Travel agenda: From rustic chic in rural Provence to Scotland's first via ferrata
Where to go and what to know
Saturday 05 April 2014
1. Fitness Frome
Personal trainer Matt Roberts is due to host a fitness retreat at Babington House in Somerset from 11-13 May. Guests will get two nights at the Soho House property near Frome, with training, daily meals and treatments at the Cowshed Spa for £1,525pp. Running, trekking and high-intensity workouts will take place inside and out of the Grade-II listed manor.
2. Port of call
Thomson Cruises has been sailing to Dubrovnik for years, but next summer the Thomson Celebration will be based in the Croatian city. Four new adults-only itineraries go on sale on 24 April. Among the 10 new ports featured are: Korcula, Split and Hvar in Croatia; Trieste, Bari and Brindisi in Italy; and Durres in Albania. From £899pp, including flights.
3. French fancy
The Domaine de Manville opens in rural Provence – a 45-minute drive from Marseille – in June. The former farm now has 30 suites, with rustic-chic interiors by local designer Annie Zéau. There's also an in-house spa, private cinema, 18-hole golf course and mountain bikes to borrow for exploring the surrounding Alpilles National Park. Doubles start at €275.
4. Chef's table
Jamie Oliver is to launch his first restaurant aboard a cruise ship. The partnership with Royal Caribbean International will see an offshoot of the chef's high-street chain, Jamie's Italian, introduced to the Quantum of the Seas by this autumn, and the Anthem of the Seas by spring 2015. It promises "simple, fresh ingredients in a warm, inviting ambience".
5. Climb time
Scotland's first via ferrata has opened near Glencoe in the Highlands. The steel-cable climbing routes were first developed in the Alps as a way of navigating tricky mountain landscapes. Now, travellers can navigate the system of cables, ladders and bridges above Scotland's third-largest waterfall, the 200ft Grey Mare's Tail in Kinlochleven, from £65.
6. Golden glow
The Hôtel Vernet has re-opened in Paris following renovation. Its 1913 façade stands just off the Champs-Elysées in the Golden Triangle. The new look reveals interiors by François Champsaur, 30 revived rooms with Hermès toiletries and a contemporary restaurant beneath a stained-glass ceiling that was designed by Gustave Eiffel. Doubles start at €270.
7. High hopes
Himalayan Footsteps has launched a new 12-day cycling adventure of Nepal that covers 140 miles and reaches heights of 7,200ft. Passing through the Kathmandu Valley and various Himalayan hill towns, it costs from £1,340pp, with full-board lodges, guides and mountain bike hire. Departures are February-June and September-November. Flights extra.
8. Tower power
Anish Kapoor's tangled red sculpture, the ArcelorMittal Orbit, re-opens to the public today in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. The attraction, which became an icon of the 2012 Olympic Games, will launch with an aerial performance, Taiko drummers, creative workshops and a parade. Visitors can soak up the carnival atmosphere and ascend to the viewing platform; £15.
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