Category - Travel News

Hear breaking travel news stories from the travel and tourism industry at the moment they happen. Read our funny slant on travel news stories – PurpleTravel.co.uk

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Purple 10: St Patricks Day 2014
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Passport Pass Notes
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A Night Less Ordinary: A room made from Lego
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The best new hotel openings for 2013
5
San Francisco Airport to be named after Harvey Milk
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A hotel room with a social media butler thrown in
7
World’s funniest airport names
8
The Dreamliner has landed
9
Bugarach, A.K.A. The Doomsday Destination
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The world’s highest suspension bridge in the Swiss Alps

Purple 10: St Patricks Day 2014

Purple 10: Things to do on St Patricks Day 2014

It’s only a few weeks away, if you’re not heading to Ireland to celebrate the national day on 17th March, then at least you can pretend you’re a bit Irish with our Purple 10 things to do on St Patricks Day 2014.

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Image via @ dapuglet

  1. Eat something Irish. We’re not suggesting you turn Zombie on us, we mean get a taste of some yummy Irish cuisine. If you can’t get your hands on a Guinness (where are you? On the moon?) Then you can always break out a recipe book and throw together some coddle, boxty or champ.
  2. Go green. Hat, scarf, wig, anything really, just make sure you’re wearing something green on 17 March.
  3. Watch a parade. If you can’t make it to Dublin and the huge parade there, maybe there’s one happening in a bit city near you. There’s information here about parades throughout USA, Canada, the Caribbean and the Middle East.
  4. Learn about Ireland and its patron saint. There’s more to Ireland than simply shamrocks and Guinness, find out a little about the history of the country and the story of St Patrick. There’s a good podcast to start off with here.
  5. Whack a snake. We’re kidding; we just wanted to let you know that part of St Patrick’s celebrations include delighting in a complete lack of snakes in the Emerald Isle. The saint is said to have chased them into the sea and they’ve stayed away ever since.
  6. Have a flutter, the luck of the Irish. What better way to put that into practice than having a go at the bookies.
  7. Listen to some trad. Traditional irish music is a joy to listen to and even better to watch. The fiddle, whistle, pipes or concertina and plenty more are likely to be playing in harmony in pubs the world over to celebrate Ireland’s national day.
  8. Head to the pub and have a pint. If nothing else impresses, maybe a traditional pint of the black stuff will have you feeling green (in a good way!)
  9. Learn a jig, a reel or a polka. This isn’t some kind of scary incantation; it’s actually a type of traditional Irish dancing as made famous by Riverdance and Michael Flatley. YouTube Preview Image
  10. Have the craic. This isn’t a totally unique Irish concept, but the word is. Craic means having as much fun as you can!

Passport Pass Notes

Passports are tricky things, we can’t tell you the amount of stories we’ve heard from people who realize they’ve left theirs at home the day they were meant to travel, missing flights because they couldn’t find it, or realising it’s out of date the a week before you leave!!

Passport

Passport image via @ Nathan17

We don’t want your holiday to be ruined by something like that, so we wanted to answer some of your most asked passport questions in one handy place. First thing is, it is your responsibility to keep your passport safe and in good order.

Renewing

It usually takes around three weeks to renew a passport and the price changes depending on how fast you request it. You need to bear this in mind when making a booking and ensure your passport will have arrived well before you leave.
If your passport is going to expire soon, you should think about applying for a new one early. Some countries require a minimum of two years validity on your passport from the date you arrive home.
Our rule guideline is that you have validity of at least six months left in your passport after your return date. If you have specific questions you should contact the consulate or embassy of the country you are travelling to. You can search here for UK guidelines on passport requirements by country.

Safety

It’s a good idea to leave copies of your passport, insurance details, ticket details and itinerary with friends and family at home too.
Lost: If you’ve lost your passport, or believe it has been stolen you’ll need to report it to the local police so you can get a copy of the report. You will need that to get replacement passport papers and for insurance reasons. Get in touch with the nearest British Embassy, High Commission or Consulate too.
If your passport is lost or stolen abroad, you will need to fill in an LS01 form (available from the local embassy/consulate.) The Foreign and Commonwealth Office will issue you with replacement documents to get back to the UK.

