Recent Travel Highlights

Bedugul

Tabanan
Stay
Bedugul, Tabanan, Indonesia
Bedugul, Bali
Bedugul is the name used to denote a large mountainous area in the center of Bali Island, developed around the village, in an area of rare natural beauty. At the center of attention are the three lakes located in craters of Bratan, Buyang and Tamblingan, botanical gardens of Jatiluwih, Candikuning and with its green rice fields by spectacular terraces. A quite challenging route (about four hours for the ascent and as many for downhill) you reach the Summit of Gunung Catur (2096 m), where the Pure Puncak Mangu, an ancient temple inhabited by monkeys. From here you can enjoy spectacular views of the cirscostante area. Bedugul Botanical Garden has a vast area of about 154,5 hectares. In the Bedugul Botanical Garden visitors are not just looking at the various types of plants, but there are also some bird habitat. Swiftlet Bird like, Java, Munia Sriganti, Kucica rock, Doves, birds Australia honey from Suction and others.
Bedugul, Bali
1 experience

Quimet & Quimet

Barcelona
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Quimet & Quimet, Barcelona, Spain
The Tapas You Made the Trip For
You would think my best friend and I would have heard of this place from our pre-trip research before traveling to Barcelona in November of 2014, but somehow it eluded us. We asked a bartender at a spot near our hotel where we would find the best tapas in town. God bless him, he made us a list, and this was top of it. Understandably so. It's tiny, gorgeous, a little loud, aromatic, fantastic. You will have to summon your will and a little physicality to get in. You will have about five inches of table or counter space to work with. You will be handing plates and drinks back to your fellow diners, and they to you. Like us, you will rave about the Iberian pork cheek, yogurt, tuna with artichoke, smoked salmon, homemade chips with olive oil and honey -- whatever -- and all served with or on wonderful crusty bread. You will drink their beer and cava. You will regret nothing. The food was so flavorful my buddy and I were laughing at the end. One of the ladies behind the counter was flattered to the point that she gave us a few free small samples of things, including a taste of some apricot/butterscotch jam (with alcohol) that I'm now regretting not buying a case of. This place is the best of Barcelona.
The Tapas You Made the Trip For
1 experience

Mahekal Beach Resort

Playa del Carmen
Stay
Mahekal Beach Resort, Playa del Carmen, Mexico
Life's a Beach at Mahékal
Mahékal Beach Resort re-opens December 15th, 2014 after a $10 million dollar remake. Earlier this fall, I was invited to a sneak preview. I stayed in one of their newly finished, thatched roof bungalows which have a refreshingly simple interior design, an indoor and outdoor shower, and a hammock out front. Paradise! The nearby white sand beach is spectacular, and with its 800 feet of waterfront the longest stretch in Playa del Carmen. Needless to say, I did not want to leave it to explore tourist central Avenida Quinta, located just 5 mins from the resort. Mahékal has an easy, and relaxed feel. The owners and staff go to great lengths to preserve its authenticity. You realize that you're in Mexico–but if you want Playa del Carmen with all its restaurants, shops, bars etc., it is at your finger tips, too. One of my favorite encounters at the resort was to meet the lovely Boli–Mahékal's long-time concierge. He read me correctly (get me off the beaten paths, please!) and made great suggestions of things to see and to do. He's wonderful, and not surprisingly a bar at the resort will soon be named in his honor. I can't wait to return and have another Margarita there! ____________________ A warm thank you: My trip to Playa del Carmen was courtesy of Mahékal Beach Resort (http://www.mahekalbeachresort.com). The amazing folks at MedjetAssist (https://medjetassist.com) ensure that I take trips, not chances.
Life's a Beach at Mahékal
1 experience, added to 1 List

