You don’t need to go far to discover new, unique experiences

Image: the Diplomat Beach Resort Hollywood, Curio Collection by Hilton

We all want to travel the world. Who wouldn’t jump at the opportunity to immerse themselves in another culture and discover what life is like somewhere else?

But let’s face it that’s not always possible. A recent survey by Hilton revealed that 29% of Americans say that limited time is the biggest thing preventing them from taking a vacation. Whether we’re dealing with limited time off, financial hurdles, or maybe even a fear of flying, sometimes taking a vacation for longer than a weekend just isnt an option.

Luckily, there are ways around this roadblock and Curio Collection by Hilton offers one-of-a-kind hotels stateside along with some local guides to make your vacation or weekend getaway memorable #IRL so you dont have to partake in the #bowwowchallenge.

The United States is bursting with its own unique culture. There are many different things each region has to offer the discerning traveler, and there’s no shortage of activities to keep you occupied.

At these five unique hotels and resorts, you can get a remarkable vacation experience without ever leaving the U.S. And since each hotel is part of the Hilton Honors guest-loyalty program you can rack up points to use toward free nights, bypass the front desk with Digital Check-In on the Hilton Honors App and much more.

Image: markthomas/pixabay

Image: John Cole for The Darcy Washington D.C., Curio Collection by Hilton

1. The Darcy Washington D.C.,CurioCollection by Hilton

Want to get in touch with your American pride? There’s no better place to do that than in the nation’s capital.

This gorgeous hotel complete with a Haberdashery and a complimentary cocktail hour for guests is centrally located in the trendy 14th Street corridor near Logan Circle. The prime location allows you to see all the famous monuments you want before catching a meal in one of DC’s hottest new restaurants, Siren a farm-to-table restaurant from acclaimed chefs Robert Wiedmaier and Brian McBride, which is located in The Darcy and features fresh seafood, a raw bar, and live jazz.

You’re also not too far from several Smithsonian Institute museums and galleries such as the Hirshhorn; the National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden, which holds Jazz in the Garden during the summer months; the New Columbia Distillers, where you can partake in tours and tastings from the creators of Green Hat gin; and more fun and educational places to explore.

Need to brighten up your day? No problem, because this hotel features a bi-monthly pop-up Flower Bar through a partnership with local start-up UrbanStems.

Image: LondonHouse Chicago, Curio Collection by Hilton

Image: Neal Kumar for LondonHouse Chicago, Curio Collection by Hilton

2. LondonHouse Chicago,CurioCollection by Hilton

For an authentic taste of the Midwest, Chicago is the place to go and this iconic hotel is the place to stay.

LondonHouse Chicago boasts a structure that is almost 100 years old. Originally opened as the London Guarantee Building in 1923, the historic, award-winning work of architecture was recently restored to pay homage to its storied past while also embracing modern amenities. It also features the citys only tri-level rooftop with sweeping views of the city.

This is a phenomenal city for food-lovers. Not only is Chicago famous for hot dogs and deep-dish pizza, but they also have some great places to indulge for dessert. Fans of ice cream, for example, should make it a point to visit Jeni’s.

Avid Instagrammers and SnapChatters will want to take advantage of the beautiful views and architecture in this city, perhaps on a Chicago Architecture Foundation River Cruise a favorite even among locals.

Image: Ames Boston Hotel, Curio Collection by Hilton

Image: tpsdave/pixabay

3. Ames Boston Hotel,CurioCollection by Hilton

Ah, Beantown a city that perfectly encapsulates all the unique passion, history, and charm of New England.

Ames Boston Hotel is located right in the middle of the city, so you wont have to go far to check out what Boston has to offer. And with complimentary bicycles (available seasonally) its easy to explore the city from the stylish hotel.

And if history is your thing, be sure to check out the Freedom Trail, Paul Revere’s House, and the Old State House. For shopping, food, and caf’s, Faneuil Hall is your perfect spot. For a bite with a view, stop in at Granary Tavern gastropub and enjoy the patio overlooking the lush Rose F. Kennedy Greenway.

