• The best island hotels in Australia (10/19/2018) - We’ve noticed you’re adblocking. We rely on advertising to help fund our award-winning journalism. We urge you to turn off your ad blocker for The Telegraph website so that you can continue to access our quality content in the future. Thank you for your support.
  • The most amazing hotels for wine lovers in France (10/19/2018) - We’ve noticed you’re adblocking. We rely on advertising to help fund our award-winning journalism. We urge you to turn off your ad blocker for The Telegraph website so that you can continue to access our quality content in the future. Thank you for your support.
  • British Airways in 'Trump bump' with flights to new American destinations (10/19/2018) - https://static.independent.co.uk/s3fs-public/thumbnails/image/2018/10/19/14/charlestonba.jpg British Airways has announced flights to yet another US state that voted for Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential election.  Twice-weekly services from Heathrow to Charleston, South Carolina, begin on 4 April 2019. Sean Doyle, BA’s director of Network and Alliances, said: “You can’t help but get sucked in to the old-world charm of Charleston. “Recently we launched flights to Nashville and New Orleans, and earlier this year announced a new route to Pittsburgh.” Read more These three cities, along with Charleston, are all in states that voted for the current president. While Hillary Clinton received the most votes in the 2016 election, with a 51:49 majority over Mr Trump, the latter easily won the presidency through the Electoral College system. South Carolina, destination for the latest new route, voted 57:43 for Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton. Pittsburgh is the second city (after Philadelphia) in Pennsylvania – which switched from Democrat to Republican with a 51:49 ratio, and was instrumental in Mr Trump’s victory. Nashville is the state capital of Tennessee, which voted emphatically (64:36) for Trump – as did Louisiana (60:40), whose biggest city is New Orleans. British Airways has started two other new US routes since President Trump took office. Both are from Gatwick: Fort Lauderdale in Florida, which voted for him 51:49, and Oakland in California, the only pro-Clinton state (65:35). But BA’s flights to Oakland will be axed at the end of this month, meaning all five Trump-era links on British Airways are to pro-Trump states.  In contrast, Norwegian has launched services from the UK to six new US destinations since President Trump’s inauguration – all of them in states won by Hillary Clinton: Chicago in Illinois, Denver in Colorado, Seattle in Washington, Stewart International in New York, Providence in Rhode Island and Hartford in Connecticut.  Norwegian is launching its first Trump presidency flight to Trump territory next week: from Gatwick to Tampa in Florida. Support free-thinking journalism and subscribe to Independent Minds British Airways described the correlation between its new routes and pro-Trump voting states as “purely coincidental”. Looking at BA’s entire US network, the airline calculates that American states are equally represented 50:50 between President Trump and Hillary Clinton. On the closure of its Oakland route, a BA spokesperson said: “We already operate two incredibly successful routes from the Bay area. “We launched a new direct service to San Jose in 2016 and we have 21 flights a week to San Francisco and San Jose alone. We’re incredibly committed to this region.” The new link to Charleston will be the first-ever transatlantic service to the South Carolina city.
