Berlin's popularity continues to rise – it attracted nearly 13 million visitors in 2017. With a cantilevered structure jutting out over the River Spree, this 304-room hotel is walking distance to the bars and clubs of Kreuzberg and Friedrichshain (just pray you get past the doormen at Watergate and Berghain). The Karim Rashid-designed property is an explosion of candy colours and sinuous shapes, with round-the-clock room service offering guitars and decks for late-night jam sessions and DJ sets.
Rome has a wonderful climate and can be surprisingly balmy, even in December. More of a collection of chic suites than a traditional hotel, Portrait Roma sits above the Ferragamo store on Via Condotti, the city’s most famous designer shopping street. Just a short walk from the Spanish Steps, it also has an exclusive rooftop bar and terrace where you can take breakfast or sip aperitivos.
Every so often, Jack Sheldon from Jack’s Flight Club selects a flight deal from the UK for Independent readers that you can’t afford to miss. Peak travel fares often sit at a high price for a large part of the year, but here’s proof that you can get a cheap flight if you know when to book. Both of these deals will get you across the pond to New York or Boston next summer for just £263 return.
Long ago, staying in a cheap hotel in New York City conjured up images of a filthy room in a questionable neighbourhood, with a surly receptionist and only the bare necessities consisting of a bed, dresser, toilet and TV, none of which necessarily worked properly. Today, the city’s most affordable hotels are the most stylish and tech-savvy spots in town, thanks to an influx of design-forward brands that encourage guests to hang out in lobbies with carefully curated lounge scenes or on rooftops amid sweeping city views.
Enter any one of the exciting cultural institutions, hip bars, world-famous sporting and music venues, and you’ll be greeted by friendly locals who are fiercely proud of the place they call home: Manchester is a happening and intoxicating city to visit. With an infinity spa pool on its seventh floor overlooking Town Hall’s clock tower, this 40-room hotel is a special retreat in Manchester city centre. Rooms and public areas have been painstakingly put together by owner Sally O’Loughlin – expect locally commissioned artwork, statement lights and wallpaper, and a classic muted colour scheme – and each bedroom is unique.
Don’t settle for a boring hotel in Madrid. Groovy new hostels and revamped palaces have cool roof terraces, top restaurant chefs and cocktail lists so tempting that you may never leave the bar. Wherever you choose to stay, you can drop into any of the places on this list for a drink or dinner and get some inspiration for your next visit – Madrid tends to become a bit of a habit for many people.
The 'Great Christmas Getaway' gets underway this weekend, as millions make journeys home for Christmas.
Deal or no deal, Brexit will have far-reaching effects on British travellers to Europe. The Independent assesses everything that we know, what we think we know and what we don’t know. Any British passport issued on or before 29 March 2019 will be valid as a full EU document until 11pm on that date, allowing unfettered travel within the European Union.
ScoutMyTrip, India’s leading road trip planning platform, recently concluded its third edition of the Great Indian Food Trip (GIFT) and this time they went ‘Sattvic’ with Madhuban Foods for the Kailash Yatra. The previous two GIFT included the ‘South Indian Biryani Trail’ and ‘Indore Food Escapade’. The Great Indian Food Trip (GIFT) is an exploratory drive into the hinterlands of India rediscovering some of the most iconic and even lost treasures of Indian cuisine and food.
The recent creation of Shibuya Stream in Tokyo and Lower Manhattan's Seaport District is proof that today's hippest city neighbourhoods have rivers, harbours and beaches at their heart. Tokyo has spent huge sums on a pre-2020 Olympics spruce-up, and this new riverside retreat is one of the most elegant urban developments we've come across. You'll find it in Shibuya, making it the perfect urban oasis to escape to after battling your way across Tokyo's famous intersection.
A man has been caught on CCTV stealing €8,000 (£7,200) from an airport security tray at Rome Fiumicino Airport. Footage from Italy’s border police, the Polizia di Stato, caught the passenger, dressed in a white shirt, snatching the money from another passenger's airport security tray. In the CCTV footage, both passengers are seen moving through the metal detector, dropping their belongings off in the plastic trays first.
The cost of the High Speed 2 (HS2) rail project, intended to increase capacity between London, the Midlands and the north of England, is under fresh scrutiny. Doug Thornton, former land and property director, said the figures underestimated the amount HS2 would have to pay, and that “thousands” more properties had not been budgeted for at all. The first stage of HS2, which is the biggest civil engineering project in Europe, requires 27 square miles of property to be purchased.
