Travel Agenda: The Downtown Mexico; Pennine Bridleway; Essentialibiza.com; Nigeria; Peru; Cape Town; Open Garden Squares Weekend
Where to go and what to know
Friday 08 June 2012
A former palace in Mexico City has been transformed into a new boutique hotel by the Habita group (also behind the recent Hôtel Americano opening in New York). The Downtown Mexico launches on Friday with 17 pared-back rooms – all polished concrete, original brick-vaulted ceilings, deep colours and dark-wood detailing – in the city's historic centre. Outside features include original frescos, a porticoed courtyard, rooftop pool and bar. Doubles from US$138 (grupohabita.mx).
The 205-mile Pennine Bridleway opens fully on Monday, allowing cyclists and horse-riders to ride parallel to the long-established hikers' Pennine Way. It runs from Matlock in Derbyshire to Ravenstonedale in Cumbria, following old packhorse and drover's routes and includes loops centred on Hebden Bridge and Settle in Yorkshire. A special horse ride is taking place on 17 June (nationaltrail.co.uk/penninebridleway).
Decisions, decisions ... spend Saturday night dancing until dawn at Es Paradis, or save yourself for the all-day party at We Love Space on Sundays? Resolve these dilemmas with the aid of a new website, Essentialibiza.com. It guides you through the best bars, restaurants and clubs on the White Isle, as well as pinpointing the best beaches for sunsets, or where to find yoga classes or massage therapists. You can also book luxury villas, arrange VIP club tables, nab guest-list passes and get a spot on a boat party.
Following the crash of a Dana Airlines flight from Nigeria's capital, Abuja, to the largest city, Lagos, the Foreign Office has highlighted "concerns about the safety and reliability of some airline companies operating domestic flights within Nigeria". But terrestrial options are equally unappealing, the FCO warns, because "long-distance buses are poorly maintained, often uninsured, and driven by fraudulent drivers" (fco.gov.uk/travel).
Heidi Klein's High Summer luxury swimwear and accessories range has just been launched. Among the popular staples to make a return for 2012 are the Biscayne Bay line of striped bikinis and tankinis. "Mozambique" is a new addition: a grey snakeskin print with plaited rope details. The designs are available in triangle, halter-neck, bandeau and one-piece shapes, alongside maxi-dresses, kaftans, hats and sandals. Prices start at £180. Available in stores and at heidiklein.com
"Escape the grey of Lima to cultural, sunny Arequipa," suggests the latest bulletin from the South American Explorers' Club. The reason is that this month, some 50 objects dating from the 18th century go on show at Arequipa's vividly painted Santa Catalina Monastery (saexplorers.org).
Cape Town detour
Twenty years ago, as South Africa emerged as a major tourist destination from the shadow of apartheid, South African Airways launched non-stop flights between Heathrow and Cape Town. But that link will be cut from 15 August. The airline cites a rise in APD and the introduction of costly visas for South Africans visiting the UK among reasons for the market's decline. For the next 10 weeks, BA will have a monopoly on the route, but when Virgin Atlantic begins its seasonal service on 28 October the flights will be offered to SAA passengers as a "code-share".
The number of hidden gardens, squares, allotments and roof terraces that will open in London today and tomorrow as part of the annual Open Garden Squares Weekend. They include the immaculately groomed grounds of Osterley House in Hounslow, an organic garden in Highgate, a secret orchard in Lewisham and a community farm in Sutton. Adult tickets cost £12 (under-12s go free) from the City of London information centre opposite St Paul's Cathedral, or on the door at selected gardens (opensquares.org).
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