In the News this Week...

brought to you by News Editor, Roger Bray
  • News 385

    Champagne Route, France

    Bedrooms in the branches.

    over 8 years ago

    Offbeat accommodation opening near Reims in May give the bed with a canopy a whole new meaning. The so called “Perching Pads” for two people have been built in the trees in a forest adventure park (le Parc Arboxygene) about 20 minutes from Epernay. Details are a little thin as yet but they will be sleek and contemporary in style, with views of the foliage and neighbouring vineyard – and are expected to have glass floors. Could be a little disorienting if you indulge in too much bubbly (maybe the local Louis de Sacy or Pehu-Simonet) at the Perching Champagne Bar, which opened last year.

  • News 383

    Quiet beaches, Greece

    Greece promises quiet summer beaches.

    over 8 years ago

    The beaches of Greece will be less crowded this summer. Taverna owners will greet you with even wider smiles than usual. There may even be the odd drink on the house. Germans, anxious that they may face hostility over Berlin's tough stance on efforts to prop up the ailing Greek economy, look like staying away in droves. One major tour operator says bookings from Germany have plummeted by around one third. Athens officials are warning Greece could face a drop of ovr 4% in earnings from tourism, which accounts for about 15% of its GDP and employs about on in five of its workforce. Opportunities for Greek tourism officials to launch promotional counter offensives are limited. The country is  reported to have run up huge unpaid bills for marketing in northern Europe as it is, without incurring more expense. It's open to question whether all this will mean cheaper holidays on the mainland or islands, though hotels are reported to have been cutting rates and tour operators may be forced to offer deals. Hopes linger for a rush of last minute bookings. They need you – and it could be a great year to go.

  • Royal Caribbean International doubles ship presence in Southampton for 2013.

    over 8 years ago

    Royal Caribbean International is celebrating an addition to its spring and summer UK deployment – in May 2013 the 3,114-guest Adventure of the Seas will offer cruises from Southampton alongside the 3,634-guest Independence of the Seas, based in Southampton for its fifth season. Dominic Paul, vice president and group managing director, Royal Caribbean International, EMEA, explains:

    “The UK cruise market has long been a success story for Royal Caribbean International and doubling the number of ships sailing from Southampton is another great milestone. Royal Caribbean International is fiercely proud to have changed the face of UK cruising with the introduction of activity-packed ships offering rock climbing, ice skating, surfing and much more. Not only does having both Adventure of the Seas and Independence of the Seas sailing from Southampton mean we can offer a greater variety of cruise holidays from the convenience of a UK port, but it also means we continue to demonstrate our commitment to the UK market, and the port of Southampton.”

    Royal Caribbean International first based a ship in Southampton in 2005 with the 2,435-guest Legend of the Seas and this has since steadily increased with larger and larger ships calling the cruise city home. 2013 is the first year that two Royal Caribbean International cruise ships will be based from Southampton.

    In 2008 the world’s largest cruise ship at the time – Independence of the Seas – launched from Southampton and has remained based from the port during the spring and summer months of the year ever since. The addition of Adventure of the Seas to Royal Caribbean International’s UK deployment sees the cruise line offer more Mediterranean, Northern Europe, Iceland, Baltics and Canary Island cruises than ever before.

  • New Attractions opening in Florida.

    over 8 years ago

    Orlando Balloon Rides has launched the tallest hot air balloon in the United States. The brand new balloon carries 24 passengers, is over 11 storeys high and takes 425,000 cubic feet of hot air to launch. Weather permitting, Orlando Balloon Rides flies every day from several locations around Kissimmee. Each ride ends in a champagne toast and full buffet breakfast, as well as a souvenir flight certificate.

    Two new visitor attractions will open this year. The Nature Centre on U.S. Highway 192 will be staffed with guides who are knowledgeable about Kissimmee’s history and cowboy heritage and will be able to direct visitors to natural wonders found throughout the area.

    A new Museum of Military History will feature educational exhibits from conflicts dating back to the Civil War and including current military operations in Afghanistan and Iraq.

    Florida Eco-Safaris at Forever Florida, a 4,700-acre working cattle ranch and nature preserve, now boasts the longest Zipline Safari, the only ride of its kind in the U.S. The Zipline Safari elevates you 55 feet above the ground for a tree-top nature tour. Enjoy the sensation of flight as you zipline over natural streams, wetlands and an ancient cypress forest at speeds of up to 20 miles an hour.

    Fantasy World Resort, home to the popular Fantasy Surf indoor surf centre, has added a new pool area that includes a lazy river, two 5-storey water slides, a kiddie splash zone and two hot tubs.

