MAGALUF GETS A NEW IMAGE
The infamous Majorcan resort town that has became synonymous with alcohol-fuelled debauchery is looking to clean up its image with a series of measures aimed at curbing anti-social behaviour. Local authorities will clamp down on the kind of behaviour that saw Magaluf make the headlines last year by introducing more regular police checks in Punta Ballena (where the bulk of the bars are located) and a new “best practice” code of conduct for businesses will be introduced – basically to stop the serving of cheap vodka shots to visibly intoxicated young people. A plan to pedestrianise the beachfront streets has also been approved, while a ¤200 million investment will be made to upgrade the town’s hotels, particularly in Calvià Beach, which is being earmarked as a resort for a more mature tourist.
IN SHACKLETON’S FOOTSTEPS
This year marks the centenary of Ernest Shackleton’s remarkable Antarctic survival mission and you can experience at least some of the challenges he and his men faced in 1915.
The 20-day Shackleton Spirit includes a visit to Elephant Island (right), where Shackleton left some of his men while he, Tom Crean and three others made the 720-mile journey to South Georgia in a lifeboat. You will make the crossing in a bigger and much more comfortable boat, and you also have the option of taking on the gruelling four-day trek across South Georgia to the whaling station. The trip departs Ushaia in Argentina on March 9th and costs €10,400 (€11,400 if you also want to do the South Georgia trek; flights to Ushaia are not included) and places are limited. See
GET AWAY AT HOME
Carton House (cartonhouse.com) has a weekday package that runs until the end of February; for €198 you'll get an overnight stay for two in a superior double in the modern wing of the house, dinner in the Linden Tree restaurant and €20 credit (€10 per person) toward either a spa treatment or a round of golf on one of the estate's two championship golf courses. The four-star Abbeyglen Castle Hotel in Clifden has a two-night B&B package that includes dinner on both evenings and afternoon tea. It is valid weekends only until February 28th and costs €179 per person sharing. It's not too early to start planning a romantic break in mid-February. Lough Eske Castle (solishotels.com) in Co Donegal has a Valentine package for two for ¤399 that includes an overnight in a deluxe room, complete with champagne and rose petals, and a candlelit dinner for two in the Cedars Grill Restaurant.
HOME OF THE MARTINI
Next month will see the long-awaited reopening of the landmark Knickerbocker Hotel on Times Square in New York. John Jacob Astor IV opened the original beaux-arts hotel in 1906 and it became famous for its lavish parties – the Martini was invented there – and high society guests until it closed its doors in 1921 after prohibition was introduced. The 330 guestrooms, including 31 suites, in the reopened building have a contemporary design with Stearns & Foster Euro-top beds and all the usual mod-cons for a luxury four-star. Doubles start from €570.
FIVE HOTELS IN VIENNA
The Viennese ball season – 450 balls, more than 2,000 hours of dance-floor action – is in full swing, with the big events to come over the next month or so (see vienna.info for details). Here are five hotels to hang your gowns and tuxedos in:
(15 Hackengasse 20;
; double from €120) LED lighting, solar panels and a rainwater-collection system are just some of the more obvious markers of this eco-aware hotel. For the rest of it, the rooms are bright and colourful, and in summer the lavender-filled roof terrace is the perfect spot for a sundowner. Breakfast (all organic produce, of course) is served in a lovely garden.
(1 Köllnerhofgasse 6;
; room from €160) Natural wood floors and a minimalist decor are the style of this simple, elegant hotel. There are free snacks and drinks just after lunch and before dinner in the lounge, and there’s also a cinema on the premises.
(1 Kärntner Ring 16;
; rooms from €380) Vienna’s fanciest digs is a former Hapsburg palace dripping in marble and majesty, with amenities and service to match. The guest list is as shimmering as its chandeliers and its flamboyant afternoon tea – which includes the famous Imperial Torte – has been served in regal grandeur since 1873.
(1 Grashofgasse 4;
; double from €140) A 19th-century building that is home to a terrific boutique hotel oozing old Vienna charm – the old-style lift has original frosted-glass panels – and a thoroughly modern sensibility in its room décor, which is business chic at its very best.
Radisson Blu Style Hotel
(1 Parkring 16;
; room from €230) Two of the Parkring’s fin de siècle palace buildings have been given the Radisson’s signature Scandinavian treatment. So expect plenty of dark wood, low lighting and sleek, contemporary furnishings.