New Orleans’ holy hotel
Before the Hotel Peter & Paul opened last fall in New Orleans, the clutch of buildings it now occupies had been vacant for years. The property — which includes a former Catholic school, a beautiful 19th-century church, a convent and a rectory —has been revived into a 71-room hotel aiming to mix vintage aesthetics with modern perks. The hotel is two blocks from Frenchmen Street, where a vibrant collection of music venues and restaurants has evolved into a sort of Bourbon Street alternative for people with a modicum of taste. Our room in the Convent ($229) was spacious and nicely furnished; we liked the bed’s fancy wrought iron canopy frame. Hotel Peter & Paul is a beautiful spot in a great location for exploring New Orleans, and its Elysian Bar deserves a visit. It already feels like part of the city (hotelpeterandpaul.com).
New York Times
Grand Canyon’s 100th
Grand Canyon National Park is celebrating a big birthday in 2019. So why not join in the centennial celebration? Millions visit this wonder of the world each year to marvel at the mile-deep gorge, exploring by foot, on a mule, or capturing the vast beauty with a camera or the mind’s eye. Stay on the South Rim where year-round you can access ranger programs, dining options and stunning views. Explore other regions in northern Arizona for hiking, biking and a history lesson along Route 66. Take in the stunning beauty of Monument Valley, the Petrified National Forest and the picturesque red rocks of Sedona. Pose for a photo while standing on a corner in Winslow, ride horseback at a guest ranch or rent a houseboat on Lake Powell (visitarizona.com; nps.gov/gcnp; grandcanyonlodges.com).
Cruise like a rock star
Want a spot at “Richard’s Rooftop” — named for founder Sir Richard Branson — aboard Virgin Voyages’ first cruise ship? Then you’ll have to book one of its 78 suites when tickets go on sale next month. The suites, dubbed RockStar Suites, will have a retro style, featuring black, mirror-like wall sections, gold accents and mounted guitars, an homage to Virgin’s roots as a record company. The suites make up a fraction of the cabins aboard the adult-only Scarlet Lady, which will sail from PortMiami in 2020. Suite guests will have a wardrobe team to help passengers pack and unpack, a nightly swimsuit-drying service, private transportation and faster boarding. Even more perks apply to 15 suites dubbed Mega RockStar Suites. Virgin Voyages declined to comment on prices.
‘Bikini Hiker’ dies
Gigi Wu garnered a following — and the nickname “Bikini Hiker” — for posting celebratory photos of herself atop Taiwanese mountains wearing only two-piece bathing suits. Wu’s latest endeavor, however, ended in tragedy. The 36-year-old woman was on a solo hiking trip in Yushan National Park when she fell more than 65 feet into a ravine Jan. 19. About 43 hours after Wu’s distress call, rescuers discovered her body. Wu relished in hiking alone, and frequently emphasized safety and responsible hiking practices to her 20,000 Facebook followers. She said she hiked with proper gear and clothing, only changing into a bikini when reaching the top of a peak. Wu’s final post, dated Jan. 18, showed simply a tent and a glorious layer of clouds beneath a peak on Taiwan’s Central Mountain Range. “Celebrating today,” she wrote.