Thailand German architect Ole Scheeren has created what must be the world’s most dramatically located cinema – floating among the jagged limestone towers of Thailand’s Phang Nga Bay. Both the screen and seating area float on rafts made of recycled wood and other materials, using similar techniques to those employed by local fishermen to build floating lobster farms. The temporary cinema was used for the first Film on the Rocks festival last month and will be rebuilt every March by the Six Senses resort on the island of Koh Yao Noi, 20 miles east of Phuket. Villas sleeping two cost from £228.
Chile Qantas has launched a non-stop Sydney to Santiago service, using Boeing 747s to fly the 13-hour route three times a week. “South America’s fast-growing economies make it the perfect time to introduce this service to one of the region’s major hubs,” said Rob Gurney, group executive at Qantas Airlines Commercial. Meanwhile Etihad has announced plans to launch its first Abu Dhabi to South America service next year. The destination has yet to be announced.
UK Sustainability has become such a buzzword in the hospitality industry that the concept has even made its way to Park Lane, once a byword for conspicuous consumption. The InterContinental Hotel has introduced a “50 Mile Menu” at its Cookbook Cafe restaurant, using ingredients sourced from within that distance. The restaurant has already won a two-star rating from the Sustainable Restaurants Association, although the sample menu published online suggests the 50-mile limit is rather loosely applied. It includes sprats from Folkestone (65 miles away) and cheese from Bath (112 miles), not to mention coffee and chocolate.
Spain In 1999 Chris Stewart, a former drummer with the band Genesis, published Driving over Lemons, a memoir about buying a farm in the Alpujarras, the high valleys on the southern slopes of the Sierra Nevada mountains, east of Granada. It became a surprise hit, selling more than 1m copies, being translated into nine languages and drawing numerous readers to the previously little-visited region. This summer Stewart will go one better and guide visitors in person on a week-long holiday combining walking with visits to traditional food and wine producers. The trip, organised by Inntravel, costs from £968 and departs on June 8.
Driving over Lemons was published by Sort Of, a company set up for the purpose by Stewart’s friends, including Mark Ellingham, who founded the hugely successful Rough Guides. Ellingham, who sold Rough Guides to Penguin in 1998, last week launched Cool Places, an online guide to travel in the UK set up in conjunction with Jonathan Knight, founder of Punk Publishing, the company behind the Cool Camping series.
Colombia A luxurious boutique hotel is due to open this summer in Cartagena, the Unesco-recognised walled city on the Caribbean coast. Casa San Agustin has been created from three colonial buildings and features beamed ceilings, four-poster beds, private plunge pools and a terrace bar overlooking the city. Doubles from $500.