All things big and small this week, as Travel Editor Stephen Scourfield traverses the globe in search of travel-related curiosities and practical news
Tiny Away has more than 100 tiny houses across Australia. A step up from glamping, each tiny house has hot showers, air-conditioning, a queen bed and a kitchenette. A spokesperson for Tiny Away says: “The sustainably built tiny houses are typically positioned on a working farm, often totally off-grid, and hosts offer all sorts of unique activities, including horse riding, foraging and farm handling, that show off rural and regional life.”
In New Zealand, the brand new “design-led” Holiday Inn Express Auckland City Centre has opened. Its 294 guest rooms have floor-to-ceiling windows giving views over advantage of the views over the city.
Aman New York hotel has been born from the monumental transformation of the iconic Crown Building in Manhattan in New York city. The hotel will welcome its first guests on August 2, 2022 but the 83-suite hotel opens for reservations on July 25, 2022. On the corner of 57 Street and Fifth Avenue, the Crown Building was built in 1921. It was designed by Warren and Wetmore, architects of some of New York’s most important buildings, including Grand Central Station. It has now been reimagined.
On entering Aman New York, guests ascend to the hotel’s 14 floor, to the grandeur of a double-height atrium. Restaurants include Arva, Aman’s convivial Italian restaurant, and Nama, Aman’s interpretation of Japan’s washoku dining tradition. Then there is the verdant wrap-around Garden Terrace, with reflective pools and fire pits.
Beyond Times Square (BTSQ) has interesting private tours lined up in New York city. A spokesperson tells me: “Guests can take in Lower Manhattan from the New York Harbour during the day or in the early evening courtesy of two experiences that take place on a private yacht, complete with a professional tour guide pointing out the iconic landmarks and sharing stories about the city.”
They cruise down the Hudson River, through the New York Harbour, up the East River and back. On the Private NYC Sightseeing Harbour Cruise and Lunch, guests dine on sandwiches, fruits, chips and cookies. On the Private NYC Sunset Cruise, they’ll nibble on snacks and sip cocktails.
Book online at btsq.com
BUSINESS IS BACK
A spokesperson for Flight Centre Business Travel says the top three overseas destinations for business travellers are the United States, United Kingdom and United Arab Emirates. FCBT is part of Flight Centre Travel Group, which has seen international travel return strongly in the last three months.
A FCBT travel manager is assigned to each customer, to give personalised service. FCBT general manager Cameron Harris says: “Corporate businesses understand that it’s now easier to have an expert take care of everything for you, freeing them up to do what they do best, running and growing their businesses.”
If nothing else, the coronavirus pandemic has made many aware of the pandemics that have happened throughout history. The unassuming Dr John Snow is famous for controlling the savage outbreak of cholera in Soho, London, in 1854, by having the handle removed from the Broad Street pump. Over two hours, the Cholera and Casanova walk not only tells his story, but that of Soho and of its denizens in Soho Square and neighbouring streets. They include Mozart and Casanova, and guests visits the site of the world’s first nightclub. It is $26 (£15) and one of a number of interesting tours at artmedicinetourslondon.com.
It was only about a day later, when the itching got unbearable, that I realised my back looked like bubble-wrap. Bed bugs in a London hotel. They don’t just live in mattresses and bed linen, but carpets and upholstery. But there are some clues that they are about. A spokesperson for UK mattress and bed company MattressNextDay recommends holidaymakers check out a mattress before they climb between the sheets, looking for these telltale signs.
Blood When they get squashed, the bugs release a lot of blood, especially around the seams of mattresses, which is often where they hide. These spots often look like “rust”.
Eggs They are about 1mm wide and are often a pale yellow colour.
Musty odour A strong, musty and unpleasant odour could possibly come from a bed bug’s scent glands.
Bug shells They shed their skin when they begin to grow, leaving small, husk-like specks that may crunch if squashed. If you spot signs when you arrive, notify the appropriate staff immediately.
PS Once you are bitten, don’t scratch, though the bites can take more than a week to fully calm down. Some might try skin cream containing hydrocortisone, others an oral antihistamine, such as diphenhydramine. I went on to visit my mother, who doused me in calamine lotion, of course.
Not far from London, the Weird Wiltshire Day Trip 2022 aims specifically to see crop circles. A tour spokesperson says: “Are they simply an elaborate hoax or are they caused by UFOs, Earth energies or plasma vortexes? 2021 showed some impressive formations and the summer of 2022 is expected to be even better.” This exclusive tour will be led by a local Wiltshire “expert” who claims to have access to the information network that provides breaking news on the latest formation. “So we set off in search of new crop circles within hours of them forming, when their energy is strongest.” While it aims to include the majority of crop circles, the tour also visits some of England’s most remarkable ancient sacred sites, including Stonehenge, Avebury Stone Circle, Silbury Hill, Chalk Hill Figures and West Kennet Long Barrow. A last comment: “We expect to visit at least five recent crop circles on this day tour.” It is $226 per adult.
Marriott International plans to debut its distinguished Ritz-Carlton Reserve brand off the west coast of Saudi Arabia. Projected to open in 2023, the property will be called Nujuma, and is expected to form a key part of the Red Sea coast’s development. Nujuma will be the first Ritz-Carlton Reserve in the Middle East, and one of only five worldwide.
Saudi Arabia is planning to spend US$1 trillion over the next decade to fire up its tourism economy. It aims to attract 100 million tourists a year by 2030. While it is reported that authorities plan to “promote aggressively as a leisure destination”, Saudi Arabian law criminalises, for example, LGBT people.
The UK’s first LGBTQ+ museum opened in London in May, 2022. In King’s Cross, it aims to bring the history and culture of the community to a wider audience. It has been established by the charity Queer Britain, a spokesperson saying it is “a place as exciting as the people, stories and ideas it explores and celebrates”.