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Paper Boat Lighthouse Schnapps Set

By Conde Nast Traveler Tuesday, June 14 07:00 AM

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You've scored an invite to a friend's beach house, but you can't show up empty-handed. It's time to do like your mama taught you and find a hostess gift. We suggest avoiding the tired old bottle of wine and instead opting for this nautical schnapps set ($29.95).

The mod stoneware carafe--designed like a New England lighthouse--is perfect for holding the chilled liquor of your choice. And the handblown glasses that stack on top gleam as blue as the sea. When it comes to getting invited back next year, we're pretty sure you'll find this little beacon to be a lifesaver.

Photo: Courtesy of Broadway Panhandler

Shanghai Museum of Glass

By Conde Nast Traveler Wednesday, June 08 11:31 AM

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China isn't exactly known for transparency, but the country is making one thing clear with the opening of a new museum dedicated entirely to glass.

Housed in a former factory in Shanghai's Baoshan industrial district, the 53,000-square-foot institution explores the production, history, and applications of glass in the worlds of science, art, architecture, and astronomy. The collection and visiting exhibits include Han dynasty earrings made of glass and contemporary art by international and Chinese glass sculptors, all reflected in the striking black crystal interior. There's a space for glass-blowing demonstrations, too.

But you could just focus on the building itself, a sparkling example of glass craftsmanship in all its carved, faceted, stained, and lacquered glory. It's clearly worth the trip.

Photo: Courtesy of Shanghai Museum of Glass

L'And Vineyards Resort, Montemor-o-Novo, Portugal

By Conde Nast Traveler Friday, June 03 04:49 PM

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Like wearing white after Labor Day or boat shoes with socks, spending the warm months indoors is its own kind of gauche. Thankfully, the 22-suite L'and Vineyards, nestled in the rolling hills of Portugal's Alentejo wine region, has opened just in time to help you avoid summer sacrilege.

A slick wood and slate palette and bold architecture make a modern play against the pastoral landscape, and the Sky suites raise the roof (literally): Above your king-size bed is a retractable ceiling that lets in fresh air and reveals the constellations above, adding thousands of stars to the resort's already commendable five. Think of it as a boozy camping trip for people who don't like camping.

Photo: Courtesy of L'and Vineyards

Avalon Hotel, Göteborg, Sweden

By Conde Nast Traveler Wednesday, June 01 07:00 AM

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Design exhibitions can be a bit frustrating, especially when the works on show--say, an Eames lounge chair just pleading to be sat on--are behind glass. But now that the fashion-, design-, and decorative arts-focused Röhsska Museum has paired up with Sweden's Avalon Hotel, you can look, touch, and swivel with verve.

In conjunction with the museum's Past-Present-Future exhibition (through September 30), design covetables from the collection have been replicated in the hotel's public areas and key guest rooms. Our faves include a tangerine Verner Panton Cone chair, a classic of late 1950s Scandinavian modernism; the full-size Horse lamp and Pig tray tables, quirks of design stars Moooi; and a DVD of Swedish FRONT design group's Blow Away Vase, showing in the elevators. Free workshops and design tours are offered for the truly obsessed. How novel: design that's actually within reach--at least for a night.

Photo: Courtesy of the Avalon Hotel

't Zilte Restaurant, Antwerp, Belgium

By Conde Nast Traveler Friday, May 20 07:00 AM

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Back when the world was flat, the spice trade was the peak of culinary adventure. So it seems fitting that Belgium's Michelin-starred powerhouse 't Zilte restaurant--where classic cuisine is given a modern twist--has made a new maritime, ethnographic, and folklore institution, Antwerp's Museum Aan de Stroom, its second home.

Occupying the entire ninth floor of the hulking rust-colored stone-and-glass sentinel, the restaurant overlooks the city and river Schelde through floor-to-ceiling windows. 't Zilte may be sitting on top of some noteworthy exhibitions, but we're guessing chef Viki Geunes' creations, including five inventive variations on foie gras, are likely to be the most enticing of all.