  • Where's the snow? Warmer weather could spell the end for pre-season glacier skiing (10/19/2018) - As much as we all loved the long hot summer both in the UK and across the continent, the effect of the prolonged warm weather is presenting challenges for the upcoming ski season. The summer’s hot weather has been followed by a dry autumn in Alpine areas, meaning high-altitude glaciers have missed out on the all-important first layers of snow, which form a foundation for winter pistes. Autumn snow usually allows glacial resorts to open as early as October for half-term skiing and snowboarding and pre-season training camps. However, a recent report by weather expert Fraser Wilkin from weathertoski.com has highlighted the concerning condition of one of France’s most popular glaciers, in Les Deux Alpes. The resort has announced, for the second year in a row, that its glacier, which sits at 3,600m, will not open for autumn skiing. “Les Deux Alpes has the largest lift-served glacier in the Alps. It has traditionally opened every half-term but hasn’t managed to do so for two years due to poor snow,” said Wilkin. The resort will be open for mountain biking and hiking from October 27 to November 4, while skiers and snowboarders will have to wait until December 1, when the ski area opens fully, to access the pistes. Webcam images of the glacier show the bare bones of the pistes, with a lot of grey rock still exposed. The end of Les Deux Alpes’ glacier run is still a bare car park – it is usually covered in snow Credit: SnapMyRide By Trinum “The glacier is in good condition, but there is no fresh snow on the top as it hasn’t snowed. This is why the resort thinks it is better not open to skiers this autumn and preserve the glacier,” said a representative from Les Deux Alpes. “The resort has decided not to open the glacier for skiing this autumn as they feel the conditions are not good enough after an exceptionally hot summer and autumn.” This disappointing news comes after the glacier was open all summer for skiing and snowboarding, with skiers relishing the excellent conditions left from last winter, and continued snowfall in May and June. I found similarly concerning conditions when I visited Tignes at the end of September. The popular French resort was due to open its Grand Motte glacier the day after my visit on the 28th, but as I stood on top of the world’s largest open-air cable car (the purpose of my visit), travelling to the top of the glacier at 3,456m, crevasses and rocks were still on show on the slopes below, and indeed the resort had to postpone its opening until this Wednesday. In late September the glacier slopes in Tignes looked alarmingly bare It has now been able to open one intermediate piste and some training areas, thanks to a small amount of high-altitude snowfall, enabling the piste-grooming team to prepare the slopes. Tignes is not permitted to have a snow-making operation on the glacier, because of its position in the Vanoise National Park, so has wait for new natural snow to fall. Grooming teams also spread snow preserved from the previous winter over the slopes. “This time last year the glaciers already had good snow. This year it’s not so good, especially in France where not only has Les Deux Alpes cancelled it’s October half-term opening, Tignes only opened a limited area on Wednesday,” said Wilkin.   Phil Smith from UK ski school Snoworks was in resort when the slopes opened in Tignes. “The changing weather patterns mean there’s no real predictability on snowfall from year to year,” he said. “You can have two metres of snow one autumn and no snowfall at all the next.”   “Tignes is now open and conditions are excellent – our courses started on Wednesday as soon as it opened,” added Smith. Following recent snowfall, the Tignes glacier is open for skiing and snowboarding Credit: snoworks The future of glaciers and the impact of global warming in the mountains is already a concern for the ski industry. Statistics provided by Protect Our Winters, a charity campaigning for increased awareness of the risks posed to glaciers and winter conditions by man-made emissions, predict that there could be a 40 to 80 per cent reduction in the amount of snow in the Alps by 2050, with areas below 1,500m seeing a significant decrease. Alpine glaciers lost about half their volume of snow between 1850 and 1975, a 125 year period, however another 25 per cent was lost in just 25 years between 1975 and 2000 – an alarming acceleration. French resorts have borne the brunt of the damage caused by this year’s hot summer. In the eastern Alps, in Austria and Switzerland, the glaciers are in a lot better shape. “Austrian glaciers are generally more snow-sure in the autumn, with Hintertux, which is open 365 days a year, usually the best of all,” said Wilkin. View this post on Instagram A post shared by Hintertux Glacier – Tirol (@hintertuxergletscher) on Oct 19, 2018 at 12:40am PDT The Hintertux glacier in Austria is currently offering the most skiable terrain in the Alps, with 21km of pistes open. The snow depth is at 45cm and over a metre of new snow is predicted to fall in the next seven days. Elsewhere in the country glaciers are open in Stubai, Kaprun, Pitztal, Kaunertal, Mölltal and Sölden. “Other Alpine glaciers are generally looking a bit better but not great. A shockingly hot summer undid all the good work from last winter’s massive snowfalls,” said Wilkin. In Switzerland, the glaciers in Saas-Fee and Zermatt are open for skiing; in Italy Val Senales and Passo Stelvio are open. Best ski resorts for guaranteed snow The recent news from the Alps is in contrast to headlines at the height of last season, when many areas saw record amounts of snowfall. Once the season had ended resorts began snow-farming, a process that preserves snow under layers of sawdust and reflective tarpaulin, so it can be used at the start […]
  • The best rural retreats in Wales for an off-grid stay (10/19/2018) - We’ve noticed you’re adblocking. We rely on advertising to help fund our award-winning journalism. We urge you to turn off your ad blocker for The Telegraph website so that you can continue to access our quality content in the future. Thank you for your support.
