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St. Regis Washington Ballet Package, Washington, D.C.

By Conde Nast Traveler Friday, April 29 04:21 PM

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When Natalie Portman pirouetted onto the ballet scene in Black Swan, the dance world was spun into the spotlight. Now you can go behind the scenes (minus the feather freak-outs) courtesy of a partnership between the St. Regis and the Washington Ballet, in D.C.

Hotel guests will attend a private dress rehearsal and the opening night performance of Carmen on May 19, plus a backstage tour by the Washington Ballet's artistic director, Septime Webre. You'll party afterward at a gala reception with company dancers and ballet VIPs. Then you'll debrief with Webre the next day over lunch at the hotel's Alain Ducasse restaurant, Adour.

The $5,000 price tag includes four nights in a swanky St. Regis suite with private butler service, so you know your stay will be en pointe.

Washington Ballet Aficionado Experience, $5,000 for four nights, May 17 to 21, 2011.

Photo: Sona Kharatian by Steve Vaccariello

Lexington Social House, Los Angeles

By Conde Nast Traveler Thursday, April 28 01:33 PM

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The new Lexington Social House brings a dose of cool to what was once L.A.'s most (in)famous intersection: Hollywood and Vine. Hookers and panhandlers, out; Victorian wallpaper, pressed-tin ceilings, and Carrara marble bar, in.

There's also some serious muscle in the kitchen: Chef Mette Williams honed her craft in the celeb-driven fires of Spago, Cut, and, most recently, Soho House in West Hollywood. The latter stint no doubt influenced Lexington Social House's casual private-club vibe and elegantly rustic menu (fried chicken, confit pork belly, crab salad). On the libations front, there are craft beers and artisanal cocktails featuring Earl Grey bourbon, peanut rum, and other house-infused tipples.

But don't get too cozy. Twice-weekly dance parties are slated for the coming months. Until then, L.A.'s pretty people will keep things hot around the garden's outdoor fireplace, nestled safely away from the paparazzi. And those fried-chicken calories.

Photo: Ryan Forbes, Avablu

A-to-Z Family Travel Contest, Turks and Caicos

By Conde Nast Traveler Wednesday, April 27 03:39 PM

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Summer vacation will be here before you know it. So if we said you could score a $16,000 Caribbean vacation and kick back in a luxury villa while someone else entertains your kids, you'd be interested, right?

Condé Nast Traveler's A-to-Z Family Travel Contest is your ticket to paradise. The flashy prize includes five nights' accommodation for two adults and two children in a two-bedroom villa at Grace Bay Club, a five-star resort in the Turks & Caicos; $2,000 toward four airline tickets; membership in the resort's Kids Town and Very Important Kids programs; a full breakfast for four daily; and a $100 spa credit.

For a chance to win, all you have to do is submit an awesome tip for making travel with kids easier or more fun, by 5 pm Eastern time on May 3, 2011. Yup, it's that easy.

Photo: Courtesy of Grace Bay Club

Divino Tuscany, Florence, Italy

By Conde Nast Traveler Tuesday, April 26 04:27 PM

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There are wine trips and there are wine trips. And Divino Tuscany's inaugural excursion makes all others look like a box of Franzia Chablis.

So what makes this the best of booze vacations? Your guide for the four-day tour, starting June 2 in Florence, is James Suckling, former European bureau chief of Wine Spectator. There's a gala dinner on the banks of the Arno River cooked up by the folks behind the three-Michelin-starred Enoteca Pinchiorri restaurant. And some of Tuscany's most famous wine families have invited you over to their palazzi for dinner. Tastings run through the region's best brunellos and merlots, and the whole thing ends with a boar roast at Sting's Florentine villa. How's that for a smooth finish?

Photo: Courtesy of Divino Tuscany

Hogmead, Nairobi, Kenya

By Conde Nast Traveler Monday, April 25 04:36 PM

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Most East African safaris require you to spend your first night in some generic city hotel before heading into the bush--the only beasts in sight being the ones served grilled in the dining room. The new Hogmead hotel in Nairobi, Kenya, is changing all that.

The six-room hotel has an Out of Africa vibe (the author, Karen Blixen, lived just down the road); overstuffed sofas and deep soaking tubs up the ante on comfort. Hogmead is also perfectly placed, with easy access to both the airport and Nairobi National Park, which means you could be face-to-face with an elephant just an hour after touchdown. Prefer to start with something smaller to prepare you for the wild times ahead? The resident warthogs on the hotel grounds should do the trick.

Photo: Courtesy of Hogmead

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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