Kiyomizu-dera

Higashiyama-ku
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Kiyomizu-dera, Higashiyama-ku, Japan
Looking for Love & Love at Kyoto's Kiyomizu-Dera Temple
Kiyomizu-Dera is the most "fun" of the temples I've visited. I was entertained just walking to the temple, up a store-lined pedestrian street teeming with animated students and excited tourists, most of us indulging in green tea soft serve cones souvenir shopping. Inside, interaction is encouraged. Tour groups surround a tall metal pole, cheering-on/chiding their young, male travelers as they attempt to lift it from its base. Many try; none succeed. A walk along the wooded path rewards you with a view of the shrine's famous wooden stage and the sight of Kyoto sprawling beneath you. If you seek love you have two options: walk the 15 feet from one stone to another with your eyes closed at the Jishu Shrine or drink from the love life stream of water cascading from the Otowa Waterfall. You can partake of good fortune (love, longevity or success in school) from two of the three streams but drinking from all three -- considered greedy -- will bring you bad luck.
Looking for Love & Love at Kyoto's Kiyomizu-Dera Temple
1 experience, added to 1 List

Overland Sheepskin Co

Denver
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Overland Sheepskin Co, Denver, Colorado
Warm Up at Overland Sheepskin Co
With several Colorado locations, this local-to-Colorado shop definitely gives you the feeling of being in the Wild West. Filled with one-of-a-kind furs, hats, gloves and other accessories, there are also options for faux fur. Overland Sheepskin Co is right on the 16th Street Mall in downtown Denver, steps away from the Renaissance Denver Downtown.
Warm Up at Overland Sheepskin Co
1 experience, added to 1 List

Trio

Bondi Beach
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Trio, Bondi Beach, Australia
Trio: Restaurant, Café and Bar
My group of friends and I were famished after our morning Yoga By The Sea class and were sent to Trio by a group of Aussie/Americans we passed on the be beach. They warned that it was a bit pricey but any one from LA or NYC - as we are - knows, $25 for brunch is standard grade, if on the cheap side. What I loved about Trio was that it reminded me of my favorite beach cafe haunts in LA's beach cities which lay just south of LAX. The outdoor seating and laid back tunes, the waitress from Colorado and the open French doors that turned the restaurant into one big open plan, could have been Manhattan Beach with the sea breeze and early morning cloud cover. Where Trio also reminds me of LA is the food! I had a destructed chorizo breakfast burrito, while truffle eggs and Nutella French toast also graced our table. Not that I went to Bondi looking for a little bit of LA, but it sure feels a lot like home... And that's a great thing!
Trio: Restaurant, Café and Bar
1 experience

Union Station

Denver
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Union Station, Denver, Colorado
Denver's Newly Redone Union Station
A shopkeeper recommended that I check out Union Station during my 2-day stay in downtown Denver, mentioning that it had recently opened and was full of shops and restaurants. I strolled in and immediately looked up: the architecture of the building, along with the design and decor, left me a bit speechless. With the Terminal Bar and several other impressive restaurants and shops, Union Station is much more than a train station: it is a hip hang out spot, and definitely a place to see when you head to this mile-high city.
Denver's Newly Redone Union Station
1 experience, added to 1 List

Lulu's Furniture & Decor

Denver
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Lulu's Furniture & Decor, Denver, Colorado
I Wanted it All at Lulu's
I wandered in to Lulu's Furniture and Decor, while exploring the Lower Highlands neighborhood of Denver, just a short 10-15 minute walk from the Renaissance Downtown Denver hotel where I was staying, and immediately I knew that I needed a bigger suitcase. Owned by a mother-daughter pair, it is obvious that each item in Lulu's is carefully and thoughtfully chosen. With an array of furniture, house wares, accessories and art, this is a store that inspires just about any decorative taste. The next time I head to Denver, I am bringing some empty luggage.
I Wanted it All at Lulu's
1 experience, added to 1 List

Shwegugyi Temple

Nyaung-U
Do
Shwegugyi Temple, Nyaung-U, Republic of the Union of Myanmar
Sunset over Bagan
Watching in awe as the sun sets into the horizon over hundreds of Buddhist temples of Bagan. I think the monk and I are in agreement on this.
Sunset over Bagan
1 experience

Little Man Ice Cream

Denver
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Little Man Ice Cream, Denver, Colorado
Denver's Best Ice Cream
I knew immediately when I walked up to this massive tin-looking building, that Little Man Ice Cream was going to be a special experience. The wrap-around-the-building line was the indicator. With unique flavors like French Toast and Jack Daniels Caramel Toffee, what really sets Little Man Ice Cream, located right downtown and in the Lower Highlands neighborhood of Denver, apart is its social mission: for every scoop of ice cream sold, it donates a 3 ounce scoop of rice/beans to a developing country around the world. Now, that's a sweet mission that just about any ice cream enthusiast can get behind.
Denver's Best Ice Cream
1 experience, added to 1 List

