Monday, 26 January 2015

American west museum now open

The history of the American west is the theme of a new museum in Arizona. With an entrance mural of Kit Carson and Mountain Men, painted by Maynard Dixon in 1935, Western Spirit - the $11.4m  Museum of the West  in Scottsdale - tells the story through paintings and photographs, narrative, multi-media presentations and “participatory exhibitions”. There are regular talks and performance sin the theatre.

Saturday, 24 January 2015

Angkor Wat bike tours launched

Heading for the temples of Angkor Watt Get on your bike. A new company has launched cycle tours in the surrounding Cambodian countryside. Siem Reap Ride – it also runs ox cart and tractor trips - has been set up by Ouk Chan Bophay, a former manager at one the country’s leading tour operators, who describes it as an ecotourism company that supports the local community. “Our aim is to improve people’s lives, restore and support communities and raise living standards and education.

Thursday, 15 January 2015

Caribbean cruising gets cooler

Snowfall in the Caribbean? Has global warming taken a sudden, devastating turn for the worse? Not yet. Norwegian Cruise Line promises to create artificial flurries on its new ship Norwegian Escape. The “Snow Room”, in which temperatures will vary from zero to six degrees centigrade, will be part of the vessel’s Mandara Spa which, claims the company, will be the “largest thermal suite at sea”. It says the snowflakes will stimulate passengers’ blood circulation and strengthen their immune systems. Scheduled to come into service in mid- November Norwegian Escape will sail from her home port of Miami to destinations including the US and British Virgin Islands and Nassau in the Bahamas.

Sunday, 11 January 2015

Fly to Cape Verde Islands from Bristol

Holidaymakers booking with Thomson and First Choice will be able to fly direct from  Bristol to Sal in the Cape Verde islands, Hurghada in Egypt and Paphos in Cyprus next winter. Karen Switzer, director of aviation planning for the two TUI owned operators, said: “Regional airports are an important part of our strategy”.

Thursday, 8 January 2015

Free wifi at Hyatt hotels

Hyatt has responded to growing demand from travellers by announcing it will offer free wi fi at all its hotels, worldwide, from February. Unlimited access will be available in rooms and public areas – regardless of how guests book or whether they are members of Hyatt’s loyalty programme. As of last September the company’s portfolio comprised 573 properties in 48 countries.

In the footsteps of Kerouac - tours launched

The life of beat generation inspiration Jack Kerouac – most famously the author of On the Road – is celebrated though a range of walking and bus tours now available in his home town of Lowell, Massaschusetts. The tours are available to groups of five or more. For more information go to Lowell is in any case a fascinating city. Regarded as the cradle of the American industrial revolution, it was developed in the mid 19th century. In 1842 Charles Dickens went there and was deeply impressed by the clean working conditions in its mills – they can been visited as part of the Lowell National Historical Park - visit them - though he was at pains to note subsequently that circumstances were very different from the “great haunts of misery” in England’s industrial cities. 

Offbeat Greek island offered by UK tour operator

Sunvil claims to be the first UK tour operator to offer packages to the Greek island of Ammouliani, off the Halkidiki peninsula. Close to the monasteries of Mount Athos the island’s village has a population of 542. The firm is offering one week’s b&b there from £658 per person, based in two sharing. 

Chic French resort gets new flights

Deauville, the smart French seaside resort in Normandy, suddenly has a clutch of new air links with the UK. Flybe will fly there three times a week from Birmingham and twice a week from Exeter between June 22 and September 26 next year. This follows the regional airline’s earlier announcement that it would operate there from its new base in Bournemouth. And Ryanair plans to fly to Deauville twice a week from Stansted, starting on April 3.

Monday, 5 January 2015

Picasso studio opens as hotel

The building which housed Picasso’s first studio in Barcelona has opened as five star boutique hotel. With 30 rooms and cooking by a Michelin-starred chef, The Serrasa boutique property by the waterfront on Passeig de Colom, was scheduled to open this month. The building where Picasso painted painted Ciencia y Caridad dates from 1846 and its neo-classical fa├žade remains intact. The property will be a member of Design Hotels.

Birmingham to Spain - new cheap flights

Budget airline Norwegian is to launch flights from Birmingham to Spain. From March 30 and 31 respectively it will operate three round trips a week to Malaga and Madrid. And - starting on June 1 - it will fly twice a week from the Midlands airport to Barcelona.