Travel agenda: From geodesic camping domes in France to self-catering Hunting Lodges in the Usk Valley
Where to go and what to know
Saturday 15 March 2014
1. Beale deal
Plan ahead to be at the month-long, Memphis in May, festival which encompasses events each weekend, such as the Sunset Symphony (24 May) on the banks of the Mississippi. One of the highlights, the Beale Street Music Festival, takes place from 2-4 May, where acts this year span from Jerry Lee Lewis and Joan Jett to the Alabama Shakes.
Glisten Camping launches next month in France, offering travellers the chance to stay in a collection of geodesic domes at a range of campsites. The first will be on the Col d'Ibardin site in the Pays Basque. Facilities include swimming pools and a kids' club. Domes feature an al fresco deck, hammock-style bed-pods for children and doubles for adults.
3. Power up
Families heading to Florida over Easter might consider using the new Drive Electric Orlando scheme. The world's largest rental car market has launched a large-scale initiative to encourage people to go electric. Holidaymakers can now visit the website, reserve a car and browse suggested charging stops, or partner hotels which have plug-in stations.
4. On track
The Stansted Express is one of the most expensive trains, per mile, in Britain, with a one-way fare of £23.40 from London Liverpool Street to the Essex airport. But if you book online at least 30 days in advance, the fare falls to £8. The deal is available to book until 19 May, for travel up to six months later. You must specify the day, but not the time. Or buy a week ahead for £12.
5. Manor reborn
The five-star Celtic Manor Resort in the Usk Valley of Wales – which already boasts two hotels and three championship golf courses – has added four self-catering Hunting Lodges. Choose from the Swanky Swallow, Plucky Pheasant, Kooky Kestrel or the Fat Duck – each with a hot tub, sauna and four doubles. If you don't fancy cooking, there are six on-site restaurants.
6. SoHo sleek
The Broome has opened in New York City's lively SoHo district. The 19th-century building has been converted from a graffiti-strewn artists' loft into a 14-room hotel by four French restaurateurs and businessmen. It features Parisian-style café chairs in the open-air atrium, which acts as the centrepiece of the hotel, design-focused furnishings and pared-back rooms.
7. Rising star
The Shangri-La hotel has confirmed it will open inside The Shard on 6 May. The high-rise retreat will be the Hong Kong-based group's first foray into the UK and take on the role of being "the tallest hotel in Western Europe" with rooms and restaurants spread over levels 34 to 52 of the London Bridge landmark. The price for views of St Paul's? A cool £450, room only.
8. Tay to go
Stansted gets connected with Dundee from 30 March, when Flybe begins a link between Essex and the Tay. Dundee's tiny airport is handy for St Andrew's, Perth and Tayside. Departures are twice daily from Monday to Friday, with a single afternoon flight on Sundays. Fares start at £150 return, including an in-flight snack and a 20kg checked bag.
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