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The Beer Moth, Inverness-shire, Scotland

By Conde Nast Traveler Tuesday, December 20 01:19 PM

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Sure, you don't mind roughing it. But you still like your mattress soft and your hearth warm. May we introduce you to the Beer Moth? Crafted from a 1956 fire truck, this flatbed B&B sits on the verdant grounds of Inshriach House in the shadow of the Monadhliath Mountains in the Scottish Highlands.

You'll lay yourself to sleep on an antique Victorian brass bed in the back of the truck, which is outfitted with oak parquet floors salvaged from a Tudor mansion. You'll warm yourself by a hearth made from an old snooker table. And you'll descend to hike the grounds via a fire escape staircase. Part truck stop, part glamper, the Beer Moth is a tall draft of personality. Bottoms up!

Photo: Courtesy of Canopy & Stars

Black Tomato Swedish Lapland Tour

By Conde Nast Traveler Friday, December 02 02:57 PM

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Dashing through the snow in a one-horse open sleigh? It's not just the stuff of Christmas carols. On the hip travel company Black Tomato's new Swedish Lapland tour, it's your mode of transportation.

After a food tour of Stockholm, you'll kick it Santa-style under the Northern Lights, sleep in a mod tree house in an enchanted forest, and fly (literally) over the icy wilderness of Lulea in a hovercraft. Reindeer meatballs are on the menu, but having a nibble of Santa's little helpers could land you on the naughty list. Consider yourself warned.

Photo: Courtesy of Black Tomato

Heimplanet Cave Tent

By Conde Nast Traveler Wednesday, September 21 11:20 AM

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We've always loved the idea of camping. But visions of cozy campfires and getting back to nature tend to dissolve into sore backs and expletives whenever we attempt to put up a tent. Now, thanks to the genius German engineering behind the new Cave tent (from $670), you can pop up an overnight abode in less time than it takes to toast a marshmallow.

Heimplanet's futuristic, igloolike structure inflates from a teeny 20- by 12-inch package to a 54-square-foot shelter in less than 60 seconds. The chic geometric frame was inspired by the molecular structure of gemstones. Gives new meaning to the term diamond in the rough, eh?

Photo: Courtesy of Heimplanet

Block Island, Rhode Island

By Conde Nast Traveler Tuesday, August 02 07:00 AM

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Block Island celebrates its semiseptcentennial (that's a 350th anniversary) this year, which means the old gal is livelier than ever. A season-long party is in full swing, including vintage ship displays, concerts, and festivals, such as the Taste of Block Island weekend (September 23-25). And you're invited.

Stay here:
The Atlantic Inn
Built in 1879 on a hilltop just outside the main town of New Shoreham--the smallest U.S. state's smallest town--the Atlantic Inn is a gracious place to enjoy life's little pleasures. Antiques and a ban on TVs and radios lend the 21 individually styled guest rooms a Victorian sensibility. You'll wake each morning to warm pastries and house-made granola served on a wraparound veranda. Children play tetherball in the backyard; a sunny garden provides a relaxation spot for parents. Among all this yesteryear charm, it's easy to unplug and soak up the island's timeless natural beauty.

Eat here:
Three Sisters
Three Sisters, a one-room wooden cottage on Old Town Road, is the sandwich shop of choice for beach picnic-bound islanders with coolers to fill. Favorites such as the Hippie Sister (a roasted vegetable and hummus wrap) and the Twisted Sister (turkey, bacon, Cheddar, avocado, and romaine) are scrawled on a chalkboard. Too lazy to head to the beach? You can chill at the picnic tables outside--or in a hammock--while the kids play with gratis hula hoops and spoil their dinner with gooey chocolate-chip cookies.

Drink here:
The Porch at the National Hotel
Most of Block Island ends up at the National Hotel's scenic wraparound porch at one point or another. Mostly for the postcard-perfect view of sailboats in Block Island Sound silhouetted against sunset-pink skies. But also to throw back a few ice-cold lagers and catch up on the local gossip.