South Platte River Greenway

Denver
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South Platte River Greenway , Denver, Colorado
Biking and Running Trails in Downtown Denver
Colorado is known for being one of the most active states in all of America, and that proves true even in the downtown areas of its Capitol city, Denver. Just a few minute walk from downtown and my stay at the Renaissance Denver Downtown, I headed towards the Lower Highlands neighborhood and came across the South Platte River Greenway, full of fitness enthusiasts enjoying the last bits of fall.
Biking and Running Trails in Downtown Denver
1 experience, added to 1 List

Inspyre Boutique

Denver
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Inspyre Boutique, Denver, Colorado
Boho Chic at Inspyre Boutique
The Lower Highlands neighborhood of Denver-- deemed by locals as "LoHi," has seen some major development in the past five-to-six years. A mix of century-old cottages and new modern designs, this area is sandwiched between downtown and a striking Rocky Mountain view and is one of downtown Denver's hottest areas. I wanted in to Inspyre Boutique, filled with clothes and accessories with a boho chic kind of feel, that also won't break the bank. The store certainly does inspire, with positive messages sprinkled throughout and an array of beautiful items.
Boho Chic at Inspyre Boutique
1 experience, added to 1 List

I Heart Denver

Denver
Shop
I Heart Denver, Denver, Colorado
I Heart Denver, Made in Colorado
Located in the popular 16th Street Mall, I Heart Denver is a store that celebrates local artists, with 100% of all goods sold in the store locally made. With housewares, cards and stationary, art and clothing, all items are original. The 16th Street Mall is only steps from the new Renaissance Denver Downtown Hotel, and while there are a plethora of shopping options, most are mainstream. I Heart Denver offers a unique shopping opportunity and the option to bring something home that's unique and Colorado-grown.
I Heart Denver, Made in Colorado
1 experience, added to 1 List

Teller Bar at the Renaissance Denver Downtown - City Center Hotel

Denver
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Teller Bar at the Renaissance Denver Downtown - City Center Hotel, Denver, Colorado
A One-of-a-Kind Brew at the Teller Bar
Colorado is big on beer: I had experienced this before, but recently absorbed more of this brew culture during my weekend visit to downtown Denver. The new Renaissance Downtown Denver Hotel is housed in the Colorado National Bank building, a historic marble building originally built in 1915 during the height of the American gold rush. The Teller Bar is modern and chic, and naturally, sits where the teller counter previously was.It boasts a Counting House cream ale that is unique only to this bar. A Japanese pale blonde yeast, it goes down smooth-- and with the elegant environment of the hotel, you'll want to stay for another.
A One-of-a-Kind Brew at the Teller Bar
1 experience, added to 1 List

Colorado State Capitol

Denver
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Colorado State Capitol, Denver, Colorado
Exploring Colorado's State Capitol Parks
I've been to Denver countless times, but I've never been to Denver. Colorado's capitol city has always been a stop through for me, the place where I land when in route to Boulder, Vail, Steamboat Springs or the like. This trip, I decided to see what all of the buzz was about: Denver is one of America's most talked about cities right now, and I wanted to experience it for myself. Just a short walk from my Renaissance Denver Downtown hotel along the 16th Street Mall, I came to the Denver State Capitol on a picturesque fall Colorado day and enjoyed walking around the surrounding gardens and areas.
Exploring Colorado's State Capitol Parks
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Range at the Renaissance Downtown Denver

Denver
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Range at the Renaissance Downtown Denver, Denver, Colorado
Bacon Galore, At The Range
The theme of my most recent trip to Denver, Colorado, was bacon. I couldn't escape it in America's mile-high city, and I didn't want to. When I checked in to the Renaissance Denver Downtown, I was greeted with a small jar of candied habanero bacon in my room, chunks of deliciousness soaked in brown sugar, dark chocolate and habanero dust, and then cooked in a wood burning oven. The next morning, I headed in to Range for a hearty breakfast, where both healthy and questionably healthy options awaited me. I opted for an egg white and veggie omelet with a side of berries and an even bigger side of jalapeno bacon-- mind you, a different varietal than I had the previous evening. Open breakfast, lunch and dinner, the menu at Range celebrates the local culture and history of Colorado -- and, I couldn't have been happier about that.
Bacon Galore, At The Range
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Edmund's Oast

