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Divino Tuscany, Florence, Italy

By Conde Nast Traveler Tuesday, April 26 04:27 PM

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There are wine trips and there are wine trips. And Divino Tuscany's inaugural excursion makes all others look like a box of Franzia Chablis.

So what makes this the best of booze vacations? Your guide for the four-day tour, starting June 2 in Florence, is James Suckling, former European bureau chief of Wine Spectator. There's a gala dinner on the banks of the Arno River cooked up by the folks behind the three-Michelin-starred Enoteca Pinchiorri restaurant. And some of Tuscany's most famous wine families have invited you over to their palazzi for dinner. Tastings run through the region's best brunellos and merlots, and the whole thing ends with a boar roast at Sting's Florentine villa. How's that for a smooth finish?

Photo: Courtesy of Divino Tuscany

Hogmead, Nairobi, Kenya

By Conde Nast Traveler Monday, April 25 04:36 PM

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Most East African safaris require you to spend your first night in some generic city hotel before heading into the bush--the only beasts in sight being the ones served grilled in the dining room. The new Hogmead hotel in Nairobi, Kenya, is changing all that.

The six-room hotel has an Out of Africa vibe (the author, Karen Blixen, lived just down the road); overstuffed sofas and deep soaking tubs up the ante on comfort. Hogmead is also perfectly placed, with easy access to both the airport and Nairobi National Park, which means you could be face-to-face with an elephant just an hour after touchdown. Prefer to start with something smaller to prepare you for the wild times ahead? The resident warthogs on the hotel grounds should do the trick.

Photo: Courtesy of Hogmead

Endless Summer Ultimate Surf Package, Laguna Beach, California

By Conde Nast Traveler Tuesday, April 19 02:12 PM

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The Pacific Edge Hotel's new Endless Summer Ultimate Surf Package channels the spirit of the seminal 1960s travel and surf documentary by pairing you up with one of its stars, Robert August (pictured back in the day, far right), for a one-on-one day of surfing, searching out perfect breaks along SoCal's storied coast.

It don't matter if you're grom, random stander, or bona fide railer, you'll also get a place to crash overlooking Laguna Beach in the 129-room, brightly painted boutique property. Also provided: Endless Summer swag, including a six-pack of lager and a DVD box set. Plus, after a day in the waves, you're invited to chillax with August and his surfer son Sam over sundowners and appetizers on the beach. Righteous!

Photo: Courtesy of Pacific Edge Hotel

The National Museum of China, Beijing

By Conde Nast Traveler Thursday, April 14 03:20 PM

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China has always been a nation of superlatives, and it just added another to the list: world's largest museum. The National Museum of China, in Beijing, is the result of a decade-long, $380-million project that combined the Museum of Chinese History and the Museum of the Chinese Revolution.

The more than 1 million artifacts in the museum's collection provide an epic survey of Chinese history, from Yuanmou Man, who walked the land 1.7 million years ago, to current president Hu Jintao. With over 2 million square feet of galleries to cover--three times the size of the Louvre in Paris--we suggest you extend your trip and wear comfortable shoes.

Photo: ChinaFotoPress / Getty Images

25hours Hotel Wien, Vienna, Austria

By Conde Nast Traveler Monday, April 11 03:53 PM

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Despite its refined reputation, Vienna has always been a bit of a show-off. With all the operas, the balls, and the surrounding hills that are alive with the sound of music, it takes a flashy newcomer like 25Hours Hotel Wien to make any noise on this scene.

The 34-suite hotel (another 187 rooms will be added next year) has vintage big top memorabilia--a ringleader's hat here, an acrobat's hoop there--and retro circus murals that splash a brushstroke of whimsy in otherwise minimal rooms with platform beds and brushed concrete floors. It's in good company in the quirky seventh district, a hub for Vienna's next-generation artists and musicians. So step right up, kids. It's time to get in on the act.