Photo: Courtesy of Block Island Tourism Council

AdventureSmith Explorations Antarctica Cruise

By Conde Nast Traveler Tuesday, July 19 07:00 AM

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It's an amazing experience to watch the dramatic landscape slide past your stateroom window on a cruise to Antarctica. But AdventureSmith Explorations' new Antarctic Peninsula Basecamp Cruise goes one step further. For the first time ever, cruisers can get off the ship and camp on the frozen tundra.

It might not be as comfortable as your cabin, but you'll be provided with mattresses, polar sleeping bags, and all the other cozy gear required to protect you from the elements. Sailing time is kept to a minimum in order to maximize opportunities for hiking, kayaking, snowshoeing, and glacier walking. While on board the 110-passenger Plancius, you'll be schooled by photography experts on how to capture the icy surroundings and amazing wildlife. If you've ever dismissed a cruise as a sedentary vacation, this is the trip that will change your mind.

Antarctic Peninsula Basecamp Cruise, 2012 departures: February 27-March 9, November 22-December 3; 2013 departures: February 25-March 9. Doubles from $8,350 (2012) and $8,790 (2013) per person; 877-620-2875.

Photo: Courtesy of AdventureSmith Explorations

Lamai Serengeti, Tanzania

By Conde Nast Traveler Tuesday, July 05 07:30 AM

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The annual wildebeest migration through Kenya and Tanzania is one of nature's greatest shows. But as with any hot ticket, you can be sure you'll be jockeying for position among herds of eager onlookers. That is, unless you stay at the new Lamai Serengeti.

Situated in the remote northern Serengeti, the 12-room open-air lodge perches on the rugged granite outcrop of the Kogakuria Kopje, overlooking the Mara River valley. From late July through October, the migration of those 1.5 million hairy beasts (not to mention the lions, leopards, and hyenas that dine on them) will be on your elegantly decorated doorstep. Interiors are understated and stylish, a blend of canvas and plaster walls with pops of blue or red against a cream-and-white backdrop. The secluded location ensures that the tourists won't outnumber the four-legged animals. It's wildly civilized.

Photo: Courtesy of Nomad Tanzania

Singita Explore, Tanzania

By Conde Nast Traveler Thursday, June 23 01:30 PM

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Did you know that safari actually means "journey" in Swahili? Ponder this nugget as you experience exactly that with Singita Explore, the brand-new luxury mobile tented experience from Singita Game Reserves. So, just as animals roam the 340,000 dramatic acres of Tanzania's western Serengeti, now you can, too.

You'll camp with the crickets and cawing and crick-crack of who-knows-what shuffling in the bush. But fear not, you'll hardly be roughing it. Accommodations are pared back to finely tuned yet high-class basics (a plush bed, and leather, rubber, and timber furnishings) in custom-designed, eco-friendly en-suite tents. The caravan itself is a private jaunt of 2 to 12 people. Just because you're following the herd doesn't mean you have to be a part of it.

Book two nights and receive a third night free with Singita Explore introductory promotion (from $2,600 per person sharing for three nights through December 2011)

Photo: Courtesy of Singita Game Reserves

Compagnie du Ponant Antarctica Sailings

By Conde Nast Traveler Thursday, June 09 07:00 AM

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Sometimes one megayacht just isn't enough. At least that's Compagnie du Ponant's take on the matter. Come November, the luxury cruise company will launch two new ships, L'Austral and Le Boréal, on nine round trips from Ushuaia, Argentina, through the Drake Passage to Antarctica.

The 132-cabin twin vessels double your chance to chill out with Champagne as you sail past whales, penguins, and sea elephants. After a long day of exploring glaciers with experts in hydrobiology and polar wildlife, you can retire to the marble tub in your luxury suite or get a massage in the spa. Because who wouldn't want a little extravagance on an Antarctic expedition?