Emergency passport

If you need to travel urgently, it is possible to get an emergency passport but you will need to show some document verifying your identity and a copy of a police report if it has been stolen. There is a fee involved in this too, so be prepared to pay the price. And not all countries accept an Emergency Travel Document (ETD.)
Similarly if you’ve reported your passport is missing to an embassy or consulate and you find it tucked away in a bag or under a pillow, you won’t be able to use it, as it will have been electronically cancelled. Be warned, if you try to use it, you may be stopped by the authorities.

In addition, whatever happens everything related to passports takes time, e.g. renewing or reporting it as lost, so your travel plans might be disrupted.

My passport says Miss, but I am a Mrs

As long as the gender on your booking corresponds to the gender on your passport, there should be no problem in being able to fly. Being labelled incorrectly as Ms/Mrs or Miss won’t change your booking. UK and most other passports do not actually state the title on travel documents. However, if this is not the case for you, please contact our team immediately by emailing admin@purpletravel.co.uk.

I got married and am in the process of changing my name

Your booking must be in the name that is on your passport. DirectGov has some sound advice. It says if you need to renew your passport it might be better to get one earlier in your maiden name and change it afterwards. Most travel companies won’t allow you on board if your name is different to your passport even if you have your marriage certificate with you.

We would urge anyone in any doubt about any aspect of their passport to contact the Foreign Office for up to date information.

A Night Less Ordinary: A room made from Lego

Legoland Room 1

If your idea of a good night is packed with Lego bricks, towers of all shapes and sizes and little square headed figures all over the place, then head for a night in Legoland in California, USA. Due to open on April 5th 2013, if you thought your home was coming down with Lego bricks, you ain’t seen nothing yet.

Legoland California is dedicated to all things colourful and brick shaped, from the blocks that adorn the walls as you make your way in, to the perfectly themed carpets. There are around 3,422 Lego models throughout the hotel, including eight in each room, made from more than three million Lego bricks. In the lobby alone there is a wall of 6,000 minifigures and a family of smoke breathing dragons at the front entrance.

Legoland water park

In the hotel there are three dedicated room types: Pirate with its Jolly Roger flags and Lego pirate parrots, Adventure with a sweeping jungle theme and friendly brick made monkeys and Kingdom where you get a taste of all things King Arthur and the Round Table. It’s probably fair to say these rooms and staying in the hotel fulfil just about every Lego fantasy you could imagine. In fact you could say it’s a Lego geek’s dream right down to the smallest detail. On top of family sleeping areas and dedicated Lego treats for little ones, a trip to the Hotel also offers select entry to rides and attractions within the theme park.

Beyond the hotel you get to splash around in the water park and even build your own raft from soft Lego bricks, or dodge the water cannons, go on a Safari trek, or visit Sky Patrol. Whatever you choose, we’re sure Lego adventurers of all ages will find something to enjoy. There are even mini Lego Star Wars adventure areas, a mini Las Vegas and something called a Coastersaurus, which we are dying to try!

Miniland las vegas

Find out more about hotels you never knew existed in other posts in a Night Less Ordinary.

All images via @ Legoland California.

The best new hotel openings for 2013

These incredible 2013 hotel openings will provide great travel inspiration for your next trip. From a Thief Hotel to a sushi hotel, we’ve uncovered the best of the best.

The Quin Hotel

The Quin Hotel, New York

The celebrated 57th Street Buckingham Hotel, built in 1929, is to be restored this year as The Quin Hotel.  Once frequented by musical legends such as pianist/composer Ignacy Jan Paderewski, the historic 18-storey beauty is set to open in February 2013, and hopes to capitalise on this musical and artistic heritage. Its luxurious in-house amenities even include a gallery, featuring paintings by Irish artist, Patrick Graham. Furthermore, the hotel’s location, which is within walking distance of Carnegie Hall, the Museum of Modern Art and the 57th Street gallery district, is sure to add to its cultural flair. The hotel will have 200 rooms, an American restaurant, a spa and a business centre.

the thief

The Thief, Oslo

Recently opened in downtown Olso, Norway, is a former 18th-century prisoner colony come waterfront hotel. Aptly named The Thief, the name derives from the days when criminals were brought to Tjuvholmen, nicknamed “Thief Island”, which lies just off the coast. Today, the same waterfront is made up of art galleries, bars, cafes, restaurants, shops, and now, to the modern 119-room, nine-floor hotel.  A member of Design Hotels, The Thief boasts a penthouse suite, panoramic views of the city and a rooftop terrace. Although it’s unlikely that you will be wishing to escape from this prison, as cars are forbidden along the Scandinavian coastline, the primary way of getting around is via foot or bike.

