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Whitehall, New York City

By Conde Nast Traveler Friday, November 18 12:09 PM

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Whitehall, in the heart of London, is where you'll find the Houses of Parliament and the Prime Minister's digs at Number 10 Downing Street; it's also the catchall term for the seat of government in old Blighty. And now the recently opened Whitehall in New York's West Village is the seat of modern British cuisine in the city. No debate.

The folks behind NYC's Scottish restaurants Highlands and Mary Queen of Scots have crossed the border to bring you poshified British fare courtesy of Australian chef Chris Rendell. Mushy peas come as fritters topped with mint sauce, and roast chicken breast is served with goat cheese butter that's as delicious as it is artery-lining (that's the British way, of course). The industrial-chic interior has reclaimed wood ceilings, brickwork and railway tile walls, and Edison bulbs aplenty. And we love the bench seating that's straight out of Hyde Park.

Oh, and there's lots of excellent gin--over 50 types, to be exact. Chin-chin.

Photo: Courtesy of Daniel Krieger

HootRoot Travel Tool

By Conde Nast Traveler Thursday, November 17 12:01 PM

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To be (green), or not to be, that is the question. When it comes to traveling, the answer is usually "not." But website HootRoot, which has just won a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency award, aims to change all that.

Plug in your start and end points (say, Boston and New York City), and HootRoot cleverly scans Google Maps and HopStop for routes, travel times, and carbon dioxide emissions for various modes of transport. For the Boston-New York City trip, for example, flying takes only 29 minutes (minus airport time) but emits a whopping 428.9 pounds of CO2, while driving clocks in at four hours and 238.84 pounds. Transit, which takes just minutes longer than a car trip, whittles one's carbon footprint to just 18.07 pounds. Consider it ready ammo for making green decisions--and saving a bundle on offset credits.

Photo: Courtesy of HootRoot

St. Regis Tianjin, China

By Conde Nast Traveler Wednesday, November 16 12:51 PM

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A luxury hotel opening in China is about as newsworthy these days as a celebrity marriage meltdown. But the newly unveiled St. Regis Tianjin is hard to ignore. The 18-story hollowed-out cube dominates the banks of Tianjin's Hai River like a portal to another world. And in some ways it is.

After passing through the reflective Blade Runner exterior, you find yourself transported to the early 1900s, the heyday of this port city 80 miles south of Beijing. Art Deco-style touches--black-and-white checkerboard floors, crystal chandeliers, geometric French mirrors--abound in some of the public spaces as well as in the 274 guest rooms. And the grand lobby features a mural created by acclaimed ceramicist Zhu Legeng from hundreds of handcrafted tiles. That's what we call future perfect.

Photo: Courtesy of Starwood Hotels

Southern Spirit Whistle Stop Tours, Australia

By Conde Nast Traveler Tuesday, November 15 12:08 PM

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You may have noticed that Australia is big. Really big. Only slightly smaller than the United States, in fact, with vast stretches of countryside separating its cosmopolitan cities. Flying around the country is expedient, but on Great Southern Rail's new routes aboard the Southern Spirit, you get to see all the gorgeous landscapes in between.

Passengers on Southern Spirit Whistle Stop Tours can hang ten in hip surfing town Byron Bay, quaff New World wines in the scenic Hunter Valley, pet koalas at Taronga Western Plains Zoo near Dubbo, and go walkabout in the beautiful forests of the Grampians. Now that's the spirit.

Southern Spirit six-day Whistle Stop Tours from $4,235

Photo: Courtesy of Southern Spirit Tours

Saint James Paris, France

By Conde Nast Traveler Monday, November 14 01:24 PM

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You like your vacations to be a little bit country and a little bit rock 'n' roll. Well, it just so happens that the hottest number in Paris these days also happens to be its most sylvan: The freshly refurbished Saint James is a little slice of Loire château life in the City of Lights.

Set on the site of the world's first hot-air balloon launch, in 1783, this 19th-century property is all high-flying whimsy, thanks to boho goddess Bambi Sloan's redesign. A riot of patterns--toile and stripes, brocade and herringbone--lends a playful decadence to the 48 rooms. As a hotel guest, you can rub elbows with tony locals at the Saint James's private social club, or visit the luxurious spa that has gemstones as its theme. And after an exhausting day of shopping and Champagne sipping, where better to escape the flurry of Paris than the hotel's perfectly manicured gardens, hidden away behind mature trees?

Photo: Davide Lovatti courtesy of Saint James Paris

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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