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NEED TRAVEL IDEAS

Activities & Interests

Past travel articles organized by activity and interest.

travel

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

TRAVEL CONCIERGE

concierge@globeandmail.comThe question: I'm worried about travelling with my dad. Any tips for a smooth trip? THE ANSWERRemember what vacationing with your parents was like as a child? Expect something similar in reverse as a grownup. Travelling with independence-reduced elderly relatives typically means the adult children taking charge. The trick is managing this without patronizing.

Subject: aged persons; 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

Saturday, April 19, 2014

WORLD WIDE TECH

Postale (7twenty7.com/apps/postale) is an iOS app that combines the fun of sending old-school postcards with the modern-day convenience of social media. Best of all, you can use your own just-shot vacation snaps to create your card. The whole process takes mere minutes: Choose a layout and background, add photo, title and message, then finish it off with an artsy postmark. When you're happy with the finished product, send it straight from the app using e-mail, Facebook or Twitter. A unique stamp is automatically added that shows from where and when your card was transmitted. It's a personal way of updating family and friends on your how your holiday is going.

Subject: review; software; technology; 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

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

BY THE NUMBERS

4Percentage of survey respondents at the Sydney Aquarium who believe sharks should be killed. Last week a woman was killed by a shark off the eastern coast of Australia. And in Western Australia, where shark attacks are more common, the largest shark-culling drive in the world is under way.

Subject: statistics; 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

Yoga at 35,000 feet

One of the conundrums of airplane travel is our ability to be moved at great speeds across time zones while confined (in a seat) for much of the journey.Whether you are in a spacious first-class seat or fold yourself into an economy perch, you are still likely to experience stiffness, compression in the spine, dehydration, a lack of circulation and the lethargy that arises from breathing recirculated air with up to 25-per-cent less oxygen than that found at sea level.

Subject: air travel; physical fitness; yoga

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

Saturday, April 12, 2014

WORLD WIDE TECH

HotelsWeLove.com is geared to travellers who want guidance in a slick and succinct package. Designed by ex-Lonely Planet staffers Rachael Antony and Laurence Billiet, the website looks like a glossy magazine and covers 11 cities. Trip tips are categorized under Think (books, art and movies you should look at before arriving), Play (what to see in the city) and Sleep (accommodation choices). Insider hotel reviews include frank comments on what should be improved. For example, at Shoreditch House in London the reviewer writes, ''I wasn't a great fan of the overly warm and OTT welcome (including hugs, or was it an arm squeeze?).'' However, if you're looking for Trip Advisor-style recommendations and reviews, or any practical advice, such as advice about currency and voltage guidelines, look elsewhere.

Subject: review; travel; websites

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

GEAR / GLOBE TESTED

Sleek and chic, Briggs and Riley's new Torq hardside cases catch your eye on the luggage carousel. The respected New York travel-gear company even offers a lifetime guarantee for these hardside cases, and will replace or repair bags free - even when it's the airline's fault.

Subject: accessories; review; 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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Province mulls allowing more eco-tourism in polar bear park

Manitoba is deciding whether to lift restrictions on ecotourism as it prepares to designate a new polar bear provincial park on Hudson Bay.The province is hiring a consultant to review the number of off-road tundra vehicles used to carry tourists around polar bear country near Churchill and to recommend how many should be allowed to operate in the new park.

Location: Manitoba;

Subject: ecotourism; polar bears; travel; wildlife

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Lost luggage happens - get over it

Working for an airline comes with many perks. Well, maybe not so much as many as one big one: dirt cheap travel. This was the enticement that landed me in the transient confines of baggage claim for two years, working the front lines of trip tragedies as a customer-service representative for a Canadian regional airline.

Subject: list; luggage; 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

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

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

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

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

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

''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

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

BY THE NUMBERS

2How many cruise ships are to be built for the launch of Virgin Cruises, now that Virgin Group founder Richard Branson has secured most of the $1.7-billion (U.S.) in needed funding.

Subject: statistics; 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

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

WORLD WIDE TECH

Get your suitcase in order with the help of Travel List, an iOS app (travellistapp.com) that takes the guesswork out of packing. Start by setting up a series of lists based on the type of holiday you're taking (beach, safari, city weekend, family holiday, and so on) and populate them from the preset menus. Within minutes, I scroll through categories that include personal care, clothing, gadgets and documents, and pick must-have items from GPS and mosquito repellent to bikinis, belts and baby sunscreen. Specify quantities of each item and tick them off once they're packed. While there are other packing-list apps out there, this one has a simple layout, is easy to navigate and it allows users to copy pre-existing lists, so you don't have to start from scratch every time.

Subject: review; technology; travel; websites

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

WORLD WIDE TECH

Find a stylish, kid-friendly home-away-from-home on Kid and Coe (kidandcoe.com) a website that has hundreds of family residences for rent in cities such as Copenhagen, San Francisco, Tel Aviv and Hong Kong. New York-based founder and mother-of-two Zoie Kingsbery Coe has designed the site with practicality in mind. Property listings include essential details about amenities and location, as well as finer details - a flat in Barcelona, for instance, has a single bedroom that's ''lovely for a little girl, with a pink fleece rug and dolls house.'' Once you've booked, you'll get a tailor-made travel plan that includes property guidelines, suggestions of things to do and see and an online destination guidebook that was compiled with the help of local parents.

Subject: children; review; travel; websites

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

Saturday, March 22, 2014

AN ADVENTURE CLOSE TO HOME

The haunting cry of a bald eagle followed my stand-up paddleboard across still waters. Beside me, sandstone shores - fractured and orange - rose sharply from the ocean, occasionally giving way to the arid headlands of Mayne Island, dotted with saxifrage, Garry oak and even cactus. Waves washed over my toes, and in the waters below, fish darted through emerald forests of kelp.

Location: British Columbia; Salish Sea;

Subject: ecotourism; paddleboarding; travel

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

GEAR / GLOBE TESTED

Baggage fees are such a handy excuse for not exercising on the road. By the time you cram all the true necessities into a carry-on bag, those awkward, bulky running shoes just won't fit. Oh well. I'm not paying $25 just to hit the hotel gym once or twice.

Subject: accessories; review; shoes; travel

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Google rafts the Grand Canyon

Google has taken its all-seeing eyes on a trip that few experience: the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon.The search giant partnered with the advocacy group American Rivers to showcase views of nearly 300 miles of whitewater rapids, towering red canyon walls and rich geologic history.

Location: Arizona; Grand Canyon;

Subject: internet; technology; virtual 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

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

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