In the News this Week...
brought to you by News Editor, Roger Bray
Hotel prices have rocketed in some cities over the past yearalmost 9 years ago
Hotel prices have rocketed in some cities over the past year, says reservations system operator HRS. Rates in Rio de Janeiro, Sydney and Cape Town jumped by 68%, 26.86% and 25.51% respectively between the first quarter of 2010 and the same period this year, Rates in Buenos Aires were up 20.16% and New York prices rose by 14.97%. Those in Zurich increased by 17.59%, Moscow by 15.37% and Stockholm by 13.59%. Two caveats when reading these figures: first, the economic climate was much chillier a year ago, depressing rates, And second, the rates are calculated in Euros, whose value against some of these cities' domestic currencies has fallen. This skews some of the figures a bit – but not by very much. On the bright side, rates in Prague , Copenhagen, Rome and Milan, changed hardly at all, while those in Barcelona and Budapest even fell slightly.
"Feel part of the vivid in-room installations"almost 9 years ago
“Feel part of the vivid in-room installations” is the promise made to guests at a new hotel opening on June 1 in the centre of Athens. Don't be confused but that’s what it's called – New Hotel. It's been created by Greek Cypriot art collector Dakis Joannou, owner of the Yes!hotel group, with the help of Brazilian designers Humberto and Fernando Campana, who have exhibited at New York's Museum of Modern Art and the Design Museum in London. They have turned fittings such as chairs and doors from the old Olympic Palace hotel, which the building formerly housed, into art works. The hotel is 200 metres from Syntagma (Constitution) Square. Prices start at €180 (about £160) – www.yeshotels.gr.
For European citybreaks, we recommend Kirker Holidays
Why does it take so long for cabin crew to reach you with the drinks?almost 9 years ago
Why does it take so long for cabin crew to reach you with the drinks? A speedier solution could be at hand. Two German companies, SkyMax and Air-Eltec Luftfahrtelektrik have come up with an automated trolley which can produce any of 30 hot or cold drinks at the push of a button. No more groping around for the right can or pouring hot tea from a jug. Called Sky-Tender, it looks like a no brainer. But, of course, we can't vouch for the quality of the coffee.
Tickets to the Chelsea Flower Show (May 24-28)almost 9 years ago
Tickets to the Chelsea Flower Show (May 24 – 28) are included in two packages on offer from tour operator Superbreak (www.superbreak.com). A night's b&b on May 27 and entrance to she show next day costs £138 at the Lancaster Gate Hotel and £162 at the Malmaison
Hong Kong is the best airport in the worldalmost 9 years ago
Hong Kong is the best airport in the world, as voted by travellers in an international poll. Singapore's Changi came second and Seoul's Korea's Incheon International was third. On line research company Skytrax, which organises the annual survey, said the three airports had been locked in a “nail biting” finish as the final votes came in. Hong Kong triumphed partly because it had made considerable improvements during the last year “particularly in security and immigration processing that served to enhance customer satisfaction levels”. Passengers liked its fast connections with Kowloon and Hong Kong island, were impressed by its “bright and airy terminal ambiance” and superb shopping facilities and voted it best for airport dining. The rest of the top ten airports were – in order – Munich, Beijing, Amsterdam, Zurich, Auckland, Kuala Lumpur and Copenhagen.
For tours to China and Indochina, we recommend Wendy Wu Tours
A Taste of Cruisingalmost 9 years ago
We invite you to be our guest for a 3-course lunch and a day on board one of Holland America’s beautiful cruise ships.
Whether you have never set foot on a cruise ship, or are a regular cruiser, you can enjoy a sumptuous three course lunch and the chance to explore one of the most beautiful cruise ships at sea, at absolutely no cost.
