September 27, 2013 6:56 pm

Short cuts: walking holidays in Nepal, London’s new Ace Hotel and luxurious Galápagos cruises

Philippines Philippine Airlines has announced it will restart services from Manila to London Heathrow from November 4 following the lifting of an EU ban on flights in July. Nonstop flights will operate five times a week on Boeing 777 aircraft. The airline, which last flew to the UK 15 years ago, is hoping the service will provide more convenient links for the nearly 700,000 Filipinos in Europe. In the first half of 2013, 60,000 Britons visited the Philippines. www.philippineairlines.com

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Nepal Village Ways, which offers walking holidays for small groups staying in community-run accommodation in India and Ethiopia, will launch a programme in Nepal from March next year. Walks in the little-visited Sailung district, northeast of Kathmandu, will link the villages of Solambu, Pasiban and Teksingh with a tented camp at Khola Kharka. On days when guests are not hiking, they will be able to experience village life, staying in properties that have been specially renovated for them as well as in a new guest house. The price is from £847 per person (based on two sharing), including one night at Dhulikhel, seven nights’ full board in the local communities, two nights in Kathmandu, all internal travel from Kathmandu and private walking guide, but not international flights. www.villageways.com

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London Ace Hotel, the Portland, Oregon-based chain, has just opened its first property outside the US, on Shoreditch High Street in east London, near the so-called “silicon roundabout”. The hotel, which occupies the site of a former Crowne Plaza, has a café overseen by world barista champion James Hoffmann and his company Square Mile Coffee Roasters, and a brasserie, Hoi Polloi, in partnership with Pablo Flack and David Waddington from the Bistrotheque restaurant in Hackney. Echoing the hipster ethos of the area, some of its 258 rooms have guitars and record turntables, with DJs playing nightly in the lobby and four times a week in the basement bar. www.acehotel.com/london

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Ecuador The Silversea Cruises’ Silver Galápagos, claimed to be the most luxurious cruise to sail around the Galápagos Islands, makes its maiden voyage this weekend. The ship accommodates 100 passengers with butler service, piano bar, fitness centre, massage room, beauty salon and jacuzzi among the amenities. Sailing weekly from Baltra, the seven-night cruise visits various landing sites on Santa Cruz, Genovesa, San Cristóbal, and Espanola accompanied by guides, with additional time for aquatic encounters. Full-board cruise-only prices start from £3,550 per person (two sharing). www.silversea.com

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A short dog standing on its hind legs©Alamy

Weight loss for dogs in Devon

Devon Dog owners who worry that they and their pets are carrying a few kilos too many can soon check into Britain’s first canine-human weight-loss retreat. Week-long courses will be held in Devon in November and February. Dogs will undergo group exercise, grooming, therapy and nutrition sessions, while their masters will take part in hypnotherapy, yoga, pilates, hiking, wellbeing treatments and food- planning consultations. Victoria Wills, owner of “boutique boot camp” NuBeginnings, believes owners’ poor eating habits are often reflected by their pets, and bringing a dog along provides moral support when trying to lose weight. Fully-inclusive weeks start from £2,900 per owner and one pet. www.nubeginnings.co.uk

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