Fodor's editorial assistant Mike Nalepa spent a week in Phoenix this summer and learned first-hand why this area is called the Valley of the Sun. Here's his report.
What was your favorite part of the trip?
Sedona, a two-hour drive north of Phoenix, was the highlight of our trip. We had a lot of fun taking a Jeep tour of the red rocks and browsing the myriad art galleries in town. But the best part of our visit was sitting on a picnic table at an empty scenic overlook at dusk, watching storm clouds roll in over the rusty … Read the rest
Thanda Private Game Reserve is a supporter of World Rhino Day 2011, which was held for the second time on 22 September 2011. The property has played an active role over the years in social responsibility as well as many successful conservation initiatives.
Thanda is committed to the efforts of its associated wildlife organisations to raise awareness of the many conservation issues of KwaZulu-Natal. Thanda and Thanda Foundation are dedicated to educate and inform local communities to protect the wildlife legacy and the biodiversity contained in the area. Thanda works alongside Wildlands Conservation Trust, Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife, Wildlife Act, … Read the rest
Costa Rica's most active volcano looms over the landscape (photo, right). Night is the best time to see it in action. On a clear evening you can see rocks spewing skyward and molten lava rolling down its side.
Vulcanologists estimate Arenal's age at around 4,000 years. It lay dormant for at least 400 years until 1968. It may be local folklore, but Ticos that homesteaded this area in the 1930s and 40s referred to Arenal as "the mountain" and apparently, despite its conical shape, did not realize it was a volcano. On July 29, 1968, an earthquake … Read the rest
Fodor's editor Linda Cabasin spent five music-filled days in Qu bec City earlier this month. She explored the cobblestone streets of Vieux-Qu bec during the day and at night attended the Festival d' t de Qu bec (Qu bec City Summer Festival), an exuberant outdoor celebration of French and world music.
Why Qu bec City?
The combination of music and setting was unbeatable. The Summer Festival offered a mind-expanding lineup (I knew only a few performers), from Montr al pop-punk group Simple Plan to Algerian-French rock and rai singer Rachid Taha, who had everyone dancing at the Parc de … Read the rest
"It was 12.46pm on Wednesday 6 July, 2005. That was the moment we got the announcement, when Weymouth changed forever."
Jacqui Gisborne, of the Weymouth and Portland 2012 operations team, is telling me about the moment the Olympic Games were awarded to London. From 29 July, Weymouth and Portland will host the sailing regattas, and Gisborne sees a chance to present this pretty Dorset town in a whole new light.
That new light shines brightest around the harbour. The narrow lanes of the old town, south of the Wey estuary, are a jumble of Victorian, Georgian, and occasional Tudor … Read the rest
Chicago is a city of invention. Witness its motto: The City That Works. In the kitchen it's fond of tinkering. When experimental, deconstructionist food made the jump from Spain to the U.S., it didn't land in New York or San Francisco, but Chicago.
Which, via the long route, explains why only a few of Chicago's classic eateries are eligible for senior citizen status. The city's most beloved eateries, too, are as democratic as the Daley political machine, mixing haute cuisine with basic burgers and brats. Here's ten windy city classic restaurants that still satisfy:
Top toque Charlie … Read the rest
Whether you're a royalist or a republican, the long weekend is a reason for everyone to wave a small flag of joy – Union Jack or otherwise. No work for four whole days. Thank you ma'am.
London, of course, will be awash with crowds, bunting and pageantry – check out this print-out-and-keep guide to the Thames river pageant – while street party organisers will be keeping fingers crossed for sun across the country. If you're in the capital you'll find thousands of things to do in our city guides.
Venues across the country are going all out to embrace … Read the rest
To make it in Chicago, even as a tourist, you've got to be a realist. The weather can be wildly erratic, airport cabs are a pain, and business travelers, who are by and large less price-sensitive than the rest of us, rule the tourism business. Knowing the facts will help you work the system to your advantage, whether it's finding the best transportation or snagging a table at the hottest new restaurant.
