Travel updates: Wales, London and France

A unique pop-up hotel; UK hotels poor in food hygiene; phone-controlled heated socks


Bookings have opened for a unique pop-up hotel — eight architect-designed cabins that will move between different Welsh beauty spots over the summer. The cabins, which each sleep two, were the winners in an architectural competition and draw on Welsh heritage. One, by Sydney-based practice Trias, is a monastic retreat in slate; another reflects the country’s mining history (guests must enter by crawling through a small tunnel); a third is inspired by the legend of King Arthur’s cave. Starting on June 5, they will spend a month in west Wales, another on the Llŷn Peninsula and a final month close to Castell y Bere, in Snowdonia. The project is part funded by the Welsh government to support its “Year of Legends 2017” campaign. From £265 per night.


Hundreds of hotels in the UK have been given poor food hygiene ratings by official inspectors — including one five-star hotel in London. An investigation by consumer group Which? found 652 properties had received a rating of two or below, out of a possible five, on the Food Standards Agency’s scale (or the equivalent “improvement required” rating in Scotland). They include the five-star Royal Horseguards hotel, just off Whitehall, where the restaurant boasts two AA Rosettes. The four-star Copthorne hotel in Birmingham was rated one, meaning “major improvement necessary”, and inspectors found raw meat stored next to sauces in the fridge and out-of-date seafood. All food-related business in the UK receive the ratings after inspections by local authorities but there is currently no obligation to display them to customers, a loophole Which? and the FSA are lobbying to change.


Cold feet could be a thing of the past thanks to the latest product being offered to skiers: heated socks that can be controlled via your smartphone. Therm-ic, a French company based at the foot of the Alps in Voiron, unveiled the new “X-socks” at a trade show in Munich this month. Each sock has a battery pack below the knee, which connects via Bluetooth to the user’s phone. They cost £200 per pair.

Faroe Islands

A restaurant in a remote seaside village with just 75 residents has won the country’s first Michelin star, it was announced last week. Johannes Jensen, owner of Koks in the village of Kirkjubøur, said he was “humbled and honoured” by the award.

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