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For tourists interested in England’s history, this is the perfect place to stay. From this month, the National Trust is offering Shute Barton, a manor house dating from 1380, to rent as a holiday home. The oldest and grandest property in the charity’s collection of holiday cottages, the house near Axminster reputedly has the largest fireplace in England, where two oxen could be roasted at once. After the family who lived there moved out in 2009, the house has been extensively renovated while retaining all its original features. There are also formal gardens and an ornate gatehouse, which is a scheduled monument in its own right. Shute Barton sleeps 10 and costs from £2,367 a week.
Dubai’s new Armani Hotel has rooms on the 39th floor of the Burj Khalifa building, the forthcoming Shangri-La will have rooms on the 52nd floor of London’s Shard building but, when it opens next month, Hong Kong’s Ritz-Carlton will trump them all. With a lobby on the 102nd floor of the International Commerce Centre and 312 rooms stretching up to the 117th floor, it will be the world’s highest hotel. The top floor, the 118th, features a bar, gym and swimming pool – the world’s highest, nearly 500m above street level. Rooms cost from HK$4,500 (£358) per night.
City airport continues its transformation into a leisure as well as a business hub with new flights direct to the south of France, Spain and Portugal. Between May and September, CityJet will run weekend flights to Avignon and Toulon (close to St Tropez). Meanwhile, British Airways has announced new flights from the airport to Malaga and Faro, to operate from June to October.
“First tracks” programmes, where a limited number of skiers pay a little extra to be allowed to ride the lifts before they officially open, are common in the US but rare in Europe. Now the carmaker Nissan is sponsoring such a scheme at four European resorts – Verbier, Avoriaz, Livigno and Formigal. By registering online, between 200 and 300 skiers a day can get free access to lifts for up to an hour before their normal opening.
A private game lodge that once belonged to Zambia’s former president reopened to the public last week after an 18-month renovation. Sanctuary Chichele Presidential Lodge, in South Luangwa national park, was built in the 1970s for Kenneth Kaunda, the country’s first president, and hosted visiting dignitaries including Queen Elizabeth II. It now has 10 suites, all with great views. The area is considered one of the best places in Africa for viewing game, including hippos, elephants, lions and leopards. Rates start at $320 per person per night, all-inclusive.
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