And all those sports fans out there will absolutely have something to root for. You can see where the Celtics or the Bruins play at TD Garden, or cheer on the Red Sox at the famous Fenway Park. (But beware of the Green Monster!)

Image: Miramonte Indian Wells Resort & Spa, Curio Collection by Hilton


Miramonte Indian Wells Resort & Spa, Curio Collection by Hilton

4. Miramonte Indian Wells Resort & Spa,CurioCollection by Hilton

For a more relaxing getaway, head to Indian Wells in California just a short drive from Palm Springs.

Miramonte Indian Wells Resort & Spa is the perfect place to unwind amid olive trees and citrus groves. Guest rooms and suites feature sprawling views of the Santa Rosa Mountains, and you’ll have plenty of space to spread out. It’s the home of the 12,000 square foot Well Spa a must-visit for anyone who needs some recharging, complete with a courtyard with two private saltwater pools.

Even if a spa isn’t your thing, the resorts immaculate manicured gardens and palm tree-lined roads will put your mind at ease and allow you to exhale for a while.

Coffee-lovers will need to check out IW Coffee, famous for their awesome latte art.

And it wouldn’t be a trip to sunny California without some sushi. Make sure you stop into Misaki Sushi & Grill to get your fix.

Image: The Diplomat Beach Resort Hollywood, Curio Collection by Hilton

Image: the Diplomat Beach Resort Hollywood, Curio Collection by Hilton

5. The Diplomat Beach Resort Hollywood,CurioCollection by Hilton

Nope, not that Hollywood. The East Coast one.

If you’re looking for a beach resort, this is the one to visit. The glamourous hotel fresh off a $100 million transformation complete with celebrity chef restaurants has breathtaking views of the Atlantic Ocean and Intracoastal Waterway. If you want to just chill out on their (private) beach, make way for the shore and dig your toes into the sand. But more active types will also find this area enticing.

There’s a boardwalk for you to peruse and a ton of shops to explore. Fans of contemporary art will need to check out the interactive fountains created by Japanese artist Ritsuko Taho in Arts Park at Young Circle.

For the perfect night out, visit The Village at Gulfstream Park. There, you can see some live entertainment or give gaming a try.

So no matter what corner of our beautiful country you decide to visit, these places will offer you an authentically local experience you’ll never forget. All Curio Collection hotels are bookable online or by using the Hilton Honors mobile app, where members get the best rates and other exclusive benefits including Digital Key and Points Pooling to make that weekend getaway or summer vacation with friends a reality.


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8 challenge vacations that’ll turn you into a superhuman

(CNN)Getting in shape for vacation isn’t just about looking good in a bikini.

In fact, the only way to make hiking through the Sahara Desert in roasting heat or skiing through the Arctic Circle any tougher would be to do it in a bikini.
One thing’s for sure, competing in these events involves life-changing levels of fitness.

Arctic Circle Race (Greenland)

Three days, 160 kilometers and a whole load of snow.
The Arctic Circle Race, which takes place near Sisimiut on Greenland’s west coast, is colder than it sounds as it takes place 65 kilometers north of the Arctic Circle.
Sleeping in tents, if they survive the fierce winds, competitors must negotiate temperatures around -30 C (-22 F) and hope their clothes don’t freeze during the night.
It all starts on April 1 — but this is no April Fools.
“When you start the race then it’s exciting but along the way you use all your energy,” Nukannguaq Geisler of Greenland says on the competition’s official site.
“So you get more and more tired. So the last 10 kilometers you think you can do it, especially the last day and when you reach the goal there’s a lot of emotion.”
Sounds a bit much?
There’s the ACR 100 which covers, as the name suggests, 100 kilometers.
And there’s also a short race for children.
There’s one event that goes beyond all the others.
The Marathon des Sables, which takes place in the Moroccan Sahara Desert, is a grueling six-day trek in one of the world’s harshest climates.
The 254-kilometer ultra marathon attracts daredevils from across the world with some as old as 78 facing the 49 C heat while running up and down sand dunes.
Even the rests sound grueling.
Runners must sleep in bivouacs along with seven other competitors.
They also have to prepare and pack their own food for the entire race.
This is not an event for the halfhearted.
Organizers advise weekly runs of between 160 to 190 kilometers in the lead-up to the marathon.
If that’s not enough, wearing a practice backpack weighing between 3-10 kilograms is also recommended.
Anyone who hasn’t been training at least three times a week for months on end can forget entering this one.
And if you not dare enter the full marathon but still want a challenge there is a new half marathon that will take place in September 2017.
Half Marathon, September 25-30, 2017
Got three friends?
Think they’ll still be your friends after trekking with you through the heart of southern Chilean Patagonia?
Then this could be the ideal challenge.
In teams of four, which must be mixed sex, competitors take on a course ranging from 600 to 800 kilometers, depending on the year.
The race route is only revealed 24 hours before the start and takes in a number of different conditions including the large glaciers of the Campo de Hielo Sur (Southern Ice Fields), uninhabited forests and running rivers.
Compass, map navigation and route planning skills are crucial for any chance of victory.
All teams will have to negotiate trekking through mountains, cycling and kayaking for up to 150 kilometers.
Only half of the teams that set out typically manage to finish the course.

