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Cocktails at Your Service: 8 Hotels With Amazing Mini-Bars
It’s gotten oh-so much easier to get a good drink at a hotel bar these days, but your in-room mini-bar? At most hotels, you’re lucky if you get a ho-hum tonic or soda to mix with a work-a-day spirit of (limited) choice. And garnish? Well, maybe that Lifesaver at the bottom of your travel bag will do the trick. You deserve better. After a long day of traveling when all you want to do is kick back and relax with a nice cocktail—preferably in your PJs—these eight hotels are willing to let you shake things up right in the privacy of your own room. Put out the Do-Not-Disturb sign and check in to one of these thirst-quenching spots. 1. The Darcy: Washington, DC The Darcy in the nation’s capitol is shaking things up by bringing the bar to you via their outstanding Cocktail Butler program. (Think: room service for booze!) A well-trained in-house mixologist will arrive at your door with a thoroughly stocked bar cart and build you a beautiful drink right in your own room, be it their signature Ten Thyme Smash (fresh thyme, cucumber, and lime juice shaken with Tanqueray 10 gin, simple syrup, and white cranberry) or whatever your drink of choice may be. Garnish? Proper glassware? Check and check. They’ll even customize the cart to your preferences when they take your reservation. 2. The Langham: New York, NY Give a person a fish, and she’ll eat for a day. But give her a good cocktail kit, and she’ll be mixing up drinks each night of her stay. At New York’s five-star Langham in Midtown, guest room mini-bars come equipped with their Mini Craft Cocktail Set, which has a trio of pre-mixed classics (the Old Fashioned, the Moscow Mule, and their Spicy Margarita). And if you want to bring the party on the plane when you leave, the Langham’s Carry-On Cocktail Kit includes the fixings for a pink Champagne Cocktail with their house Laurent Perrier Champagne in single-serve carry-on size—the perfect way to toast a great vacay. 3. The Four Seasons: Austin, TX Don’t mess with Texas and its love of Margaritas. At the Four Seasons in Austin, they’re happy to mix them for you. In May 2018, this outpost of the luxury hotel chain began offering a daily Happy Hour On-Demand Margarita Cart, accessed by its very own button on each room’s phone. From 3 p.m. to 6 p.m., you can call for a bartender to arrive at your door, pushing a bar cart teeming with premium tequilas (including Four Seasons’ own custom Herradura blend) and myriad salts for rimming. Choose from any one of up to 500 combinations of up, on the rocks, or blended versions of the popular classic. 4. The Cape: Los Cabos, Mexico At the end of California’s Baja Peninsula sits the Cape, a swanky, beachside hotel that’s part of the Thompson Hotel collective. Here, each guestroom comes equipped with a custom, hand-etched crystal bottle of Realeza Mexicana, a 100% blue agave tequila produced exclusively for the hotel, and each day it’s stocked alongside with fresh orange slices and the traditional Cabo go-with, candied mangos with chili powder—a pretty apropos cocktail to savor while you sit on your room’s deck and watch the sun go down. 5. The Keeting Hotel: San Diego, CA Be sure to reserve the Macallan Suite at the Keating Hotel (designed by the makers of Ferrari and Maserati, don’t you know?) on your next trek to sunny San Diego. Here, you room will not only come with full bottles of vintage Macallan single malt Scotch and locally brewed beers, but also an in-room cocktail-crafting kit and an ample selection of spirits with which to employ it. Bonus: The gleaming copper Morpheus Jacuzzi tub makes a pretty swell spot to sip and chill. 6. The Four Seasons Hotel: Orlando, FL Sometimes, you just want a glass of wine. Or maybe two. At the Orlando Four Seasons, not only can you choose how much you want without leftovers to contend with, but you can grape-hop a little, too. Ask for a room (there are around 100 available) that contains one of their Plum Wine units. Each one holds a perfect cellar-temperature red (Etude Lyric pinot noir) and white (a stellar Stag’s Leap chardonnay) from which to choose and will dispense single five-ounce pours while preserving the bottle inside. 7. Kimpton Aerston Hotel: Nashville, TN Since it opened in Spring 2017, the Kimpton Aerston has separated itself from other Music City hotels with its whiskey selections, one of the largest in town. It’s not, however, sequestered to the bar at the on-site Henley Restaurant. Not only is Henley’s full cocktail list available for in-room sipping, but they also offer an “Whiskey + Bourbon” package, which includes house-made whiskey-spiked nibbles that await you in your room upon arrival, two complimentary rocks glasses stamped with the logo of local craft whiskey distillery, Nelson’s Green Brier, the fixings to make the whiskey-centric cocktails of your choice from their excellent cocktail menu (perhaps a Briar Patch, with Elijah Craig bourbon, creme Yvette, fresh lemon juice, and simple syrup, all measured and ready to stir), and, when you’re ready to step out, a private tour and tasting at Nelson’s Green Brier, as well as an extra 20 percent off at Henley. 8. Mr. C: Beverly Hills, CA Leave it to the next generation of Italian hospitality icons, the Cipriani family, to stock every room of their glamorous Beverly Hills hideaway with a stash of bottled cocktails, six in total. Choose from a classic gin Martini, 1934 Cosmo, Ginger Buck, Manhattan, Negroni, or an Old Fashioned, all crafted by mixologist Nathan Oliver for the clever to-go cocktail company, BTL SVC, founded by Michael Baruch. But these are no pre-fab flops—each one offers stellar spirits and ingredients, like the decidedly grown-up vodka-based Cosmo, with dry curacao, raspberry gomme syrup, fresh lime juice, and aromatic citrus oil. And just in case you want to tuck some in your travel case on the way out, they sell them in the lobby, too. (Individual serves are $15 per cocktail, and the box of 5 individually handcrafted bottles is $110).
