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Snow-, Skate-, and Surfboards, Maker USA

By Conde Nast Traveler Thursday, March 10 07:04 PM

When the last flake has melted, snowboards generally get shoved into the attic to collect dust until next season rolls around. No longer, thanks to the folks at Maker USA. The Philly-based company produces intricately inlaid snow-, skate-, and surfboards that look so good, the last thing you'll want to do is hide them away.

Made from salvaged wood, the boards feature motifs that often nod toward Americana via stars and stripes, galloping mustangs, and Airstream trailers. The company gathers the designs from a collective of graphic designers, street artists, painters, and tattooists. So even if you never saw a mogul you liked and prefer hanging out to hanging ten, these boards make for unique art pieces.

Photo: Courtesy of Maker USA

Railroad Revival Tour, Southwestern United States

By Conde Nast Traveler Wednesday, March 09 06:56 PM

This April, rock will roll into six southwestern towns courtesy of the Railroad Revival Tour. Indie darlings Mumford & Sons (pictured), Old Crow Medicine Show, and Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros are taking over a 1,500-foot-long train comprised of 1950s and '60s railcars. They'll eat, sleep, and record on board as they chug across the American Southwest, playing outdoor concerts along the way.

Tickets go on sale today for music fans who want to catch the show when the train stops at an Airstream trailer campground in Marfa, Texas; a railway museum in Chandler, Ariz.; and additional spots in Oakland and San Pedro, Calif.; Austin, Texas; and New Orleans. Great tunes in the great outdoors? That's something we can always get onboard with.

Railroad Revival Tour, April 21-27, 2011; tickets, $55

Photo: Courtesy of Rebecca Miller

Kids Stay Free, St. Lucia

By Conde Nast Traveler Tuesday, March 08 06:46 PM

There's no such thing as a free lunch. But there is such a thing as a free vacation--at least if you're a kid. Thanks to St. Lucia's new Go Bananas summer family program, luxe resorts like Coco Palm, Cotton Bay Village, and Discovery at Marigot Bay are inviting your offspring to stay, eat, and play for free.

We dig the idea of an island-wide program that goes beyond your average hotel deal to include perks like a special line to speed families through immigration and complimentary excursions such as zip-lining, horseback riding, and whale watching. And since St. Lucia knows who is paying the bill, they throw a little indulgence toward the parentals, including room upgrades and a complimentary night of babysitting. Happy parents, happy kids. We have a new contender for "Happiest Place on Earth."

Photo: Courtesy of the St. Lucia Tourist Board

Hotel Missoni Kuwait

By Conde Nast Traveler Monday, March 07 06:39 PM

Before the onslaught of recession and revolution, new hotels in the Middle East generally aimed for over-the-top, 14-karat glamour. These days, travelers want less marble upon gold upon crystal--and more high design. So it seems the new Hotel Missoni Kuwait, done in the Italian fashion house's signature stripes and patterns, has opened in the right place at the right time.

The 18-story hotel has a bold palette of violet, turquoise, and marigold throughout, with custom Missoni textiles framing windows overlooking the Persian Gulf in all 63 guest rooms. Missoni stripes even appear in mosaic tile form in the pool. The staff speaks more than 14 languages, and the latest iPad technology makes for a speedy check-in. After all, what's style without a serious dose of substance?

Photo: Courtesy of Rezidor Hotel Group 

Hubbard Inn, Chicago

By Conde Nast Traveler Friday, March 04 08:50 PM

Travel lovers can't help but romanticize Ernest Hemingway's wanderings. Three such admirers have turned that adulation into--what else?--a bar.

Located on an up-and-coming foodie stretch in Chicago's River North neighborhood, the Hubbard Inn is decorated with what owners Daniel Alonso, Adolfo Garcia, and David Mitria envision Papa bringing back from his travels. Moroccan tiles line one wall, 1940s-style oil paintings hang on another, and more than 5,000 vintage books fill the bar's carved bookcases. The food served also tips its topper to the writer, incorporating ingredients from his journeys (Cabrales cheese, Medjool dates) as well as less literal interpretations such as stout burgers and earthy bone marrow.

Of course, no Hemingway tribute would be complete without booze--and lots of it. Here you'll find one of Chicago's best bourbon selections, new takes on classics like the Manhattan, and the author's namesake drink, made with 10 Cane rum, maraschino liqueur, and lime and grapefruit juices. Raise a glass (or eight) to big Papa.

Photo: Courtesy of the Hubbard Inn

Raffles Praslin Seychelles

By Conde Nast Traveler Thursday, March 03 08:42 PM

Right now, scoring some sunshine and a slice of sand would feel like winning the lottery. As luck would have it, Praslin, an emerald jungle on a crag of granite in the Seychelles, has a winning combination: a tropical location far, far away, off the east coast of Africa, and a brand-new resident, the Raffles Praslin.

The hotel is the embodiment of a shipwreck fantasy (albeit a luxury version), with 86 villas on a gentle slope of green overlooking the clear blues of the Indian Ocean. With a private plunge pool and 24-hour butler service, there are few reasons to leave your room. But when you do, there are miles of deserted beaches, coconut groves, and cinnamon plantations--the perfect combination of sun, sea, and spice.

Photo: Courtesy of Raffles

Moore & Giles Meehan Utility Bag and Bar Rollup

By Conde Nast Traveler Wednesday, March 02 08:32 PM

You're a person who knows a good cocktail. And you can't always trust the average bartender to do right by you. So instead of leaving your libations to fate, bring 'em with you in this new bag by Moore & Giles. The hallowed Virginia leather-crafters teamed up with famed New York mixologist Jim Meehan to design this rugged looker, a weekender bag that converts to a portable bar.

Going on a business trip? Leave the hooch at home and use the compartments to accommodate your laptop, clothes, and PDA. Heading for a weekend in the woods? Throw in the divider and tote six bottles of booze, a cutting board, and all the tools of the tippling trade.

Photo: Courtesy of Moore & Giles

Gauguin: Maker of Myth, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.

By Conde Nast Traveler Tuesday, March 01 08:12 PM

Most people think of D.C. as a buttoned-up kind of town. But this spring, the National Gallery of Art is stripping things down with a new Paul Gauguin exhibit--the artist's first major U.S. show in 20 years.

Gauguin is the traveler's painter, having hopped from Peru to Paris, Martinique to Tahiti. The 120 works in this exhibit evoke many of those places, with Polynesian nudes, rainbow-hued images of the South Seas, and mythological paradise paintings. Far-flung beaches and scantily clad subjects? It's the Post-Impressionist's answer to spring break.

Gauguin: Maker of Myth will be on view through June 5, 2011.

Photo: Paul Gauguin, Fatata te Miti (Near the Sea), 1892, oil on canvas, National Gallery of Art, Washington, Chester Dale Collection

Prices and other information were accurate at press time, but are subject to change. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.

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