 12, 2014

ON THE RADAR

New YorkRow NYC is a new Times Square hotel with a bold and artsy vibe. Behind the crystalline glass facade, the lobby has a grand illuminated staircase, stainless-steel drapery, an umbrella-shaped ceiling and a rolling stream of graphic animation by artist Yorgo Alexopoulos. Dine at District M lobby bar and restaurant where a digital gallery of photos by paparazzo Ron Galella accents a menu that features items from Manhattan eateries Payard, Balthazar and Murray's cheese shop. rownyc.com

Subject: cities; list; tourism; travel

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Central Park landmark to reopen

The landmark Tavern on the Green in New York City's Central Park, shuttered since 2010, is reopening later this month.The glitzy restaurant has undergone a major rehabilitation and will reopen April 24 for dinner.

Location: New York;

Subject: restaurants; tavern on the green; tourism; travel

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

A down-home foodie's guide to Charlottetown

Water-Prince Corner Shop and Lobster Pound''This would be my favourite place in Charlottetown to get a lobster. You're crammed in with the locals, shoulder to shoulder. No pretension. No baloney. It's just a good, solid way to get a good lobster meal, right downtown. You can buy it live there. Or you can sit down and eat. Everything is homemade and old-fashioned. It's that quintessential lobster PEI experience.'' 141 Water St., waterprincelobster.ca

Location: Charlottetown; Prince Edward Island;

Subject: food; list; statements; tourism; travel

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Carolina dreamin'

''It's the wind chime capital of America,'' my brother-in-law told me as he walked my husband and me to our car before we set off for Asheville, N.C.

Location: Asheville; North Carolina;

Subject: tourism; travel

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

If you can't afford the price of entry, try the beach

Sometimes things don't go as planned - and those moments often make for the best stories. Tripping columns offer readers a chance to share their wild adventures from the road.

Location: Antigua and Barbuda;

Subject: 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, April 5, 2014

TRAVEL CONCIERGE

concierge@globeandmail.comThe question: A home exchange seems like a great way to have a vacation without the cost. Any tips?THE ANSWER Long before Airbnb, savvy travellers had already discovered a way to vacation in other peoples' homes. But while home exchanges (also called house swaps) are virtually free, you have to put in the hours to find the right fit. For fans, though, it's time well spent.

Subject: housing; tourism; travel

Saturday, April 5, 2014

ON THE RADAR

ParisMarseille-born architect Francois Champsaur's reinvention of the century-old Hotel Vernet is classic on the outside and contemporary on the inside. The 50-room, post-Haussmann building near the Arc de Triomphe retains as its limestone facade and ironwork balconies, but inside everything from furnishings and lighting to the restaurant menu have been modernized. Reserve a table at V, the in-house eatery where you can dine on crayfish carpaccio while sitting under a glass dome ceiling designed by Gustave Eiffel. designhotels.com

Subject: list; tourism; travel

Saturday, April 5, 2014

STEPS TOWARD HAPPINESS

It was the stairs at the end - 750 or 850 of them, depending on whom you ask - that almost killed me. After a long and arduous hike at an altitude of around 3,048 metres, hours spent on a well-worn path headed relentlessly uphill - the first part on the back of an unlucky mule, the second on foot - we arrived at the threshold of a staircase unlike any that I had ever seen.

Location: Bhutan;

Subject: tourism; travel

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Mixing and mingling in San Miguel de Allende

It took a margarita, a little Mexican music and one night at a rooftop bar for Canadian news anchor Leslie Roberts to fall for San Miguel de Allende.Now holidays will find Roberts abandoning his anchor chair at Global News in Toronto for the colonial town - and top Conde Nast Traveler pick - three hours north of Mexico City. Roberts says there's an eclectic mix of expats in his neighbourhood and everyone mingles with a local population of all stripes.

Location: Mexico; San Miguel de Allende;

Subject: cities; tourism; travel

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Lost in translation

Sometimes things don't go as planned - and those moments often make for the best stories. Tripping columns offer readers a chance to share their wild adventures from the road.

Subject: language; tourism; travel

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

IN SEARCH OF OLD HONG KONG

Hong Kong is a giant, dazzling emporium of luxury goods and soaring glass office towers. But if you long for a nostalgic glimpse of an older Hong Kong, the one depicted in movies such as In the Mood for Love or the classic Love is a Many-Splendored Thing, you can still find your way to the city that used to be.

