Friday, 30 May 2014

Holiday fraud warning

Beware bogus holiday company websites displaying false “ATOL protected” logos, warns the Civil Aviation Authority. The ATOL (air travel organiser’s licence) scheme is designed to ensure consumers booking holidays by air don’t lose their money – and are brought home - if a travel firm goes bust. But the Authority has become aware of a number of bogus sites displaying unauthorised logos, operated from abroad and offering” unusually cheap deals”. Tell tale signs to look out for include the lack of an ATOL reference number or address, a requirement to pay by bank transfer because there’s no means of paying on line – and being told the prices has increased after the initial deposit has been paid., It says: A steady stream of duped holidaymakers have been in touch with the CAA and dozens more have contacted trading standards teams and police forces across the country.” Consumers are advised to make sure the logo has the required reference number and check via the CAA website that it belongs to a registered company.

Cape Town tree walk opens

A walkway through the tree canopy has opened in the arboretum at Cape Town’s Kirstenbosch NationalBotanical Garden. Known as the “boomslang”, it runs for 130 metres through trees such as hard pear, Cape saffron, wild stinkwood and myrtle quince. Initially controversial, the project was planned to mark last year’s centenary of the garden, which lies at the foot of Table Mountain’s east flank, but unforeseen construction problems delayed its opening.

Friday, 23 May 2014

Room with a view in Florence

A new five star hotel with views of the Ponte Vecchio and the Arno river has opened in Florence.

Portrait Firenze is the latest addition to the Lungarno Collection, part of the Ferregamo fashion family empire. It has 37 suites and rooms with Carrara marble bathrooms. Guests can can use high speed wi fi connections without charge and are provided with iPods.

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Child free flights demand - travel news

Strong demand for child free flights – survey finds

More than a third  (35%) of air travellers on leisure trips claim they would pay extra to travel on a child free flight, according to research by And 70% think airlines should provide child free zones on their aircraft. It goes without saying that both percentages would be far lower if all travellers with families were included but the findings are likely to reflect the views of many Silver Travel Advisor readers. Customers of who said they would pay a premium to avoid crying babies and seat back kicking claimed they would be prepared to fork out an extra £28 or £63 respectively on short and long haul return flights.

Sunday, 11 May 2014

Budapest launches Boris bikes

A public bike sharing scheme has been launched in Budapest. Around 1000 bikes will be available at 74 docking stations. Borrowers will need a special smart card, a “Bubi” (Budapest Bike) pass or a day ticket. The first hour will be free. After that there's a charge but it's the same price as a single public transport ticket – which is less than £1. To accommodate greater bike use, some traffic junctions in the Hungarian capital have been reconfigured and more cycle paths created. 

New boutique hotel on Kent coast

A new boutique hotel with its own beach hut has opened on a hill overlooking the Kent coast at Whitstable. The 18 room Crescent Turner on Wraik Hill has 18 rooms and a restaurant whose menu includes the local oysters, which the town celebrates with an annual festival in July. Guests may reserve the beach hut, which has cooking facilities including a barbecue and houses three canoes. 

Friday, 2 May 2014

Photograph bears in Slovakia

New hides - enabling visitors to photograph brown bears - have been built in the Tatra mountains of Slovakia. The three hides were constructed by TatraPhotography, which will use them for its four day wildlife photography courses. First it set up remote cameras at potential sites to find those most frequented by bears, then it erected the hides between February and March, while they were still hibernating. The firm, which plans to build a further six, offers packages, including flights from the UK, from £750.