CD-Traveller tells you what’s hot and what’s not in the travel world. This month culture vultures are flocking to Florida while for film fanatics, the Sundance Festival in Utah is where it’s at. But there’s trouble in Thailand…
Pre flight pampering
Flying business with BA? Good news: British Airways Club World Passengers can be pampered – completely gratis – in the new BA Elemis travel spa at Heathrow Terminal 5 before boarding. Complimentary treatments include massages, manicures, a ‘flying facial’ and eyebrow shaping – ideal for anyone with unruly brows. Find out more at www.ba.com
Heading to Harbin
From January 5, Harbin – the capital and largest city of Heilongjiang Province in northeast China – will host its annual ice and snow festival. It’s the largest snow and ice festival in the world and this year the winter spectacular looks set to be extra special as it’s celebrating its 30th anniversary. Expect to see intricate ice and snow sculptures in addition to dazzling light and laser shows. See www.hrbicesnow.com for the full low-down.
Sleeping in a space themed hotel
Staying in China, travellers can spend a night in a space themed hotel in Shenzhen should they so desire – and it won’t cost the earth. The Pengcheng Space Capsules Hotel is charging guests a bargainous £7 a night to sleep in a space age capsule. Why are rooms so cheap? Perhaps it’s because the hotel is saving on staff costs: the property has built, rather than hired, its new employees – its staffed entirely by robots.
Seeing Niagara in a new light (literally)
Niagara Falls – one of the world’s natural wonders – will this year be lit up with over three million lights as part of the Canadian state of Ontario’s annual winter festival. The festival which lasts until 31 January also includes ice rinks and fireworks – all against a dramatic backdrop of plunging water. To find out more about a trip to the falls, visit www.ontariotravel.net.uk
Flying to film locationsTravel company, veryfirstto, has created a trip to visit 20 of the most iconic film locations in the world. Ko Pho Phi Leh in Thailand (the scene of The Beach), the Wadi Rum Desert in Jordan (Lawrence of Arabia was shot here), the Wudang Monastery in China (where Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon was filmed) are just a few of the fabulous film locations. 10 countries will be cover over three months and travellers will fly business class all the way. But it will cost you: expect to pay around £198,000. Ouch! www.veryfirstto.com
Eating out in London
The capital’s restaurants have dominated a list of Britain’s favourite culinary destinations – five out of the top 10 are based in London. Gordon Ramsay’s restaurants scored exceptionally well: The Restaurant Gordon Ramsay in Chelsea clinched number one spot while his French restaurant, Petrus, in Knightsbridge took the third spot. The two Michelin starred Ledbury in Notting Hill, Clos Maggiore in Covent Garden and Heston Blumenthal’s restaurant, Dinner at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Hyde Park also made the top 10.
Becoming a culture vulture in Florida
The £135m Perez Art Museum in Miami only opened its door last month, but has already become a must visit for art aficionados who are flocking to the Herzog and de Meuron designed building to see Chinese artist Ai Weiwei’s exhibition. Titled Ai Weiwei: According to What?, the exhibition features Ai Weiwei’s work from the last 20 years plus a huge installation of 700 bicycles. www.pamm.org
Sundance Film Fest
Attention all film fans who are fed up of freezing cold Blighty. It’s time to book yourself a trip to Utah in time for the Sundance Film Festival which is taking place from the 16-26 January 2014. Founded by film legend, Robert Redford, the festival has been championing independent film for more than three decades and is the place to see the films that we’ll be talking about for the next 12 months.
Bedding down in Barca
Five pounds doesn’t get you much these days, right? Wrong: if you’re lucky it can get you a bed in Barcelona. Yes you read that correctly. Those nice guys at Generator Hostels are having a major sale from now until the end of February on rooms not only in Barcelona (which hasn’t seen snow in 10 years!) but also in Berlin, Copenhagen, Hamburg, Venice and Dublin. What are you waiting for? Get booking! www.generatorhostels.com
The Land of Smiles is struggling with its worst political crisis since the protests of 2010. An estimated 90,000 demonstrators took to the streets during one rally calling for the prime minister, Yingluck Shinawatra, to step down. Protestors have also been picketing government buildings in Phuket. Nonetheless officials are insisting that there is no risk to tourists. “Tourists have not been targeted in the ongoing political protest,” said the Tourism Authority of Thailand.