Location: Hong Kong;

Subject: list; 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

ON THE RADAR

Laucala Island, FijiStarting July 1, guests of Laucala Island can venture under the deep blue sea in a two-person submarine. The private island retreat, which is owned by Red Bull founder Dietrich Mateschitz, is the first resort in the world to have its own DeepFlight Super Falcon submersible craft. It's a comfortable way to get a 360 degree underwater view of the lagoons, reefs, coral trout, angelfish, lionfish and octopi of the Fijian Pacific archipelago. Hour-long dives start at $2,000.

Subject: list; tourism; travel

Saturday, March 29, 2014

TRAVEL CONCIERGE

concierge@globeandmail.com The question: I've been to Japan, but only stayed in Tokyo. Where else should I go?The AnswerEscaping the metropolis was vital during my year-long 1990s Tokyo teaching stint. Shinkansen trains to Kamakura; traditional ryokan sleepovers; and sliding into onsen baths with amused locals were never-to-be-forgotten experiences - plus persuasive reminders that there's much more to Japan than its concrete capital.

Location: Japan;

Subject: tourism; travel

Saturday, March 29, 2014

QUEENS, FOR A DAY

Walk east, away from the trendy confines of Williamsburg, and you enter a no-man's land of industry. There's no reason to be here in Ridgewood, Queens, on a Saturday afternoon in January. But then we spot the shack amid a bus depot and scrap metal yard: Bun-ker Vietnamese, the most buzzed about Vietnamese food in New York.

Location: New York City; Queens;

Subject: list; restaurants; 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

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

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

See, feel and smell the Earth's power

Driving out of Keflavik, the rather bleak-looking home of Iceland's international airport, you wonder what on earth you have gotten yourself into. As you head toward the capital Reykjavik, a sea of volcanic rock crashes against the roadside. Green moss clings to the craggy outcrops, providing the small reassurance that if vegetation can survive here, so can you.

Location: Iceland;

Subject: 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

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

'Fortune favours the bold' in NYC

Sometimes things don't go as planned - and those moments often make for the best stories. Tripping columns offer readers a chance to share their wild adventures from the road.

Location: New York City;

Subject: cities; tourism; travel

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Getting a taste of Bermuda

On Bermuda's busy Front Street in Hamilton, visitors can buy everything from a $2 bottle of hot sauce to a $2,000 Louis Vuitton bag. But just a few blocks north, the Chewstick Foundation (chewstick.org) offers a different kind of souvenir - one more in the cultural vein.

Location: Bermuda;

Subject: statements; tourism; travel

Saturday, March 22, 2014

TRAVEL CONCIERGE

concierge@globeandmail.comThe question: My son wants to backpack around the world this summer. Any advice? The AnswerVisiting from England when I was 18, I nervously Greyhounded around Canada on my own for a month. With a random itinerary (three nights in Portage la Prairie?), I dived into exotic cuisine (what's in these Twinkies?) and stayed in hostels that should have been condemned (a Montreal fleapit springs to mind).

Subject: backpacking; tourism; travel; youth

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Mexico, refined

''Hello, I'd like to order a cafe con leche, please,'' I tell the woman on the other end of the phone. ''Also, I have a frog in my room.''

Location: Mexico; Yucatan;

Subject: 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 22, 2014

ON THE RADAR

MiamiWith its prime beachfront location and updated Art Deco design, Metropolitan by COMO is making a splashy debut in South Beach. Italian designer Paola Navone infused the interiors with a palette of pastel pinks and greens, with simply furnished ''city rooms'' facing Collins Avenue and more spacious suites with balconies and deep-soaking tubs looking out onto the ocean. Get pampered at COMO Shambhala Urban Escape, a.k.a. the spa, where facials and Indian head massages can be followed up with sun salutations on the yoga terrace or a dip in the rooftop hydrotherapy pool. comohotels.com/metropolitanmiamibeach

Subject: cities; list; tourism; travel

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

'Run, baby, run!'

Sometimes things don't go as planned - and those moments often make for the best stories. Tripping columns offer readers a chance to share their wild adventures from the road.

Location: India;

Subject: tourism; travel

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Getting to the heart of Milan

Milan is known for its industrial heart, its fashion catwalks and, at this time of year, its proximity to surrounding ski hills. But designer and Italian native Enrico Marone Cinzano knows it for the handiwork of eightysomething Mario Caraceni.

Location: Italy; Milan;

Subject: cities; list; statements; tourism

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

UNTAPPED PARADISE

The final twists and turns are paved, but steep beyond belief. Our driver is cautious but looking tense, concentrating to maintain traction on a road he's seeing for the first time.