5 Things to Do in Pasadena, CA
Long overshadowed by the big-city sprawl of Los Angeles and known primarily for the Tournament of Roses, Pasadena is finally coming into its own. With world-class arts institutions, an array of delicious places to eat and drink, and a splash of Hollywood-adjacent glamour, it's an ideal urban escape for Angelenos—and everyone else, too. Here's how to make the most of your time on the ground. 1. GET OUTSIDE An arbor-covered path leads from the Huntington's Japanese garden to its rose garden, where more than 1,200 cultivars of the petaled plants are on display. (Maya Stanton) It’s rare to find something that appeals to indoor and outdoor types alike, but thanks to an extensive collection of European and American art, a research library filled with treasures, and lush botanical gardens spanning 120-some acres, The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens (huntington.org) does just that. Get here early to explore the premises, from the Garden of Flowering Fragrance, an oasis in the tradition of Suzhou, China’s scholar gardens, to a walled Zen garden to one of the world’s largest collections of mature cacti and succulents. Then check out the library: Book lovers will drool over a handwritten draft of Jack London’s White Fang, a breathtakingly illustrated Canterbury Tales manuscript, and a vellum copy of the Gutenberg bible, just one of 12 known copies in existence. At $29 for adults, $24 for seniors and full-time students, and $13 for kids ages 4-11, weekend tickets are on the pricey side, but you'll need a solid amount of time here to take it all in anyway, so you'll easily get your money’s worth. Or you can just book in advance for free entry on the first Thursday of the month. 2. ABSORB SOME ART From Rodin's The Thinker to Aristide Maillol's Mountain (above) to a circa-1100 Buddha from India's Tamil Nadu state, the Norton Simon Museum's sculpture garden features work from a variety of artists. (Maya Stanton) With a lush sculpture garden, an impressive selection of 19th and 20th-century art, and a deep array of paintings, bronzes, woodblock prints, and stone sculpture from South and Southeast Asia, the Norton Simon Museum (nortonsimon.org) is as refreshing as a blast of cool air on a hot summer day. Situated on almost eight acres of land in the center of town, this jewel of an institution was renovated in 1999 by Frank Gehry and landscape architect Nancy Goslee Power, and its tranquil grounds draw inspiration from Monet’s Impressionist gardens, while its galleries provide a respite from the California sun. Come for classic work from Renoir, Degas, and Van Gogh, stay for pieces by modern masters like Picasso, Rivera, and Kandinsky, and don't miss the huge, eye-catching murals by northern California native Sam Francis. Admission is $15 for adults, $12 for seniors, and free for kids under 18 and students and military personnel with a valid ID, but those on a budget should drop by on the first Friday of the month, when it’s a free-for-all from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m. 3. EAT YOUR HEART OUT For plant-based fare, the Pasadena branch of local mini-chain Sage Vegan Bistro is where it's at. (Maya Stanton) Boasting 500 restaurants within its city limits, Pasadena offers no shortage of dining options—and, from the birthplace of culinary legend Julia Child, you’d expect nothing less. Hit Lunasia Dim Sum House (lunasiadimsumhouse.com) for extra-large, translucent har gow, baby bok choy simmered in fish broth, or scallop-topped squid-ink-skinned dumplings. In Old Pasadena, Café Santorini (cafesantorini.com) draws crowds for its stellar Mediterranean fare, from overflowing mezze plates and pastas to and oversized salads topped with generous portions of chicken milanese or lemony sautéed seafood. Just across the alley, the plant-based Sage Vegan Bistro (sageveganbistro.com) makes comfort food feel virtuous. Go light with a green juice, or all-out with avocado toast, polenta tots, or a colorful, hearty breakfast bowl. For a real knockout, splurge at Union Restaurant (unionpasadena.com), an intimate neighborhood spot that puts a California spin on northern Italian cuisine. You could make a meal out of the appetizers—a simple arugula salad showered with Pecorino pairs well with rich chunks of charred avocado, and the grilled octopus is the stuff of dreams, a crispy, tender tentacle plated with burnt eggplant, sweet-pepper puree, and Fresno chiles—but then you’d miss out on the rest of the outstanding seasonal menu. The key is to pace yourself: Order a glass of bubbly rosé and a snack to start, choose from plates like pappardelle with peppers and pork sugo or squid-ink pasta with lobster, Meyer lemon, and truffle butter, and settle in for the long haul. 4. GO BEHIND THE SCENES Pasadena's City Hall has made frequent appearances on screens small and large, standing in, with equal aplomb, for the police station in Beverly Hills Cop II and an American embassy in Mexico in The Net. Fans of Parks and Recreation might also recognize it as small-town Pawnee’s city hall. (Maya Stanton) A go-to filming location for the likes of Rob Reiner and Quentin Tarantino, Pasadena is basically Hollywood East, and you can follow in your favorite directors’ footsteps, courtesy of a Pasadena Film Tour ($50; myvalleypass.com). The three-hour bus excursion is led by the enthusiastic Jared Cowan, a writer, production buff, and Philly transplant who’s scouted some of the city’s most noteworthy locations, from the famous facade of Doc Brown’s house in Back to the Future (a National Historic Landmark that's now owned by the city and operated by the USC School of Architecture for docent-led tours and events) to the historic Raymond Theatre, which served as the backdrop for talents as diametrically opposed as Whitney Houston and Spinal Tap, as well as less-recognizable spots like the narrow alley through which Bruce Willis escapes after his ill-fated boxing match in Pulp Fiction. You’ll never watch your favorite flicks the same way again. 5. SMELL THE ROSES Perhaps Pasadena’s best-known draw, the Rose Bowl is one of the country’s preeminent venues, and if you have a chance to attend an event here, go! Since its first college football game kicked off in 1923, the historic blue-grass field has hosted everything from Olympic events to LA Galaxy soccer games to artists like Pink Floyd and Beyoncé, not to mention 90-plus years of college football games. It more than lives up to its reputation as a great place to see a show. THE DETAILS East of Los Angeles, some 30 miles from the airport, Pasadena is easily accessible from LAX by cab, shuttle bus, or metro. The city is highly walkable, but it also has a strong public transit system and a plethora of Uber and Lyft drivers on call at any given time. The Hilton Pasadena (hilton.com) is centrally located, just steps from Colorado Boulevard’s shops and restaurants, a 20-minute walk to Old Pasadena, and less than 10 minutes by car to the Huntington Library and the Norton Simon Museum. And, with minimal rainfall and average temperatures hovering anywhere between the low 90s in August and the high 60s in winter, there’s never a bad time to visit.
