Travel

Take your pick in Courchevel, Chamonix, Sainte-Foy, Megève, and Val Thorens

Portugal captain Cristiano Ronaldo

Portugal's austerity fears taken for a ride by national team's Euro 2012 arrangements

The Portuguese Football Federation yesterday hit back at complaints that the squad's arrangements for Euro 2012 are too lavish for the austerity-hit country.

Private practice: The Isle of Eriska Hotel Spa & Island costs £10,000 a night

Summer 2012: Money no object

Check into one of the new Tree House Suites in the grounds of country-house hotel Chewton Glen (01425 282212; chewtonglen.com) at New Milton in Hampshire.

Book of a lifetime: The Good Soldier, By Ford Madox Ford

I came across Ford Madox Ford's 'The Good Soldier: a Tale of Passion' when I was in my teens, in a box of my late grandmother's books.

Old soak: the rooftop pool at Thermae Bath Spa

Take a break where the spa's the star

From taking the waters in Bath and Cheltenham to diamond facials, hot tubs and manicures for men, the art of pampering in the UK has come a long way

Quiet Amsterdam is a new guide by Siobhan Wall that divulges the Dutch capital's secret corners, from bookshops to parks and spas

The Big Six: Chic Moroccan retreats

Palais Namaskar, Marrakech

Travel Agenda: Brighton Festival; coolplaces.co.uk; Villa Armena

Tomorrow: Book now to be at the Brighton Festival (2-31 May). This year's event has been guest directed by Vanessa Redgrave. Highlights include a multi-sensory reworking of the music of Joy Division, the chance to watch Mariella Frostrup film The Book Show, and a talk on "the world's most mysterious continent", Antarctica, with Caroline Lucas MP. (brightonfestival.org).

Travel Agenda: Harry Potter; Viceroy resort in the Maldives; Italy's 'culture week'; Heineken Open'er Festival

Tomorrow: Harry Potter's back – but this time it's the studio wizardry of the films that takes centre stage. The Warner Studio Tour opens today in Leavesden Studios, Hertfordshire, where the movies were shot. Visitors have the chance to walk through the Great Hall at Hogwarts School, peer into the Ministry of Magic, and ... potter along Diagon Alley. Props, gowns, models, monsters and green-screen gimmickry: it's all on dazzling display. Asked at the preview day what goes into butter beer (on sale at £2.95 a glass), the tour guide said, simply: "Magic." Tickets (£28) must be bought in advance (wbstudiotour.co.uk).

Snails: New skincare product in Siberia

Trending: You should come out of your shell, you're beautiful...

In the never-ending search for eternal youth, nothing is considered too extreme or, in light of a new treatment from Siberia, too unnervingly gross. The snail facial (a Snaicial?) is said to restore weather-beaten skin to its luminescent best, thanks to an active ingredient in the snotty snail slime that beats wrinkles and helps to heal scars and burns.

Sir Paul defends free stay at spa

Sir Paul Stephenson yesterday defended the spa visit that led to his resignation. He quit as Met Commissioner after it emerged that he had accepted a free stay at Champney's while it was being promoted by former News of the World deputy editor Neil Wallis – who was also hired by the Met as a PR consultant.

Isle be there: The Naka Island

24-hour room service: The Naka Island, Thailand

Barefoot luxury with Thai flair

Mark Steel: As Jesus said, you're ruining it for tourists

To advance their cause, the occupiers should have taken the riot police head to lunch

Reading and relaxation: Parade Gardens in Bath. The city is hosting the 'Independent' Literature Festival

Independent Bath Literature Festival: Follow in the footsteps of Austen, Defoe and Mr Pickwick

A glittering array of writers of fiction, poetry and politics will appear at the Independent Bath Literature Festival from next Friday. John Walsh looks forward to 10 days celebrating the written word.

The Park Hotels in India have launched a stylish property in Goa

Tips and deals of the week: The Park Hotels, Kuoni and European Traveller

The Hotel

The Park Hotels in India have launched a stylish property in Goa. The 30-bedroom retreat is on Candolim Beach and has a spa.

Go to Theparkhotels.com

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Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Seven Cities of Italy
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Prague, Budapest and Vienna
Lake Garda
Minoan Crete and Santorini
Prices correct as of 17 April 2015
NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

Beige to the future

Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own