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Four Seasons Hotel Lion Palace, St. Petersburg

Once home to a Russian princess, Four Seasons Hotel Lion Palace St. Petersburg is, as its name suggests, a restored palace. Expected to open sometime in spring 2013, the hotel’s majestic marble staircase is embellished with gold and bronze moulding, a nod to its 1820s glory; the designers even used the original architectural drawings as a reference. One of the palace’s earlier courtyards is now a glass enclosed Tea Lounge, serving breakfast, tea and a light dinner. Hungrier guests can indulge in some fine Italian cuisine at the Percorso restaurant or decadent Asian fare at Sintoho, followed by a glass of cognac at Xander bar. In the works is also a four-level luxury spa with an enclosed rooftop pool and several treatment rooms.

the peninsula

The Peninsula, Paris

Hong Kong-based Peninsula Hotels group will this year make its European debut with its Parisian addition, set to open in late 2013. The hotel will occupy the Beaux-Arts gem constructed in 1908, which was once home to the Majestic Hotel. Great measures are being taken to make certain the building is restored to its original magnificence and ensure that it blends flawlessly with the surrounding Parisian architecture in the sophisticated neighbourhood of the 16th arrondissement. Once complete, The Peninsula will house an impressive 200 guest rooms and a spa on the enviable Avenue Kléber near the Champs-Élysées.

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Nobu, Las Vegas

Opening in Las Vegas is the first-ever hotel from master sushi chef Nobu Matsuhisa. Expected to open within Caesars Palace on February 4, the hotel will be one of the first expansions of a restaurant into the world of hotels – a new trend for the New Year perhaps… watch this space. The idea of a hotel built around a restaurant concept is something we quite admire, and with interior design from David Rockwell, including a hand-layed river rock wall, we’re certain the venue will not disappoint.  And of course, ordering room service from Nobu is a dream soon to be realised.

Shangri-La-Bosphorus-Istanbul_Premier-Bosphorus-Room-568x377

Shangri-La Bosphorus, Istanbul

Shangri-La Bosphorus, set to open in Istanbul in the first quarter of 2013, will be the luxury hotel brand’s first property in Turkey. Sitting neatly on the shore of the Bosphorus Strait in the Besiktas district near the Dolmabahce Palace, the hotel is ideally located for all the local amenities. Its addition to the Istanbul skyline will be particularly of note, as on completion Shangri-La Bosphorus will be the second tallest building on the coastline. With 186 guest rooms, including 17 suites with sea views, the hotel’s design is contemporary mixed with Asian touches. This theme crosses over to the hotel restaurant, which serves both Western and Asian cuisine, while in the Lobby Lounge guests can enjoy afternoon tea and tapas. Ladies may indulge at The Spa at Shangri-La, which will specialise in Chinese healing therapies, yet also include two Turkish hammams.

maldives

Cheval Blanc Randheli, Maldives

While remote, the Maldives’ island of Noonu Atoll, is possibly the most perfect setting for the upcoming Cheval Blanc Randheli (part of LVMH’s luxury hotel portfolio). Set to open this summer, the extravagant 45 loft-style villas, some of which will be set on the white-sand beach, while others will be propped up on stilts over turquoise waters, will feature personal infinity pools, flawlessly selected interiors and awe-inspiring views of the contiguous lagoon. The Cheval Blanc Spa will be readily available for indulgent treatments, and a fleet of traditional Maldivian fishing boats, specially crafted for Cheval Blanc, will allow guests to explore the local area at its most romantic. The heavenly retreat will also include four restaurants, ranging from fine dining to a fish market, as well as cigar and wine cellars.

