The luxury travel market is suddenly being inundated with a new term – “Pop-up”. While the term is common in temporary pop-up seasonal shops, it is also now being applied to hotels. One British company calling itself the “Pop-Up Hotel” specializes in crafting temporary spaces for events and retreats, and other hotel chains are now joining in.
While temporary usually equates to cheap, in the case of the Papaya Playa Project in Mexico, it is anything but. Priced at up to $675 per night, the hotel group Design Hotels has created a pop-up hotel in a series of cabanas and casitas right on the beach at Tulum. Claiming that it offers a luxury “glamping” experience (being a type of glamorous camping) it does promise high thread count sheets, a spa incorporating Mayan shamanism and food from KaterHolzig, better known for its Berlin Bar 25 fame.
Design Hotel Founder Claus Sendlinger also plans to bring famous DJs and musicians to perform on the natural amphitheater on the beach, introduce an on-site designer boutique and offer the luxury traveler perks such as sustainable and organic food-on-the-go.
Not to be outdone, the Cosmopolitan Las Vegas luxury hotel is offering a Pop-Up Wedding Chapel for a short time. There is a choice of ceremonies: the Hitched in a Hurry economy package which includes a photo booth picture and space eraser rings, or the deluxe “Going to the Chapel” package which has a silk flower bouquet, logo tee shirts and party favors.
by Gillian at Luxique
Wax figures of Lady Gaga have been unveiled at Madame Tussauds in London – and at seven others worldwide.
As befitting the pop diva’s style, the wax figures feature her in eight different outrageous outfits. The London one has her in a Philip Treacy-designed telephone hat with ‘a Giorgio Armani Privé midnight blue outfit with pagoda-style shoulders and vertiginous heels’ (my fashion adviser tells me).
The other figures are in New York, Las Vegas, Hollywood, Amsterdam, Berlin, Shanghai and Hong Kong.
In Amsterdam, the wax Gaga sports a conical towering pink and white hairdo, teamed with a white boxy jacket, a nude bodysuit and huge platforms. In Shanghai, she is wearing thigh-high patent boots and a Bowie-esque black lightning stripe over one eye.
The Gaga-fest was kept strictly secret and kept under wraps until the moment all could be revealed. The General Manager of Madame Tussauds in London, Edward Fuller, said: “The demand to include Lady Gaga has been overwhelming and we are more than happy to oblige.”
by Andy Moreton
If you’re going Gaga, Luxique offers a selection of luxury hotels in each of the eight cities.
The Lonely Planet travel guide’s annual list of the top ten best value destinations for 2010 contains a surprising entry – London.
Long scorned for being one of the most expensive cities on earth, London is now seen as good value for a number of reasons, including the falling value of the pound, hotel bargains and free museums. The recession has also encouraged many restaurants and shops to cut their prices and offer special deals.
Tom Hall, the publisher’s travel editor, said: “The tables have turned and London’s reputation as one of the world’s most expensive cities is over. It is far easier to do London on the cheap than it was five years ago.”
Other best-value destinations in the top ten include Iceland, South Africa, Las Vegas and Kenya.
There’s considerable satisfaction in the Irish Republic that Cork has been named in another Lonely Planet top ten – the best cities to visit in 2010. The guide says: “Cork has been in Dublin’s shadows for far too long. It has emerged as a fantastic destination in its own right with great restaurants, galleries, bars and shops as well as stunning scenery on its doorstep.”
Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2010 is now available in the US and Europe.
by Andy Moreton
Many of Luxique’s carefully selected luxury hotels in London will have special deals at this time. And if you want to experience a city that Lonely Planet says is ‘at the top of its game’ right now, Luxique offers the convivial Hayfield Manor in Cork, Irish Republic.
One of the most distinctive sights in Venice – among many others – is the thousands of wooden navigation poles that dot the lagoon.
They’re used as markers by boats and ferries to prevent them from running aground in treacherous sandbanks, and they’ve been a traditional part of the Venetian scenery for many years.
Now, though, the city authorities have raised something of a storm by proposing that the 100,000 or so wooden stakes be replaced by plastic poles made out of recycled waste. They say these would last much longer and cost less to maintain than their old, barnacle-clad timber equivalents.
“We have hundreds of wooden poles which are rotting away - there are entire forests of them,” said Mara Rumiz, the city official in charge of public works.
However, critics of the proposed move say that it would bring an end to centuries of heritage and that the plastic poles would be much less picturesque. One commented that visitors would have the impression of a plastic Venice, not dissimilar to the one which exists in Las Vegas.
The Daily Telegraph’s correspondent in Italy, Nick Squires, said:
“It is the latest chapter in the decades-old saga over how to reconcile the history and heritage of one of the world’s most beautiful cities with the practicalities of day-to-day life.”
by Andy Moreton
Luxique’s travel experts have carefully selected the finest luxury hotels in Venice to make your vacation truly unforgettable. And if you want to experience Venice Nevada–style, take a look at the remarkable Venetian Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.
People now get married in the oddest of places around the world: on bungee jump platforms, on rollercoasters (“life’s a series of ups and downs, so we thought it was appropriate”) and in hot air balloons.
Now, the UK budget airline, easyJet, is seeking permission for its pilots to officiate at in-flight marriages.
“We’re excited about these plans,” said easyJet’s regional general manager, Paul Simmons. “If our request is answered positively, ‘floating on cloud nine’ would get a new meaning for people in love.” And, of course, you could do wedding, flight and honeymoon in one bumper budget package.
There might be a hitch, though. Officially, UK marriages have to be conducted in a licensed building, which must be a permanent structure that doesn’t move, and the ceremony has to be officiated by a minister of religion or by a registrar employed by a local council.
As my fellow travel writer, Benji Lanyado, points out in the Guardian newspaper: “Regardless of the legal difficulties, conducting a wedding requires concentration and a significant amount of paperwork. Some passengers might prefer the pilot to focus on flying the plane.”
by Andy Moreton
If you’re thinking of an exotic location for a wedding – the Seychelles, the Caribbean, the Maldives, Las Vegas, to name but a few – Luxique can help with reservations at the finest luxury hotels.
New York City is challenging Las Vegas as the premier US destination for marriage ceremonies.
The new Manhattan Marriage Bureau has just opened after a $12.3 million (£8.4 million) renovation and newlyweds are said to have been enthusiastic about it. Officials are hoping it will boost tourism during uncertain economic times.
At its former location, happy couples were greeted at the entrance with orders to empty their pockets and pass through metal detectors. The new experience is meant to be a bit more romantic; dreary bathrooms have been turned into spacious dressing rooms with recessed lighting, and there’s a huge photograph of City Hall that couples can use as a backdrop for pictures. You can even hand your iPod to the chapel clerk, who will play the music of your choice during the ceremony.
“We’re taking Las Vegas on,” said First Deputy City Clerk, Michael McSweeney. “The city hopes to advance New York not just as a tourist destination, but as a marriage destination.”
NYC & Company, the city’s tourism agency, said one hotel had already created a wedding reception package tied to the new location, and the agency said it planned to market New York as a wedding destination abroad.
But Las Vegas, it seems, will continue to have the edge for couples who want to tie the knot without delay. While there is no required waiting period in Vegas, couples in New York must wait 24 hours after filing a marriage application before holding their ceremony.
by Andy Moreton