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September 30, 2011 6:03 pm
Verbier Resorts across the Swiss Alps are bracing themselves for a difficult winter as the strong franc makes them more expensive than eurozone rivals. But tourism officials in Verbier have come up with an innovative solution. It will offer visitors an exchange rate up to 20 per cent better than the official rate of the day on accommodation and lift passes sold via the tourist board’s new central reservations website, due to go live on November 1. Meanwhile tour operator Elemental Adventure has launched a similar offer on Canadian heli-ski holidays, aimed at British skiers put off by the poor exchange rate. On trips booked by October 15 to Bell 2 Lodge and Ripley Creek, British Columbia, it is offering to apply the December 2008 exchange rate. www.verbier-st-bernard.ch; www.eaheliskiing.com
Birmingham Recent years have seen growing numbers of adventurers attempt to cycle round the world but now a British company is to offer the experience as a fully organised and supported holiday. The trip departs from London in September 2012 and arrives back nine months later, during which the 30 participants will have cycled more than 18,000 miles through 20 countries. The cyclists will be followed by a truck carrying tents, food, communications and bike repair equipment. A 24-hour headquarters in the UK will manage logistics, flight bookings and visas. As well as the core group of riders, others will be able to join up for sections of between nine and 60 days. The full trip costs £34,000, though a £4,500 discount is being offered to anyone who signs up at this weekend’s Cycle Show at the NEC Birmingham, where the organisers are holding a series of talks. www.worldcyclechallenge.com; www.cycleshow.co.uk
Los Angeles If cycling round the world sounds too strenuous, the Four Seasons hotel group has announced an altogether more luxurious alternative. The 78 guests on its 22-day circumnavigation will travel by private jet, a specially configured Boeing 757. Departing from Los Angeles on October 29 2012, they will stay at Four Seasons properties in Hawaii, French Polynesia, Australia, Thailand, Bali, India, Egypt and the UK. Experts including Charles Doherty, author of The Encyclopedia of Far Eastern Art, and food historian Rachel Laudan will give in-flight talks to prepare guests for the next destination. The trip costs $66,950 per person. www.luxuryworldjettravel.com
Chamonix Workers for the Chamonix cable car company have successfully slowed the melting of a glacier by covering it with a 750-metre square tarpaulin over the summer. The cover was placed on the Argentière glacier at the top of the Grands Montets ski area to prevent the ski run from becoming increasingly steep and crevassed. The technique has already been successfully employed in the Swiss resort of Andermatt and could become more common across the Alps. Chamonix has already confirmed that it will use the same method next year. www.chamonix.com
London Clever brand synergy, or a case of ill-advised corporate meddling? 51 Buckingham Gate, a boutique hotel owned by the Indian Tata group, has opened a suite themed on another of its companies, car manufacturer Jaguar. The two-bedroom suite has been “overseen” by Jaguar design director Ian Callum (responsible for cars including the XK, XF and XJ) and includes a futuristic fireplace that echoes the shape of the cars’ rear windows, historic Jaguar photographs and furnishings made from the same leather used for the cars. The rate of £5,100 per night includes breakfast, drinks, a butler and a chauffeured car (a Jaguar). www.51-buckinghamgate.com
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