Photo: Courtesy of 't Zilte

The Most Puzzling Hotel in Greece

By Conde Nast Traveler Friday, May 13 07:00 AM

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Transforming a 53-year-old into a hip young thing isn't the easiest of projects. But art collector Dakis Joannou has proved it can be done: He took Athens's aging Olympic Palace hotel apart, reassembled it piece by piece without discarding anything, then cheekily dubbed his chic salvage project the New Hotel.

The property's edgy aesthetic is the handiwork of Brazilian interior-design legends Humberto and Fernando Campana, who have created glass room dividers and mirrors that appear fractured, and wooden furniture that looks like it's been carved out of rock. Chairs and doors salvaged from the original hotel have been repurposed as art installations. Seems there's no better place than Athens to celebrate life in ruins.

Photo: Courtesy of Design Hotels

See! Colour! Jarna, Sweden

By Conde Nast Traveler Thursday, May 05 12:31 PM

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Sweden is tripping the light fantastic this year with a contemporary art exhibit called See! Colour! (May 15 through October 2). Set near a fjord south of Stockholm in the town of Järna, the indoor/outdoor exhibition explores ideas of light, color, and space in bold installations and art works spread over the Kulturforum campus. Featured are the noted American artist James Turrell and, representing Europe, the late Hilma af Klint and Rudolf Steiner.

Viewers tap into Technicolor experiences via interactive exhibits such as Turrell's Skyspace, a room open to the air whose light sources morph colors in conversation with the sky. Or you can sit inside Turrell's one-person spherical chamber for a color-and-light show, your own personal rainbow connection.

Photo: Bridget's Bardo, (Ganzfeld Piece), James Turrell

Museo Soumaya, Mexico City

By Conde Nast Traveler Thursday, April 07 03:57 PM

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Greedy, greedy Mexico City. Not content to merely inspire architectural envy with your Aztec ruins, you had to go and conquer modern times with the new home of Museo Soumaya, too.

A passion project of Carlos Slim, the world's wealthiest man, and son-in-law architect Fernando Romero, the surreal, 150-foot-high structure is pure design fantasy. Windowless, except for the skylights on the top floor, the organic shape (reminiscent of Frank Gehry's Guggenheim in Bilbao) is wrapped in hexagonal aluminum plates.

Inside, you'll find Slim's eclectic 66,000-piece collection of religious relics, pre-Columbian gold coins, Diego Rivera murals, and plenty of European masters, including the world's largest private reserve of Rodins. Want to ponder The Thinker? Commune with Eve? They're here. And unlike at the Aztec empire's temples, there's no sacrifice necessary for this pilgrimage: Admission is free.

Photo: Courtesy of Museo Soumaya

Ritz-Carlton, Hong Kong

By Conde Nast Traveler Thursday, March 31 07:23 PM

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The new Ritz-Carlton, Hong Kong, kicked things up a notch when it opened this week...well, quite a few notches. The world's highest hotel towers more than 1,600 feet above the city, stretching from the 102nd to the 118th floor in Kowloon's International Commerce Centre.

In the 312 rooms, luxe textures are featured in the leather headboards and in velvet armchairs arranged around the floor-to-ceiling windows. The 10,000-square-foot spa, five restaurants, and an open-air bar and pool with a 2,100-square-foot ceiling LED screen on the 118th floor are as over-the-top as the views of Victoria Harbour, Hong Kong Island, and the surrounding mountains. Welcome to the high life.

Photo: Courtesy of Ritz-Carlton

The Cube, Brussels, Belgium

By Conde Nast Traveler Tuesday, March 15 06:26 PM

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Location, location, location. Any restaurateur knows that's the key to success. And no one knows it better than the folks behind The Cube, a futuristic new pop-up restaurant. The 1,500-square-foot structure will be attached to the rooftops of some of Europe's landmark buildings for three-month stints this year. First stop? Belgium, where it will sit 100 feet up atop the Arcades du Cinquantenaire in Brussels' Cinquantenaire park from late March through early July.

The glass restaurant (complete with terrace) was designed by Milan-based architects Park Associati and is covered in a laser-cut aluminum "skin" that adds a sci-fi touch. It seats 18 diners at one long table and has an open kitchen, where Michelin-starred Belgian chefs Sang Hoon Degeimbre and Bart de Pooter will alternate days behind the stove. Next stop, Moscow? Stockholm? Zurich? Only The Cube knows.