Charleston
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Edmund's Oast, Charleston, South CarolinaAfar thumbnail
Edmund's Oast: A Charleston Brewpub for Food-Lovers
This cavernous brewpub has a wide-open kitchen, a long bar, tall communal tables, and a patio shaded by live oaks. If you can, grab a seat at the chef’s counter and watch Andy Henderson spread creamy aioli on locally made rye bread, and top it with a mound of pickled shrimp and vegetables and a garnish of fresh herbs and chervil leaves. 1081 Morrison Dr.,(843) 727-1145 Photo by Flickr user Dan K. This appeared in the January/February 2015 issue.
Edmund's Oast: A Charleston Brewpub for Food-Lovers
1 experience, added to 1 List

Ordinary Oyster Bar

Charleston
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Ordinary Oyster Bar, Charleston, South CarolinaAfar thumbnail
A Not-So-Ordinary Shrimp Roll in Charleston
At his white-tiled seafood brasserie and oyster bar, chef Mike Lata looks to a New Orleans classic, barbecue shrimp, to work his magic. He poaches head-on shrimp in a creamy sauce infused with Worcestershire and sets them atop charred sourdough. 544 King St., (843) 414-7060 Photo by Flickr user PunkToad. This appeared in the January/February 2015 issue.
A Not-So-Ordinary Shrimp Roll in Charleston
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Leon's

Charleston
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Leon's, Charleston, South CarolinaAfar thumbnail
Leon's: Serving Charleston's Finest Shrimp Roll
Leon’s is a meticulously renovated auto-body shop famous for oysters and fried chicken. But don’t miss chef Ari Kolender’s shrimp roll—lightly dressed with horseradish mayo and served on a bun grilled to crunchy perfection. 698 King St., (843) 531-6500 Photo by Christopher Shane. This appeared in the January/February 2015 issue
Leon's: Serving Charleston's Finest Shrimp Roll
1 experience, added to 1 List

Southwest Diner

St. Louis
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Southwest Diner, St. Louis, Missouri
Instant Trip To New Mexico
Very friendly people serving amazing food. Good music playing, instantly puts you in a good mood. This grill is on a corner that is in the middle of no other foo, so make it a destination. I had an enchilada better than anything else in STL, but this is Southwestern food, not Mexican. Ask for John, and ask what you should order on your first visit. http://southwestdinerstl.com
Instant Trip To New Mexico
1 experience

L'Opéra de Montréal

Montréal
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L'Opéra de Montréal, Montréal, Canada
A Night at the Opéra
Another fixture of the Place des Arts is the Opéra de Montréal, founded in 1980 and the largest francophone opera company in North America. At the heart of the Opéra de Montréal’s mission is bringing new artists to opera and expanding its audience—ticket deals for those under 30 are common and the calendar of performances includes accessible, perennial favorites, as well as works that will appeal to more serious opera buffs. A half-hour long PreOpera talk for only $5 provides an overview of the work you are about to see (though note they are in French followed by a short English summary). After 35 seasons and 1003 performances of 95 operas, the Opéra de Montréal can boast that over 2 million viewers and listeners have seen or heard their productions, many through Radio Canada broadcasts.
A Night at the Opéra
1 experience, added to 1 List

Festival TransAmériques

Montréal
Do
Festival TransAmériques, Montréal, Canada
An Exuberant Celebration
The Festival TransAmériques (FTA) which will celebrate its 9th year in 2015 is one of the highlights of summer in Montréal and one of the world’s premier events for contemporary artists working in the worlds of dance, theater, and performance art. The festival is noted for the wide range of artists whose works have been featured—the only common themes being excellence and innovation. Some of the artists whose works were presented in Canada for the first time include Peter Brooks, Peter Sellars, and Robert Wilson. Among the 27 companies scheduled to perform over 17 days in 2015 are leading troops from Asia and Europe, as well as companies based in Quebec.
An Exuberant Celebration
1 experience, added to 1 List

