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Discovery Adventures, Galapagos Island Cruises

By Conde Nast Traveler Saturday, May 28 07:00 AM

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With the Discovery Channel's annual Shark Week set to make its usual splash starting July 31 (this time with SNL's Andy Samberg as Chief Shark Officer), here's an idea: How about taking the plunge yourself on a shark cruise?

This is your chance to get off the sofa and into flippers and a wet suit to meat--sorry, meet--the toothy predators on their own surf. On Discovery Adventures' Galápagos cruises, you'll see scalloped hammerheads, Galápagos, reef, white-tipped, and whale sharks. Itineraries include snorkeling trips to Española Island (to swim with reef sharks) and to Black Turtle Cove, where the Galápagos Islands' white-tipped sharks hang. Who knows, once you get a taste for shark diving, you might get hooked.

Machu Picchu & Galápagos Islands Trip (14 days), from $4,499, 2011 departures: June 10, July 8, August 12, September 9
Galápagos Islands Cruise (10 days), from $4,199, 2011 departures: June 18, July 16, August 20, September 17
Galápagos Islands Cruise (7 days), from $3,099, 2011 departures: June 21, July 19, August 23, September 20
Galápagos Islands Cruise (6 days), from $2,699, 2011 departures: June 18, July 16, August 20, September 17

Photo: Courtesy of Bill Curtsinger / National Geographic / Getty Images

Sagamore Hotel CEO Package, Miami Beach

By Conde Nast Traveler Friday, May 27 07:00 AM

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From interactive wine lists to loaners in the lobby lounge, iPads are becoming de rigueur in top hotels. Only problem is, those shiny toys aren't yours to keep. Not so at the Sagamore in Miami Beach. Through September 30, the hotel's Chief Entertainment Officer package rewards penthouse stays with more than marble floors, sweeping ocean views, and bragging rights. South Beach CEOs also score a free iPad2 on checkout.

In the stylish suite, accessible by private elevator, crisp white-on-white decor is offset by framed curiosities from the hotel's lauded Cricket Taplin Collection of contemporary art. Three bedrooms and two baths offer enough space for you and five friends, while the whirlpool tub, 42-inch plasma TV, gaming systems, and fully stocked kitchen bar invite partying like it's your job. Being top brass comes with other perks, too: There's executive dining on an 1,800-square-foot terrace, corporate limo (complimentary from the airport), and an expense account (bottle of Moët on arrival, free breakfast buffet, daily beach chairs). Leggy interns? That's on you.

Sagamore CEO package starts at $1,300, two-night minimum. Book via e-mail or phone by May 31.

Photo: Courtesy of Sagamore, The Art Hotel

New York Rooftop Gardens, teNeues

By Conde Nast Traveler Thursday, May 26 07:00 AM

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New York is one of those cities where, even if you're having the time of your life, you can't help but wonder if you're missing out on something even more fabulous (you probably are). But here's one way to see something that visitors hardly ever get to access: NYC's rooftop gardens.

New York Rooftop Gardens, a coffee-table book with 200 stunning color photographs by Charles de Vaivre gives you an eyeful of the oases nestled high above the concrete jungle. While most of these leafy, lofty spots are reserved for Manhattan's lucky few, don't despair--there's always the egalitarian elevated gardens of New York's High Line to stroll along (Section 2, from West 20th to West 30th Street, opens in June).

New York Rooftop Gardens, teNeues, available early summer. Click here to preorder.

Photo: © 2011 Charles de Vaivre. All rights reserved. www.charlesdevaivre.com

The Viddy

By Conde Nast Traveler Wednesday, May 25 12:04 PM

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If a picture is worth a thousand words, how many tweets can you get for video footage? Viddy, a new, free app for your iPhone, iPod Touch, or iPad allows you to shoot, stylize, and share your vacation videos with friends and followers. You know, just in case they're not envious enough that you're off traveling, this little gizmo can really rub their noses in it...real time.

Viddy makes it easy to share your travel experiences on Twitter, Facebook, and your Viddy profile (see footage of England's Stonehenge and San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge courtesy of two budding Viddyographers). And if it gives you the filmmaking bug, you can add visual effects and a soundtrack to your mini masterpiece, too. Phone, camera, action!

Download the Viddy app for iPhone, iPod Touch, or iPad (Android app coming soon)

Photo: Courtesy of Viddy

Smorgasburg, Brooklyn

By Conde Nast Traveler Tuesday, May 24 07:00 AM

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We have good news and bad news. Capitalizing on their runaway success with indie design and secondhand serendipity, the masterminds of the Brooklyn Flea have just unleashed Smorgasburg, a high-end foodie bazaar on the banks of the East River in Brooklyn. The bad? Your summer body doesn't stand a chance.

Part packaged-food and baked-goods stands, part cooked-to-order purveyors, and part greenmarket and kitchen store, this hundred-booth behemoth aims to incubate unknown artisans and top chefs' passion projects alike. Our faves include the gazpacho with crab meat dished up by Alexandra Raij of El Quinto Pino and chicken 'n' biscuits from a Momofuku Noodle Bar cook and a Prime Meats bartender. Get your kombucha tea by the growler, your fruit pies on a stick, and your oysters shucked fresh. But eat your fill: Like an organic blueberry-jasmine ice pop left in the sun (yes, they have those, too), Smorgasburg is a fleeting summertime treat. (Open Saturdays 9 am to 5 pm.)

Photo: Kate Glicksberg/Brooklyn Flea

The Tides Beach Club, Kennebunkport, Maine

By Conde Nast Traveler Monday, May 23 10:39 AM

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The tides they are a-changing in Kennebunkport this summer. No longer must you pop your collar at some stuffy seaside manse decorated with doilies and dinghies. Instead, bed down in boutique style at the newly reopened Tides Beach Club.

This century-old grande dame went under the knife and came out looking svelte and tchotchke-free. Muted tones give the 21 rooms a contemporary, coastal cool look; the folks at Jonathan Adler stepped in to add a touch of whimsy to the suites, with Peruvian textiles, turquoise accents, and zebra rugs.

The Tides is also loosening up the social scene with artisanal New England beers on the veranda and locavore fare in the restaurant. And if you're in need of a makeover yourself, you'll be transported to sister property Hidden Pond for spa treatments in its luxe tree house. Finally, a hotel that's putting the "new" back into New England.

Photo: Courtesy of The Tides Beach Club

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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