What’s hot, what’s not

By | Category: Travel tips & opinions

Whether you’re staycation-ing or vacationing, CD Traveller tells you what’s happening in the travel world

HOT

Having a gay time in London
The UK’s first gay tourist office opened in October in Chinatown, London. The office – located at 30 Lisle Street, WC2 – will prove to be as useful to Londoners as to tourists, covering as it does “everything from charity participation to Buckingham Palace, naughty gay clubs to life drawing classes.” And where London leads, the rest of the UK follows…

The land down under
Australia and its antipodean sibling, New Zealand, stormed this year’s guardian.co.uk Travel Awards. Guardian Online readers overwhelming voted Sydney as their favourite overseas city, while the Great Barrier Reef was named fifth favourite overseas tourist attraction. Meanwhile for the second year running, New Zealand won The Guardian’s category for favourite long haul country.
Almost 20,000 readers voted in the annual Travel Awards.

Island hopping, Caribbean style
Interisland travel in the Caribbean has always been notoriously difficult and expensive. Not any more thanks to the BEDY ferry line. The Grenada based company last month launched a new high-speed ferry service connecting St Vincent with Barbados and St Lucia, and Grenada with Barbados and Trinidad. Return fares start at approximately £75 – that’s around 30 percent more affordable than air fares.

Australia is hot in every sense of the word

Australia is hot in every sense of the word

Middle Cottage
Middle Cottage on Teddington Lock (a mere 30 minutes from central London) walked away with the award for ‘Favourite B&B’ at the inaugural readers awards, held by B&B bible Sawdays. The awards, which were sustainable and hand-crafted, were announced in anarchic style by Dizraeli, winner of the 2007 Radio 4 slam poetry prize.

Abu Dhabi
Abu Dhabi is having a moment.  The UAE’s capital is to host Creamfields –the legendary UK dance festival – on December 11. The event will feature world-famous dance DJs and is the first time that a dance event will take place in the Middle East. Meanwhile The Yas (www.theyashotel.com) has just opened on one of the emirate’s many manmade islands, astride the new Formula One racetrack. The much hyped hotel is wrapped in a “colour-changing gridshell”. Translation? 5,000 planes of glass that glow with a constantly shifting pattern of red and blue, thanks to an intricate LED system.

Martha Stewart
Is there no stopping Stewart? The American interiors guru has expanded her empire and is now designing weddings at Sandals resorts worldwide. Brides and grooms to be can fork out £900 on the ‘Flutter of Romance’ package which includes menus and place cards printed with butterflies and a colour co-ordinated bouquet.

NOT
Airline tax

Much to CD Traveller’s chagrin, Air Passenger Duty (APD) is set to rise this Sunday; from November 1st, APD on a return flight to New York increases from £40 to £45, and sadly it’s only going to get worse.  Come November 2010, APD on the same route will shoot up to £60.

Heathrow Airport
London’s Heathrow Airport has been voted the worst in the world – according to a poll of 14,500 frequent travellers. It is the second year in a row that Heathrow has been voted the world’s worst airport by members of the airport lounge programme, Priority Pass.
Hot on Heathrow’s heels were Charles de Gaulle (Paris), Los Angeles, Frankfurt International and Miami International claiming second, third, fourth and fifth worst airport respectively. By contrast, Priority Pass members voted Singapore Changi and Hong Kong Chek Lap Kok as their top two airports. Amsterdam Schipol was voted Europe’s best airport – check out our guide to what to see and do in the Dutch capital.

Heathrow has been voted the world's worst airport

Heathrow has been voted the world's worst airport

Climbing Uluru
Plans by the Australian Government to close the climb up Uluru (previously known as Ayres Rock) have been scrapped meaning that travellers keen to climb the rock can still do so for the foreseeable future. But climbers with a conscience would do well to refrain; the climb is considered disrespectful to Uluru’s indigenous owners ( scaling Uluru is akin to an Aussie walking on the roof of a church in England), while the Australian National Parks are concerned about visitors not only leaving rubbish but also using Uluru as a toilet.

Toilet trips
On the subject of lavatories, Nippon Airways is asking passengers to use the bathroom before boarding their flight in an attempt to reduce weight, save fuel and cut down on carbon emissions. The Japanese airline believes that five tonnes of carbon emissions can be saved by people going to the toilet before take-off in the month-long experiment. Watch this space…

Dolphin culling
Be sure to catch The Cove, which is showing in cinemas across the UK now. This documentary about illegal dolphin culling in Japan features footage of free divers as seek to expose the dolphin abuse. Keep your eyes peeled for Heroes’ Hayden Panettiere who pops up to protest on a surfboard.

Seat selection
Regardless of whether you want a window seat or are after an aisle one, with BA it will cost you. While customers used to be able to select their seat for no charge, the cash strapped carrier is now charging travellers for choosing their seats. The damage?  £10 per person, per flight for those travelling on domestic routes or Euro Traveller short-haul economy, and £20 for those flying short-haul in Club Europe or long-haul in World Traveller or World Traveller Plus. Furthermore, the most sought after seats attract the steepest charges: passengers in World Traveller and World Traveller Plus can reserve exit row seats from 10 days before departure – for a whopping £50.
The good news for Gold Executive and BA Premier Club members is that they are exempt from the charges.

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