San Francisco Airport to be named after Harvey Milk

Last week, we heard news that Birmingham International may be in for a rename, after Brummie-born King of Darkness, Ozzy Osbourne. Now it looks like San Francisco Airport have similar plans in mind.

sanfranairport

San Francisco’s airport has released news that they may be renamed after campaigner Harvey Milk. David Campos of the Board of Supervisors, has asked voters to approve the memorial of Milk, who was the first gay man elected to public office in the United States in 1977. His openness and call for others to do the same with their own sexuality, inspired a whole generation of activists. Sadly, Milk, along with Mayor George Moscone, was assassinated at City Hall just over  a year later.

His nephew, Stuart Milk, runs an international gay rights foundation in his uncle’s memory. He believes that the renaming of the airport would mark a milestone in gay rights campaigning, as flights to and from San Francisco International serve 68 countries where homosexuality is illegal.

harvey-milk

He told one newspaper, “For young gay people in an illegal place looking up at a monitor and being able to point to this international airport named after an LGBT advocate, it gives them the green light to authenticity. It’s a major representation that (they) are being celebrated somewhere in the world in a high-level way.”

Plans are currently well under way and Campos said the San Francisco Board of Supervisors could vote on the amendment in as little as two weeks.

A hotel room with a social media butler thrown in

A hotel in Washington DC, USA is planning the ultimate in hotel stays for the political animal who really has everything. For just $47,000, you’ll get a personalised tour of the city, with 22 of your closest friends, a couple’s massage, a private car and driver and the piece de resistance, oh and a dedicated social media butler. All in the luxurious surrounds of The Madison Hotel.

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Victoria Devine of Anchor Media will take charge of all your pinning, tweeting, instagramming and facebooking needs and ‘chronicle your inaugural experience so your friends and family can follow your adventures.’ You have the choice of Victoria trailing you on your inaugural weekend, or you can simply give her your details so she can post directly. However she says she’s not really sure what format it will take, whether she’ll need to come up with witty tweets on the spot, or if she’s allowed think about it for a while.

The full package is as follows:

  • Four night stay in one of The Madison’s Presidential Suites
  • Dedicated Social Media Butler, Anchor Media’s Victoria Devine to chronicle your Inaugural experience so your friends and family can follow your adventures on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest. The Social Media Butler will post on all of your accounts so you don’t have to fumble for your phone to catch that perfect Facebook profile picture!
  • Private Presidential Inauguration tour for you and 22 of your friends.  Listen to the stories and see the scenes of past Presidential Inaugurations, with stops for photos at the south side of the White House, the East side of the Capitol, and the memorials of President Lincoln, Korean War, Vietnam War memorials, and Arlington Cemetery with a visit to the John F. Kennedy gravesites.  This tour is created exclusively by Cultural Tourism DC
  • A $5,000 shopping experience at Brooks Brothers to perfect your town and country wardrobe
  • Personal town car and driver for the length of stay at The Madison and to Lansdowne on January 22

Once at Lansdowne, our guest will experience their signature Presidential Treatment which includes:

  • Accommodations in one of Lansdowne’s Presidential Suites
  • 75-minute Couples Massage at Spa Minérale

World’s funniest airport names

Ever had a layover in Fukui? Or a delayed flight in Brest? Inspired by the possible Ozzy Osbourne Airport in Birmingham, we’ve tracked down the world’s funniest airport names.

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1. Batman Airport (BAL) Turkey

2. Useless Loop Airport (USL), Australia

3. Fukui Airport (FKJ), Japan

4. Gaylord Airport (GLR), USA

5. Moron Airport (OZP), Spain

6. Rifle Airport (IRD), USA

8. Eek Airport (EEK), USA

9. Asbestos Hill Airport (YAF), Canada

10. Deadhorse Airport (SCC), USA

11. Mafia Airport (MFA), Tanzania

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12. Brest Airport (BES), France

13. Mysore Airport (MYQ), India

14. Colon Airport (ONX), Panama

15. Ponce Airport (PSE), Puerto Rico

 

 

The Dreamliner has landed

The ‘jet-lag busting’ Boeing 787 Dreamliner has taken to the skies. The first flight took place from Doha to London Heathrow earlier in December, as Qatar Airways became the first airline to use the plane for scheduled flights.

