The Americas

My Maya, I got it wrong on the Mexican coast

June 17, 2010

Even the most seasoned traveller can be prejudiced by misconceptions, and in the case of Mexico's Caribbean coast, I put my hands up. I resolutely avoided the newish holiday playground known as the Riviera Maya for years; certain it would be overbuilt and overrun by package tourists, rather than remaining the pristine paradise much of it still is.

That's the problem with being a Mexicophile - you fall in love with the colour, the chaos and the ancient culture which underpins this most fascinating of countries.

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Hotel of the week: Fairmont Mayakoba

By Anthea Gerrie, May 27, 2010

If anyone could bring a touch of class to an area whose reputation has been damaged by overbuilding and too many package tourists, it's Fairmont. The company which now owns the Savoy, and is overseeing a restoration to its art deco glory days, has shown, in its Mayakoba resort on Mexico's Caribbean coast, that it can also do eco resorts.

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Florida coast gave me Keys

By Andy Mossack, April 22, 2010

I have to confess I fell hopelessly and completely in love with the pelicans. It became my morning ritual to go out the back door of my beach condo and watch them forage around the ocean looking for fish for an hour or so. It was just the birds, me and a glorious stretch of powder-white beach. This was Florida's western Gulf coast, a world away from what many of you would think of Florida.

This coast of Florida and in particular Sarasota and her neighbouring islands Siesta Key, Longboat Key and Anna Maria Island, offer temptingly tropical retreats that are simply too hard to resist.

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Philadelphia's tourism gains independence

By Andy Mossack, March 18, 2010

Right now it is a building site, a block away from the birthplace of American freedom and opposite the Liberty Bell. Not much to look at yet, but by November it will have been transformed into the National Museum of American Jewish History.

Stretching over five floors and 100,000 square feet, it will showcase more than 350 years of American Jewry and will become the definitive centre for all things Jewish in the USA. Located beside the iconic landmarks of America's birth, it is both a tribute to the US community and a reminder of the role Jews played in shaping America.

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This is the real deal in dream destinations

By Judith Baker, February 18, 2010

A swaying palm tree, the gentle lapping of the waves, warm sunshine, dazzling blue sky - in the dark days of British winters, these are the images we conjure of the perfect escape.

If the Caribbean region has written the book on the must-have holiday ingredients of sun, sea and sand, Antigua and its sister island Barbuda - which boast 365 beaches between them - have perfected the formula.

With average temperatures ranging from the mid 70s to mid 80s in winter, these are the sunniest islands in the eastern Caribbean.

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Take a stroll on Wisteria Lane

By Barry Toberman, February 11, 2010

Day one in Los Angeles had been full of surprises, not all of them pleasant. On the debit side, an unremitting downpour and the discovery that there is more nightlife in Frinton than in parts of downtown LA.

For our 20-year-old daughter, there was compensation in initial retail therapy (we did not chance on LA’s three Urban Outfitters branches until later in the trip) and for us both, an evening of glorious spectacle watching the LA Kings ice hockey team at the Staples Centre.

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Manhattan: Curtain up on the world’s biggest film set

By Richard Burton, January 7, 2010

A group of us were in the Monkey Bar being stung the price of a cup final ticket for a bottle of fairly ordinary merlot when Keith Richard strolled past.

The smokers spotted him, ambling by with his daughter when they popped outside for a cough and a wheeze.

The following night Jessica Simpson sat a few tables away at Jean Georges, and in the morning in the lounge at Plaza Athenée, a waitress told me I was sitting in Sir Paul McCartney’s favourite seat.

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Get the needle on a trip to US coffee heaven

By Ruth Ellen Gruber, November 19, 2009

A few years ago, Seattle tourism officials coined a new word to sum up the charms of this lively hub of the US Pacific Northwest. The slogan they came up with — “Metronatural” — evokes the way the city’s modern urban centre is ensconced in one of the most beautiful natural settings in North America ; it also reflects how this setting inspires the lifestyle and experience of residents and visitors alike.

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Still reigning: Southern California

By Anthea Gerrie, October 28, 2009

It takes a brave investor to create a new multi-million-dollar resort in southern California — and not just because of the recession.

No other holiday playground is already so well endowed with five-star hotels, and in this star-studded state, many of those come with an extra frisson. 

Only in the land of movie legends can you sleep in bedrooms once occupied by Oscar-winners and then eat breakfast at their favourite tables.

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Why Guyana is the ultimate power trip

By Peter Moss, September 24, 2009

A brow-beaten and slightly emphysemic eight-seater plane of uncertain age and less certain power (max speed 110 mph — my Audi does that on West End Lane) flew us from Guyana’s weather-boarded old colonial capital of Georgetown, birthplace of more West Indies cricket legends than you can wield a bat at, to the fabled and heart-stoppingly sensational Kaieteur Falls.

At 750 feet, one of the longest and most powerful single-drop waterfalls on the face of the planet, Kaieteur is arguably the most beautiful waterfall in the world, and incontestably the most remote and least visited.

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