Iditarod Trail Invitational ultra marathon

The Iditarod Trail Invitational is so tough that in 2012, no one managed to complete its toughest event.
It claims to be the world’s longest ultra marathon by bike, foot or ski.
Staged in Alaska, it offers competitors the choice of running, riding or skiing 350 miles (563 kilometers) from Knik to McGrath, or pushing on 1,000 miles (1,609 kilometers) to Nome.
Training is a must — the freezing winter conditions are unforgiving.
“We offer very little support, and we wanna keep it that way. It’s an adventure and these people have to be prepared,” race director Kathi Merchant told Alaska’s KSKA public radio.
“But also they’re very much on their own and they do enjoy that solitude and the experience of the wilderness of Alaska. They don’t want an aid station every 10 miles and people everywhere.”
in 2014, David Johnston broke the record for the 350-mile foot record by reaching McGrath in just over four days.
John Lackey did the business on the bike in 2015 completing the course in one day, 18 hours and 32 minutes.
Results vary on the weather.
The failure of the entire field to complete the 1,000 miles to Nome in 2012 was down to appalling conditions.
But in 2014, 16 made it to the end within the 30-day limit.
Application open April 1, 2017

Jungle Marathon

The threat of scorpions, snakes, caimans, piranhas and jaguars are scary enough without throwing a 254-kilometer race into the mix.
The Jungle Marathon takes runners through the swamps, mangroves and foliage of the Amazon rainforest.
It’s billed as the world’s toughest jungle marathon.
There’s not just the fear of being eaten alive to contend with, there’s also the 99% humidity and the 40 C heat.
That said, only 11 of the 41 who started the last race dropped out.
Those not up to the full distance can enter 127- or 42-kilometer events.

Mont Blanc ultra marathon (France, Switzerland, Italy)

Anyone wanting to enter the Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc needs to do their homework.
For the 2017 race, competitors must acquire nine qualification points from three races just to get a place in the event.
There’s no room for part-timers.
Starting in Chamonix, France, the route takes in Italy and Switzerland, is 168 kilometers in length and has to be completed within 46 hours 30 minutes.
Not to be underestimated, it takes in seven valleys, 71 glaciers and 400 summits — not to mention the 9,400 meters of altitude.
But as the world’s premier 100-miler, featuring jaw-dropping views, it’s worth the effort.

Le Grand Tour (Sweden)

Just a quick glance at the race information is enough to give anyone the chills.
According to the organizers, the trekking stage will “smash your legs.”
Requiring helmets, harnesses, wetsuits and kayaks, it’s an ice-cold challenge encapsulated in 24 hours of absolute mayhem.
The seven-stage race, held in September, is usually fought out between teams of four.
Those unlucky enough to have three friends mad enough to do it can compete in pairs.
Entrants need to be pretty flexible in all disciplines to cope with the trekking, running, kayaking, yet more running — and the rope activities.