As locals like to say, if it weren't for February, everyone would want to live here. Hot and humid in summer, cold and windy in … Read the rest
If the mere thought of a lengthy walking tour of a big city makes your feet and head ache, you might consider the latest trend in sightseeing---Segway tours. The tours are named after those odd-looking, two-wheeled "personal transporters" introduced in 2001. Riding around Florence or Paris on a scooter-like transporter might seem tacky, or perhaps just plain silly, but to others it's the perfect alternative to the walk-and-gasp method of traditional guided tours.
Segway tours are now offered in a number of cities worldwide, and while they vary largely by location and company, the average tour costs between $60-80 … Read the rest
In October, Fodor's Senior Map Editor Bob Blake embraced the EasyLife and sailed the French and Italian Rivieras aboard EasyCruiseOne, a low-cost cruise line founded by Stelios (he goes by one name), the man who gave Europe EasyJet, EasyCar, and all the other parts of the EasyEmpire.
Why EasyCruise? I wanted an inexpensive trip around the Riviera that covered a lot of ground. Originally I was going to stay in Nice for a week and make day trips. Then I heard about something that sounded like a sort of floating youth hostel that would transport me effortlessly and cheaply … Read the rest
Buyers at the Nederburg Auction made it clear over the past weekend: We are not taking part in this recession!
Prices for red, white and sparkling wine surged and, with a spectacular boost from those paid for rare ports, lifted the overall total paid for wine that came under the hammer of auctioneer Anthony Barne (in action above) to beyond R6-million – the first time this figure has been achieved since 2006.
Afterwards Jan Scannell, MD of Distell, the South African wine and spirits giant that organises the event, was almost ecstatic. He told a gathering of wine writers: … Read the rest
Granny Mouse Country House & Spa in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands has launched an additional 12 suites, to better cater for its customers, who include corporate, conference, leisure, holidaymakers and honeymoon travellers.
The new owners of this long-standing property, Gill Bowmaker and Mark Wood, drew inspiration from the countryside when making their mark on the hotel. Bowmaker says her intention was to create a soothing retreat where guests can enjoy the peace for which the Midlands is renowned. The giant day beds in each new suite are a key feature in this regard, allowing guests to relax in the comfort … Read the rest
Famous Brands CEO Kevin Hedderwick says of the interim results to 31 August 2011: “At the end of the prior financial year we cautioned that operating conditions would present challenges. In both South Africa and the UK economic uncertainty and limited disposable income restrained consumer confidence; locally, previously buoyant growth in the volume-based middle class market was curtailed, while input costs including red meat prices and electricity tariffs rose sharply.”
Generally, unprecedented fragmentation was experienced in the marketplace. He goes on to explain: “This disarray was reflected in aggressive price-cutting, divergence from traditional core menu offerings and portion size … Read the rest
Fodor's Editor Caroline Trefler spent a summer weekend in Toronto, that vibrant and cosmopolitan metropolis to the north, keeping cool and seeing how much the city has changed since she grew up there.
It's a great city and is a quick and easy trip from most places in the U.S. It amazes me how many people I meet in the U.S. who say they've never been to Canada. It's so close!
What was your favorite part of the trip?
Hanging out with my four-year-old nephew made me appreciate all the great things to do with kids in … Read the rest
The South African tourism industry left the fourth E Tourism Africa Summit better equipped on how to engage with - and listen to - potential customers in a world where over 95% of travel research, more than half of all travel purchases, and the majority of travel conversation is happening online.
For South Africa to be a truly successful destination, tourism product owners and providers need to engage potential customers and meet their needs in a way that exceeds their expectations says South African Tourism (SAT). “This point of need is increasingly online, across a variety of important platforms, … Read the rest
Hotel & Restaurant ran a poll last week asking our readers what they thought about awards in the hospitality industry. Most respondents (49%) in our poll believe that the extra publicity brought in by awards is beneficial, while 30% say that specific awards help certain establishments. The remaining 21% believe that there are too many awards in the industry for people to recognise them all.
The following is a letter submitted by Vanessa Sand, the convenor of the AA Awards in response to our poll results:
It is interesting to see the current poll being conducted by Hotel and … Read the rest
Orient-Express Africa’s regional MD, Sandro Fabris, has announced the appointment of Xavier Lablaude as the new GM of the Mount Nelson Hotel in Cape Town.