  • The 10 best Swiss ski resorts (10/19/2018) - France and Austria both have their particular strengths, but in many respects Switzerland is hard to beat. It has an unfair share of the most dramatic mountain scenery, and ditto the most captivating traffic-free old mountain villages, the best mountain restaurants, and some of the most impressive ski runs. Sadly, with the poor exchange rates of recent years, Switzerland has also become very expensive. Even in the cheapest Swiss resorts you are likely to be paying more than in the average resort in the Eurozone countries of Austria, France and Italy. Here’s our pick of 10 resorts that are definitely worth considering, by category. Unless otherwise stated, prices are per person based on two sharing, half-board, and include flights and transfers for seven days. Chalet board means half board plus afternoon tea and wine with dinner. Best for powder Andermatt Andermatt sits in a good position for gathering snow, at a meeting of valleys close to the northern side of the Alps. The altitude is helpful, too – on the main mountain, steep and shady Gemsstock, most of the slopes are between 2,000m and 3,000m. There’s often good snow here when conditions in the Valais region – Switzerland’s main concentration of major resorts – have been mediocre. Although it does have one or two intermediate pistes, Gemsstock is really an expert’s mountain. The main face of 900m vertical consists almost entirely of black runs and off-piste routes to mid-mountain, and the one run to the valley is also a black, although an easy one. best ski resorts in Austria The resort is in a period of transition. The original Andermatt is a small, sleepy town, almost unchanged in the last 30 years. Andermatt mark 2.0 continues to be built on the outskirts, next to the recently completed par-72 golf course – an estate of swanky apartment blocks and six planned hotels, the first and most central of which, the five-star Chedi, opened for the 2013/14 season. The four-star Radisson Blu is due to open in 2018 but not in time for the 2017/18 ski season. This development is bringing new lifts and pistes, too. A six-seater chair opened up more black runs on Gemsstock below Gurschenalp in the 2015/16 season. And a whole series of lifts and pistes on virgin slopes will link Andermatt’s smaller sector, Nätschen-Gütsch, to Sedrun, 15km away to the east, and previously linked by train. Two new six-seater chairs were in place for 2016/17 and the resort hopes the other new lifts (two more six-seater chairs and two gondolas) will be finished for the 2017/18 season if all goes well. If not, the link should be completed for the 2018/19 season. Where to stay The Chedi in Andermatt is in a league of its own. This visually stunning hotel is a must for those looking to get away from the crowds and experience something different in a classically beautiful Swiss resort. From £2,400 b&b, Alpine Answers. Powder in Andermatt Alternatives With its village at 1,500m and slopes up to 3,330m, Verbier‘s altitude ensures there’s a strong chance of good snow throughout the season. Engelberg is a favourite of Zürich weekenders. Not far north of Andermatt, it has a similarly well-deserved reputation for snow – although the village is quite low, most of the slopes are high (up to 3,030m) and shady. Fast facts Resort 1,445m Slopes 1,445m to 2,960m Lifts 22 Pistes (including new lifts and pistes) 120km, 20% blue, 60% red, 20% black Snowmaking 88% Six-day lift pass CHF273 Best for experts Verbier Some Swiss resorts may match Verbier for luxurious chalets and hotels and vibrant après, but none quite have its cool cachet – and that’s largely because none can rival its challenging high-altitude terrain. Anyone who can handle Verbier’s itinerary routes, never mind its couloirs, can consider themselves pretty darn good. The itineraries (which, though loosely marked, are not formally controlled or patrolled) are where many experts spend their time, treating them like pistes. Epic highlights are the 900m-vertical route from Col des Gentianes to Tortin, and the 1,000m vertical Vallon d’Arby down to La Tzoumaz on the edge of the ski area. From Mont Gélé (3,025m) there are steeper itineraries and serious off-piste routes, while the top of Mont Fort (3,330m) offers a black mogul run on the front and adventurous off-piste routes on the back that end down in Siviez. Off-piste in Verbier Credit: Yves Garneau 2008/Yves Garneau The resort is a gentle sprawl of chalets, hotels and apartments, few of which are ski-in/ski-out – but the free ski bus system is generally very efficient. Resort life revolves around the après hub of the Place Centrale, the main lift base at Médran 500m away, and the buzzing street between the two. Where to stay Inghams’ very central