Today: Check into the new Tierra Patagonia hotel, on the outskirts of Chile's Torres del Paine national park. The 40-room retreat overlooks the breathtaking beauty of Lake Sarmiento and has a list of outdoor activities from horse-riding to wildlife hikes (tierrapatagonia.com). Meanwhile, Virgin Holidays has opened its first retail shop on High Street Kensington in London, with pods dedicated to cruise, hotels and holidays (virginholidays.co.uk). And if you're about to head off on holiday, consider tour operator Black Tomato's new retail website The Beach Tomato Shack, which stocks beachwear and more (thebeachtomatoshack.com).
This week: Samoa in the South Pacific changes time zone on Thursday, hopping across the International Date Line and losing Friday in the process. This will enable it to be one of the first nations in the world to welcome in the New Year (samoa.travel).
In the diary: Ryanair has announced three new routes from Stansted to Greece, starting from March 2012 in time for summer. The connections include the first scheduled service to Chania, Crete's second airport, and another to Patras Araxos airport, which opens up the erstwhile remote Peloponnese peninsula. A new flight to the island of Kos rounds off the trio (ryanair.com).