Short cuts


After playing a central role in the pomp of the royal wedding last weekend, the Goring hotel in Belgravia is letting its hair down for the summer. The hotel, which hosted the Middleton family and friends and where Kate spent her last night as a commoner, is using tons of white sand and three fishing boats to create an artificial beach in its back garden. Rather than a backdrop to a swimming pool (there isn’t one), the beach is simply there as a setting for a palm-thatched bar serving Caribbean cocktails. Presiding over the polished driftwood counter will be Basil Charles, owner of Basil’s Bar in Mustique, a celebrated watering hole whose clients have ranged from Princess Margaret to Amy Winehouse. The bar will be open from June 8 until September.


Tourists who wander the streets in bikinis or swimming trunks this summer face fines under new laws passed by the city council. Concerned that visitors were lowering the tone of the city’s historic old town, adjacent to the beach, the authorities have previously issued posters encouraging them to cover up. Now those wearing bikinis or swimsuits face fines of between €120 and €300, while nudists who leave designated zones of the beach can be fined up to €500. The council said police would always issue a warning before enforcing a fine.


Can cars qualify as works of art? The latest exhibition at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs, housed in a wing of the Louvre, suggests they can – L’Art de l’Automobile features 17 classic cars from the collection of US designer Ralph Lauren. The museum suggests the exhibition, which ranges from a 1929 Bentley Blower to a 1996 McLaren F1, “shows that the automobile is a major art form”. It runs until August 28.


Move aside St Tropez and Monte Carlo, step forward Muscat and New Mangalore. Such is the demand for cruising in the Midde East that Royal Caribbean International is doubling the number of week-long cruises it offers in the region this year. The company is extending its Middle East season by two months by cutting short the Mediterranean schedule of its ship Brilliance of the Seas. It will now offer departures from Dubai between November and April, visiting Fujairah, Muscat and Abu Dhabi. There will also be two 12-night departures from Dubai to India, with stops including Mumbai, Goa, New Mangalore and Cochin. The move is part of a wider boom in cruising in Dubai – in 2005 13 ships offered trips from the port, but by 2010 there were 103 and tourism officials predict this will grow to 135 by 2012.


The northern hemisphere ski season may be long over, but May is the perfect month for a snow-kiting trip to Iceland. Rather than rely on gravity, skiers and snowboarders use a powerful kite, similar to those used for kite-surfing, to pull them across the snow, and the wide open spaces of the Langjökull ice cap are the ideal location. Tour operator Snowkiter has several places remaining for its 13 May departure (from £725) and possible departures into June.

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