Every year, the experience of travel becomes easier and—dare we say it—even more fun, thanks to an influx of innovative apps, new thinking in hotel design and more. Between the major travel headlines of 2013—like American Airlines and US Airways finally receiving the green light for their merger making them the world's largest airline—we've supplemented our own stories covering everything from the best restaurants (found in our complete redesign of our CH City Guides, packed with new cities and content) to one-of-a-kind communal experiences. Below is a selection of our top travel stories from this year.
Word of Mouth: Paris Bars and Restaurants
As our Word of Mouth series grows more extensive, we discover that we can dig a little deeper into the cities that we tend to visit more often. For a city known for the best in food and culture, Paris is full of secrets around every corner. From a cocktail bar concealed by a Mexican diner to homemade, ingredient-obsessed dishes prepared by respected chefs to a classic French outpost with welcome views of the Louvre, this feature delivers CH's top picks for food and drinks in Paris.
In the Isola neighborhood of North Milan lies Europe's first Moto-Quartiere: 330 feet completely dedicated to the world of custom and vintage motorcycles. It features stores like Australian custom motorcycle, track bike and surf company Deus Ex Machina, a '50s-style barbershop, South Garage Motor Company, a vintage clothing store, and of course, a garage. This new collaborative area offers both new and old school lovers of motorcycles a unique place to connect, shop, design and customize their two-wheeled dream machines alongside expert mechanics.
As a new publication launched this year, Suitcase Magazine aims to break out of the rut that luxury travel magazines have fallen into. In our interview, the young Editor-in-Chief Serena Guen explains, "I wanted to create some kind of middle-ground where people could learn about and experience a culture from a local’s perspective in a fun and entertaining way without necessarily breaking the bank." The team at Suitcase spends about three months scouting and researching each location they cover, paving the way for a new kind of traveler.
How can you remember and relive a great trip out of numerous others—without distracting yourself during the actual experience? We tested Rove, a new iOS app, on a trip to Beijing and found it to be perfect for recollection. The app runs quietly in the background, consolidating the venues you visited along with the photos you took there for easy search later, allowing you to enjoy the moment.
Off Piste: A Ride Across America
This five-part series followed our 10-day, 3,700-mile cross country journey—done completely on motorcycle. We covered every item we used on our trip, from the road-tested leather riding gear to ultra-light camping tents to the tech tools that kept us connected with the rest of the world. We kicked things off by reviewing the three different bikes we rode from Brooklyn to Los Angeles.
American Trade Hotel, Panama
"The narrative we built was if the hotel was 400 years old and owned by the same family. Little by little each generation had taken it over and it was a marriage between different time periods and different cultures. And because Panama is about all of these cultures coming through constantly, it felt really right—it felt honest," says Commune Design partner Roman Alonso. We visited the new American Trade Hotel in Panama City, a joint creative project between Ace Hotel's in-house creative team Atelier Ace, LA's Commune Design and local development agency Conservatorio. It's a follow-up to the Ace Hotel's first international offering in Shoreditch, East London and they've done a stellar job merging the neighborhood's history with modern luxury for a new kind of hotel experience.
A piloted aircraft that can fly day and night without fuel might not seem possible, but the Solar Impulse team have built the impossible—and successfully flown it. We interviewed the two founders about how the notion of exploration has changed, what it's like to man a solar-powered plane that could theoretically fly forever, and the future of renewable energy. By 2015, they hope to achieve the first round-the-world solar flight.