What’s hot: April 2014

By | Category: Travel tips & opinions

Just About Travel tells you what’s hot and what’s not in the travel world. This April, all eyes are on London, Los Angeles and Austin… 

HOT

The British pound
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Good news for British travellers! The sterling has made strides against most currencies meaning that any Brits planning a cheeky trip abroad could have more than £100 extra to spend when changing £500. Fancy a jaunt to Jamaica? The pound will buy 28 per cent more Jamaican dollars than this time 12 months ago. It’s a similar story in the Far East but the biggest jump in the sterling’s value is in South Africa against the rand.

Comfort food in the capital

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The biggest, most buzz worthy restaurant opening this month has to be the Holborn Dining Room and Delicatessen. The 160 seat restaurant at the Rosewood London hotel combines European “cafe culture” with British “comfort food” (expect kippers, calf’s liver, jam sponge and mutton broth). The man behind the £2 million venture is Des McDonald – aka one of the most influential figures on the London restaurant scene.

Hiking, hipster style
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Calling all city dwellers. Do you love the idea of a day out in the country yet simultaneously shy away from the thought of 24 hours without any retail therapy? Help is at hand: Cotswaldsvintagetours.com has published a series of online ‘retro routes’ that promise to take in antique tearooms, historic pubs and high street shops in the Cotswolds. Hiking suddenly seems much more appealing…

Posh-tels

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The humble hostel has had a face lift. Yep, the Youth Hostel Association (YHA) has spent some £13m refurbishing its properties – YHA York even has an on site art installation! Meanwhile in Liverpool, beds at Hoax Liverpool boast supersize (6ft 3 inch by 3 ft) mattresses. And in London, the Generator hostel has a DJ booth inside a replica Routemaster bus while Elephant & Castle’s Safestay Hostel comes replete with Banksy prints and bunk beds. Goodbye hostels. Hello posh-tels.

Living and loving LA
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The Beverly Hills Hotel – whose high profile past guests have included Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton – is completing the final stage of its restoration. Adam D Tihany is the design dynamo charged with updating the starry abode: expect built into bathroom mirrors and Bang & Olufsen televisions on walls in all rooms. But it’s not a case of completely out with the old and in with the new: the signature red carpet will remain.

All eyes on Austin
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It’s all about Austin right now. Forbes magazine recently ranked the live music capital of the world as one of America’s 20 coolest cities, while BA have launched a new flight route directly to the Texan town. BA’s brand new Boeing 787 dreamliner currently flies from London Heathrow to Austin five times a week, although there are plans to increase to daily flights come May. It’s the first regular transatlantic nonstop service for the city of Austin.

Taking the plunge in Malta
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The stunning Maltese Islands have been awarded 2nd place in the category for ‘Best Diving Destination’ at last month’s Diver and Sport Diver Awards, behind Egypt – making the Maltese Archipelago the top diving location in the Mediterranean. Malta and Gozo beat the Maldives owing its range of exciting wrecks, variety of marine life, topography and shore-diving.

Flight Centre

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The Just About Travel team has long been fans of Flight Centre – they’ve sorted out cheap flights for us on countless occasions. But now there’s another reason to love Flight Centre: it’s been recognised as one of the ‘Best Companies to Work For’ for the tenth year by The Sunday Times.

Beating the blues down under
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Lovers of the Blues will want to head to Byron Bay this April to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Bluesfest. Anyone making the long trip will be rewarded with performances by the likes of John Johnson, John Mayer and Elvis Costello. But it will cost you… a five day pass is on sale for around £366, with day tickets setting you back about £104.

 

NOT
Munching on Marmite in Canada

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The land of the Maple leaf has banned the much loved British export – along with fizzy drink, Irn Bru – because they are “bad for the nation’s health.” Both products contain colourings and additives which are, according to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) illegal.

 

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