Travel News: Most Instagrammed Movie Locations, Vancouver’s Bird Parade, and More U.S. Travelers Are Buying Trip Insurance
From the posh shopping of Beverly Hills to the mountains of Austria, from an unusually colorful and playful parade in Vancouver, B.C., to new findings about the value of travel insurance, this week’s top travel news is all about empowering you to make your last-minute summer or fall vacation plans right now. MOST INSTAGRAMMED MOVIE LOCATIONS It’s no coincidence that some of the most beautiful and intriguing movie locations also make some of the best vacation destinations. After all, film location scouts spend much of their time on the road discovering and evaluating potential shoot locations for unique beauty and atmosphere. When the folks at On The Go Tours decided to crunch the numbers on how often popular movie locations were tagged on Instagram, we had to know their findings. Here, some of the most Instagrammed movie locations in the world: Beverly Hills, CA. In the heart of Tinseltown, this little city-within-a-city boasts iconic Rodeo Drive, perhaps best known as the site of Julia Roberts’s shopping spree in Pretty Woman. Maybe that’s why Beverly Hills tops the list, with 3.9 million Instagram hashtags.Salzburg, Austria. You know it as the home to the Von Trapp family in The Sound of Music (it’s also Mozart’s birthplace), and this gorgeous mountain city has logged 1.7 million hashtags.Dubrovnik, Croatia. This ancient city has become better known in recent years thanks to its supporting role in TV’s Game of Thrones, earning it 1.5 million hashtags to date.Caesar’s Palace, Las Vegas. This eye-popping casino attained movie-icon status when Dustin Hoffman and Tom Cruise rode the escalator in Rain Man, and the site’s 1.3 million hashtags suggest many of us have never forgotten that scene.Notting Hill, London. We'll give you one guess which 90s rom-com made this neighborhood an Instagram sensation, with 950,000 hashtags to date. Hint: The film starred Hugh Grant and Julia Roberts, suggesting that Roberts, thanks to Pretty Woman and Notting Hill, has attained the (admittedly niche) distinction of being the world’s most Instagram-hashtag-inspiring actor.VANCOUVER’S BIRD PARADE Psst! Are you busy on August 20? Well, clear your calendar and fly to Vancouver, B.C., where bird lovers will, um, flock for Birds on Parade, celebrating the 2018 International Ornithological Congress and the Vancouver International Bird Festival, which runs from August 19 through 26. The parade will include costumed bird stilt dancers, bird choruses, and handmade bird puppets, with an emphasis on the birds that live in or migrate through British Columbia. MORE U.S. TRAVELERS ARE BUYING TRIP INSURANCE AAA reports that nearly four in 10 Americans are likely to purchase travel insurance for international trips, with 88 percent saying that trip-cancellation protection is their top priority when considering insurance. “More than 30 million family travelers will visit an international destination this year, 9 percent more than just two years ago,” said Bill Sutherland, senior vice president of AAA Travel and Publishing. “There are just too many unknowns, like family emergencies and natural disasters, which can throw an unexpected wrench into a planned vacation. Travelers are increasingly not taking chances and they’re choosing to invest in the value and peace of mind that travel insurance can provide, for international as well as domestic and cruise vacations.”
35 Tips for a Successful Flight
9 Smart Ways to Keep Kids Entertained SCULPT A MASTERPIECE My daughter had a great idea to keep her five-year-old (and the rest of us) entertained. She brought a roll of aluminum foil, and we spent hours "sculpting" hats, flowers, wings, and anything else we could imagine. The time flew by, and it was a breeze to clean up. Honey Pettigrew, Danville, Calif. SCULPT ANOTHER MASTERPIECE When I travel with my kids, I always stow a package of colorful pipe cleaners in my carry-on. Being creative and twisting them into various shapes keeps them busy for hours. The best part? Pipe cleaners aren't messy or loud, and they don't take up a lot of space. Meghan A. Usmani, Queensbury, N.Y. GO ON A SCAVENGER HUNT To keep my three kids quiet while flying or on a road trip, I created the Magazine Scavenger Hunt. I look through three different magazines and find an item for each to look for, such as a lady with green shoes or a cherry pie. You can customize the difficulty level for any age. Each time, the winner gets a quarter, second place a dime, and third place a nickel. Sure, the game costs a bit of money, but we then use their prizes as souvenir money. Tiffany Bloshenko, Dallas CHANNEL YOUR INNER MARY POPPINS Nothing quiets children faster than a new plaything! So before taking a trip with the kids, I spend $20 for 20 toys at the dollar store. I take out one at a time, and when the thrill is gone I take out another. The plane ride is over before they know it! The toys also come in handy for other children on the plane. A dollar is worth it to stop a crying child three rows up! Cheryl Dela, Buffalo, N.Y. ... OR YOUR INNER JIM HENSON When there's a fussy kid near me on a plane, I