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The Most Puzzling Hotel in Greece

By Conde Nast Traveler Friday, May 13 07:00 AM

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Transforming a 53-year-old into a hip young thing isn't the easiest of projects. But art collector Dakis Joannou has proved it can be done: He took Athens's aging Olympic Palace hotel apart, reassembled it piece by piece without discarding anything, then cheekily dubbed his chic salvage project the New Hotel.

The property's edgy aesthetic is the handiwork of Brazilian interior-design legends Humberto and Fernando Campana, who have created glass room dividers and mirrors that appear fractured, and wooden furniture that looks like it's been carved out of rock. Chairs and doors salvaged from the original hotel have been repurposed as art installations. Seems there's no better place than Athens to celebrate life in ruins.

Photo: Courtesy of Design Hotels

L.A. Delivers Mail-Order Munchies

By Conde Nast Traveler Thursday, May 12 07:00 AM

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Your next meal in L.A.? Signed, sealed, and delivered at Manhattan Beach Post, a new restaurant located in a former post office in a boho beachy community of southwest L.A.

From the open kitchen, chef and co-owner David LeFevre, formerly of the shmancy Water Grill, sends out hearty shared plates to the funky vintage-style dining room, with walls of mismatched reclaimed wood, lab stools, and old industrial lights. Fleur de sel soft pretzels come with house-made mustards. Bacon cheddar biscuits are slathered in Vermont maple butter. Then there are the seafood dishes LeFevre is known for, such as green curry mussels with Vietnamese sausage and sticky rice. Wash it all down with the only-in-L.A. take on a Manhattan: whiskey, vermouth, and sea salt-caramel bitters in a glass rimmed in bacon dust--strong enough to make you go postal.

Photo: Courtesy of Manhattan Beach Post

Get Two Trips for the Price of One

By Conde Nast Traveler Wednesday, May 11 11:00 AM

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Train journey, or cruise? Canadian Rockies, or Alaska's Glacier Bay? If you're finding it tricky to decide on your next vacation, cruise company Holland America and Canada's luxe private train operator Rocky Mountaineer are offering 12 innovative Rail & Cruise packages that will appeal to the indecisive traveler.

All packages include seven days cruising along the west coast of Canada into Glacier Bay, Alaska, passing porpoises and whales on the way to hardscrabble frontier fishing villages like Sitka and Ketchikan. While rail options chug past rocky peaks and trees as far as the eye can see--which is pretty far, thanks to the panoramic glass-domed viewing carriages.

Train stops can include top Canadian Rockies highlights (Jasper, Yoho, and Banff) and overnights at posh hotels such as the Fairmont Banff Springs, depending on class of service. Keep an eye out for the Silverleaf option, a new mid-range level debuting on select routes. Think of it as the ultimate ode to enjoying the journey.

Rocky Mountaineer Rail & Cruise Packages, departures from Seattle or Vancouver May 8 through September 11, 2011, starting at $2,755

Photo: Courtesy of Rocky Mountaineer

A Must-Have for Memorial Day Cookouts

By Conde Nast Traveler Monday, May 09 01:33 PM

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Coming to a campsite near you: a portable grill ($50) that isn't unwieldy or a hot mess to clean up. And whom do we have to thank for this charcoal-fueled little wonder? The creative minds at iconic workwear brand Carhartt, so it's no surprise that this stainless-steel beauty is more than just a pretty face.

This filet mignon-worthy grill comes in a messenger-style bag not much bigger than a laptop case. In less than five minutes, you can set it up, toss in some charcoal, and get a slow burn going to cook up your catch of the day--or, let's face it, whatever caught your eye at the local grocery store.

Photo: Courtesy of Carhartt

Locanda, San Francisco, California

By Conde Nast Traveler Sunday, May 08 12:53 PM

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Brought to you by the fine folks behind cult San Francisco restaurant Delfina, the Mission District's newest arrival, Locanda, is an update on Rome's family-style eateries. Traditional Thonet bentwood chairs, candles flickering in old anchovy tins, and geometric wall tiles give this open, loftlike space a warm, contemporary feel.

Since this is San Francisco, seasonal local produce can be taken for granted (the pancetta couldn't be more local--it's cured in-house). However, there's no nattering about farms and free-range this and that on the menu of Roman pasta classics, including cacio e pepe and bucatini all'amatriciana. There's also a nod to the Eternal City's love affair with entrails. Fear not: Locanda's capable crew can win over the most determined sweetbreads skeptics. But there's only one way to put that to the test.

Photo: Courtesy of Eric Wolfinger

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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