    Gatorland, one of Florida’s oldest attractions, has built the world’s tallest and fastest zipline attraction to race high above giant alligators and crocodiles. Riders embark on a breathtaking journey on ‘Screamin’ Gator’, gliding along 1,200 feet of high-flying adventure at speeds of nearly 30 miles per hour, reaching heights of up to 56 feet. The zipline soars over the ‘jumping’ Cuban Crocodiles and the Alligator Breeding Marsh.

  • New look Tea Party museum set to open.

    over 8 years ago

    Get the facts about the Tea Party in Boston. Not the right wing Republican movement, that is, but the original 1773 protest against taxation without representation. In late June a completely revamped, interactive museum dedicated to one of history's pivotal events will reopen in the Massachusetts capital. There will be two replicas of the ships involved ( the Eleanor and Beaver) with a third (the Dartmouth) to follow next year. Among the exhibits on view will be be of the original tea chests. The museum, close to the city centre at Congress Street Bridge, will have a restaurant with an outdoor terrace from which visiors will be able to watch reenactments.

  • News 379

    Matterhorn - Pennine Alps

    Pioneer climber celebrated in Zermatt exhibition.

    over 8 years ago

    A special exhbition on mountaineering pioneer Walter Bonatti will provide an added incentice to visit Zermatt's Alpine Museum this year. The museum already boasts  huge draw in the shape of the rope that broke during Whymper's controversial first ascent of the Matterhorn in 1865, causing the death of four other climbers*. A century later Bonatti, who died last year, was first to climb the mountain's north face alone. It took him six days. Objects from his mountaineering life during that period will be on show. The exhibition will run from spring until the end of theyear.

    *The controversy was laid to rest In 2007 when it was found that, contrary to dark rumour, the rope was not cut for self survival. An investigation commissioned by the museum, using a  rope which replicated the original,  proved tit could hold no more than 300 kilograms, and was therefore too thin to save the lives of the four men who fell.

  • News 378

    South Luangwa National Park

    Travel the length of Africa overland.

    over 8 years ago

    Cross Africa from north to south. A guided drive through the full length of Africa is on offer from tour operator World Expeditions. The journey, from Egypt to South Africa, will take 112 days and cost £13,990 a head, without international flights. Starting from Cairo on November 1, travellers will cross Sudan's Nubian Desert, continue through Ethiopia, Kenya's Great Rift Valley and Lakes Naivasha and Nakuru, break off to visit Zanzibar, take in Zambia's game rich South Luangwa National Park and Victoria Falls. Next will come two more national parks Chobe in Botswana and Namibia's Etosha, followed by the great dunes oSossisvlei – further south in Namibia – and finally Cape Town.

  • News 377

    Hotel Lincoln, Chicago, USA

    Boutique hotel to open in Chicago.

    over 8 years ago

    A new boutique hotel is set to open in Chicago this week. The Hotel Lincoln is the city's North Side, across the street from Lincoln Park and the zoo, with Lake Michigan and the so called Magnificent Mile a short distance away. It is also close to the Chicago History Museum and the Lincoln Park Conservatory. The hotel's operator, the San Francisco-based Joie de Vivre group, says 60%  of its 184 rooms wil have direct views of the lake. The property has been developed on the site of a hotel with more or less the same name where David Mamet, the Pulizter Prize winning playwright, weas once resident.

  • News 376

    Rural France

    Small French hotels vanishing.

    over 8 years ago

    Worrying news for Francophiles. Modestly price one and two star hotels are disappeaing in alarming numbers. According to market research company MKG Hospitality no fewer than an 634 with a total of 12,300 rooms have closed in the past year alone. Some are obsolete, some maybe just too far gone to be worth upgrading. It is also likely that some children of families which have run small hotels for generations are deciding there's n ot enough money in it. The void is being filled only partly by chains, says MKG. Though there has been growth in the three, four and five star sectors. The consultants warn that overall shrinkage in France's cacity to accommodate foreigners means that international clients may relocate to other countries with better supply

  • News 375

    Delhi Red Fort

    Delhi to get new luxury hotel.

    over 8 years ago

    A new luxury hotel under the Kempinski Ambience banner is schedued to open in spring or early summer in New Delhi. The five star property will have 480 rooms  and suites, four restaurants, a spa, fitness centre, saua, hammam and two swimming pools. It will be set in an office and conference complex in gthe east of the Indian capital, about 45 minutes by road from the airport..

  • News 374

    Reykjavik, Iceland

    Iceland Express resumes flights from Edinburgh and Stansted.

    over 8 years ago

    Budget airline Iceland Express is to reinstate flights to Reykjavík from Stansted and Edinburgh in June. It axed services from Scotland last year but says demand has persuaded it to start operating the route again. Though it has been flying from Gatwick the carrier has not operated regular scheduled flights from Stansted to the Icelandic capital since 2009. It will fly two round trips a week on both routes.

