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August 30, 2013 6:12 pm
Scotland For the first time, tourists can now stay in the private mansion built by Sir Walter Scott, the Scottish poet and novelist. Abbotsford, near Melrose in the Scottish Borders, was commissioned by Scott in the early 19th century and continued to be the family home until the death of his great-great-great-granddaughter in 2004. The house then passed to a charitable trust, which raised more than £12m to pay for its restoration. The main house, with its extensive collections of books, art and curiosities – such as Rob Roy’s broadsword and dagger – reopened to the public in July. As of this weekend, visitors can rent a wing of the house, which sleeps 14 in seven bedrooms and has a billiard room, private courtyard and formal dining room with views over the River Tweed. A four-night rental costs from £4,200; on a self-catering basis. www.scottsabbotsford.co.uk
Iran A Seattle-based tour operator is to run what it claims is the first private tourist train to travel from Europe to Iran. Mir, which specialises in trips on the trans-Siberian and other Asian railways, says it has seen interest in travel to Iran grow “at a stunning pace” over the past year, despite political tensions. Its “Jewels of Persia” tour, onboard the Golden Eagle Danube Express, will run from Budapest to Tehran, via Romania, Bulgaria and Turkey. The trip, from October 14-28 2014, costs from $12,955; a westbound journey runs October 27-November 10. www.mircorp.com
Singapore While Virgin is trialling live comedy and music shows on some domestic flights in the UK, Singapore-based low-cost carrier Scoot is taking the opposite approach: offering passengers peace and quiet. The airline, which flies from Singapore to 11 destinations including Tokyo, Seoul and Sydney, is introducing “ScootinSilence” cabins, with five rows of seats that have extended legroom and in which no children under 12 are allowed. Upgrades from the regular economy cabin start at S$18 (£9). www.flyscoot.com
Macau The Sociedade de Jogos de Macau, Asia’s biggest casino company, has agreed a deal with Milan-based fashion house Versace to create a five-star resort in Cotai, Macau. Details of the Palazzo Versace are due to be unveiled this week. It will be the third hotel under the brand, joining properties in Australia’s Gold Coast and Dubai, and Versace says it is “committed” to expanding the hospitality side of its business. Macau overtook Las Vegas as the world’s biggest gambling centre in 2006, with casino revenues of about $7bn. Since then, revenues have continued to soar, last year reaching $38bn. www.palazzoversace.com
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