Where's the best place to seek holiday advice? Media planning and buying agency Total Media has just released a report that suggests online reviews are now influencing us more than brochures, advertising, newspapers' travel sections (heaven forfend) and travel agents.

Total Media says holiday reviews written by strangers on independent websites, such as TripAdvisor, are one of the key places where it seeks advice. I don't know about you, but the only time I used TripAdvisor, I came away even more confused. The opinions were so diverse that I spent most of my time trying to assess if the reviewers were truly independent voices and shared my priorities.

Contradicting this finding, major UK tour operators Thomson and First Choice are to open 30 new travel agencies on Britain's high streets in the next couple of years, to meet demand. It seems we do still like a little face-to-face advice even if the source might have a vested interest.

You might think there's a credit crunch on, but The Bentley London Waldorf Astoria Collection has just launched a "private hotel concept" at the 64-room Bentley London hotel, offering it for exclusive hire. It says demand is up for the kind of property with the cachet to cater to government delegations and royalty.

Reema Sanger, director of the collection, says: "We have identified potential in a private and secure accommodation solution for high-level guests." VIPs will have the run of the hotel, which includes a Le Kalon spa, with a special concierge service tending to their every whim. The only decision they'll have to make is the pecking order for the royal, imperial and presidential suites.

While the war between British Airways and its cabin crew raged on, news that the Japanese airline All Nippon Airways (ANA) has introduced a women-only toilet on board its planes offered light relief – if you'll pardon the pun.

ANA says its decision is in response to requests from passengers. But Barry Smith, co-founder of the flight-sales website Skyscanner, surveyed visitors to its site about the idea and got a 56 per cent vote against. "Women-only lavs are great for the girls, but the problem is that most planes would not be adding extra toilets. This is bad news for the boys as it's likely to mean more queuing," he says.

Men having to queue for a loo? That makes a change. Unsurprisingly, Skyscanner's survey found this particular vote polarised the sexes.



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