Photo: Courtesy of Park Associati

Mondrian Soho, New York City

By Conde Nast Traveler Monday, March 14 06:24 PM

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An entrance flanked by outsize topiary, and 270 guest rooms in periwinkle and midnight blue lit by furry lamps. Inspired by Jean Cocteau's 1940s French fantasy flick, La belle et la bête, the new Mondrian Soho is every bit the cinematic dream world that designer Benjamin Noriega-Ortiz intended.

The fantasy continues in the hotel restaurant, Imperial No. Nine, a soaring space with mirrored tables reflecting chandeliers dripping with crystals. Here, chef Sam Talbot creates shareable plates of sustainable seafood dishes. After dinner, guests can disappear into Mr. H, a scarlet-hued speakeasy already awash in pretty young starlets. Now if that's not a dream stay, we don't know what is.

Photo: Courtesy of Morgans Hotel Group

Hotel Missoni Kuwait

By Conde Nast Traveler Monday, March 07 06:39 PM

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Before the onslaught of recession and revolution, new hotels in the Middle East generally aimed for over-the-top, 14-karat glamour. These days, travelers want less marble upon gold upon crystal--and more high design. So it seems the new Hotel Missoni Kuwait, done in the Italian fashion house's signature stripes and patterns, has opened in the right place at the right time.

The 18-story hotel has a bold palette of violet, turquoise, and marigold throughout, with custom Missoni textiles framing windows overlooking the Persian Gulf in all 63 guest rooms. Missoni stripes even appear in mosaic tile form in the pool. The staff speaks more than 14 languages, and the latest iPad technology makes for a speedy check-in. After all, what's style without a serious dose of substance?

Photo: Courtesy of Rezidor Hotel Group 

Salvador Dali Museum, St. Petersburg, Florida

By Conde Nast Traveler Friday, February 04 03:21 PM

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The most surreal experience in Florida these days isn't the flying wizards over at Universal Orlando, it's behind the walls of a new museum in St. Petersburg. The Salvador Dali Museum houses more of the surrealist's masterworks than any gallery in the world.

The 2,140-piece collection sits in a concrete fortress that appears under attack from a curving crystalline blob (Dali would have approved). Though the structure, designed by renowned architectural firm HOK, appears fantastical, there is an element of the practical to it. The building's 18-inch-thick walls are designed to withstand a Category 5 hurricane, to protect all those melting clocks and Dada dreams. And that is something to twirl your mustache at.

Templar Hotel, Toronto

By Conde Nast Traveler Monday, January 31 11:19 AM

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The grass (or in this case, glass) is always greener on the other side. And that'll definitely be the case at the Templar Hotel, a Canadian newcomer opening in Toronto's entertainment district at the end of February.

This design-conscious glass and aluminum hotel will undoubtedly draw style-seekers to its lobby full of modern art and its 27 retro rooms with custom-built furnishings. But we recommend making a beeline for the bar. Looking up through the Monk Lounge's transparent ceiling into the Onsen Spa pool, you might get a sudden urge to drink less and take better care of your body. Meanwhile, the swimmers peering down will probably be hankering for a post-dip cocktail.

No matter which way you look at it, the Templar has the appearance of a hot spot in the making.

Photo: Courtesy of Design Hotels

 

Canal House, Amsterdam, Netherlands

By Conde Nast Traveler Monday, December 06 12:35 PM

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A bit tulip-sniffing organic, a bit debauched, Amsterdam is a city with a split personality. Now a new hotel, opening in January, is looking to bridge the divide.

Comprised of three 17th- and 18th-century canal houses perched on a particularly elegant stretch of the Keizersgracht, the Canal House hotel will include a dusky bar and 23 rooms with a seductive black, purple, and copper palette, plus come-hither open bathrooms that would seem custom-made for an illicit tryst. The tulip-sniffing side? The Great Room restaurant, carved out of a former ballroom, will serve Dutch locavore dishes, and a hidden garden out back includes a Garden House folly for private dinners.

Photo: Amy Murrell

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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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