tear out a page from the in-flight magazine and fold it into a puppet—the same design as the paper fortune tellers we made when we were kids—and then draw on two eyes. The little ones are usually so amused that they stop kicking the seat in front of them, giving me—and their parents—a much-needed rest. Toby O'Brien, Hurricane, Utah MAKE FRIENDS WITH THE NEIGHBORS Before I took my son on his first flight, I printed out stickers saying: "I'm sorry if I'm a little fussy. This is my first flight, and it's a bit overwhelming. My parents are doing the best they can, and they appreciate your patience. Owen, 8 months." I attached the stickers to candy bars that I gave to nearby passengers. We all enjoyed the flight! Carrie Rodriguez, Beaverton, Ore. FINISH UP YOUR HOMEWORK My kids often end up doing homework on the plane. To avoid having to pack a lot of paper in my carry-on, I create a makeshift dry-erase board by mounting a plastic sheet protector on a piece of cardboard. We slip math problems inside and work them out with dry-erase markers. We can wipe the surface clean and retry as many times as necessary without wasting paper. Gloria Carion, Cincinnati KEEP YOUR KIDS DISTRACTED My child receives countless goodie bags at birthday parties. I stow the small toys (crayons, stickers, games) away for when we fly. They're the perfect size for carry-ons, and we don't care if they get lost. Onboard, I can dole them out and prevent those "terrible twos" tantrums. Susan Goldman, Beverly Hills, Calif. TENT YOUR TODDLER For quiet time on a plane, clip one end of an airline blanket under the top of the folded-up tray and the other end under the headrest (behind the child). Voilà: You have a "tent" that lets your toddler take a better nap on the plane. We put this together one night when we were stuck on a runway for almost six hours, and it saved a very bad travel day. My child rarely naps anymore, but he still asks for an airplane tent, if only to play inside. Roy Youngblood, Chicago, Ill. 14 Tricks for Relaxing While You're in the Air GET A MASSAGE Treat yourself to a golf-ball foot massage. During a long flight, or afterward in your hotel room, take off your shoes, put a golf ball on the floor, and roll it under your foot. It's a great stress reliever. Practice a bit before you try it on a plane, so that your ball doesn't go rolling down the cabin, tripping other passengers. Dawn Yadlosky, Centerville, Ohio TAKE A NAP On long flights, I bring a one-gallon plastic bag with a large safety pin stuck through the corner. I put my eyeglasses case, a small hearing aid pouch, a deflated neck pillow, and some sleeping pills into the bag and pin it to the seat in front of me. When I'm ready for some sleep, I take out and inflate the pillow, swallow a sleeping pill, and place my eyeglasses and hearing aids inside the bag. I never have to worry about sitting on or losing my glasses and aids. Stewart Woodward, Lafayette, Colo. BLOCK OUT THE NOISE To block out noise on a long flight or in a noisy hotel, I downloaded an 80-minute white-noise track from iTunes onto my iPod. I keep the track on repeat, and it works wonders. It was only $10—which is much cheaper than a sound machine or noise-canceling headphones—and since it's on my iPod, I don't have to pack anything extra. Kim Paschen, Philadelphia, Pa. VISIT THE SPA FROM YOUR SEAT Flights tend to dry out my skin and sinuses, so I always pack a rolled-up washcloth in my carry-on. During the flight, I ask the flight attendant for a cup of hot water, then dip the washcloth and place it over my face. Breathing in the steam helps my sinuses, and the warm, damp cloth hydrates my skin. Meekyung Chung, West Bloomfield, Mich. TAKE A BREAK FROM EVERYONE I like to sleep on the plane, but I don't like how eye masks block everything out. Instead, I wear sunglasses. They still shut out much of the harsh airplane light, making it easier to sleep, but I can also see around me when I need to. Even better, people don't bother me because they can't tell if I'm asleep or not. Katherine Boury, Seattle WEAR YOURSELF OUT I always try to work out before heading to the airport. It usually gets me tuckered out enough that I can relax and sleep on the plane. If I don't have time for pre-travel exercise, I take a brisk walk through the terminal before boarding or find a quiet spot in an empty gate and practice a little yoga. Kimberly Gilbert, Raleigh, N.C. PACK A PILLOW Therm-a-Rest's Compressible Pillow is perfect for the plane. It comes in three sizes, packs smaller and expands bigger than any other pillow, and is machine-washable. Whenever I pull mine out of my carry-on, I get jealous stares: People always ask where they can get one. REI sells the pillows for $15 to $25, depending on the size (rei.com). Sheila Lauber, Anderson Island, Wash. BRING YOUR OWN LINENS They're useful in a million different ways. Obviously a soft cotton pillowcase makes those scratchy airplane pillows bearable, but it can also be used to gather loose items when deplaning. A nice sheet will cover up an ugly bedspread or sofa, and makes a great tablecloth or picnic blanket. Dori Egan, Pleasant Hill, Calif. TAKE A "BATH" For long, overnight flights, pack a dry washcloth