and historic Hotel de Verbier, opened in 1948 and the oldest hotel still in operation in Verbier,  is now run as an Inghams Xtra Chalet in winter. It has 31 rooms, bar and lounge, and offers an affordable and convenient base. From £829, Inghams. Alternatives Andermatt‘s main mountain, Gemsstock, is an expert’s dream – some seriously steep pistes and challenging off-piste routes. All of the main sectors in Zermatt have long, testing marked itinerary runs, there are epic proper off-piste routes from several points, and Zermatt has Europe’s biggest heliskiing operation. Fast facts Resort 1,500m Slopes 1,500m to 3,330m Lifts 80 Pistes 412km, 39% blue, 49% red, 25% black Snowmaking 13% Six-day lift pass CHF365 Celebrities’ favourite ski resorts Best for intermediates Davos Davos has an extensive network of linked intermediate pistes to offer in its six separate sectors of slopes, shared with slightly lower Klosters. The main sector, Parsenn, links the two resorts. It has wide, open slopes above the treeline, almost all of them red, but what makes it a cut above is the selection of long runs through the forest to the valley – in particular the runs from Weissfluhjoch (2,660m) above Davos to Küblis, Serneus and Klosters, which are up to 12km […]
  • Selfies in the Korean DMZ – and other unusual border travel experiences (10/19/2018) - Such is the political turbulence that has come to define this second decade of the 21st century that it seems we can go from the worrying – and uncomfortably plausible – prospect of global nuclear warfare to selfies on the frontline in the space of less than 18 months.  The saying that “life comes at you fast” is a relatively recent, internet-fuelled addition to common parlance. But even so, this pithy directive is about the only expression you can use to sum up the announcement that tourists will soon be able to pose for photos at a spot that, barely minutes ago, seemed sure to be a flashpoint for the death of us all.  This is the news emerging from South Korea that, soon, travellers will not only be able to visit the Demilitarised Zone (DMZ) which divides the two not-so-good neighbours of the Korean Peninsula – they will be able to hop back and forth across the precise “Demarcation Line” in the middle of the Joint Security Area (JSA) that, for more than 40 years, has been so starkly guarded that few have dared to cross it. The Ministry of Defence in Seoul has revealed that international travellers will be allowed to walk onto the north side of the site “in the near future”. It has also declared that South Korean nationals – who have been banned from visiting the JSA (except in rare cases of family reunions with elderly relatives) ever since a truce put hostilities between the two warring nations on hold in 1953 – will also be allowed to join in with the “fun”. [embedded content] What fresh madness is this? Let us quickly remind ourselves of all that has happened in recent history. It was but August 2017 when Donald Trump promised to rain “fire and fury like the world has never seen” on North Korea. In this entirely moderate and restrained statement, the US president was responding to reports that said rogue state had stepped up its weapons programme to the point of creating a miniaturised warhead to fit inside its missiles. A North Korean spokesman then replied with a not-so-veiled threat which suggested that his bosses were planning a nuclear strike on the US Pacific Territory of Guam that would teach the USA a “severe lesson”. And it was but September 22 2017 when North Korean leader Kim Jong-un unleashed a verbal howitzer in Trump’s direction, saying: “I will surely and definitely tame the mentally deranged US dotard [a 14th century English term for a slow-thinker] with fire”. Ouch. Moon Jae-in and Kim Jong-un at the Demarcation Line Credit: INTER-KOREAN SUMMIT PRESS CORPS Still, if a week is a long time in politics, then a year is virtually an Ice Age – and much has happened since. In April of this year, President Moon Jae-in of South Korea stood face to face with Kim Jong-un at the Demarcation Line, in a meeting which constituted the first official summit between the two nations in more than a decade. And in June, Trump and Kim met in Singapore for discussions which seemed to herald a new and friendlier relationship between Washington DC and Pyongyang. Has the cracked pane of glass separating South Korea and its powerful ally from the communist state on its doorstep mended so much in a year that the location which has come to represent their animosity is now a viable location for Instagram self-indulgence? Good lord, it appears so. It is worth stressing here that foreign tourists have long been able to peek into one of the planet’s most notorious places – although they have