Centre Phi

Montreal
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Centre Phi, Montreal, Canada
Phi in the Sky
The Centre Phi, which opened in 2012, is a place for Montreal’s artists to both create and showcase their art. The new addition to Old Montreal’s cultural scene is a versatile space able to accommodate conferences, screenings, concerts and installations. The building also has studio spaces for artists working in the digital/immersive arts and innovative filmmaking. Whatever day you visit, you’ll likely find a leading artist talking about his or her work, often for free, and screenings of independent films in both French and English. If the rooftop terrace is open, don’t miss the views of Habitat 67, the famous community and housing project designed by Moshe Safdie for Expo 67 that has been described as one of the most important buildings in Canada.
Phi in the Sky
1 experience, added to 2 Lists

Musée D'Art Contemporain De Montréal

Montréal
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Musée D'Art Contemporain De Montréal, Montréal, Canada
New Cool
When it opened in 1964, the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal (MAC) was a true pioneer, the first institution in Canada devoted exclusively to contemporary art. It has been in its current home on the Place des Arts, along with the city’s symphony, ballet, and opera, since 1992. Like the Musée des Beaux-Arts, one of MAC’s strengths is its work by Quebecois and Canadian artists, though leading international figures are represented as well. Through January 4, 2015, the museum is housing the Biennale de Montréal, which is themed around L’Avenir, or the Future, with film, sculpture, photography and works in other media addressing how we imagine the future and the connections between the local and the global.
New Cool
1 experience, added to 2 Lists

The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts

Montréal
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The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, Montréal, Canada
Old School
The Musée des Beaux-Arts Montréal, or Montreal Museum of Fine Arts in English, is located in four different pavilions along the Golden Mile, the stretch of Sherbrooke Street where the city’s elite once lived. The most recent of the buildings is the Claire and Marc Bourgie Pavilion, which opened in 2011 and is dedicated to Québec and Canadian art. It also includes a concert hall that incorporates a rare collection of Tiffany stained glass. Perhaps not surprisingly, a strength of one of Canada’s most important art museums is its collection of Canadian art. he landscapes by the so-called Group of Seven, who attempted to create a distinct Canadian style of art rooted in nature, are especially notable. Perhaps also not surprising, this being Canada, admission is free for everyone 30 and under or 65 and older, and only $12 Canadian dollars for everyone else.
Old School
1 experience, added to 1 List

Montreal Symphony House

Montréal
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Montreal Symphony House, Montréal, Canada
High Notes
In 2011, the Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal, founded in 1934, held its first concert in its new home, La Maison Symphonique de Montréal. The soaring building of glass and beech was designed by architect Jack Diamond and is now an anchor of the Place des Arts, the cultural heart of the city. Since Kent Nagano became the musical director in 2006, following his success in Germany, the symphony has become one of the most closely followed classical institutions in North America. While most of the symphony’s 100 or so concerts each year are held at the Maison, visitors to Montréal can also see them at the Notre-Dame Basilica and at outdoor concerts in the city’s parks in warmer months.
High Notes
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Flyjin

Montreal
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Flyjin, Montreal, Canada
Fusion Fantasy
Flyjin, one of old Montreal’s trendiest spots of the moment, is a contemporary reimagining of the traditional Japanese izakaya, or tavern. As you descend the gold-leaf lined staircase into the basement of Flyjin’s home, you’ll find yourself transported to Asia or, perhaps better put, a fantasy of Asia. The menu includes sashimi, dumplings, and other dishes that you might find on the menu of an izakaya, but it ventures beyond Japan to include Chinese, Korean, and Southeast Asian dishes—the first sign that this isn’t a traditional izakaya. The second clue is the cocktail menu, with sake mojitos, drinks made with soju (a Korean vodka), and the creative use of other Asian ingredients including yuzu, shizo, and dragon fruit. If you still have any questions about where you are, once the lights dim at around 11 pm and the music kicks in, you’ll know you are at the center of Montreal’s hot nightlife scene.
Fusion Fantasy
1 experience, added to 1 List
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