Rio de Janeiro The World Cup may be over but there has been little let-up in a city already counting down to the 2016 Olympics. A controversial project to boost tourism and improve transport has just been inaugurated – a cable car linking the city’s central railway station and the favela of Providência, providing a fast (and free) route from favela to city, with sensational views of the coastline. The city’s second cable car system, it has suffered long delays, having been completed in May 2013 but only going into service last month. Some locals have protested against the removal of homes and criticised voyeuristic “favela tourism”. Officials, however, claim it will bring new revenue and is a crucial part of the ongoing revitalisation of Porto Maravilha, the key district being developed for the Olympics, and where the Museum of Tomorrow, due to open 2016, is currently taking shape.
Norway The inaugural Salt festival begins this month on the remote island beach of Sandhornøya (reached by ferry from Bodø). It is an ambitious attempt to bring together the worlds of art, design, music and food in a variety of performances – from club nights to storytelling – in a remote Arctic location.
Guests can stay for a day, a night or up to a week any time over the next year – accommodation is in striking eco-friendly beach shacks and the line-up (including the Arctic Philharmonic Orchestra and Sami singer Elle Márjá Eira) is in constant development. The event runs from August 29 until September 6 2015; the organisers then plan to run spin-off festivals in northern locations including Iceland, Greenland, the Faroe Islands, Alaska and Scotland.
Abu Dhabi Not many hotels would cite excessive traffic noise as a selling point, but the five-star Yas Viceroy Abu Dhabi is capitalising on its position straddling the city’s Formula 1 Yas Marina Circuit by launching a series of four-day packages that take in race weekend on November 21-23. The racetrack can be seen from many of the hotel’s 11 restaurants and from the windows or balconies of many of its enormous if unremarkably swish bedrooms; guests at the hotel will also have special access to VIP areas and post-race events, from £898 per night.
Arizona The development of evermore ridiculous spa experiences continues apace, this week at the L’Auberge de Sedona. Its L’Apothecary Spa – recently voted among the top spas in the US by Condé Nast Traveler magazine – has just launched Feet in the Creek, in which guests can “reconnect with the earth” and enjoy the “spiritual surroundings” by wading around Oak Creek, a stream that runs through the resort’s grounds. The $135 treatment (if that’s what you can call it) is based on the “science” of earthing, which promotes direct contact with the earth to enhance physical and mental equilibrium.