Friday, November 11 10:00 AM
When Gogobot, a mashup of Facebook and Yelp for travelers, appeared on the scene last year, we were charmed. And with the introduction of the Gogobot app, you've now got this excellent planning tool to go.
Gogobot crowdsources recommendations and filters what's hot and what's not through your social network. The app loads your travel plans, pulling up what else is nearby, contact info, and maps at a tap. Snap a photo and turn it into an Instagram-like postcard to tweet or send to your mates (for jealousy now) or turn into an on-the-fly review (for helpfulness later). Everything is collected online in your digital Passport, a scrapbook of spoils to annotate and share. Perhaps it's time you took some friendly advice.
Available from iTunes for iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch. Android version coming early 2012.
Photo: Courtesy of Gogobot
Thursday, November 10 01:13 PM
The lure of Barcelona's nightlife has destroyed many a reputation. That's why we find the idea of dedicating a bar to creation--at least in terms of architecture--a refreshing concept. Behold Frank's Bar in the Hotel Arts Barcelona, a homage to the creative mind of starchitect Frank Gehry.
The bar honors Gehry's famous fish sculpture that sits on the waterfront adjacent to the hotel. The interiors draw from the palette of colors that the sculpture reflects throughout the day, from graphite to gold, plum to emerald. The arcs of the sofas, the geometry of the decorative moldings, and the diamond tufting of the ottomans draw lines of order, while signature margaritas (named after Gehry's wife, Berta) blur them. Sounds like the blueprint for a top Catalonian night out.
Photo: Davide Lovatti, Courtesy of Hotel Arts Barcelona
Wednesday, November 09 11:34 AM
The '60s have Mad Men, and the '20s have Boardwalk Empire. But what about the golden intervening years? Mr. Sorkin, do we have a pitch for you: a drama based at the 103-room Hotel Bel-Air, that glam hideaway of Hollywood stars of the '40s, '50s, and today. Fresh from a two-year restoration, the French Deco-meets-Spanish Colonial set is ready, Wolfgang Puck is on craft services, and the extras are already boldface.
New additions to the lush 12-acre property include a La Prairie spa and fitness studio, seven open-plan suites (some with grand pianos and private pools), and 12 loftlike hillside accommodations with canyon views and outdoor fireplaces on spacious decks. Like the hotel's signature swans, the faultless service remains the same. It's a wrap.
Photo: Courtesy of Hotel Bel-Air
Tuesday, November 08 01:52 PM
Flying is so complicated these days that we're always on the lookout for a simple carry-on. That's why we're ready to pack up one of Incase's new pared-down Terra bags (from $49.95).
This eco-friendly line of carry-ons (tote, backpack, and computer case) employs lightweight padded material to protect your precious cargo. External passport-size pockets have large zippers for quick draws, and straps are cushioned for comfort; we dig the contrast of monochrome tweedy fabric against the poppy red interiors. Just because your style is grounded doesn't mean it can't be fly.
Photo: Courtesy of Incase
Monday, November 07 01:13 PM
Glitzy high-rises. Minuscule swimsuits. Endless sunshine. Australia's answer to South Beach, Surfers Paradise is a dazzling strip of beachfront populated by hunky surfers and aspiring models and laced with a distinctly laid-back Aussie flavor. The only flaw, until now, has been the stuck-in-the-'80s hotel landscape. But a boutique hotel newcomer, Sea Temple, is set to shake things up.
Spread across levels 4 through 39 of the skyscraping Soul Tower, the two- and three-bedroom suites feel like swanky private apartments, complete with high-tech gadgets, full kitchens, Miami-esque white-on-white decor, and balconies that catch ocean breezes. Both the poolside cocktail bar and the restaurant, with its panoramic views and pan-Asian menu, are sure to be the town's most preen-worthy hot spots. Finally, a scene that lives up to the scenery.
Photo: Courtesy of Sea Temple Surfers Paradise