L’Etape du Tour (France)

How many armchair cyclists have watched the Tour de France on TV and thought, “I can do that?”
Well, this event lets them put their money where their mouth is.
Since 1993, the L’Etape du Tour has given amateurs the opportunity to ride a stage of Le Tour and pretend they’re Bradley Wiggins or Chris Froome.
Entry for 2017’s event are already closed. Places go quickly!
Organizers lay on the full works for the riders with nine feeding stations and bananas imported from Guadeloupe and Martinique.
Last year’s ride took place through the Alps, so building endurance and being able to sustain a high level of power is key.
This year’s route promises to be just as challenging.

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BA and Easyjet laptop ban ‘in force by Saturday’ – BBC News

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The cabin baggage ban on laptops and tablets on direct flights to the UK from six countries will be in place by Saturday, the government has confirmed.

Passengers travelling from Turkey, Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan, Tunisia and Saudi Arabia must put big electronic devices in the hold.

BA, Easyjet,, Monarch, Thomson and Thomas Cook flights are affected.

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said the move was in response to an “evolving threat” from terrorism.

He told the Commons the government’s decision was thought necessary to protect the safety of UK passengers, but would not give any more detail.

“We have taken the steps for good reasons,” said Mr Grayling.

The ban applies to any device larger than 16cm long, 9.3cm wide or 1.5cm deep. It includes smart phones, but most fall inside these limits.

Under the new rules, all large electronic devices, including Kindles and similar e-readers, must be packed into luggage going into the hold.

Mr Grayling told MPs he would write to insurers to ask them to be mindful of the changes.

The new security measures would be brought in “over the coming days and no later than Saturday 25 March”, said a Department for Transport spokeswoman.

She added that passengers “should go to the airport with the expectation that the measures are already in effect”.

So far, only Easyjet has confirmed to the BBC that the restrictions are already in place.

UK carriers affected by the ban include:

  • Easyjet – It introduced the ban on Wednesday. The airline said passengers would face extra security checks and advised them to arrive early at their airport. It says it is contacting affected passengers ahead of their flights to let them know the new rules. Up to three Easyjet flights a day are expected to be hit by the new security measures.
  • British Airways – It issued a notice to passengers on Tuesday, saying passengers would face additional searches and questions, and were likely to be called to their boarding gates earlier. Travellers part-way through their journey or about to start a journey in one of the affected countries who felt unable to immediately comply with the new rules can rebook their flight.
  • – It says and Jet2holidays customers travelling from Turkey would face extra security checks and the new hand luggage restrictions. Its service from Turkey to the UK starts on Monday, by which time the measures would be in place, a spokesman said.
  • Monarch – It says it will increase the paid-for hold luggage allowance by 3kgs free of charge to allow for the extra weight of electrical items. The airline runs a summer service from Turkey from 29 April, so no flights will be affected until then. It says it will remind its customers of the new travel rules by email.
  • Thomas Cook – It says customers flying to the UK from Turkey and Egypt should pack devices into their hold luggage to be checked in before going through security. The company advises holidaymakers with questions to call them on 01733 224 536, or, if already on holiday, to check holiday documents for in-resort contact numbers.
  • Thomson – The first affected flight for Thomson and First Choice customers departs early next week. The carrier said it was “currently working through operational plans and the best way” to notify affected customers.

Overseas airlines affected are Turkish Airlines, Pegasus Airways, Atlas-Global Airlines, Middle East Airlines, EgyptAir, Royal Jordanian, Tunis Air and Saudia.

The ban follows a similar move in the US, where officials say bombs could be hidden in a series of devices.

Image caption The UK ban applies to direct inbound flights from six countries; the US ban lists eight countries

Mark Shepherd, from the Association of British Insurers, advised travellers to check their insurance policy covers valuables placed in the hold.

He said some might find they have additional cover under a household contents policy for gadgets outside the home.

“Wherever possible, travellers should keep valuables, including tablets and laptops, with them on flights and, if travelling from destinations affected by the new regulations, it may be sensible to leave valuables at home,” he added.

“If devices are damaged during a flight, there’s also the potential to seek compensation through the airline.”



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