Photo: Courtesy of 25hours Hotel Wien

Tickets, Barcelona

By Conde Nast Traveler Friday, April 01 04:06 PM

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What do you do once you've revolutionized haute cuisine and your Michelin-lauded restaurant pulls in over a million reservation requests a year? If you're Ferran AdriÓ of El Bulli (closing this summer), you exit victorious, wizard those laurels into caviar droplets, and serve them up as tapas in Barcelona.

Newly opened Tickets, AdriÓ's second act, is like a buzzing avant-garde food court with a bright and Pop-y interior. Five bars handle different facets of the menu: La Presumida (oysters, seafood, charcuterie), La Estrella (the main area for drinks), El Garatge (grilling, pa amb tomÓquet), La Dolša (desserts), and Nostromo 180286 (cheese serums, crunchy ham powders, sparkling mayonnaise, and other items of molecular gastronomic trickery). A sixth small cubicle, in English "the Marx Brothers' Cabin," crams in drink swillers hoping to jump on a cancellation.

Therein lies the best innovation: online-only reservations. Unlike at El Bulli, with its lottery system, seats here open three months prior, so Tickets is accessible with some planning. July in Barcelona is lovely, by the way.

Photo: Courtesy of Sergi Vicente Puig

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

Caribiana 23-Foot Sea Skiff

By Conde Nast Traveler Wednesday, March 30 07:19 PM

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Anyone who has seen a James Bond movie knows the appeal of a vintage skiff, its buffed wood deck glinting in the sunlight as it darts through some bustling Italian waterway. Now a new handcrafted vessel by boutique boat maker Caribiana has brought that retro romance into the 21st century.

The slick Caribiana 23-foot Sea Skiff ($95,000) has the timeless buttery leather upholstery, bronze hardware, and teak and mahogany woodwork, but there's also a powerful four-stroke engine and a custom-colored hull. Each craft is personally delivered with a case of Champagne and Steuben toasting flutes--because a boat this handsome should be christened in style.

Photo: Courtesy of Caribiana

Electric Literature Broadcastr App

By Conde Nast Traveler Tuesday, March 29 07:16 PM

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There's nothing quite like eavesdropping on an interesting story. Electric Literature's new Broadcastr app plugs you into some really juicy tales, making it both socially acceptable and useful to "listen in" while traveling.

The free app uses a geolocator to find and play stories about your location, anywhere in the world. Some come from famous writers and comedians such as Michael Showalter, some from oral history organizations, including the project run by the National September 11 Memorial & Museum. But most are insights from local folks who really know the neighborhood you're in. And if you have a good tale to tell, you can submit it, too.

It's like having a tour guide, a friend, and a window into all the little heartbreaks and triumphs that make up the life of a destination.

Photo: Courtesy of Broadcastr

Hotel Chocolat, St. Lucia

By Conde Nast Traveler Monday, March 28 07:09 PM

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If a tropical resort built on a cocoa plantation sounds like someone has dipped into your wildest dreams, we're just about to make your day. St. Lucia's newest arrival is Hotel Chocolat, the brainchild of two British chocolatiers. Go on, pinch yourself.

On this 140-acre, 18th-century plantation, you can learn the entire chocolate-making process, helping to harvest and roast the beans and, of course, taste the finished product. Or you could simply retire to one of the six cocoa- and cream-colored cottages with gauze-draped four-poster beds, ocean-facing chaise longues, and open-air rain showers. (Eight additional villas will open in October.) The restaurant takes its inspiration from the hotel's crop, with dishes like yellowfin tuna with cacao pesto. Talk about a delicious getaway.

Photo: Courtesy of Hotel Chocolat

Eataly's La Birreria, New York City

By Conde Nast Traveler Friday, March 25 07:02 PM

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Blizzards and ice storms and snowpocalypses are giving way to warmth, and with that, the patios and gardens of New York City will fill with sunseekers. The newest alfresco fun? La Birreria, a 5,000-square-foot beer garden set to open later this spring on the roof of the Batali/Bastianich foodtopia, Eataly, in the Flatiron District.

