Moscow British Airways is to introduce first-class services between London and Moscow to capitalise on surging demand for premium seats in Russia. Until now the route has been operated by the airline’s short-haul planes which only have economy and club seating, but from March 25 it will use long-haul Boeing 747s and 777-200s, which have first, business, premium economy and economy. With a flight time of around three and a half hours, it will be airlines’ shortest “long-haul” route by far. The airline also plans to repaint some of its planes to resemble doves to celebrate the 2012 Olympics. The design, by British artist Pascal Anson, was picked by Tracey Emin and will be unveiled in April.

UK A new online reservation service is offering the chance to book rooms at some of London’s leading hotels just for the afternoon. Dayuse Hotels claims to offer prices between 30 and 70 per cent below the usual per night rate, and is targeting its service at disparate groups: business people who need somewhere quiet to work, travellers with time to kill between transport connections, and, explicitly, at “lovers seeking discreet encounters”. The Paris-based company already operates in France, Belgium, Luxembourg and Switzerland and has launched in London with properties such as the St John and the Town Hall hotel on its roster.

Japan Specialist tour operator Inside Japan is running a food-themed tour of the country led by MasterChef winner Tim Anderson, an expert in Japanese cuisine. Culinary experiences on the 13-night trip include visits to a Michelin-starred restaurant in Tokyo, sake tastings, tea ceremonies and Yokohama’s ramen museum. Departing on November 8, the trip costs £4,900 per person.

France A new cocktail bar offering panoramic views over Paris has opened in time for Valentine’s Day. La Vue is on the 34th floor of the Hotel Concorde LaFayette, and is lit by a chandelier made with 11,000 glass rods.

A ‘Cabrio’ cable car in Switzerland

Switzerland As the Jungfrau Railway prepares to celebrate its centenary, another Swiss company is hard at work on what it claims will be a world first for mountain tourism. The Stanserhorn-Bahn runs from the town of Stans, just outside Lucerne, to the top of the Stanserhorn, at 1,898m. It opened as a funicular railway in 1893, converting to a cable car in 1976. Now work is nearing completion on a new “Cabrio” cable car system, which has cost SFr24.9m (£17.2m) and is due to carry its first passengers in late May. The cabins feature two levels; a circular staircase allows passengers to walk from the closed lower deck to an open-air upper deck.

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