Free ski passes for seniors
Hotels in over 20 resorts in Austria’s Salzburg province are taking part in a 60-plus week from March 29 until April 5. Guests get a free six day lift pass. Among the hotels the Grossarler Hof – described as four star superior – in the village of Grossarl. It’s throwing in a range of activities, including concerts, ski guiding and a trip to ski other resorts in the area. The hotel has a spa. The week, which is available to anyone born in or before 1954, costs €738 (about £630). More information at www.skiamade.com.
Logis guide widens cover
Portugal has been added to the International Logis Guide for the first time. The guide covers almost 2600 independent hotels with restaurants in France, – where it was founded - Italy, Germany, Spain, Andorra, Belgium, Luxembourg, the Netherlands. Go to Logis on line or pick it up at tourist offices or participating hotels.
Edinburgh gets new hotel
Scotland’s capital has a new hotel. The Ibis Edinburgh Centre South Bridge hotel is just off the Royal Mile and within walking distance of the castle. The second of two Ibis hotels opened in Edinburgh, it has 259 bedrooms, 13 of which are designed for guests with reduced mobility. Discounted parking is available at an NCP car park (£10 per 24hrs).
Wakehurst: parking fees imminent
Members of the National Trust visiting Wakehurst Place in West Sussex will have to pay to park from mid to late April. The Trust says the revenue is needed to ensure the future of the Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew. The gardens and Elizabethan mansion at Wakehurst attract some 400,000 visitors a year on average. They form Kew’s country estate. The property incorporates the Millennium Seed Bank, where seeds from over 10% of the world’s plant species are conserved. The charges will be £2 per car for the first hour, £5 for 2hrs and £10 for the day. Friends of Kew, Wakehurst Place season ticket holders and those who buy day tickets will be exempt.
Dutch art treasures homeward bound
Home to two of the world’s best known paintings, the Mauritshuis in The Hague , is scheduled to re-open on June 27 after a major renovation and extension. The paintings in question - Vermeer’s Girl with a Pearl Earring and Fabritius’ The Goldfinch - have been on tour during while the museum’s original 17th century premises have been refurbished and linked with a building opposite. A spotlight has been turned don both works by bestselling novels, written respectively by Tracy Chevalier and, more recently, Donna Tartt.
New Ritz-Carlton in Kyoto
A new five star hotel has opened on the Kamogawa river in the former Japanese capital of Kyoto. The 136 room Ritz-Carlton has a spa with a gym and a 20 metre indoor pool. Kyoto and its surroundings are home to the biggest concentration of cultural treasures in Japan, from old houses whose ownership spans ten generations to more than 2000 temples and shrines.
Delta to fly London – Chicago
Expect new short break deals in Chicago when competition in the air heats up next winter. Major carrier Delta Airlines plans to launch daily flights there from Heathrow on October 26. Delta says its partner airline Virgin Atlantic will continue to operate a summer service on the route. British Airways and American Airlines also fly between Heathrow and Chicago.
Guatemala: new tropical trek
A new trek though tropical jungle taking in Mayan ancient sites has been launched by the Guatemala Tourist Board. Groups of up to 15 spend three days following the Buenavista Valley for 50 kilometres between the Cruce de dos Aguas community and Tikal National Park. This was a major Mayan trading route between 800BC and 1200AD. It was controlled from the city of El Zotz, whose remains trekkers visit on the way. The trail runs through the largest nature reserve in Guatemala, home to tropical birds, millions of bats – and howler and spider monkeys - which occupies 19 per cent of the country. Book via the Cruce de Dos Aguas Tourism Commission on 00502 45366662/46468019/email email@example.com.
Traditional French river boats for hire
New boats built on traditional lines are now available for hire on the River Mayenne in western France. Known as Toues Cabanéés, the flat bottomed craft were used originally to transport people and goods. They sleep up to four people. Boats also have kitchens and space for al fresco dining. They can be rented from a base at Loigné-sur-Mayenne to cruise a 60 mile stretch of the river. Three days’ hire cost from £335, a week from £700.
Dominica hikes launched
Hikes on Dominica’s newly completed Waitukubuli National Trail have been introduced by a British tour operator. The route runs from north to south across the stunningly beautiful Caribbean island, passing through areas of pristine rainforest and over log bridge and stepping stones. KE Adventure Travel has launched nine night guided holidays with accommodation in guest houses and hotels. Departure dates are in April, May and December and prices start at £2745 including all meals and flights.
Coca-Cola plant to become boutique hotel
A former Coca-Cola bottling plant is being converted into a four star boutique hotel in the old centre of Savannah, Georgia. Scheduled to open in May on Washington Square, The Brice is under development by the San Francisco based Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants chain. It will have 145 rooms. The property, which was built in the 1860s, previously also housed other businesses including a grocery store and a machine shop.
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