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News & Advice

Travel agenda

From food and wine in Melbourne and gourmet holidays in Portugal to polar exploration and visas for Turkey

1. Luxe lodge

Velaa Private Island opens in the Maldives archipelago, just north of the capital Male, this month. The 45-villa resort will have a Clarins spa, yoga pavillion and short-game seven-hole golf course, plus three restaurants, one of which will be manned by Michelin-starred French chef Adeline Grattard. velaaisland.com

2. Sound bite

Tickets are now on sale for the Melbourne Food & Wine Festival which takes place in Victoria's lovely bayside capital from 28 February to 16 March. This year, it will celebrate all things aquatic, with 200 events hosted by top chefs and winemakers, exploring produce from oceans, rivers, lakes and streams. melbournefood andwine.com.au

3. The business

China specialist, Wendy Wu Tours, is offering customers a free one-way business-class flight, with any tour or tailormade holiday. Bookings must be made between 18 and 31 January, for travel between 30 March and 24 October. For an extra £400pp, you'll get the outbound leg upgraded too. wendywutours.co.uk

4. Wanders lust

Dutch designer Marcel Wanders is to become the focus of a major new retrospective at Amsterdam's Stedelijk Museum from 1 February to 15 June. It will look at his entire oeuvre, from product, furniture and interior design, to his role as art director for brands such as Moooi. stedelijk.nl

5. Culinary break

The rural Portuguese hotel, Fazenda Nova, has teamed up with Eat Drink Walk tours to offer gourmet holidays in February, May and November. The three-night trips take in Algarvian cuisine and restaurants, and include your stay at the 10-suite hotel near Tavira, meals, tastings and transfers for £540pp. fazendanova.eu

6. Slope off

The team behind the luxurious Capo Spartivento lighthouse hotel in Sardinia has opened a new retreat in Switzerland's Engadin Valley. The Chesa Stuva Colani has 12 wood-panelled rooms with cowhide rugs, Smeg minibars and underfloor heating for toasting your feet after a day on the slopes of St Moritz. hotelchesacolani.com

7. Polar express

Intrepid is hosting a free event with leading polar explorer, Tim Jarvis, who retraced Ernest Shackelton's crossing of the Southern Ocean last year. The talk takes place next Saturday at 4pm in the London branch on 76 Upper Street, Islington. Booking is advised: 0845 287 1190.intrepidtravel.com

8. Visa change

Until now, British travellers to Turkey could pay for their £10 tourist visa in cash on arrival. After 10 April, tourists must instead apply online in advance or risk being refused entry. The new website charges US$20 (£13.50) and cautions that passports must be valid for at least six months before entry. www.evisa.gov.tr