Short cuts

Paris Since it opened late last year, the superb Royal Monceau hotel has launched a succession of innovative facilities, including an extensive art bookshop and concept store; a contemporary art gallery, Art District (curated by Hervé Mikaeloff, who also oversees Espace Culturel Louis Vuitton); and its own urban vegetable garden. Now its swimming pool has been unveiled – at 28m the longest hotel pool in Paris by some distance, and the centrepiece of a 1,500 sq m spa designed, like the hotel, by Philippe Starck.

Chicago Ian Schrager, the man who created not just Studio 54 but the whole notion of the “design hotel”, has announced he is “sick of slick” and exclusivity. Indeed, his latest venture, a hotel called Public, which opens on Monday on Chicago’s North State Parkway, “may well represent the revitalisation of the hotel concept itself and another worldwide wake-up call for the entire industry”, or so its website claims. For this is a place about “comfort, complete functionality and tremendous value”. For the moment its preview rates start at just $135 (plus $20 tax), for which you get a double room with Frette linens, a 42in TV, customised mini-bar and what’s described as “sincere chic”.

Montreal Canada’s second largest city is hoping investment in the arts will boost its appeal as a tourist destination, showing the world there’s more to its culture than Cirque du Soleil. This week saw the opening of a concert hall, designed by Diamond+Schmitt, architects of the forthcoming Mariinsky Theatre in St Petersburg, Russia. The hall is a wood-panelled shoebox with excellent acoustics, exemplary sightlines and a fine house band in the Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal. Later this month, the city’s Museum of Fine Arts unveils its new Pavilion of Quebec and Canadian Art, with 600 works displayed over six floors, notably a gallery of Inuit art. On September 16, the Festival International de Jazz de Montréal opens a museum of the history of the world’s largest jazz festival at its Maison du Festival, featuring instruments, stage outfits, photographs and other memorabilia.

Montserrat Registration is now open for the third Montserrat Volcano Half Marathon on November 26, with a testing route that crosses the slopes or its still-smoking Soufrière Hills. The island is a 20-minute flight from Antigua, so runners can recover at Hermitage Bay ( or Carlisle Bay (

Bristol Parents of students heading to Bristol University for the start of term might be glad to know of Thirty Eight, a double-fronted Georgian townhouse close to the Suspension Bridge on Upper Belgrave Road that has just opened as an elegant 10-room bed-and-breakfast (doubles from £95). It belongs to two brothers, Adam and Michael Dorrien-Smith, whose family owns the holiday island of Tresco in the Isles of Scilly, hence the luxuriant sub-tropical plants on the roof terrace, which come from Tresco’s fabled Abbey Gardens.

Cambodia The 11th-century temple mountain of Baphuon within Angkor Thom, north-west of Angkor Wat, has been an archaeological site since the 1960s but, despite its outstanding attributes – notably a 40m reclining Buddha and unusual tile-like bas-reliefs of scenes from the Ramayana and Mahabharata – it’s never been accessible to visitors. This year, however, from December 9 to 11, guests at Amansara in Siem Reap can access it with Roland Fletcher, a professor of archaeology from the University of Sydney and co-director of the Greater Angkor project.

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