Where to go and what to know from the winner of Britain's best travel section
Saturday 23 November 2013
1. First again
You are reading Britain's best travel section. For the second year running, The Independent Traveller has been judged National Newspaper Travel Section of the Year at the British Travel Press Awards. Ben Ross, head of travel, received the award. At the same event, Michael Palin was presented with the Outstanding Achievement Award. bit.ly/Traveller1st
2. Sea world
The group behind the ritzy Cheval Blanc ski hotel in the French resort of Courchevel has just launched a new retreat in the Maldives. The 45-villa resort is located on Randheli island, in the southern Noonu Atoll, with crisp, contemporary interiors by Belgian-born architect Jean-Michel Gathy, exotic gardens and Indian Ocean views. chevalblanc.com
3. Tune in
The Vibes Music Hotel has just opened in Buenos Aires, with live concerts, DJ sets and an on-site recording studio. Located amid the hip bars and restaurants of the city's Palermo district, it has 32 rooms and a vinyl library stocked with more than 2,500 records, curated by various music honchos, including the international DJ, Luciano, who co-owns the hotel. vibeshotel.com
4. Home stay
EasyJet Holidays is branching out of the traditional hotel-and-flight package format by introducing 27,000 self-catering properties. Options range from Casa Nina, a semi-detached house on the Costa Brava, where a week with flights costs £216pp, to Chalet Nepomuk on the slopes of Zermatt, available at £808pp, based on six people sharing. holidays.easyjet.com
5. Fast lane
No 1 Traveller has extended the offer of including fast-track security when booking one of its airport services (lounge access, parking, spa treatments, chauffeur transfers) at Gatwick, Birmingham and Manchester airports. The service was previously only at Stansted, but was trialled at the other airports this summer. Access starts at £22.50. no1traveller.com
6. Brit revival
The 116-year-old Tate Britain, on the north side of the Embankment in London, is staging a house-warming this weekend following a £45m renovation to the museum. Everyone is invited and admission is free, no tickets required. The new-look gallery will remain open until 10pm on Saturday for an evening of music, performance, film and talks. tate.org.uk
7. Amalfi magic
The Amalfi Coast becomes more accessible for travellers from north-west England next summer, when Monarch becomes the latest airline trying to make a success of a non-stop link from Manchester to Naples. Flights are twice weekly, on Mondays and Fridays. The airline is also launching flights from Luton to the southern Italian airport. monarch.co.uk
8. Snow dome
Hogwarts will be covered in a blanket of snow from now until 6 January. The children's attraction at the Warner Bros Studios in Leavesden has undergone a festive makeover, with holly, mistletoe and wreaths in the Great Hall, and the knitted jumpers that Ron and Harry received for Christmas in The Philosopher's Stone on show. Tickets £21.50-£29. wbstudiotour.co.uk
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