Passengers on a recent flight from Manchester to the Czech capital, Prague, were treated to in-flight entertainment with a difference.
Members of the Prague State Opera, including the soprano Vera Likérová, gave the first performance in the bmibaby airline’s ‘enterplanement’ season designed to showcase acts from destinations to which the airline flies.
“As well as putting the fun back into flying, we thought we could do something more interactive and actually have representatives from the destinations on a few flights,” said Julian Carr, managing director of bmibaby.
“Ultimately we want our customers to enjoy the experience, and we hope that it gives them ideas and suggestions about what to do and see that they might not read about in the standard tourist brochure or guide book,” he added.
Message board reactions were somewhat mixed:
- Just what I need when I’m trying to fall asleep on the plane!
- Wonderful – let’s hope this starts a trend.
- Great, now the airlines will start charging for ear plugs.
by Andy Moreton
World-class opera is just one of the attractions in the Czech capital, and Luxique can secure you the best rates at any one of 24 luxury hotels in Prague.
One of the most popular attractions in the Prague Castle complex is being closed for a year-long renovation from the beginning of May.
The Golden Lane (Zlatá ulička) is a narrow alley lined with candy-coloured one-room houses from the 16th century.
Frantisek Kadlec, the Director of Prague Castle’s tourism department, said: “The houses are in poor technical condition and need heating and electricity upgrades, so there will be a full reconstruction of the entire lane.”
Named after the goldsmiths who once lived there, the Golden Lane is now home to souvenir and craft shops. But for many visitors the highlight is No. 22: the tiny home where Franz Kafka lived from 1916 to 1917 and wrote some of the short stories for his collection The Country Doctor.
After the lane’s renovation, nine houses will become part of an exhibition on life in the Golden Lane through the centuries.
Some shopkeepers, though, are unhappy. “There will be no compensation for us because every shop worker has a contract that expires in April,” said Pavel Kouba, who works at the lane’s Old Clock Store. Kouba said none of the shops had been consulted about the closure.
“It is a shock for all of us, and we will have to find new premises. We are dependent on tourists, and competition is high, especially in this time of economic crisis. Nobody consulted us.”
by Andy Moreton
If you’re destined for the Czech capital, take a look at Luxique’s city guide and great selection of luxury hotels in Prague.
The experience of travel is all about experiencing something new and different. Vacation destinations should be memorable, and so should the hotel, for all the right reasons of course. Luxury hotels can be found in castles and forts as well as on boats. There are themed hotels all over the world based on art, pop music, Marilyn Monroe, the Wild West or whatever else you might dream of. If all this has aroused your curiosity, here are three themed hotels to get you started:
Ice Hotel in Sweden
The Ice Hotel in Jukkasjarvi in Sweden has to be the coolest hotel on the planet! Created from slabs of ice, this magical palace-cum-igloo is built fresh every year. It includes ice chandeliers lit with fiber optics, an ice bar and evenice beds piled high with reindeer hides and high-tech sleeping bags. This Land of the Midnight Sun location also offers unlimited snow sports including cross-country skiing, dog sleds and snowmobiles as well as helicopter tours to Lapland and if you’re really lucky, the spectacular aurora borealis. Voted the ‘Best Experience in Sweden’ the Ice Hotel continues to draw an eclectic crowd every year from royalty and celebrities to hardy honeymoon couples.
Aria Hotel in Prague
Located in Prague, a city renowned for its classical music, the Aria Hotel is conveniently located between the State Opera House and Rudolfinum, the home of the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra. Follow the Gregorian chants set in the mosaic footpath, which leads from the wrought iron gate right into reception. Every floor of this luxury hotel in Prague is dedicated to a different category of music, from contemporary and classic to opera and jazz. Delightfully furnished guest rooms are predictably named after a composer or musician, but that’s not all. The rooms are a shrine to individual artists with original artwork, biographies, books and even an iPod loaded with their music so that you can totally immerse yourself in your chosen favorite. You get round-the-clock Mozart, Elvis or even Billie Holliday, so choose your room with care! The Aria Hotel even has its own Director of Music to advice and enhance your musical vacation.
Pelican Hotel in Miami
For those who want more from a luxury hotel in Miami’s South Beach than Art Deco features, the Diesel-owned Pelican offers a choice of wacky rooms. The only condition is that you must like neon, and lots of it. Themed rooms range from the garish to the glitzy, based on such themes as Best Whorehouse, Cubarean Islands and Psychedelic Girl. The Pelican Café, spilling out onto the terrace and sidewalk, is considered THE place to be seen having breakfast.
Trust me, this is not a joke. A Czech travel agency is offering trips to Prague for your favourite teddy bear or other stuffed toy.
For the equivalent of £78 ($122), the agency will take pictures of the toy tourists at Prague’s major sights and put them on a CD so that you, the owner, can ‘boast to friends or on Facebook’.
The man behind it, Tomio Okamura, said:
“It is not a joke. We are four owners [including] me – the vice president of the Czech National Association of Travel Agencies – also Miss Dana Bérová, who is a former minister. So it’s proof that it’s a very serious business.”
But the sightseeing is just the half of it. For an extra £52 ($81), the toys can have massage or aromatherapy sessions. Mr Okamura again:
“Yes, we will make massage on the mat next to Charles Bridge, with Prague Castle in the background. So we will put teddy bear on the mat, put candles around him and take photos. So then his owner can say that his bear had a massage in Prague.”
Of course, the tour organisers need to know in advance if the guest is vegetarian because lunch is included …
Look, I can’t go on with this, it’s too ridiculous. If you have a teddy that’s shown an interest in broadening his horizons, go to www.sendyourdarling.com.
by Andy Moreton
Why send your teddy when you can go yourself? Here at Luxique, we describe the Czech capital as ‘a fairyland of pinnacles, towers and fabulously ornate castles and palaces.’ And we have a selection of 23 of the best luxury hotels in Prague.
One effect of the worldwide recession has brought mixed blessings for Prague.
For some years, the capital of the Czech Republic has been the favoured haunt for that final fling before marriage – the stag (bachelor) or hen party. It was a particularly British pre-nuptial tradition inspired by Prague’s cheap drinks and beautiful scenery.
But with people trying to cut down on the high costs of weddings, this seems to be changing. Tom Chesshyre, writing in the London Mail On Sunday, says some companies that organise stag parties in the city have gone bust and those that continue are reporting stagnant bookings.
That’s bad news for the city’s bar owners because takings are down by at least a third. But it’s good news for the residents as there’s been a marked reduction in the number of drunken Britons roaming the cobbled streets.
One man running a ‘stag-hen’ tour company in Prague said: “It’s amusing. We used to get hotels that said ‘we don’t want stag parties.’ Now they’re begging us for bookings.”
“So,” says Chesshyre, “I think, as I take in a Mozart and Dvorak concert at the wonderfully ornate St Climent Cathedral, this Prague Spring should be a bit different from recent years. A little more peace, calm and culture.”
by Andy Moreton
If you’re destined for the Czech capital and its rediscovered calmness, take a look at Luxique’s city guide and great selection of luxury hotels in Prague.