With five days before some pilots at Virgin Atlantic begin a Christmas strike, the airline has revealed plans to charter in extra capacity. Members of the Professional Pilots’ Union (PPU) working for Virgin Atlantic have voted for industrial action in a dispute over union recognition. The union has been seeking recognition from the airline for several years, but the airline founded by Sir Richard Branson continues to negotiate only with the British Airline Pilots’ Association (Balpa).
UK drivers should expect delays of up to three hours on Thursday 20 December, as Christmas traffic congestion peaks. As many as 20 million journeys will take place this week in the run-up to Christmas, according to research from the RAC and travel analytic specialist INRIX. The RAC is warning drivers using the M25, M6 and M40 in particular, between Wednesday 19 and Friday 21 December, that they should plan for delays.
A lively jumble of cobbled streets, photogenic canals and gilded landmarks, Bruges is a corker of a medieval city. It may be packed with Michelin-star restaurants, but pocket-sized Bruges can be a bit quiet in the evenings. Lofty and light filled, Hotel Van Cleef is unabashedly maximalist, tastefully crammed with Missoni and Hermès textiles, bold patterns and Italianate sculptures.
Valletta has enjoyed its year in the sun as European Capital of Culture in 2018. The final flourish of refreshed heritage in the Maltese capital is the opening of MUZA: the new National Museum of Art.
Luton Airport has unveiled a festive aircraft covered in Christmas lights – although don’t expect to see it in the sky any time soon. Ground staff at the busy Bedfordshire airport, voted Britain’s least favourite airport three years in a row, spent 24 hours covering an easyJet A320 Airbus with lights, plus a 5,000sq metre aircraft hangar with Christmas lights and decorations for a special Christmas light show for staff and passengers. More than 8,500 choreographed lights and 1.5 miles of LED micro bulbs were used to create the light show.
A black business class flyer travelling from London Gatwick Airport has accused a white staff member of “blatant racism” after he was directed to move out of a business class queue into economy. Seth Allen, 28, from Reading, was travelling from Gatwick to Marrakech on a British Airways flight on 12 December, when he was lambasted by the airport worker.
Or the one where you spend the day at the beach and then have to sit on a flight with sand stuck in places it shouldn’t be? It’ll come as no surprise that Sir Richard Branson has found a solution to the most unproblematic of holiday problems, and has opened a departure lounge, complete with check-in desk, on one of the Caribbean’s most popular beaches. Luggage is checked in at Brownes Beach, ready to pick up from the baggage belt at the final destination.
The search for of the second black box of the crashed Lion Air jet has been delayed by bad weather. The airline said in a statement that it has put aside 38 billion Indonesian rupiah (£2.07m) in the search for the wreckage of the Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft, at the request of victims’ families. Lion Air has employed the Dutch MPV Everest ship to help with the search for the cockpit voice recorder, as well as the remains of victims in the worst aviation tragedy so far this year.
A series of strikes and closures will affect the London transport network this Christmas. Which tube lines will be affected by industrial action this Christmas? Tube strikes have been confirmed on the Central, Waterloo & City and Bakerloo lines this Christmas.
Six days before pilots working for Virgin Atlantic are due to begin a strike, the airline is seeking an injunction to quash the industrial action. Pilots belonging to the PPU have voted to strike after Virgin Atlantic started negotiating with Balpa over a pilots’ Benefits Review, without consulting the PPU.
The 1980s advertising campaign for Campari boosted sales of the aperitif, but it did Luton airport no favours. The Bedfordshire airport’s dismal image was lifted a decade later, when, thanks to easyJet, Luton became the British budget traveller’s window on Europe. It remains the airline’s headquarters, even though Gatwick now handles far more easyJet passengers.
My journey into Ladakh took two days on a decrepit green-and-chrome bus that honked and gasped its way over death-defying passes. At one point I spied, high above, the tiny hermitage where monks meditate in isolation for up to three years.
The pound edged near to parity with the dollar at some UK airports this week, meaning tourists buying currency would only get just over $1 for every £1. Travellers flying from Heathrow were being given exchange rates as low as £1-$1.05, with some outlets also offering just €0.92 to the pound, reported the BBC.