Field Notes: March 2024

warren street hotel new york

Dulles Airport Becomes First to Offer Global Entry Enrollment on Departure

Washington DC Cheery BlossomsPhoto: Charlotte Geary

Travelers seeking to complete their Global Entry interview at the airport now have a new option. The Customs and Border Protection (CBP), the agency that runs Global Entry, recently debuted the first-ever "Enrollment on Departure" option at Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD). The program allows conditionally-approved Global Entry applicants to complete their interview process at the airport before boarding an international flight. Travelers complete their in-person interview at Concourse B. They will need to present their passport, proof of address, and international flight airline ticket. There are currently no plans to expand the program (yet), as officials want to observe how it runs at Dulles before introducing it to other airports.

Credit Card Giants Race to Open Airport Lounges

American Centurion Lounge -- Atlanta

American Express Centurion Lounge at Atlanta International Airport. Photo: Courtesy of American Express.

A few weeks ago, American Express opened its largest Centurion Lounge yet at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL). Spanning 26,000 square feet, the lounge offers passengers a place to relax, eat, drink, and unwind. It's also the most design-forward Centurion Lounge to date, reflecting American Express's commitment to keeping pace with competitors like Capital One and Chase, who are continually rolling out their own airport lounges.

In January, Chase opened its third full airport lounge, following Hong Kong in 2022 and Boston in 2023. This sprawling 21,000-square-foot Chase Sapphire Lounge is located post-security in LaGuardia Airport's (LGA) Terminal B. Hot on the heels of the LGA opening, Chase also debuted a fourth lounge at New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) in Terminal 4, located above gate A2. In addition to an expanded menu and an upscale cocktail bar, travelers can freshen up in three shower suites stocked with Apotheke products or consciously connect to the present moment in two "reflection rooms" designed for meditation.

Capital One joined the airport lounge game in November 2023, with the opening of a 10,800-square-foot space in Denver. This Denver location is the latest addition to Capital One's growing portfolio, following lounge openings at Dallas Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) in November 2021 and their second at Washington, D.C.'s Dulles International Airport (IAD) in September 2023. Next up on their agenda are lounges at Las Vegas's Harry Reid International Airport, New York's LaGuardia Airport, and Washington D.C.'s Ronald Reagan Airport.

Cancún to the Yucatan in Style: The New Maya Train Makes Travel a Breeze

Maya Train, MexicoPhoto: Courtesy of Alstom

Mexico's grand tourism project, the Tren Maya (Maya Train), has set off on its exciting journey. The inaugural departure on December 15, 2023, marked a significant milestone for this ambitious, multibillion-dollar initiative.

Envisioned in 2018 by then president-elect Andrés Manuel López Obrador, the Tren Maya ( Tsíimin K'áak, in the Mayan language) stretches across five states, with a planned network of 965 miles. Witnessing his vision come to life, President López Obrador proudly saw the first train depart Cancún, bound for the historic city of Campeche 300 miles westward at the end of 2023.

Upon completion, targeted for February 2024, the Tren Maya will boast 34 stops across Quintana Roo, Yucatán, Campeche, Tabasco, and Chiapas. This revolutionary project has been championed for the past five years, promising not only efficient travel to Mexico's hidden gems and remote areas, but also significant job creation for its citizens. President López Obrador himself has called the Tren Maya "the most important public work in the world." In line with this vision, Fonatur, Mexico's national tourism fund, estimates the railway could generate hundreds of thousands of new jobs by 2030.

Kenya's Wildlife and Turkey's Treasures: Now Easier Than Ever for Americans

Elwana Sand River Camp, Masai Mara, KenyaElewana Sand River Camp, Masai Mara, Kenya. Photo: Courtesy of Masai Mara.

In December 2023, Kenya took a pioneering step in Africa by becoming the first country on the continent to offer visa-free entry for all travelers. This exciting change streamlines the entry process, replacing the traditional visa system with a new Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA). Think of it as a streamlined entry process – travelers now apply for an ETA online before their Kenyan adventure begins. The application process is designed to be user-friendly, and a semi-automated system quickly determines your eligibility to enter the country. The ETA costs $34 (USD) per person, including infants and children.

