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Del Carmen Concept Hotel, Guadalajara, Mexico

By Conde Nast Traveler Friday, August 12 07:30 AM

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Pssst...you can tell us. That ashtray on your side table used to reside in a Kenya safari lodge, didn't it? And those Egyptian cotton robes, could they be from a certain Paris boutique hotel? Well, sticky fingers, the newly opened Del Carmen Concept Hotel in Guadalajara, Mexico, is ready to make an honest traveler out of you. Here's the concept: You like it, you can buy it in the hotel's boutique.

Smartly designed in vivid hues, each of the nine rooms and suites pays tribute to a specific Mexican surrealist artist with custom-made furnishings and objets d'art handcrafted by regional artisans. Those chessboards in the Belle Epoque-style bar, the eclectic keys hanging from the ceiling of the lobby, even the crockery in the Kahlo-inspired Mexican restaurant--all are available in Del Carmen's Catalogue of Curiosities. Personal concierges will arrange shipments, large or small, anywhere in the world. Sure beats "borrowing" those towels from the housekeeping cart.

Photo: Courtesy of MexicoBoutiqueHotels.com

Harpa, Reykjavík, Iceland

By Conde Nast Traveler Thursday, August 11 07:00 AM

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Would you expect that--from a country that produced Bjork, still believes in elves, and noshes on putrefied shark--the newest cultural endeavor would be a restrained affair? Iceland's World Architecture Community Award-winning Harpa concert hall in Reykjavik has a shimmering glass facade by Olafur Eliasson that refracts and reflects ever-changing light and weather conditions. Inside, the main hall is a 1,800-seat womb of rich scarlet and finely tuned acoustics.

At night, LEDs embedded in the building's crystalline skin give off a multicolored glow. A structural riff on the northern lights, it's an atonal visual symphony of form and function.

Photo: Courtesy of Bára Kristinsdóttir

Time-Lapse Camera

By Conde Nast Traveler Wednesday, August 10 07:00 AM

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Ever wonder how to catch those time-lapse images of a growing flower or the changing seasons? It usually involves a few thousand dollars' worth of equipment and a whole lot of patience. But now those of us who prefer to spend our vacation in a hammock nursing a daiquiri rather than sitting patiently behind a camera can get in on that pro-style photography.

Just set up this sturdy new Time-Lapse Camera (available from Photojojo, $149), click a few buttons, and leave it to its work shooting frame after frame and stitching them together into a time-lapse video. So you can bring home footage of the changing light across a cityscape, the rise and fall of the equatorial sun, or a full day of your kids frolicking on the beach. All of the payoff with none of the effort? That's our idea of a vacation.

Photo: Courtesy of Photojojo

The Pig Hotel, The New Forest, England

By Conde Nast Traveler Tuesday, August 09 08:16 AM

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A self-proclaimed restaurant with rooms, The Pig feels more like a friend's country home than a hotel. Located just outside the village of Brockenhurst, England, in the New Forest National Park, this locavore heaven is all homegrown vintage cool with muted earth tones, overstuffed club chairs, and roaring fires.

Overseen by chef James Golding of Ivy and Caprice fame, the menu depends on the finds of the forager and kitchen gardener (95 percent of the ingredients come from within a 15-mile radius). While you wait for your food, wander the grounds or watch the action at the wood-fired courtyard oven. After your meal, retire to one of 26 shabby chic bedrooms, some housed in the former piggery. These are sties worth wallowing in.

Photo: Courtesy of Wright on the Park

They Draw & Travel

By Conde Nast Traveler Monday, August 08 11:07 AM

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A journal, a sketch, scribbles on a napkin. HDSLR gizmos are great and all, but sometimes it takes putting pen to paper to truly capture the essence of a destination. And for that, brother-and-sister duo Nate Padavick and Salli Swindell launched They Draw & Travel, an online gallery of illustrated maps.

Artists submit maps of locations they have a personal connection to, adding local color, literally, via vibrant free-form cityscapes and sketches. For example, a quirky Antarctica map includes a clothesline of frozen laundry and a snorkeling seal, while a Kyoto map displays a huge bowl of noodles with a smiling face, indicating a tasty ramen stop-off. The site features more than 300 maps and is searchable by destination, style, and interest. Starting next month, you'll be able to order high-quality prints of the artwork (photographic prints from $63, canvas panels from $109; sizes range from 36 x 13 inches to 90 x 33 inches). Consider us drawn in.

Photo: Charleston map by Jessica Pollak, Williamsburg map by James Gulliver Hancock; courtesy of They Draw & Travel

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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