  • Learn Spanish in the vineyards.

    over 8 years ago

    Spanish lessons in the Rioja vineyards are on offer this summer at the Parador de Argomaniz. The two week courses start at £1500 per person and classes run for three hours a day frolm Monday – Thursday, leaving ample time to explore the area – and practice what you've assimilated. The Parador is a concerted renaissance palace from which guests look out on to the Plains of Alva. Courses are available in July and August. Contact the UK agent for the Government owned Paradores de Turismo, email [email protected]  (020 7953 3020).

  • News 372

    Monte Rosa, Switzerland

    Free lift passes at Italian ski resorts.

    over 8 years ago

    Contemplating a late decision to go skiing this winter? Stay three nights or more on in the Italian resorts of Gressoney or Champoluc this spring and you'll get a free lift pass. The deal applies to holidays between March 25 and April 15. Skiers or snowboarders staying in hotels on half board will get a pass each. Self caterers will get one per apartment. The resorts – about 1hr 30mins from Turin airport – are part of the impressive Monterosa Ski region, which encompasses some 200 kilometres of pistes.

  • Delta axes Gatwick – Atlanta flights.

    over 8 years ago

    US giant Delta Air Lines is to drop its daily service from Gatwick to Atlanta and operate the route from Heathrow. The move means that from April 18 it will fly there twice a day from London's busiest airport, rather than once as at present. It is also further evidence of the difficulties faced by the capital's other airports when it comes to building up major long haul networks. When a new UK-US air agreement opened Heathrow to more American carriers five years agao several others shifted flights there from Gatwick. Delta's move will come shortly before the opening of a new international terminal at Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson Airport.

  • Take off for Heathrow – Guangzhou flights.

    over 8 years ago

    Flights between London and Guangzhou, China's third largest city, will take off in June. China Southern Airlines will operate three round trips a week to and from Heathrow's Terminal 4. The service might have been launched earlier. Heathrow's owner BAA began talking to China Southern eight years ago. But pressure on take off  and landing slots forced the airline to wait until suitable arrival and departure times became available.

  • New flights from Luton to Ljubliana.

    over 8 years ago

    Slovenia's Adria Airways will launch flights between Luton and Ljubliana on March 25. It previously operated from Gatwick but services were suspended for the current winter. The airline will operate four round trips a week to the Slovenian capital. On Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays flights will depart from Luton at 9.45am, arriving at 12.50pm. Sunday services will leave at 8,45pm, arriving at 11.50pm. Flights from Ljubliana will depart at 7.35am, arriving at 8.45am – except on Sundays when they'll leave in early evening and arrive at Luton at 7.45pm.

  • Dover port to review exit road layout and signs.

    over 8 years ago

    How many Silver Travel subscribers, we wonder, have turned left when they intended to head straight on after driving off the ferry at Dover's Western Docks? This writer has made the same mistake on two consecutive trips, getting stuck in the lane which allows access only to the A2 and M2 via Canterbury when he wanted to head straight across the roundabout towards the A20 and M20. That obliged him to drive couple of miles to another roundabout and double back – a minor irritation but annoying nonetheless on a tiring journey home. Was he losing his marbles? Apparently not. Though the present road system was designed with good intentions, to relieve congestion and delays, the Port of Dover promises to review the layout and signage.

  • Fly biz class at economy prices.

    over 8 years ago

    Business class to Morocco at economy fares – that's the offer from BMI for passengers who book flights to Agadir, Casablanca or Marrakech from Heathrow by February 17. The fares are available for departures between March 1 and May 31. They include access to the airline's lounge, a guaranteed window or aisle seat and a three course meal  with drinks on board.

  • News 366

    Stadel Museum, Frankfurt

    New contemporary art gallery for Frankfurt Museum.

    over 8 years ago

    Frankfurt’s Städel Museum has opened a new undergound gallery displaying contemporary art  this month.  Naturally lit through 195 skylights it will concentrate on post-1945 works by starts including Georg Baselitz, Olafur Eliasson, Nan Goldin, Andreas Gursky, Martin Kippenberger, Sigmar Polke, Richard Prince, Cindy Sherman, Wolfgang Tillmans and Victor Vasarely. The museum contains a total some 2,900 paintings, 600 sculptures, 500 photographs and more than 100,000 drawings and prints. In its old masters collection are works by the likes of Vermeer, Rembrandt, Dürer, Lucas Cranach and Botticelli, while its modern inventory includes paintings by Monet and Picasso.

  • Modern art museum to open in LA.

    over 8 years ago

    Next year will see the opening of a new modern art gallery, The Broad, on Grand Avenue in central Los Angeles. Mainstay of the exhibition, spread over three levels,  will be the contemporary art collection of Eli and Edythe Broad, comprising 2000 works by more than 200 artists including Jeff Koons, Roy Lichtenstein, Cindy Sherman and Jean-Michel Basquiat.