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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

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

Variety Voyager Cruises to the Arabian Gulf

By Conde Nast Traveler Thursday, October 13 10:52 AM

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Our boating tastes run more to super-yachts than supersize cruise ships, so an exotic new excursion from a luxury line is reason enough to break out the Champagne. Variety Cruises, whose small upscale fleet mostly plies the Mediterranean, is branching out into the Middle East with a brand new vessel, Variety Voyager.

Starting in 2012, the 36-cabin vessel will introduce cruise passengers to the Arabian Gulf and Omani coast. Highlights of the eight-day itinerary include sailing the fjordlike Musandam Peninsula aboard a traditional Omani dhow, cavorting with dolphins near Telegraph and Seebi islands, and exploring the third-century, pre-Islamic fortress of Nakhal in Sohar, Oman. The ship's decor is a mix of muted creams and sand with glam marble and mirrored touches. Because variety is the spice of life.

Variety Voyager's Arabian Gulf cruises, from $2,790. Sailings from Abu Dhabi: November 29, 2012 to April 4, 2013; sailings from Muscat: November 22, 2012 to March 28, 2013.

Photo: Courtesy of Variety Cruises

stillspotting: nyc, To a Great City, New York City

By Conde Nast Traveler Monday, August 22 11:35 AM

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Quiet. Respite. Solitude. Not words usually associated with New York City. But from September 15-18 and 22-25, stillspotting: nyc, To a Great City, a conceptual art collaboration between the Guggenheim Museum, Estonia-born composer Arvo Pärt, and Snøhetta (the architecture firm behind New York City's National September 11 Memorial and Museum) will redefine your aural perceptions of the city.

A walking tour takes you to five "galleries" around lower Manhattan--including a green labyrinth in the Battery, an underground chamber at Governors Island, and off-limits rooms in landmark skyscrapers--where the interactive installation marries architecture with Pärt's signature minimalist compositions. Buy a ticket, get your map, and follow the three-hour route, or choose your own adventure throughout the day. Loop back. Meditate. Make it your own. In the city, finding peace and quiet is indeed an art.

Route starts at Castle Clinton National Monument in Battery Park, 11 am to 7 pm (ticket sales close at 4 pm), $10. Advance reservations suggested.

Photo: Courtesy of Snøhetta 2011

Cox & Kings' Wonders of Georgia

By Conde Nast Traveler Tuesday, June 28 07:00 AM

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You've done Paris, Rome, and London, but where next on your grand tour? We suggest it's time to venture off the beaten track to the crossroads of Europe and Asia. The folks at travel company Cox & Kings have launched a tour of Georgia as part of a new package of undiscovered destinations across the pond.

The eight-day trip goes from a fourth-century fortress in Tbilisi to the birthplace of Stalin to the underground monasteries of Davit Gareja and the famed vineyards of Kakheti, the oldest wine-producing region in the world. Medieval churches, Soviet-era history, and ancient booze? That's enough to get Georgia on anyone's mind.

Cox & Kings' Wonders of Georgia tour, from $1,735. 2011 departures: July 17, September 4, October 2.

Photo: Courtesy of Michael Runkel / Robert Harding World Imagery / Getty Images

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

Epic Tomato Adventure Travel Company

By Conde Nast Traveler Monday, February 28 11:17 AM

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The hip kids at Black Tomato, a bespoke British luxury travel company, have long been making U.S. travel agents look lamer than a pair of pleated khakis. Now they've kicked things up a notch with the launch of their new service, Epic Tomato.

The company will help the baddest of badasses plan seriously intrepid trips. Care to slice your own path through the uncharted jungles of Borneo? Pull a pulk across the unmapped tundra of Antarctica? Or perhaps you'd prefer to try your luck outpaddling alligators on the White Nile. If you're cool with pushing yourself to the limit, these guys have got you covered.

Photo: Courtesy of Epic Tomato

Uniworld River Cruises, S.S. Antoinette, Germany

By Conde Nast Traveler Thursday, February 24 03:18 PM

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The 82-room S.S. Antoinette, Uniworld River Cruises' newest boutique vessel, is a ship of firsts. It's the first river vessel to have an on-board cinema. The first to have deck-level guest rooms with open-air private balconies that convert to enclosed conservatories. And it makes a majestic first impression: The two-story lobby is lit by a 10-foot Baccarat crystal and sapphire chandelier; Brazilian marble shines on the walls and floors; and a 19th-century Venetian glass mirror multiplies all the sparkle.

Like the ship itself, the Antoinette's inaugural itinerary, Castles Along the Rhine, promises to be a regal affair when it launches on March 27. The eight-day journey includes Alsatian wine tastings, excursions to the medieval town of Koblenz, and walks through the Black Forest. Or you can simply size up the royal competition through windows framed by Figueroa silk-taffeta drapes.

Photo: Courtesy of Uniworld River Cruises, Inc.

Discover France: Tour de France Routes

By Conde Nast Traveler Thursday, February 03 02:48 PM

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The calves, the controversy, the climbsit can only be the Tour de France. And if you've got the legs (and lungs) for it, you can get out in front of the pack this July with a Tour de France itinerary from the experts at Discover France.

These eight-day cycling trips follow the same routes as the pros, over the most fearsome mountains of the Alps and Pyrenees and through fields of lavender in Provenceat times just a few hours ahead of the peloton. VIP access allows you to interact with the event's cyclists, and they'll even lend you a yellow jersey so you can commemorate your personal victories.

But our favorite part? With all that pedal-pushing, you won't have to feel bad about having an extra pain au chocolat--or three.

Discovery Adventures' Classic Japan Tour

By Conde Nast Traveler Monday, November 08 04:41 PM

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Yes, Japan has the high-tech, neon-lit spectacle that is Tokyo, but seriously, people, don't you spend enough time in the fast lane? Why not slow down a little, have a cup of tea, and contemplate the wonders of classic Japan instead?

On Discovery Adventures' new nine-day tour, you can bathe in a hot spring at the foot of Mount Fuji, stroll around Kyoto's geisha districts, and get private access to a former teahouse to see traditional music and dance performances. A few days of this, and you might even switch off your cell.

And for adrenaline junkies who can't switch off, it's also possible to slot in some high-octane Tokyo time, too.

Classic Japan Tour starts March 26, 2011, from $4,399

Photo: Discovery Adventures

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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