May 31, 2013 6:50 pm

Shortcuts: Travel news and inspiration

A ‘EuroVegas’ resort on the outskirts of Madrid, tented camps in southern Colorado and a ‘world-class’ ski area in North Korea
One of the tents at Cresto Ranch

One of the tents at Cresto Ranch

Spain Sheldon Adelson, billionaire chairman of the Las Vegas Sands Corporation, last week announced more details of the vast “EuroVegas” resort due to be built on the outskirts of Madrid. Speaking at the Jerusalem International Tourism Summit, he said it would have 12 hotels, each with about 3,000 rooms, and a total of 2,400 meeting rooms, which could make it “the convention centre of the world”. Adelson, who is credited with reducing Las Vegas’s reliance on casinos by growing the conventions and events business, said he would stick to the same formula for Madrid and other future projects. The first phase is due for completion in 2017.

www.sands.com

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US In the mountains of southern Colorado, tented camps used to provide basic accommodation for prospectors and migrant workers but now the concept has been reinvented for affluent, style-conscious, tourists. Cresto Ranch, which opens this weekend, consists of eight tents for two (rentable at $1,400 per night) on the banks of the Dolores river between Telluride and Cortez. Activities include fly-fishing for trout, as well as riding, hiking and rafting, and there is a restaurant and bar in a restored, riverside farmhouse. The property, owned by London-based financier Christoph Henkel, is a sister to Dunton Hot Springs, a renovated ghost town four miles upriver.

www.duntonhotsprings.com

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Switzerland The Swiss National Tourist Office has launched an innovative scheme that rates hotels on “friendliness” rather than facilities, cleanliness or cuisine. Rather than employ official inspectors, the project, undertaken with partners including the Lausanne Hospitality Management School and University of Bern, uses software that automatically analyses reviews posted on more than 250 websites. The 100 “friendliest” hotels, announced at a ceremony in Bern last week, can display Prix Bienvenu logos in their marketing material, alongside traditional star ratings. It will now become an annual process.

www.myswitzerland.com

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Kim Jong-eun at Masik Hill©Reuters

Kim Jong-eun at Masik Hill

North Korea The country’s leader Kim Jong-eun last week inspected work on what he said would be a “world-class” ski resort. The ski area, at Masik Hill in Kangwon province, will eventually have 110km of pistes, as well as cable cars, a heliport and a hotel, according to the official Korean Central News Agency. The construction of the resort comes as South Korea prepares to host the 2018 winter Olympics. Kim, who studied in Switzerland, said it would be “more fantastic to see the ground covered with snow”.

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