in a Ziploc bag in your carry-on. Right before landing, ask the flight attendant for a cup of hot (not boiling) water. Very carefully pour the water into the Ziploc bag and then wipe your face and hands with the steaming cloth. It's like having a portable sauna! Henrietta Scarlett Ober, Rexford, N.Y. PAMPER YOURSELF Create your own comfort kit—the kind that a few international airlines still give their first—and business-class passengers. Fill a Ziploc bag with some lip balm, a travel toothbrush and toothpaste, a small bottle of hand lotion, a sleep mask, a pair of socks, and some eye drops. Don't forget to bring a bottle of water, too. Carolyn Whitman, Gulf Breeze, Fla. HAVE A BALL I always pack an inflatable beach ball in my carry-on for long flights. When I'm ready to sleep, I just blow it up, put it on my tray table, and curl over it to sleep. I don't have to worry about my head bobbing from side to side as I sleep, and I never have a sore neck when I wake up. Connie Race, Tooele, Utah HAVE A BALL, TAKE TWO A beach ball can replace many expensive in-flight gadgets. Depending on how much you inflate it, the ball can function as a very comfortable footrest, as back support, or as a lap pillow to support your book. Dorothy Vincent, New York, N.Y. REST YOUR FEET Many airlines give passengers socks to wear on long international flights, but we all know what a sad mess airplane lavatories can be after a few hours. I keep a pair of rubber-soled slippers in my carry-on and slip them on as soon as we're airborne. My feet stay comfortable during the flight and dry when I use the lav. When it's time to take them off, I slip them into a plastic bag (usually one of the free laundry bags found in the hotel room closet) and tuck them away till my next flight. Lori Lamb, Peoria, Ariz. DON'T MIND THE MIDDLE The middle seat isn't always awful. On a recent trip overseas, I called too late to confirm an aisle or window seat. After explaining the plane's AB-CDEFG-HI configuration, the customer service agent urged me to take the very middle seat, E, because D and F have less footroom. (In some rows, there are metal boxes underneath the seats in front of you that house wiring for onboard electronics.) I went along with her advice somewhat skeptically, but I ended up with plenty of room. The people on either side of me weren't so lucky. Audrey Ting, Secaucus, N.J. 9 Tips for Staying Healthy In Transit WIPE GERMS AWAY Are you tired of catching colds while traveling? Take along a travel-size package of Clorox wipes. Disinfect the tray table and armrests on the airplane, and the telephone and TV remote in your hotel room. Sherill Hacker, Williamston, Mich. EAT A HEALTHY BREAKFAST I always bring a packet of instant oatmeal in my carry-on bag during morning flights. Then I simply ask the flight attendant for a cup of hot water, and I have an easy and healthy breakfast on the plane. Christina Tuff Saull, Washington, D.C. KEEP CHEWING If you worry about clogged ears when you're flying, bring along an apple. When you feel the plane begin to descend—about 25 minutes before arrival—eat your apple. The chewing and swallowing will keep your ears in good shape. I'm an airline pilot, and I always bring a couple of apples and have a flight attendant give them to passengers who complain of ear problems. They work every time! Capt. Mike Filippell, Tower Lakes, Ill. COOL OFF IN STYLE Now that airlines serve either snack boxes or no food at all, we often pack sandwiches. I also like to freeze a bunch of grapes and place them in a freezer bag. They'll keep your lunch or dinner cold, and you'll have a snack when they defrost. Patricia Spillane, Warwick, R.I. KEEP IT CLEAN On a flight to New Zealand, the pilot informed us that the aircraft cabin was pressurized to 8,000 feet above sea level. This became apparent when I opened my dinner container of yogurt and had its pressurized contents spray all over me! Place a napkin over containers (salad dressing, condiments, etc.) as you open them—or point them toward the nearest offending seatmate. Guido Hara, San Luis Obispo, Calif. BRING A BRUSH I always like to brush my teeth on long flights, but with the new carry-on restrictions, I thought it would be a problem. Then I found Eco-DenT tooth powder at Whole Foods (along with Burt's Bees Rosemary Mint Shampoo Bar). You can carry both products on board. Anna J. Ware, Atlanta, Ga. FRESHEN UP For overnight flights, pack a few Dove Body Refreshers and Oral B Brush-Ups in your carry-on. Before the plane lands, you can "wash" your face and "brush" your teeth, leaving you refreshed and ready for the day! Janice Pruitt Winfrey, Atlanta, Ga. AVOID MOTION SICKNESS Besides being a tasty treat, candied ginger is a preventative or remedy for motion sickness. (Some cruise ships even offer it with after-dinner mints.) We always carry a small supply with us in a resealable plastic bag, whether we're on the road, in an airplane, or at sea. Weyman Lew, San Francisco, Calif. BREATHE EASY If the dry, recycled air on planes makes you stuffed up, take a half-dose of moisturizing nasal spray, such as Afrin, before you board. The spray keeps your nose from drying out and overproducing its own moisture (which is what causes stuffiness). My doctor recommended this trick. Karen Van Brunt, Issaquah, Wash. 3 Most Popular Ways to Pass the Time RESEARCH YOUR DESTINATION Ask your flight attendants for dining, lodging, shopping, and sightseeing advice. Most crews have up-to-the-minute recommendations gleaned from layovers, which they're more than happy to share with passengers. You can count on flight attendants to seek out budget treasures—I know; I've been married to one for over 21 years! Fred Manget, Potomac Falls, Va. CATCH UP ON YOUR FAVORITE SHOW I download TV shows to my iPod to watch while I fly. I was having trouble figuring out a way to watch hands-free until I discovered that the plastic cups that airlines serve drinks in are the perfect size and shape to prop up an iPod. Put a cup on your tray table and place the iPod inside; the screen will be just above the lip-the perfect position. Everyone I've shown this trick to says it works great. Kristi Wright, Norman, Okla. READ A CLASSIC BOOK Download free audiobooks online. Before my last long flight, I went to LibriVox.org and chose a bunch of books, short stories, and poems to download to my iPod-for free. The site has both adult and children's books (Pride and Prejudice, A Little Princess, The Call of the Wild), and the list is growing. All of the titles are in the public domain and they're read by volunteers, so there's no question of copyright infringement. Even if you don't own an iPod, you can download them to your computer and burn them onto a CD. Diane Bowman, Huntington Beach, Calif.
4 Classic Cocktail Recipes from Fancy Hotels—and Pro Tips for Making Them
Old-school cocktails are in vogue now, thanks to the comeback of cocktail culture and the glorification of everything retro, TV's Mad Men being a particularly fine example. We can't think of a better place than a chic hotel bar to sip an old fashioned from a heavy-bottomed tumbler while deep in thought. The only problem is, those lobby drinks can be a splurge, depending on what part of the world you're in—and how many you order. So we're bringing the bar to you, with these clever yet timeless cocktail recipes from swanky Hilton lounges across the country. While you're stirring them up, heed these three cocktail rules, straight from a barkeep at LvL25 at Conrad Miami, a lounge renowned for the Biscayne Bay views from its 25-story vantage point. Rule #1: Hit the grocery store before you mix up a cocktail. "Our secret is to use fresh ingredients. We marinate the fruit with sugar for a bit so the juice from the fruit comes out in the flavors of the drink." Rule #2: Use a stainless-steel cocktail shaker and pronged cocktail strainer to make drinks—not one of those built-in perforated strainers. "The pronged strainer allows the cocktail to breathe like a good glass of wine. It also ensures the mixed or muddled ingredients are strained out to ensure the highest drink quality." Rule #3: When at a hotel bar, go off menu. "Instead of ordering a signature drink, guests should ask the bartender to create a drink based on their liquor preference and sweet or savory tastes. A good bartender usually anticipates a guest’s needs by asking about their drink preferences first."
New trend: Urban bike tours in Los Angeles and New York
When people think of visiting Los Angeles or New York, cycling down the Hollywood Hills or riding through Chelsea aren't usually the first images that come to mind (exploring Venice and Santa Monica in a rental, or hailing a cab for some Soho shopping might be more like it). But urban sightseeing by bike, long popular in cycle-friendly cities in Europe, is starting to gain traction stateside with a new bike tour company in Los Angeles. and a complete overhaul of New York's bike lane network (thank you, Bloomberg). Bikes and Hikes LA is a new eco-friendly bike and hike sightseeing company, founded last September, that offers tourists and Angelinos the chance to get out of their cars and that notorious Los Angeles traffic, and see the city's great outdoors while getting a good workout. if (WIDGETBOX) WIDGETBOX.renderWidget('a35edad0-e195-4680-a76a-4a0a70cc51bc');Get the Poll Creator Pro widget and many other great free widgets at Widgetbox! Not seeing a widget? (More info)Founder and Owner Danny Roman said he was tired of hearing visitors complain about the traffic or the inability to be outdoors. So, after exploring the city's potential cycling and trekking trails, Roman developed seven different itineraries to show people L.A.'s other, lesser-know side, a network of bikeable and hikeable urban and nature tours, guided either by himself or one of several tour leaders. The tours range from $78 per person for one of the three-hour rides ($67 per person for groups of four or more), up to $134 per person for the six-hour "L.A. in a day" ride ($114 for groups of four or more), or $175 per person for the six-hour bike and sail tour ($145 for groups of four or more). The tours include a Beverly Hills celebrity home tour, a Hollywood Hills hike at sundown, a Mulholland Drive hike and bike tour and full day tour from the city to the beaches. Roman doesn't mess around either, encouraging hikers and bikers to push themselves on