Sailings from November 2011 through February 2012, from $4,860

Photo: Courtesy of Philip Plisson, Compagnie du Ponant

Discovery Adventures, Galapagos Island Cruises

By Conde Nast Traveler Saturday, May 28 07:00 AM

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With the Discovery Channel's annual Shark Week set to make its usual splash starting July 31 (this time with SNL's Andy Samberg as Chief Shark Officer), here's an idea: How about taking the plunge yourself on a shark cruise?

This is your chance to get off the sofa and into flippers and a wet suit to meat--sorry, meet--the toothy predators on their own surf. On Discovery Adventures' Galápagos cruises, you'll see scalloped hammerheads, Galápagos, reef, white-tipped, and whale sharks. Itineraries include snorkeling trips to Española Island (to swim with reef sharks) and to Black Turtle Cove, where the Galápagos Islands' white-tipped sharks hang. Who knows, once you get a taste for shark diving, you might get hooked.

Machu Picchu & Galápagos Islands Trip (14 days), from $4,499, 2011 departures: June 10, July 8, August 12, September 9
Galápagos Islands Cruise (10 days), from $4,199, 2011 departures: June 18, July 16, August 20, September 17
Galápagos Islands Cruise (7 days), from $3,099, 2011 departures: June 21, July 19, August 23, September 20
Galápagos Islands Cruise (6 days), from $2,699, 2011 departures: June 18, July 16, August 20, September 17

Photo: Courtesy of Bill Curtsinger / National Geographic / Getty Images

New York Rooftop Gardens, teNeues

By Conde Nast Traveler Thursday, May 26 07:00 AM

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New York is one of those cities where, even if you're having the time of your life, you can't help but wonder if you're missing out on something even more fabulous (you probably are). But here's one way to see something that visitors hardly ever get to access: NYC's rooftop gardens.

New York Rooftop Gardens, a coffee-table book with 200 stunning color photographs by Charles de Vaivre gives you an eyeful of the oases nestled high above the concrete jungle. While most of these leafy, lofty spots are reserved for Manhattan's lucky few, don't despair--there's always the egalitarian elevated gardens of New York's High Line to stroll along (Section 2, from West 20th to West 30th Street, opens in June).

New York Rooftop Gardens, teNeues, available early summer. Click here to preorder.

Photo: © 2011 Charles de Vaivre. All rights reserved. www.charlesdevaivre.com

Get Two Trips for the Price of One

By Conde Nast Traveler Wednesday, May 11 11:00 AM

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Train journey, or cruise? Canadian Rockies, or Alaska's Glacier Bay? If you're finding it tricky to decide on your next vacation, cruise company Holland America and Canada's luxe private train operator Rocky Mountaineer are offering 12 innovative Rail & Cruise packages that will appeal to the indecisive traveler.

All packages include seven days cruising along the west coast of Canada into Glacier Bay, Alaska, passing porpoises and whales on the way to hardscrabble frontier fishing villages like Sitka and Ketchikan. While rail options chug past rocky peaks and trees as far as the eye can see--which is pretty far, thanks to the panoramic glass-domed viewing carriages.

Train stops can include top Canadian Rockies highlights (Jasper, Yoho, and Banff) and overnights at posh hotels such as the Fairmont Banff Springs, depending on class of service. Keep an eye out for the Silverleaf option, a new mid-range level debuting on select routes. Think of it as the ultimate ode to enjoying the journey.

Rocky Mountaineer Rail & Cruise Packages, departures from Seattle or Vancouver May 8 through September 11, 2011, starting at $2,755

Photo: Courtesy of Rocky Mountaineer

A Must-Have for Memorial Day Cookouts

By Conde Nast Traveler Monday, May 09 01:33 PM

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Coming to a campsite near you: a portable grill ($50) that isn't unwieldy or a hot mess to clean up. And whom do we have to thank for this charcoal-fueled little wonder? The creative minds at iconic workwear brand Carhartt, so it's no surprise that this stainless-steel beauty is more than just a pretty face.

This filet mignon-worthy grill comes in a messenger-style bag not much bigger than a laptop case. In less than five minutes, you can set it up, toss in some charcoal, and get a slow burn going to cook up your catch of the day--or, let's face it, whatever caught your eye at the local grocery store.

