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Villa Godthem, Stockholm, Sweden

By Conde Nast Traveler Friday, July 15 10:17 AM

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Most refurbs don't get the royal seal of approval, but when Villa Godthem in Stockholm revealed a makeover that breathed fresh life and new flavors into a once-fading 114-year-old landmark, the Swedish king and queen came a-calling.

Built in 1894, the ornate wooden structure was originally an opera singer's residence but was converted into a restaurant 23 years later. The Michelin-starred folks behind Grill and Kungsholmen have masterminded the most recent redo. Now the veranda is enclosed in windows and acts as a main dining room, with outdoor dining on an expansive and leafy patio that fronts Djurgĺrden's idyllic Brunnsviken bay.

Signature dishes include steak or Baltic seafood served up on a wooden plank, while the rest of the menu leans toward Swedish traditional tweaked for contemporary palates: lighter, healthier, and of course, locally sourced and organic. Even if you aren't a king, you deserve to eat like one.

Photo: Courtesy of Stefan Anderson

David Citadel Hotel Playroom, Jerusalem

By Conde Nast Traveler Thursday, July 14 10:54 AM

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Kid-friendly hotels are like magnets: On the one hand, we're attracted, knowing we're welcome to tote our lil' jet-setters along, but on the other hand, we're discouraged imagining all the other children running wild through the corridors. Yet with the opening of a new activity space for children at the David Citadel Hotel in Jerusalem, it's all positive.

Bright and poppy and oh, so mod, this kid zone feels like the Pritzker Prize-winner of playrooms. With a wry playfulness, Israeli designer Sarit Shani Hay has deftly incorporated local iconography: a Jerusalem lion embedded on a cushy chaise, a windmill, a padded cave, the Mahane Yehuda Market with wooden fruit for mini hagglers. There's over 1,000 square feet of space for young explorers to expend excess energy, while flat-screens and computer stations keep older ones content.

Parents can stay or leave kids to play. Although with Mamilla Avenue shopping just a block away, we recommend the latter--let their inner Eloise roam.

Photo: Courtesy of Epoque Hotels 

Graffiato, Washington, D.C.

By Conde Nast Traveler Wednesday, July 13 11:07 AM

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Talky Top Chef and José Andrés alum Mike Isabella's new D.C. restaurant, Graffiato, will spoil you with crave-worthy deep-fried strawberry-sugar-dusted dough balls--a.k.a. zeppole--even though they're not on the menu.

Secret desserts aside, Graffiato exudes openness, from its raw wood beams and exposed brick walls to its peekaboo kitchen and list of local farm and dairy partners spelled out above a seven-seat ham bar. Think of it as a bustling stage for small plates as bold as the celeb chef himself. Our favorites? Spiced red beets with pork-fried almonds, bone marrow with cured lemon, and a rustic Countryman pizza topped with duck egg then pulled charred and bubbling from a wood-burning oven.

Isabella works the crowd, chatting as you chew. And as at any proper show, there's Prosecco to go with it. On tap.

Photo: Courtesy of Greg Powers 

Kikkerland's Music Branch Headphone Splitter

By Conde Nast Traveler Tuesday, July 12 07:00 AM

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Tunes and travel go together like O'Hare and lost luggage. But hiding under your headphones keeps you from interacting with other people. Until now. May we introduce you to the new Kikkerland Music Branch Headphone Splitter ($10)?

The mod, woodsy key chain plugs into your iPod and three sets of headphones. So your travel companion and your new best friend from the airport bar can join you in rocking out to your playlist...or run away in horror at your musical taste. (How did Justin Bieber get on here?) But, hey, all that matters is that you extended a musical olive branch.

Photo: Courtesy of Kikkerland

25hours Hotel HafenCity, Hamburg, Germany

By Conde Nast Traveler Monday, July 11 01:06 PM

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The Beatles were always ahead of the curve. But they were way ahead when they sailed for Hamburg. Half a century later, this once seedy city has morphed into a hip destination. And its latest opening, the 170-room 25hours Hotel (special opening rate from $140 per night through mid-August), is worthy of that reputation.

Located within HafenCity, the biggest urban renewal project in Europe, the arty hotel draws inspiration from the nearby docks. The check-in desk resembles wooden shipping crates. A tattoolike heart and anchor are etched into the glass showers. Plus, the walls are inked with graphic seafaring illustrations.

A vinyl lounge with an extensive collection of albums, including those of a certain floppy-haired foursome, anchors the hotel to Hamburg's musical past. Mop-tops and mariners may make for a motley crew, but we say ships ahoy.

Photo: Courtesy of 25hours Hotel

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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