had to do so via (very) carefully regulated official tours. The DMZ has existed since 1953 Credit: AFP/JUNG YEON-JE In May last year, Telegraph Travel writer Julian Ryall detailed a visit to the DMZ, sketching out a netherworld which “reveals a double line of tall, chain-link fences topped with razor-wire” – with, behind, “a network of bunkers and strong-points, all manned by South Korean troops monitoring what their counterparts in the North might be up to.” The JSA within it – which was once the unassuming village of Panmunjom; a tiny dot on the map located some 33 miles north-west of the South Korean capital Seoul – is the only point at which North and South Korean troops look directly at each other, across a distance of a few metres. It has long been a tense bottleneck – not least since 1976, when two US Army officers, called into the JSA to trim a tree which was partially obstructing the view of the area from the south, were attacked and killed with an axe by two soliders from the North. And the Demarcation Line is no false barrier – crossing it without permission is an act certain to invite gun-fire. Nonetheless, around 100,000 tourists venture to the JSA each year. Ryall’s piece also quoted the document each is required to sign, saying their visit “will entail the entrance into a hostile area – and the possibility of injury or death as a result of enemy action.” The DMZ is, despite its name, heavily militarised Credit: REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji It may be that such warnings are less strident in future. The move to “open up” the JSA has been born of a meeting between Moon Jae-in and Kim Jong-un in Pyongyang last month. The talks appear to have been so affable that the “disarming” of Panmunjom may occur in the next few weeks. The number of military personel may be reduced, and sentry posts may be pulled back to a less confrontational distance. In some places, the de-escalation is already in progress. This month, both North and South have been clearing landmines in the DMZ as part of a long-overdue operation to find the remains of soldiers still missing from the Korean War (1950-1953). Friends? Not quite. Winter is always close on the peninsula, but a quiet thaw seems to be under way.  This increased “accessibility” is only […]
  • Landscapes of the Canary Islands and Madeira (10/19/2018) - Broadway Travel Cruise is part of the Broadway Travel group who are an experienced travel company based in Luton and Newcastle providing the best deals on holidays and city breaks since 1948. They have a dedicated Cruise Specialist team who all have been in Travel Industry for many years between them. Broadway Travel Cruise customers can trust their booking is in safe hands, as they are ATOL and ABTA protected and booking either on the website or via Call Centre is simple and easy. As an established travel agent, they have strong partnerships with all the travel industry bodies you would expect to see. More importantly, they are committed to ensuring every customer booking is completely protected. Prices are always subject to change, please call to find the best possible price and next dream holiday. Your holiday operated by Broadway Travel, Floor 5, Jansel House, 648 Hitchin Road, Luton, Bedfordshire, LU2 7XH. ATOL 3634, ABTA NO.17088 a company wholly independent of Telegraph Media Group Limited. Please click here to view our supplier’s terms and conditions
  • Ritz-Carlton's first luxury cruise ship takes to the water (10/19/2018) - A new chapter of maritime history was written last week when more than 26,000 tons of steel thundered down the slipway of a Spanish shipyard – marking hotel giant Ritz-Carlton’s entry into the world of cruising.  Work on the 149-suite ship’s luxe interiors has now commenced, with its long-awaited launch due in February 2020 and before that, the announcement of its name planned for this December’s International Luxury Travel Market in Cannes. Interiors, overseen by Swedish firm Tillberg Design, will incorporate the hallmark bespoke furnishings associated with Ritz-Carlton’s hotel properties, of which there are more than 90 around the around. This ship will be the first of up to eight yachts to come for the Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection, with the second and third planned for 2021. “We wanted to build a game-changing design that was true to the Ritz-Carlton brand,” said chief executive Doug Prothero, speaking at last week’s launch ceremony.  “The quality of what we have put in the water today is as good as you can get anywhere.” Interiors will incorporate the hallmark furnishings associated with Ritz-Carlton’s hotels Credit: HJ Barreras Shipyard/Ritz-Carlton Prothero said that since the first sailings went on sale in May, demand has been 300 per cent higher than expected, with cruise newcomers accounting for at least half of the bookings. More than a third have come from existing Ritz-Carlton customers, with most of these falling into the early-50s age bracket. The majority are American, followed by British, the company revealed. Ritz-Carlton’s ship will offer more space per passenger than any other vessel of its kind, it claims. Seemingly designed to resemble privately owned superyachts, it will accommodate up to 298 passengers and feature 149 suites, all with balconies. The most desirable residences of all will be two 138 square-metre duplex penthouse suites. In the making: the first vessel in the shipyard Credit: HJ Barreras Shipyard/Ritz-Carlton Facilities expected include a restaurant offering a culinary concept designed by Sven Elverfeld of Aqua, the three Michelin-starred restaurant at The Ritz-Carlton Wolfsburg; a spa; and a panorama lounge and wine bar, which will host live entertainment. Also on board will be an infinity pool, fitness centre and a water-sports marina with the requisite water toys. Shore excursions on offer during voyages will tap into the expertise of concierge teams based at various Marriott hotels around the world. Although complete itineraries are yet to be released, the hotel group says they will offer “a uniquely curated destination experience that includes both overnight and daytime ports of call.” Trips will last between seven and 10 days and will serve expected destinations such as the Mediterranean and Caribbean, as well as Colombia’s Cartagena, and other intimate destinations, such as Capri and Portofino, that are usually inaccessible to larger cruise ships.  18 of the most luxurious cruise ships on Earth “We know that there are more than 400,000 cruisers on the Ritz-Carlton database,” Prothero stated of the clientele.  “However, the response from new cruisers is bigger than we thought. Between the brand and the design, it is bringing people into cruise, which is great for the business, great for the industry and great for us.”
  • Netherlands issues gender neutral passport for first time in its history (10/19/2018) - https://static.independent.co.uk/s3fs-public/thumbnails/image/2018/10/19/14/dutch-passport-gender-neutral.jpgA person in the Netherlands has become the first in the country to receive a gender neutral passport. The news follows a Dutch court ruling earlier this year, which declared that a third gender should be recognised for people who don’t identify as male or female. Leonne Zeegers, a 57-year-old from Breda, has received a passport with an ‘X’ as their gender specification, rather than an ‘M’ for ‘mannetje’ (‘male’) or a ‘V’ for ‘vrouw’ (‘female’). Read more When Zeegers was born, they were classified as ‘male’ on their birth certificate and raised as a boy. According to Dutch television and radio broadcaster Omroep Brabant, Zeegers realised during puberty that they didn’t identify as a man, and had surgery in 2001 to become female. However, the former athlete and nurse now identifies as intersex, and in June won the right to identify as neither male or female. The Netherlands isn’t the first country to introduce gender neutral passports. Read more It’s understood that in 2003, Australian Alex MacFarlane, who identifies as intersex, became the first person to receive a passport with an ‘X’ marking their gender. “It means a great deal,” MacFarlane told The Western Australian newspaper at the time. “I’ve been battling with 30 odd years of misrepresentation. It means I can now participate in more of the community.” While other countries including Denmark, Germany, New Zealand and Pakistan have followed suit by allowing people to choose a third option for their gender on their passports, those wishing to do the same in the UK have been barred from doing so. leftCreated with Sketch. rightCreated with Sketch. Earlier this year, the High Court ruled that the UK’s refusal to grant gender neutral passports was not unlawful. The judge rejected claims made by campaigners, who said that it was wrong for people to list themselves only as male or female. “At present I am not satisfied, for the reasons which I have set out, that the current policy of HM Passport Office is unlawful,” said Mr Justice Jeremy Baker. Support free-thinking journalism and subscribe to Independent Minds Christie Elan-Cane, who campaigns for the legal and social recognition of non-gendered identity, expressed their disappointment over the ruling. “I am bitterly disappointed that my case for the judicial review of the UK’s government’s discriminatory passport policy was not upheld – not just for myself but for everyone who is compromised by this policy,” they said.

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