uphill stretches, all the while pointing out landmarks and dropping local trivia like "this is where Marilyn Monroe lost her virginity" (hint: it took place somewhere along the Mullholand Drive hike and bike tour). Roman is hoping to expand Bikes and Hikes to several other cities in the coming months, including to New York and San Francisco. In the meantime, New York is also rebranding itself as a more bike-friendly metropolis with the city working towards an ambitious goal of having 1,800 miles of bikes lanes by the year 2030, installing 50 miles of bike lanes each year. Love the plan or hate it (perhaps surprisingly, it has come under attack by opponents crying that the bikes lanes are having an adverse effect on traffic, among other things), it is getting easier to get around the city by bike, and consequently the Soho Grand hotel in New York is partnering with Bowery Lane Bicycles this summer to offer guests cruisers to explore the city on. What about you? Would you bike around Los Angeles, New York or other U.S. cities? Let us know by voting in our poll or commenting below. More from Budget Travel: Bicycle Tours Get Off The Stationary Bike And Actually Go Somewhere! A Fresh Take on Los Angeles A Tour of New York's Best Street Food
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West Hollywood is a city in Los Angeles County, California, United States. Incorporated in 1984, it is home to the Sunset Strip. As of the 2010 U.S. Census, its population was 34,399. It is considered one of the most prominent gay villages in the United States.
Santa Monica (Spanish for 'Saint Monica') is a beachfront city in western Los Angeles County, California, United States. Situated on Santa Monica Bay, it is bordered on five sides by different neighborhoods of the city of Los Angeles: Pacific Palisades to the north, Brentwood on the northeast, West Los Angeles on the east, Mar Vista on the southeast, and Venice on the south. The 2010 U.S. Census population was 89,736. Due to a favorable climate and close proximity to Los Angeles, Santa Monica became a famed resort town by the early 20th century attracting many celebrities, like Marion Davies, to build magnificent beach front homes on Pacific Coast Highway (PCH). The city has experienced a boom since the late 1980s through the revitalization of its downtown core, significant job growth and increased tourism. Popular tourists sites include Pacific Park on the Santa Monica Pier and Palisades Park atop a bluff over the Pacific Ocean. Like other coastal beach communities, coastal erosion due to coastal infrastructure and high human usage is an increasing challenge, and will become worse due to sea level rise. Santa Monica has a history of developing environmental and sustainability strategies, with the most recent focus on community-wide carbon neutrality by 2050 or sooner.
Marina Del Ray
Marina del Rey is an unincorporated seaside community in Los Angeles County, California, with an eponymous harbor that is a major boating and water recreation destination of the greater Los Angeles area. The port is North America's largest man-made small-craft harbor and is home to approximately 5,000 boats. The area is a popular tourism destination for both land and water activities such as paddle board and kayak rentals, dining cruises, and yacht charters. Land activities include bicycling on several bicycle paths, walking paths along the waterfront, and birdwatching (birding). Wildlife watching opportunities include California sea lions and harbor seals. Dolphins and whales occasionally visit the deeper waters of harbor. This Westside locale is approximately 4 miles (6.4 km) south of Santa Monica, 4 miles (6.4 km) north of Los Angeles International Airport, and 12.5 miles (20.1 km) west-southwest of Downtown Los Angeles. The harbor is owned by Los Angeles County and managed by the Department of Beaches and Harbors (DBH), but the waters are environmentally regulated by state government and federal government through their many agencies and departments with overlapping oversight. The Los Angeles Times said in a 1997 editorial that the harbor is "perhaps the county's most valuable resource". The population was 8,866 at the 2010 census. For statistical purposes, the United States Census Bureau has defined Marina del Rey as a census-designated place (CDP). The census definition of the area may not precisely correspond to local understanding of the area with the same name; for example, the 90292 ZIP code includes all of Marina del Rey and portions of neighboring Los Angeles, such as Del Rey, and has a population of 21,576, more than double that of the CDP. Many residents of the 90292 ZIP code consider themselves to live in Marina del Rey even if they in fact live outside the official boundaries of the CDP.
Venice is a neighborhood of the city of Los Angeles within the Westside region of Los Angeles County, California. Venice was founded by Abbot Kinney in 1905 as a seaside resort town. It was an independent city until 1926, when it merged with Los Angeles. Venice is known for its canals, a beach, and Ocean Front Walk, a two-and-a-half-mile (4 km) pedestrian promenade that features performers, fortune-tellers, and vendors.