Ms Eurodam (22 May, 3 June, 27 June, 9 July, 12 August)
Ms Ryndam (21 May, 24 July, 7 August)
Ms Rotterdam (31 May, 20 September)
You will be met at Cruise Terminal 1 or 2, Port of Dover at 9.30am. The visit will then consist of a self-guided tour of ship, and early lunch (which will be a set 3-couse meal) in the main restaurant courtesy of Holland America Line, followed by a presentation. Disembarkation will be at around 2pm. Dress code is elegantly casual (no t-shirts, jeans or shorts). Complimentary parking has been arranged with the Port of Dover. All visitors must bring a passport or a secondary form of photo identification.
All you need to do is register your place by sending an email to [email protected], stating which date and ship visit you would like to attend and the number of places required. Places are limited and are offered on a first come first served basis.
Who needs an invite to Prince William's big day?almost 9 years ago
Railway Goes For Alternative Royalty Over The Bank Holiday
The Welsh Highland Heritage Railway in Porthmadog is organising its own antidote to the Royal Wedding over the May Bank Holiday Weekend – treating its passengers like royalty instead.
The Welsh Highland Heritage Railway will be putting a red carpet along the platform, and letting people travel in its vintage first class carriages for no extra charge.
Visitors will be able to have a go at driving a locomotive for themselves. One lucky adult per trip will get to be King or Queen of the railway and ride on the steam engine for the short trip along the line. Children will also have chance to make their own crown to wear.
Golden wedding coming up? Or a big birthday?almost 9 years ago
CV Villas, the luxury villas operator, has added two “grand houses” to its programme. One is Travers House, a Georgian property – with peat burning fireplaces – sleeping up to 10 near Butlerstown, County Cork. The other is The Court in Herefordshire, which is set in 15 acres of gardens and has rooms for 16 – 20 guests. One week prices for the former start at £2558 – the latter at £6500. Short break rates for both are available on request.
British Airways increases fuel surchargesalmost 9 years ago
Soaring oil prices have prompted British Airways to increase fuel surcharges on long haul flights again. They will go up by £10 per one way journey in the airline's World Traveller and World Traveller Plus cabins (economy and premium economy) from Friday (April 8). That pushes up the charge to £85 in the former and £95 in the latter – or £98 and £116.50 respectively for flights of over nine hours. Surcharges in First Class and Club World (business class) on flights up to nine hours will increase by £20 – to £125. On flights longer than that they will rise to £145.
More travellers were left waiting for bagsalmost 9 years ago
More air travellers were left waiting for bags which failed to appear on the carousel last year. But it may have been an unfortunate hiccup. Over the past four years the number of passengers suffering mislaid or lost luggage remains sharply down. The figures come from SITA, the Geneva-based IT provider to the air travel industry. Last year the proportion of travellers affected rose from 11 per 1000 to 12 per 1000. But in 2007 nit was nearly 19 per 1000, SITA blames last year's increase patly on disruption cased by the Icelandic ash cloud.
Cambridge Bike Tours - a new operation to be launched soonalmost 9 years ago
Remember when you first wobbled off down the road on your Hercules? Cambridge Bike Tours – a new operation to be launched soon – will offer customers the option of borrowing one of its early 1960s models. The company, which will take to the streets on April 16 has been set up by Anthony Dean, a former Kings College Choir School pupil and keen cyclist who has competed in triathlons. Four different tours of the city and surrounding countryside will run daily through the summer except on Tuesdays. The price will be £20 except for one all day tour which will cost £33. Helmets, rather than mortar boards, will be included.
Hong Kong's new Ritz-Carlton is tallest hotel in the worldalmost 9 years ago
View from the top: Hong Kong's new Ritz-Carlton, which has just opened, is claimed to be the tallest hotel in the world. It starts on the 102nd floor of the building which houses it and finishes at the 118th, affording spectacular views of Victoria Harbour and its skyline.
