Travel & Leisure

Travel and leisure news, including tours, guides and hotels.
  1. Kalimera, kyrie! Well, it sure is good to be back in Athens, just as the city emerges, Venus-like, from the financial doldrums of the past few years. For savvy travellers, this translates into a promising cache of boutique hotels, especially in off-the-beaten-track neighbourhoods.Like The Foundry? Absolutely. Built in the 1930s as a – spoiler alert – foundry, it was later converted into a newspaper office and then a performing arts venue. Now it’s a thoroughly slick, modern boutique prop­erty…
  2. Now is the perfect time for a leisurely ramble around the southwest corner of Cheung Chau, and a day far away from the disturbances wrought by protests elsewhere in Hong Kong. These days the usually busy streets of the outlying island 10km (6 miles) southwest of Hong Kong Island are quiet, with barely a tourist in sight.Once you step off the ferry on the west coast of Cheung Chau, on the waterfront road called the Praya, the main beach is a couple of minutes’ walk away, just in front of you…
  3. It’s that time of year again. Airlines, guidebook publishers and accom­modation platforms are counting down their top places to visit in 2020. Established favourites vie with up-and-coming destinations for inclusion.Some are creating a stir in travel-industry circles and are on the verge of being discovered by the masses. Others are celebrating anniver­saries (100 years of the Salzburg Festival) or are spending an extended period in the global spotlight (Galway, in Ireland, and Rijeka, in…
  4. Those rather wistful chaps who used to wander the Avenue of Stars in Tsim Sha Tsui and the Central ferry piers walkway professing to be astonished by your “very lucky face” and offering to tell your fortune seem to have vanished of late. In their place, we have a different bunch who seem more concerned with their futures than yours. A not-so-lost tribe of teens and 20-somethings, mostly Caucasian and suspiciously well fed, called “begpackers”.They don’t take up much pavement space, and in a way…
  5. Holiday Swap, an app that enables users to travel the world through home swapping for just US$1 per night, is experiencing accelerated growth and is eyeing the China market for 2020. Founded in 2017 by James Asquith, who set the Guinness World Record for being the youngest person to travel to every country in the world, the app is now in 185 countries and has more than 500,000 users around the world. Asquith says it is growing by 3,500 users per day and aims to have 5 million users by the end…
  6. The drone video footage taken about 30m above Maya Bay in southern Thailand captures a solitary diver finning in the shallow waters while the dark shadows of reef sharks can be seen swimming around him. “I saw at least 100 sharks yesterday,” says Malaysian coral conservationist Anuar Abdullah, the diver in the video, and the founder and CEO of social enterprise Ocean Quest Global. He points out the rectangular outlines of some of the 120 nurseries his team of coral gardeners has built inside…
  7. I am surrounded by splendour reduced by time and the elements – broken statues, eroded stupas and once mighty walls that have crumbled. A grand civilisation existed in Sukhothai eight centuries ago. The capital of the first independent Thai kingdom, this is where the country was born and its artistic style forged.Sukhothai was one of 66 sites dubbed a Creative City by Unesco in October. The United Nations body picks these cities based on their achievements in, and commitment to, the arts, split…
  8. [Sponsored Article] Savvy travellers, city explorers, health enthusiasts and foodies should make the newly-opened ALVA HOTEL BY ROYAL (ALVA) situated along the picturesque Shing Mun River in Shatin your destination of choice. An urban oasis Surrounded by lush green mountains, ALVA is a hidden gem, an urban oasis located away from the hustle and bustle of the city.  Yet it is easily accessible with Tsim Sha Tsui, Central and Hong Kong International Airport within a 30-40 minute drive, and the…
  9. One of next year’s more interesting hotel openings will actually be a reopening, when The Century Plaza Hotel, in Los Angeles, emerges from a four-year closure and extensive renovations in April. Now with two new towers, and renamed the Fairmont Century Plaza, the hotel first opened in 1966 and is said to have been the first in the world to provide a colour television in every room. It was designed by Minoru Yamasaki, the American architect behind the ill-fated World Trade Centre, in Manhattan…
  10. Any outdoor enthusiast will be familiar with the dilemma of visiting a new area and wondering where the best action is, whether it’s a gentle bike ride or a gnarly off-piste ski line.At one time we would have used old-fashioned, bulky guidebooks and maps to find our way, or even better, picked the brains of a friendly local – if we could find one. Today, however, an ever increasing number of smartphone apps can help point you in the right direction.A recent launch is Guidify (guidify.io; free),…