What’s hot: May 2017

By | Category: Travel tips & opinions

Just About Travel tells you what’s hot and what’s not in the travel world, right now

China in your hands

Taipei, Taiwan
Image by Balmung/Moment/Getty Images

China Airlines has made its glorious return to the UK with a new non stop service between London Gatwick and Taipei, Taiwan.
It’s the first UK-Taipei non-stop flight for five years making sampling the city’s night markets, hot springs and pillowy-soft bao buns easier than ever.
The service operates four times per week from Gatwick’s South Terminal using an A350-900, which can hold 306 passengers with business, premium economy and economy cabins.
Meanwhile Business class in the airline’s A350 boasts lie-flat beds, aisle access for each seat and access to the onboard Sky Lounge bar. Premium economy seats recline within a hard shell, while economy seats feature a slimline design that the airline says allows for extra legroom.

Opening date for V&A Scotland

The Scottish outpost of the V&A will open in Dundee on 15 September. The £80m museum will launch with an ocean liner exhibition featuring the largest remaining Titanic fragment.

Return to Oz

Time to start planning that trip Down Under. Qantas recently launched a direct, daily flight between London and Perth on Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner aircraft bringing a new wave of visitors to Australia’s oft overlooked west coast. The flight between Perth and London will be the longest flight on the Qantas network and the longest Dreamliner flight in the world. Alan Joyce, chief executive of the Australian airline, said: “This route makes Western Australia a new tourism gateway for Australia. We know from our research that there’s a lot of appetite to explore the west, not just from British and European visitors but also from Aussies on their way to London. A lot of business travellers, particularly in the resources sector, will stop off in Perth on their way to the UK.”

Carbs in Marbs

Chef Nobu Matsuhisa isn’t content to rest on his laurels. After the runaway success of the Nobu Hotels in Shoreditch and Ibiza together with his hit Ryokan (traditional Japanese style inns) in Malibu, the owner of Nobu Restaurants and Hotels and author of Nobu: A Memoir, is setting up shop in MarbellaHis new hotel will be decked out in traditional Andalusian style and situated above the Golden Mile. Guests can look forward to a Six Senses Spa, a roving mixology cart and superb sushi – natch.

Hit the road
Last year it was the cruise, this year it’s the campervan that’s wooing millennials. Don’t believe us? Check out #Vanlife on Instagram and you’ll find an array of enthusiasts transforming run down vans into swoon-worthy mobile homes for life on the road. For inspiration, follow @outboundliving, @vanlifers and @ireneyap.

Seeking out staycations

Brits are willing to spend nearly £13bn a year on staycations, according to new research.
‘Staycations’ – aka short breaks taken in your own country – are on the rise, with an increasing number of Brits opting to holiday closer to home. The research revealed that the average budget for staycations is £267.93. With 93 per cent of the population going on at least one UK break each year, this means that Brits are prepared to splash out £12.9bn annuallyon staycations.
t appears that men are more spontaneous when it comes to planning staycations, with 11 per cent booking their trips less than a month in advance, nearly twice as many as women (six per cent). Surprisingly, the research by Wonga found that millennials are the most organised staycation bookers – more than one in ten book over a year before they travel (11 per cent). This contrasts with over 55s, who were found to be the most likely to book last minute (11 per cent).

Seychelles in the spotlight
Move over Mauritius and the Maldives. This year it’s time for the Seychelles – the Indian Ocean’s less flashy sister – to steal the spotlight.
This enchanting archipelago – which lies off the coast of East Africa and comprises more than 100 (mostly uninhabited) islands – is blessed with year round warm weather, pristine beaches, azure waters and the world’s largest coral atoll in Aldabra Atoll.
Little wonder then that A listers including George and Amal Clooney and Prince William and Kate Middleton, have all honeymooned here…
A  new direct flight from British Airways (launching in April 2018), should help the Seychelles re-claim its place in the sun. As should the recent re-opening of the luxurious Four Seasons Resort Seychelles at Desroches Island.
 Bottom line? We’ll see you in the Seychelles.

Making for the Maltese capital

Aerial view of Valletta

This year V is for Valletta. The Maltese capital has been anointed the European Capital of Culture and for good reason: the Maltese capital boasts Baroque wonders (step forward St John’s Cathedral), the dramatic City Gate area modernised by Renzo Piano – plus Annie Mac’s Lost and Found festival that descends on the country every spring. We’ll meet you in Malta…

Shanghai Nights

In a city that is already home to more hotels than you can shake a stick at, you might question the need for three more.
However a stay at one of the following luxury hotels, all of which have recently opened their doors, should put that thought to rest. Situated in Shanghai’s historic neighbourhood of Dazhongli, The Middle House is a Piero Lissoni-designed temple to cool Italian design. Elsewhere The Bulgari is moving into the former Shanghai Chamber of Commerce Building, while over in the bustling Bund district, Ian Schrager is set to open The Shanghai Edition.


Reserving a sun lounger
The days of holidaymakers making an early morning dash to the pool with their towels under their arm to reserve a sun-bed are over. Thomas Cook is to be the first package holiday chain to offer sun-seekers the chance to nab the best poolside loungers. For £22, customers will be able to book a specific sun-bed for the duration of their stay.
The scheme, which will rum at 30 hotels this summer, is being introduced because holidaymakers want to ‘personalise’ packages that ‘best fit their needs and lifestyle’ said Chris Mottershead, Thomas Cook’s UK Managing Director.
Customers will use online maps to show what time of day their sun-bed is in the sun and shade. Only a portion of the loungers will be able to be reserved.

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