Location: Trinidad and Tobago;

Subject: tourism; travel

Saturday, March 15, 2014

ON THE RADAR

New YorkWestHouse is an art-deco-inspired Midtown hotel that makes its guests feel like posh Manhattanites. Taking concierge services to new heights, a team of in-the-know lifestyle gurus called WestHouse Attache builds tailor-made itineraries for each resident and organizes VIP access to Fashion Week, movie premieres and private yacht rentals. Shopaholics can connect with the personal shoppers of online store Net-A-Porter through the hotel's exclusive direct phone line.

Subject: cities; tourism; travel

Saturday, March 15, 2014

SPLENDOUR IN THE VELD

Robert and Adam Cronin are not your average Rovos Rail passengers, but they are the nattiest.Rovos Rail, billed both by the company and many fans as the most luxurious train on Earth, generally attracts couples with romantic intentions - and enough extra money and time to swap a 90-minute, $150 flight for a 21/2-day train ride that starts at $1,500.

Location: South Africa;

Subject: list; railways; 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

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Pistes and plates: the best of Salzburg

Carpe Diem''Getreidegasse is like the Champs-Elysees of Salzburg. On this street you have a really good restaurant, Carpe Diem Finest Fingerfood. You're in a good atmosphere. It's right in the city centre of Salzburg. They have two levels. On the first level, they serve the menu as finger food. There's no plate and no cutlery. It's really uncomplicated. The second level is fine dining. You get classical, Austrian food prepared in a really good way.'' Getreidegasse 50,

Location: Austria; Salzberg;

Subject: list; tourism; travel

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

My husband's dare: 'I'll give you $5 if you eat the pig's ear'

Sometimes things don't go as planned - and those moments often make for the best stories. Tripping columns offer readers a chance to share their wild adventures from the road.

Location: Kuala Lumpur;

Subject: tourism; travel

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Orlando for adults

When it comes to adventure, I'm no Evel Knievel - but I do like to think of myself as more devil-may-care than Disney. I therefore assumed that Orlando, which draws more than one million Canadian tourists every year, wouldn't be my cup of iced tea.

Location: Florida; Orlando;

Subject: list; tourism; travel

Saturday, March 8, 2014

ITALY, UNSPOILED

Things are a little different in Vico del Gargano.That becomes apparent the moment you're greeted by one of countless inquisitive stray dogs, or search for a parking space while following a donkey-drawn cart. Behind an unimposing door marked with the words ''Il Trappeto,'' a flight of stairs descends into a cave that's been converted into a restaurant and wine bar. The unexpected comes as standard in the Gargano Peninsula, the ankle spur of Puglia, the heel of the Italian boot.

Location: Italy; Puglia; Vico del Gargano;

Subject: tourism; travel

Saturday, March 8, 2014

ON THE RADAR

LondonThe work of 16th-century Italian artist Paolo Veronese is on show at The National Gallery. Fifty paintings are on display, but Veronese's grand historical and religious works such as The Family of Darius before Alexander and The Martyrdom of St. George (on loan from a church in Veronese's home town of Verona) are the real draw. Veronese: Magnificence in Renaissance Venice runs March 19 to June 15.

Subject: cities; list; tourism; travel

Saturday, March 8, 2014

TRAVEL CONCIERGE

concierge@globeandmail.comThe question: We want to ride the best mountain bike trails in the U.S. Any suggestions?THE ANSWER My cycling daydreams usually involve penny-farthings in Victorian England, so I contacted three south-of-the-border pedal experts for some more useful advice. The United States may be the home of the automobile, but it's also streaked like a muddy downhill racer with great mountain biking options.

Subject: bicycling; tourism; travel

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

The smart way to travel

It's an expedition, not a cruise. So, when the National Geographic Explorer makes a two-day stop in Rio de Janeiro, I do not head straight for Ipanema for a passion fruit caipirinha and a lie in the sun.

Location: Rio de Janeiro; South America;

Subject: cruises; tourism; travel

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

My (sore) strut down the Strip

Sometimes things don't go as planned - and those moments often make for the best stories. Tripping columns offer readers a chance to share their wild adventures from the road.

Location: Las Vegas;

Subject: 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, March 1, 2014

ON THE RADAR

LondonThematic meals, sparkling aperitifs and a striking view over the Victorian-era Reading Room make the British Museum's Great Court Restaurant a worthwhile stop. The brightly lit bistro sits beneath the curved steel and glass roof of the Norman Foster-designed Great Court. The menu, which features afternoon tea and blood orange bellinis, draws inspiration from the museum's major exhibitions. In honour of Vikings: Life and Legend (March 6 to June 22), for instance, you can nosh on dishes with a Scandinavian slant. benugo.com

Subject: cities; tourism; travel

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