American travelers looking to explore Turkey (renamed a little while ago to Turkiye) are also in for good news. Visiting Turkiye has become both easier and (a tad) more affordable. Effective January 1, U.S. citizens no longer require an e-visa application prior to their trip, eliminating a bureaucratic hurdle and the associated $52 fee. A valid passport remains a requirement for entry. Your passport should have at least six months of validity remaining beyond your visit, with a minimum of one blank page available for entry and exit stamps. These simple steps will ensure a smooth entry process, opening the door to some delightful kebabs, mezes and Turkish coffee.

Where Design Meets Indulgence: 2024's Most Anticipated Hotel Openings

Mollie Aspen, Aspen, Colorado (January 2024)Mollie Aspen Hotel. Photo: Courtesy of hotel.

mollie aspen lobby viewMollie Hotel, Aspen.

Craving some post-slope relaxation with a touch of zen? Look no further than Mollie Aspen, a new boutique hotel right in the heart of Aspen. The celebrated Post Company designed the interiors with a Japandi-style – think cozy meets minimalist – perfect for unwinding after a day on the mountain. Head to the rooftop for a soak in the spa pool while taking in the stunning 180-degree views of Aspen Mountain. The use of natural materials like white oak, terracotta, and sand-casted brass were chosen specifically to mimic the rough-hewn textures of the Rocky Mountains that Aspen is nestled in. And to top it all off, grab a handcrafted cocktail from the rooftop bar, courtesy of the acclaimed mixologists Death & Co.

Warren Street Hotel, New York, New York (February 2024)

Warren Street Hotel New YorkWarren Street Hotel, New York.

Get ready to welcome another gem to New York City's hotel scene. Tribeca's newest gem, The Warren Street Hotel, just landed a few weeks back. Hospitality power couple Tim and Kit Kemp, the creative minds behind the Crosby Street Hotel and The Whitby, are the masterminds behind this stunning addition. This 11-story Firmdale hospitality group property boasts not only stylish guest rooms, many with breathtaking skyscraper views, but also a charming drawing room called the Orangery and the 150-seat Warren Bar and Restaurant. Some rooms have beautifully landscaped private terrace gardens, offering guests a tranquil escape in the middle of the bustling city. Whether you're looking for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or a classic afternoon tea, this new spot has you covered.

Hotel Wren, Twentynine Palms, California (Spring 2024)

Calling all design enthusiasts and desert lovers. A defunct 1940s motor lodge on the edge of Joshua Tree National Park is getting a major makeover courtesy of L.A.-based design studio Manola. This spring, Hotel Wren will rise from the ashes, transformed into a refined boutique hotel bursting with character. Think curated vintage furniture, artwork, and books – all handpicked by the owners themselves – alongside custom-designed millwork, lighting, and furniture. But Hotel Wren isn't just about aesthetics; the hotel's programming will also focus on artistic pursuits and helping guests explore the vast desert landscape.

The Dunlin, Johns Island, South Carolina (May 2024)

Dunlin Hotel Rendering in Charleston South Carolina

A rendering of The Dunlin by Auberge Hotels.

Dream of a quintessential island getaway? Look no further than The Dunlin, a new hotel set to debut on Johns Island, just outside of Charleston, in May 2024. This marks the first full-scale hotel project for acclaimed interior designer Amanda Lindroth, known for her timeless island decor. Expect classic southern charm embodied in the architecture and style, with details like a wraparound porch, inviting wicker furniture, and gingham upholstery. The Auberge resort features 72 guest rooms, suites, and 19 residential villas — offering a sense of relaxation, intimacy and seclusion — complete with a pool, a full-service spa, a 100-acre community farmstead, and a riverfront swim club. Guests can expect farm-to-table dining experiences and a connection to the source of their meals. 

The Vineta Hotel, Palm Beach, Florida (Fall 2024)

Just a short stroll from the renowned Worth Avenue shopping district, The Vineta Hotel is poised to become the new darling of Palm Beach. Slated to open this fall, the hotel is the brainchild of the esteemed Oetker Collection, the group behind iconic destinations like Hotel du Cap Eden Roc and Le Bristol Paris.

History buffs will appreciate the hotel's heritage. Originally built in 1926, the property has been meticulously restored by renowned Parisian designer Tino Zervudachi. Expect a fresh take on the Mediterranean Revival style, with the hotel's signature rosy-hued facade a charming nod to its past. Beyond its stylish facade, The Vineta Hotel promises a vibrant social scene. Guests can unwind in the inviting al-fresco courtyard restaurant, perfect for enjoying balmy Florida evenings, or mingle with fellow travelers in the hotel's highly-anticipated nighttime lounge.

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