Copper vats will turn out microbrews created by U.S. sudsmeister Sam Calagione of Dogfish Head fame and Italians Teo Musso of Birra Baladin and Leonardo Di Vincenzo of Birra del Borgo. The unfiltered, naturally carbonated brews will be hand-pulled through traditional beer engines and paired with pizza and sausages. And there's a retractable roof, should Old Man Winter decide to make a last-ditch appearance.

Photo: Courtesy of Samantha Decker

London Syon Park

By Conde Nast Traveler Thursday, March 24 06:58 PM

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The upcoming royal wedding may have everyone's hearts aflutter, but the real flap should be over the new London Syon Park: This Waldorf Astoria hotel, sitting on 200 acres on the outskirts of the city, has its very own butterfly house.

The 1,000 winged lovelies in the lobby were inspired by the original butterfly house once located on the grounds. Outside, manicured gardens mix with sprawling parkland, where guests can play croquet, try their hand at archery, fish for trout, or picnic among rare flowers. Famed chef Lee Streeton (formerly of Brown's Hotel) draws inspiration and ingredients from the gardens for the British fare served at the hotel restaurant, The Capability (named for Capability Brown, who designed and landscaped the park in the mid 18th century). Decor in the 137 guest rooms and suites marries modern and old-world luxury--marble and limestone are complemented by flat screens and Apple technology. In other words, it's a royal indulgence.

Photo: Courtesy of Waldorf Astoria

Haerfest A3 Shoulder Sack

By Conde Nast Traveler Wednesday, March 23 06:53 PM

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What with all the fees for checked bags these days, the name of the carry-on game is generally as-big-as-you-can-get-away-with. Of course, once you touch down, you're stuck walking around with the world's largest handbag. But not if the design duo behind Haerfest have anything to do with it.

New York-based brothers Tim and Dan Joo have created a classic soft-leather and cotton shoulder bag (in black, navy, and grey) that folds completely flat ($380). Slip it into your roll-on or into that bottomless pit you're passing off as your personal item, and you'll be able to unfold it on arrival and sightsee footloose and backache-free.

Photo: Courtesy of Haerfest

Jean-Michel Cousteau Oceanography Sailings, South Pacific

By Conde Nast Traveler Tuesday, March 22 06:51 PM

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Children are our future, and if you treat them well--perhaps with a luxury cruise in the South Pacific--you'll be surprised by how they lead the way. At least that's the idea behind Paul Gauguin Cruises' new ten-night sailing headed up by Jean-Michel (son of Jacques) Cousteau.

Cousteau aims to get your kids on board with conservation by giving them an up-close introduction to the wonders of French Polynesia. Lectures aimed at both parents and children describe the ecology of the Society Islands and the Tuamotus, and the explorer leads dives to legendary spots like Rangiroa, home of the world's second-largest lagoon. Because what kid (or kid at heart) wouldn't want to protect the ocean after coming face-to-face with a playful dolphin?

Paul Gauguin Cruises' Jean-Michel Cousteau Oceanography Sailings, May 25 and June 29, 2011, $4,447 (double occupancy).

Photo: Courtesy of Paul Gauguin Cruises

Casa de La Flora, Khao Lak, Thailand

By Conde Nast Traveler Monday, March 21 06:44 PM

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Lots of hotels try to up the luxury ante with amenities you never knew you needed, but the decadence of having a private place to float and chill still tops our list of favorite perks. And few hotels do plunge pools with as much style as the new Casa de La Flora in mellow little Khao Lak, Thailand.

Each of the property's 36 cubelike villas opens onto a private ebony-bottomed plunge pool, obscured from view by lush hedges or stone walls. The angular structures, with minimal mod interiors and Apple in-room technology, pay homage to midcentury Brutalist architecture. But we fail to see anything brutal in those floor-to-ceiling Andaman Sea views.

Photo: Courtesy of Design Hotels

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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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