Lablaude has worked in top hotels in Paris, including the Hotel Royal Monceau, Hotel de la Tremoille, Le Meridien Paris Etoile, and the Trianon Palace in Versailles. He then worked in the US as assistant GM at Hawks Cay Resort in the Florida Keys. His next move was to Orient-Express’s Hotel de la Cite in Carcassonne, France, as GM, where he stayed for ten years.
Lablaude says of his move to other side of … Read the rest
Johannesburg is getting ready to host Fashion Week, a major event on the African fashion calendar.
South African Tourism once again supports Africa Fashion Week as it works to establish South Africa as a premier fashion, design and lifestyle destination in the world. This year, the Africa Fashion Awards will include the premier South African Tourism Designer of the Year Award.
“Africa Fashion Week is going to be a bold, exciting event, drawing visitors from all over the continent and all over the world, too. It’s a natural event for us to support and Africa Fashion Week gives us … Read the rest
Better yet, walk everywhere. Now, it's true that Manhattan is a big island, but if you have to take mass transit or a cab, take it someplace where you can get out and walk. Take the A train to 190th St. and go for a walk in Fort Tryon Park, where you will find the Cloisters, home of the Met's medieval Europe collection, and great views of the Palisades across the Hudson -- a leafy, undeveloped prospect that might make you forget you are still on the same chunk of land as midtown. You can get the M4 bus … Read the rest
Play Without Words, Sadler's Wells, EC1, to 5 Aug, sadlerswells.com Matthew Bourne's dance drama of power and seduction set in 1960s Chelsea.
Metamorphosis: Titian 2012, National Gallery, South Bank, WC2, to 23 Sep, nationalgallery.org.uk Contemporary artists Chris Ofili, Conrad Shawcross and Mark Wallinger produce work in collaboration with The Royal Ballet in respose to Titian's masterpieces, revealing how his paintings continue to inspire living artists.
Bauhaus: Art As Life, Barbican Art Gallery, EC2, to 12 Aug, barbican.org.uk It's the final week for this exceptional survey, chronicling the legendary art school.
Wiley Barfly, Camden, NW1, today only, barflyclub.com Crossover … Read the rest
Lahore Karahi, Tooting Broadway
If you can get over the strip lighting (and I promise you can), Lahore Karahi offers some of the best Pakistani food in London. There is often a queue but it moves quickly, and service is fast too. Seekh kebabs are some of the best in town and unusually they offer a chicken and fenugreek version, which is fragrant, moist and delicious. The chicken karahi and specials at the weekends are worth a punt, too. As is common for Pakistani restaurants like this, they won't serve you alcohol but are happy for you to bring … Read the rest
Direct flights between London and Yorkshire are to be restored after an 18-month interval in what some people regard as an encouraging move for the region's economy.
British Airways will run four services a day between Leeds Bradford and Heathrow from 9 December, ending a period of uncertainty that has seen the link broken twice in as many years.
Ticket sales opened on Wednesday with a single fare costing ?42. Andy Lord, BA's director of operations, who unveiled the link at Leeds Bradford, said the airline was sure that its network would not face the problems which led first … Read the rest
The Faircity hotel group celebrated its recent acquisition of the Quartermain and Falstaff hotels in Morningside, Sandton. Having started in 2007 with the opening of the four-star Faircity Mapungubwe Hotel in Johannesburg, Faircity’s latest acquisition brings to six the total number of hotels in the company’s portfolio.
“Faircity believes that the two new additions will add tremendous value to the company and provide the opportunity to compete in the most competitive business node in South Africa,” says Faircity Hotels MD Gustav Holtzhausen.
The acquisition is a joint venture between Faircity and Attventure, a venture capital partner. “Having been introduced … Read the rest
On the road with the Da Vinci Code in Paris: It's a Shocker at the Louvre...
Shocking Night at the Ritz
After he gives a talk at the American University of Paris on mysterious runes at Chartres Cathedral, Robert Langdon returns to the famous Ritz hotel for a good night's sleep. A late-night visit from the police inspector Bezu Fache leaves him shocked: the man with whom he was supposed to meet earlier that day, Jacques Sauniere, has been murdered.
Ritz Paris. Ever since C sar Ritz opened the doors of his hotel in 1898, the mere … Read the rest