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Self-serve sightseeing

Chicago – Part scavenger hunt, part walking tour, Stray Boots' new interactive exploration of Chicago for your mobile phone covers three of its most popular neighbourhoods – The Loop, Magnificent Mile and Navy Pier – at a self-set pace. Once you sign up for a $12 tour online (, you'll receive text-message prompts in the form of riddles, trivia questions and puzzles to guide you from sight to sight. Even though you may feel like you're on The Amazing Race, there's no need to rush. Tours are estimated to last two to three hours and can be taken at any time on any day.

At the chef's table

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London – Chef Pierre Koffmann and wife Claire Harrison's latest dining concept – Koffmann's Dinner Club at the Berkeley Hotel – combines the intimacy of a homespun dinner party with the exclusivity of a gourmet chef's table. Dinner is served family-style in the private dining room of Koffmann's eponymous restaurant. Fourteen guests are treated to five courses that are kept top secret until they arrive. Koffmann's specialty is rich French cuisine, so don't be surprised to see a whole Pyrenean lamb or a suckling pig at the table. While the chef toils in the kitchen, Harrison plays hostess, and sommelier Marc Botes circulates, explaining his wine pairings. Reserve a spot (at £110 each) at the next dinner club (on Sept. 13 or Oct. 25) by e-mailing

Conference in Croatia

Croatia – Indulge in work-life balance at Hotel Lone. With 248 rooms, a 600-seat auditorium and nine other conference venues, the property is built to host business meetings and large group getaways. But unlike other hotels that cater more to work than play, its style is anything but corporate. Renowned designers Patricia Urquiola and David Rowland crafted the hotel's colourful contemporary furnishings, while Croatian mixed-media artist Silvio Vujicic provided the edgy artwork. And thanks to the wave-like curvature in its architecture, every guest room boasts a sea view, making it easy to unwind after a long day in the boardroom.

From Phelps to FlowRider

Beijing – You've toured the Great Wall, Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City. Now it's time to cool off and make a splash at the city's fantastical indoor water park. Best known as the place where Michael Phelps swam away with eight gold medals, (formerly the National Aquatics Centre, the venue was revamped after the 2008 Olympics), the Happy Magic Watercube Waterpark ( comes complete with figures of giant pink and blue jelly fish hanging from the ceiling, splash pools, a lazy river and a collection of steep, twisting waterslides. Its newest must-try attraction, however, is a FlowRider wave machine that lets novice and pro surfers alike hang ten without having to find a beach.

Special to The Globe and Mail

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