New Ryanair chargealmost 9 years ago
Ryanair is to levy €2 per passenger to cover unforeseen costs over which it has no control – such as the impact of last year's ash cloud. The charge will take effect from April 4. Over the past year the airline has been hit with bills totalling over €100m arising from flight cancellations and delays and the consequent cost of looking after and compensating passenger – and legal expenses. Apart from the volcanic eruption in Iceland the main causes were snow and air traffic control strikes. Ryanair says it regrets having to impose the levy. It argues that European rules requiring airlines to provide care for passengers when cancellations and or delays result from force majeure – and are not the carriers' fault – are unfair and discriminatory.
Walk across the Channel Islandsalmost 9 years ago
Walk across the Channel Islands. A new long distance footpath opens officially there next month. It'll stretch 115 miles over five islands -Guernsey, Jersey, Alderney, Sark and Herm. You could complete it in two weeks, with boat crossings between them.
Details at www.visitjersey.com.
Italians are Europe's worst driversalmost 9 years ago
Italians are Europe's worst drivers It looks like a cliché – but according to a survey British holidaymakers think it’s true. They topped the table with 34%, followed by the French (20% and the Spanish (8%). The survey was conducted by YouGov for carhiremarket.com. It found 49% of us don’t like driving abroad, rising to 62% of women. And to prove we're not all chauvinists, one on 20 thought the British were the most reckless drivers in Europe.
A new luxury hotel is about to open in Marrakechalmost 9 years ago
A new luxury hotel is about to open in the Moroccan city of Marrakech. The Four Seasons, with 140 rooms and suites, is taking bookings for stays from June 15. The 40 acre property, opposite the Menara Gardens, will have two pools, an extensive spa, tennis courts and fitness facilities. Its promotional hyperbole promises “rose-hued pavilions with hand-carved details, surrounded by a lush landscape of swimming and reflecting pools, gardens, pathways and fountains” – and views of the Atlas mountains. www.fourseasons.com.
For short breaks in Marrakech, why not try Kirker Holidays
Glasgow's Transport Museum moves to a new homealmost 9 years ago
Glasgow's Transport Museum moves to a new home this summer. Opening on June 21 the £50.9million waterfront attraction – now called the Riverside Museum will focus on the history of the Clyde, with its rich shipbuilding tradition. The tall ship Glenlee, which was built on the river and houses an exhibition on the area's maritime history, will be moored alongside.
Swiss airline SkyWork started flying from London City Airport to Bernalmost 9 years ago
Swiss airline SkyWork has started flying from London City Airport to the Swiss capital, Bern. Initially it will operate one round trip a day (except Saturdays) but from September 5 it will fly 11 times a week. Bern is a great jumping off point for skiers and hikers and anyone who just wants to marvel at some of the most awe inspiring scenery in the Alps. It's within an hour's drive of Grindelwald and Wengen, whos backdrop includes the Eiger and Jungfrau peaks.
The airline's free hold baggage allowance is 20kg per passenger – and the cabin baggage limit is 8kgs. Skis, boot bags and other ports equipment can be carried for 26 CHF (£17). www.flyskywork.com
For perfect Swiss holidays, we recommend Inghams
Treat the grandchildren?almost 9 years ago
Walt Disney's animated adaptation of Winnie the Pooh – that bear of little brain – will be released in the UK on April 15. So the Ashdown Park Hotel & Country Club in East Sussex, which is near ‘Hundred Acre Wood’, has come up with a wheeze to attract lovers of AA Milne's classic. Its so called “Tigger Escape” includes gift bag with a map showing spots such as the Enchanted Place and Pooh Bridge and a Winnie themed afternoon tea. It costs £300 for two adults and two children sharing a room – with dinner for the grown ups, tea for the kids and full English breakfast.
Cathay Pacific has launched a six day seat salealmost 9 years ago
Cathay Pacific has launched a six day seat sale (March 26 – 31). Deals include round trip include round trip fares from Heathrow to Manila, Beijing and Shanghai all from £609 and Perth from £669. Bookings to Manila, Shanghai and Beijing are valid for travel until December 31. Those to Perth are valid between April 23 and June 7, August 22 – September 30 and November 1 – December 8.