Photo: Courtesy of Carhartt

Tambo del Inka Resort and Spa, Peru

By Conde Nast Traveler Wednesday, February 23 11:27 AM

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The new Tambo del Inka Resort & Spa is an eco-friendly property built in glass and stone that sits beside the Vilcanota River in Peru's Urubamba Valley. The 128-room complex centers on a gorgeous two-pool spa, an ideal place to relax after hiking or cycling the quinoa-covered grounds or a day trip up to Machu Picchu on the recently opened Urubamba train line.

While you're in Peru...

Eat here:
Malabar
Malabar is Peru's first outlet for haute Amazonian cuisine, served amid brightly colored furniture and a riot of artwork. Though many of the jungle's creatures, fruits, and vegetables take the form of street food in their native habitat, at this Lima restaurant chef Pedro Miguel Schiaffino creates soufflés (hearts of palm), purées (yuca), and vinaigrettes (the applelike cocona).

Climb here:
Machu Picchu
The 2011 centennial of Hiram Bingham's rediscovery of the mysterious Incan ruins promises to attract bigger crowds than ever. One of the most rewarding ways to sidestep the hordes is to trek along the fabled Inca Trail. On the last morning you reach Machu Picchu's Sun Gate by sunrise, after which you can expect a tourist-free couple of hours before the buses start to roll in.

Photo: Courtesy of Tambo del Inka Resort and Spa

Hotel Fasano Las Piedras, Punta del Este, Uruguay

By Conde Nast Traveler Tuesday, February 22 04:47 PM

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Beautiful people. Beaches. Polo. Even Marvin Gaye would have had a hard time dreaming up a combo this sexy. But those are the three steamy entities that have become bedmates at the new Hotel Fasano Las Piedras. Set on a historic ranch outside the party town of Punta del Este, this Isay Weinfeld-designed property sprawls over 1,200 acres, from a vast plateau across a cactus-dotted valley to the crystal-clear Maldonado River.

The 20 bungalows (another 12 will be available from mid March) have a please-touch vibe, all leather headboards and shag carpets, with playful touches like vintage school maps. What better place to chill out after riding horses across the estancia with those cute vacationing Brazilians you met by the natural limestone pool? Have the hotel's private car take you to see-and-be-seen beaches like La Barra and Jose Ignacio, five minutes away. Or catch an on-site polo match before retiring to the hotel bar. A few drinks there will encourage you to do what comes naturally.

The Sebastian, Vail, Colorado

By Conde Nast Traveler Thursday, February 17 04:32 PM

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The Sebastian (formerly the Vail Plaza Hotel & Club) is perfectly placed if you're all about the après-ski rather than the slopes. The hotel, which sits at the gateway to Vail Village, reopened in January 2011 with 107 plush rooms, a spa, and valets for everything (so you can avoid schlepping a single piece of gear). In the restaurant, Block 16, chef Sergio Howland marries Maine lobster with braised veal cheeks, but you might be more interested to hear that the hotel bar has one of the largest Scotch collections in the Colorado Rockies.

And while you're there--

Eat here:
Atwater on Gore Creek
Chef Adam Votaw's clubby dining room overlooking a slope-side stream specializes in savory meat and seafood crowd-pleasers, such as soy-glazed beef short ribs and mustard-crusted diver scallops. Leave room for dessert: Pastry chef Felicia Jablonksi adds a scoop of house-made fig ice cream to the sticky toffee pudding and pairs coconut sorbet with the flourless chocolate cake.

Play here:
Adventure Ridge
If riding a bike over the snow and through the treesat night, with only a headlamp illuminating the path aheadis your kind of thing, then head straight for Adventure Ridge. This adrenaline junkie's dream at the top of Vail Mountain is actually pretty child-friendly, too, with a long, multilane tubing hill, trampolines with bungee harnesses, and pint-size snowmobiles for kids ages 6 to 12.

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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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