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Qatar Airways Chief Executive Officer Akbar Al Baker, pictured left, with Qatar’s Consul to Britain, Mr Fahad Al Mushairi onboard the airline’s new Boeing 787 at London Heathrow.

The revolutionary plane is seen as the next step in travel; it’s made from a special new material and offers the best in comfort for passengers, there is wi-fi and texting, Android powered screens and entertainment options.

Qatar will feature five daily flights between Doha and Heathrow on the Boeing 787, while from February, the plane will bring travellers from Britain to Australia.

You can watch footage of the Dreamliner’s landing at Heathrow here:

YouTube Preview Image

Bugarach, A.K.A. The Doomsday Destination

Now a local legend, the tiny, but beautiful village of Bugarach, lies in the foothills of the Pyrenees, among other-worldly landscapes and soaring eagles. Once, it was only the locals who knew about this hidden village, but today, this ‘chosen’ destination has become one of the most famous in France, named by CNN as “the doomsday destination.”

The village of Bugarach attracts many  who believe that it will survive the  end of the World 21 December 2012

Allegedly, there is only one place on earth that will be saved from Apocalypse (or two if you count Sirince), and that is the quiet village of Bugarach. It’s no surprise then that this miniscule retreat, with just two narrow streets, 176 residents, and virtually no agriculture, has seen a mammoth increase in one-way flights in the weeks preceding 21 December (the Mayan end of the world prediction).

Mayor Jean-Pierre Delord (a farmer in his mid-60s), noticed the apocalyptic forecast on the Internet a couple of years back and suggested at a council meeting, that the village take special security measures with which to handle an influx of visitors in December 2012. A member of the meeting then told the local press, who told the national press, who then went global, and it wasn’t long before huge news agencies and TV crews had set up camp on the village cobbles, asking confused locals about their thoughts on the looming Armageddon.

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“The village has always attracted people with esoteric beliefs, they were here before and they will come afterwards, but this is something quite different,” Delord said in a recent interview with The Guardian. Speaking of the nearby town of Rennes-Le-Chateau, described as “the vortex of Da Vinci Code madness”, Delord’s comments are not wrong. This corner of France is renowned for its riddles of hidden treasure and even a believed cover-up of Jesus and Mary Magdalene’s married life in France. What’s more, Jules Verne wrote about Bugarach and the existence of an underground civilisation and Nostradamus is said to have spent some of his childhood nearby.

The Bugarach mountain, with its 1,320m peak is said to have inspired the mountain in Steven Spielberg’s Close Encounters of the Third Kind. Known as the “upside down mountain” or “the magic mountain”, its lower layers of rock are mysteriously younger than those at the top, making it a complete geological mystery. Home to a staggering amount of caves, from which strange sounds and odd light effects have emerged, it’s more than just Verne that has questioned the mountain’s underground activity, often called a “UFO underground car park”. UFO hunters are often led here, searching for pieces of spaceship to prove the theories correct.

We found this recent sighting on YouTube particularly interesting:

YouTube Preview Image

 

The world’s highest suspension bridge in the Swiss Alps

The world’s highest (and scariest) suspension bridge has opened above a glacier in the Swiss Alps. This pedestrian walkway is suspended 1,500ft high, around 10,000ft above sea level. The bridge was built to mark the 100th anniversary of the opening of a cableway that joined the towns of Engelberg and Gerschnialp in January 1913.

The construction, named the Titlis Cliff Walk, has just been completed after five months of intense building development by engineers. Costing a whopping £1 million to make, the bridge is 330ft long, but just 3ft wide, emphasising its extreme, vertigo-inducing height.

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What’s more, on the grand opening of the suspension bridge, a mammoth snow storm meant that visitors could not see the drop below the bridge, reducing it to a mere few feet. Such weather conditions proved a challenge for the engineers, whose working hours depended upon the dangers of their surroundings. And with snow storms common place, visibility can be reduced to almost zero on the bridge, adding to the terrifying effect. “Everyone was very impressed by the bridge,” said Peter Reinle from Titlis Cable Cars, “It opened in a real snow storm which made it an adventure for everyone who crossed it.”

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Do you dare to cross it?

 

Book your holidays to the Swiss Alps with PurpelTravel.co.uk.

 

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