Friday, 28 November 2014

Sydney's new hotel


A new five star hotel has opened in Sydney. The 140 room InterContinental Double Bay has a rooftop pool with views of the sea. It’s housed in a six storey building which was formerly home to the Ritz-Carlton, whose celebrity guests ranged from Madonna to Bill Clinton.

Get ski insurance until you're 100

Worried you might be getting too old to get ski holiday insurance?  A UK insurance company has just increased its upper age limit to 100. Michael Pettifer, owner and director of MPI Brokers (mpibrokers.com) says: “Last year we put it up to 90. I said we were still getting the odd customer wanting to ski at 91 or 92 – not many, perhaps ten or so - so the underwriter said ‘ok – let’s put it up to 100’.” How much will it cost? If you bought cover on line today it would cost £147.81 in France or £184.76 for a week in elsewhere in Europe.


Friday, 21 November 2014

Tour Lisbon by electric car

Electric cars with GPS audio guides are now available in Lisbon. Visitors can follow a range of themed itineraries or make their own. You could follow the route of Tram 28, for example, which passes the Portuguese capital’s best known sights, or concentrate on the city’s Moorish heritage. Prices vary but these two tours cost €29 for 1hr and €34 die 1hrs 30mins respectively – with €15 extra for each additional hour. Information at www.lisbonecotours.com.


Titanic hotel opens in Liverpool

The red brick North Warehouse on Liverpool’s Stanley Dock has opened as a hotel. The Titanic Hotel is named in honour of the ship whose owners, the White Star Line, were based in the city. The line’s headquarters have already become a luxury hotel - 30 James Street – which opened recently. The Titanic promises 153 very large rooms and a spa with a pool and a gym.

Sunday, 16 November 2014

Liverpool's new hotel


The 110 years old, Grade II listed Royal Insurance building in Liverpool has become a hotel. The opening of the Starwood group’s Aloft Liverpool follows an £18m conversion, which has removed the property from English Heritage’s Buildings at Risk register. It has a fitness centre and free wi fi is available throughout the hotel. 

Luxury train planned in Ireland


A luxury touring train is to be launched in Ireland. Belmond plans to start operating the luxury sleeper in summer 2016 after acquiring 10 carriages from Irish Rail. The train will be called the Grand Hibernian. It will visit destinations in the north and south. Belmond is the new brand recently introduced by Orient Express Hotels. The company continues to operate other luxury trains, including the Venice-Simplon-Orient Express.

US tightens traveller screening

Travellers from Britain to the US will now need to answer extra security questions when they make their electronic (ESTA) applications for permission to enter the country. The move comes amid fears that western based fighters returning from Syria may pose a threat. Expect to be asked to provide your parents’ names, for example, contact details, city of birth and employment information.


Friday, 14 November 2014

Free tours with Hong Kong locals


Visitors are now being offered a real insight into life in Hong Kong on free tours guided by locals. You can check in for a consultation with one of a team of volunteers called "Hong Kong Pals" who – according to the tourist board - are “eager to share their passion and enthusiasm for the city.” For example you could look at buildings with an urban planner or eat out with a local foodie. You can book on line and meet the volunteers at the Hong Kong Tourism Board visitor centres in Tsim Sha Tsui (Kowloon) or at the Peak (Hong Kong Island). Further information at http://goo.gl/hwoxbC.

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Walk between Alpine eateries

A holiday walking between Almen – Austrian mountain eateries with accommodation – has been launched for next year by Ramblers Worldwide. The two week trip covers the first 160kms of the 350km Almenweg, which links these small Alpine farms in Salzburg province. Typical of the dishes they serve is the Brettljause, a selection of cold cuts including home made cheeses and home cured pork products. The package costs from £1250 including flights and full board, with some nights spend in Almen, some in hotels.

Newcastle to get New York flights

United Airlines will fly between Newcastle and New York next summer. Between May 23 and September 7 the airline will operate five round trips a week, with departures from the UK at 9.10am on Mondays, Tuesdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.


Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Peak District beauty spots on Google Street View

The Peak District National Park is the first to become accessible via Google Street View (http://maps.co.uk). That doesn’t mean you can take a virtual hike anywhere you fancy, however. As the park’s chief executive Jim Dixon notes, it was impossible to film every inch of its 555 square miles. “Instead we have selected some of the highlights. These are the trail areas where we offer ranger-led walks, family activities and cycle hire and bike maintenance.” Places which can be viewed on line include the High Peak, Monsal and Tissington trails.