July 4, 2014 7:05 pm

Updates from Italy, US, France and Vietnam

The Adler Mountain Lodge in the Dolomite reopens and Southwest Airlines makes its first international flight
A chalet bedroom at the Adler Mountain Lodge in Italy

A chalet bedroom at the Adler Mountain Lodge in Italy

Italy After a difficult, decade-long gestation, the Adler Mountain Lodge, a 30-room boutique hotel on a high-altitude plateau in the Dolomites, finally opened last week. The sleek building occupies the site of the former Hotel Mezdi, built in 1938 at the top of one of Italy’s first cable cars on the Alpe di Siusi, 1,800m above sea level. The Mezdi closed in 1981 and fell into disrepair before being bought by the current owners, the Sanoner family. Their plans for a new luxury property on the site met with vehement local opposition, before being amended several times.

The result is a modern take on traditional alpine architecture, built almost entirely of larch and spruce. The main lodge has 18 rooms, a restaurant, spa and indoor-outdoor infinity pool, and is surrounded by 12 one-bedroom chalets. Guests are collected by electric vehicle from the top of the cable car, or can be sent a permit allowing them to drive up the track to the hotel. Doubles from €414 full-board; chalets from €508. adler-lodge.com

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US After 43 years as a domestic airline, Southwest made its first international flight last week. The world’s largest low-cost carrier and the largest domestic airline in the US, it began flights from several US cities to the Bahamas, Aruba and Jamaica. Flights to Mexico and the Dominican Republic are due to start later this year. The move is a result of Southwest’s acquisition of AirTran, the routes’ existing operator, but the company says it plans further “near-international” expansion to destinations in Canada, Central America and northern South America. southwest.com

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France From New York to Wuhan, bike-sharing schemes have become increasingly popular but Paris is claiming a world first by introducing bikes for children as young as two (pictured). The new “P’tit Vélib” service is being introduced with 300 bikes in five parks and pedestrianised areas suitable for learning to cycle. There are four types of bike, suitable for children aged two to eight, which cost from €4 per hour or €10 per day. If successful, the scheme may be further extended throughout the city. velib.paris

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Vietnam A new seaplane service is due to launch in September, linking Hanoi’s Noi Bai airport and Ha Long bay. The flights, operated by Hai Au Aviation, will cut the three-hour journey time by road to 30 minutes and are expected to cost around $250 one-way. haiauaviation.com

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