Nobu for Israel as El Al checks in online
EL AL, ISRAEL’S national airline, has announced a newly upgraded website (www.elal.co.uk) One of the key changes is a more user-friendly booking system allowing passengers to see prices for flights on dates adjacent to those they select. This is helpful for leisure travellers who often want to find the best fares. The site also includes an online check-in service for Heathrow, the first airport outside Israel to offer this service. It will enable passengers to check-in online from three to 24 hours before departure, pre-select seats, print boarding passes and go direct to bag drop-off or departure-gate security (www.elal. co.uk)
Israel’s 60th birthday celebrations continue in late summer, with a concert entitled Violins of Hope taking place in Jerusalem on September 24. Violinists from around the world will play at the outdoor concert beside Jerusalem’s Old City Walls. The Raanana Symphony and the Istanbul Symphony will accompany the soloists, some of whom will use instruments found in ghettoes and camps (www.violinsofhope.org).
Luxury cruise line Crystal has expanded its Jewish Heritage programmes in Northern Europe this summer aboard Crystal Symphony. The tours, which feature visits to Old Towns, museums, synagogues and Jewish families, include Berlin, St Petersburg, Stockholm and Dublin and cost from $75 (£37) per person. They are available on Crystal Symphony’s seven Northern Europe itineraries from June to the end of August. Fares from £2,440 per person (based on two sharing), for a seven-night cruise from Stockholm to Copenhagen (020 7287 9040; www. crystalcruises.co.uk).
Nobu, the restaurant chain, has launched a hospitality brand, with its first property — the Nobu Hotel and Residences — due to open on Herzliya Marina in 2010. The Hospitality Group is a partnership between the restaurant founder, Chef Nobu Matsuhisa and actor Robert De Niro, plus US and Israeli businessmen. The 225-room Nobu Hotel — which will include 12 penthouses and nine duplexes — will also be home to the first Nobu restaurant in Israel, as well as a landscaped pool with private cabanas, a spa, and a private Members’ Club. The second property will be in New York.
Aviva Preston’s annual kosher tour is heading to India this year. From November 3 to 23, the 19-day trip is provisionally priced at £3,950 and will include Delhi, Jaipur, Mumbai, Varanasi, Cochin and Calcutta. The cost includes domestic flights, accommodation in deluxe hotels (or, where unavailable, four-star hotels), buffet breakfasts, dinners and sandwich lunches under Orthodox supervision, tours, guides and evening entertainment, but not international flights (aviva@alptours. co.uk ; 0208 997 7083)
Sol Kerzner’s One&Only Resorts, which include Le Saint Géran, Mauritius; the Ocean Club, Bahamas and Reethi Rah, Maldives, has launched an espadrille collection designed by Christian Louboutin. Priced from £185, the shoes are available in three styles and colours to match all your favourite Tashia kaftans. They will be on sale at the resorts from June with a limited number at the Louboutin shop in London’s Motcombe Street (www.oneandonlyresorts.com).
Leading UK hotel chain De Vere is offering a weekend break at Cameron House, its stunningly renovated 18th-century mansion on the banks of Loch Lomond. The price is £599 for a room for two people, and includes two nights’ luxury bed and breakfast accommodation, dinner in The Cameron Grill on one night, a 90-minute loch cruise on the hotel’s speedboat, the choice of a round of golf on the Carrick or a spa treatment, and a bottle of Colquhoun Edition Cameron House Whisky to take home (www.devere. com; 01389 755 565).
Ashdown Park Hotel and Country Club in East Sussex is inviting budding artists to brush up their skills during its Artist Workshop Weekend from June 27 to 29. Sussex artist Juliet Murray is hosting a pastels course at the hotel for all levels of expertise and allowing time for the 186-acre estate, spa and 18-hole golf course. The two-night break costs £465 per person, based on single occupancy, and includes breakfast and dinner on both days (01342 824988; www.elitehotels.co.uk).
Ifyouhavebeenhookedbythe Strictly Come Dancing craze, you can learn contemporarydancemovesandsalsasteps with Healthy Options (www.healthyoption.co.uk). The wellbeing holiday experts are offering a 7-day Dance and Movement break on the Greek island of Lefkas, amid landscaped gardens near a beach. One week, from June 8 is £569 per person (based on two sharing) and includes flights, transfers, accommodation (room only) and the activity programme (0844 499 2909; www.healthy-option.co.uk).
Devotees of the luxe hotel chain Four Seasons will welcome the news that they have just opened their first property on the Indian sub-continent. The 202-roomFour Seasons Mumbai is a gleaming, 33-storey glass tower offering the most spacious guest accommodation in Mumbai. Rooms, typically, offer stunning views of the city skyline through floor to ceiling windows. There are also two restaurants, a two-storey spa, gym and outdoor pool. Double rooms from £275.95 (www.fourseasons.com).
Gateway to India in Mumbai: site of the country’s first Four Seasons Hotel and on Aviva Preston’s itinerary
The Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg. See the city with Crystal Cruises