Dress codes in luxury hotels continue to make the news. Earlier this year, I reported that the Ritz in London had started turning a blind eye to jeans at breakfast time.
However, the iconic London luxury hotel Claridge’s drew the line at a retired (Scottish) doctor showing up at one of its bars in a pair of traditional German lederhosen. It was pointed out to Dr Lewis Dickinson that the hotel’s dress code did not allow shorts.
Dr Dickinson’s leather shorts were worn with the traditional jacket, hat with feather, plus shoes and long socks. “The amount of bare flesh I was showing was only my hands and head, yet there were women in the hotel wearing short skirts and exposing lots of flesh,” he said.
Dr Dickinson added that if he’d decided to wear a traditional Scottish kilt, he would probably have been allowed in. “I had just decided that this [the lederhosen] was what I wanted to wear that night and cannot see what was wrong with it. Most of the time I wear normal clothes, like suits, jeans and so forth.”
A spokeswoman at Claridges said: “This is nothing to do with nationality, but we simply have a policy of not allowing shorts to be worn in the hotel bars after 6pm. And that includes lederhosen, despite the fact that they seem to be making something of a comeback.”
by Andy Moreton, with acknowledgements to the Daily Mail
Get dressed up and have a night (or three) at Claridge’s, the art deco jewel in London’s Mayfair. Luxique can get you the best available rates.
The French have traditionally been fiercely protective of their language and are forever trying to halt the incursion of Anglo/American phrases.
Another campaign has just begun, with the word ‘buzz’ top of the hit-list. Linguistic experts see this as particularly crude, and intend to replace it with the word ramdam (doesn’t seem much more refined or French to me, but hey…)
Apart from ‘buzz’, there are a number of other words that young French people have picked up from their constant diet of English and American TV programmes, films, music and social networking. These include ‘chat’, ‘talk’ and ‘newsletter’. Their alternatives – to be placed in French language dictionaries – are éblabla, debat and infolettre.
Some of these alternatives emerged from a competition among schoolchildren and college students to identify French-sounding words for 21st century mid-Atlantic- speak.
The campaign has the full support of President Nicolas Sarkozy, who’s frequently pointed to the proliferation of English words as nothing less than the spread of a bland, corporate, American-style culture. “Defending our language, defending the values that it bears, fundamentally means fighting for cultural diversity in our world,” he said.
However, some Anglicisms stubbornly remain. Most common is le weekend, but there are also post-its in the office, and les air bags in cars.
by Andy Moreton
Discover France and the French language, and book a luxury hotel in Paris and many other cities through Luxique.
A waxworks museum in a popular tourist area of Thailand has been forced to cover up a roadside billboard featuring a saluting Adolf Hitler.
The poster, put up on the main road into the seaside resort town of Pattaya, was condemned by the country’s Israeli and German ambassadors as ‘utterly tasteless’ and ‘totally unacceptable’.
The billboard reading in the Thai language ‘Hitler Is Not Dead,’ was part of an advertising campaign to promote the opening next month of the Louis Tussaud waxworks museum.
The manager, Somporn Naksuetrong, apologised. He said the idea had come from an advertising agency and was neither meant to cause offence nor to celebrate Hitler, merely to point out the infamy of an historic figure.
by Andy Moreton
Luxique is delighted to offer the best rates at more than 25 luxury hotels in Bangkok and other parts of Thailand.
The Catalonia region of Spain – which includes Barcelona and the Costa Brava resorts – has announced a crackdown on the supply of cheap drinks in bars and clubs.
Among other things, it’s banned the ‘Happy Hour’ promotion, in which people are typically offered two drinks for the price of one, and the practice of clubs supplying free drinks after payment of an entrance fee. Violations could result in a fine of up to £6,000 ($9,800).
Barcelona is a popular destination for young Britons holding pre-wedding stag (bachelor) and hen (bachelorette) parties, but these sometimes end in drunkenness and debauchery.
But it’s likely that the new measures are equally aimed at the young Spaniards who engage in what are known as botellones – drinking jamborees in which students crowd public squares, drink heavily and disturb the peace.
“We must protect citizens,” said Catalonia’s public health director, Antoni Plasencia. “We want to impede the uncontrolled consumption of alcohol.”
by Andy Moreton
Luxique has a wide and varied selection of luxury hotels in Barcelona, as well as in other parts of Catalonia, including Tarragona and Girona.
The wise traveller learns in advance what not to do when visiting certain parts of the world: for instance, showing the soles of your feet, sticking your chopsticks upright in a bowl of rice or giving a thumbs-up.
I think you can add to that list of tourist taboos – going on a boozy night out in Crete and then parading with 16 friends in the early hours of the morning dressed as nuns in lingerie.
The Cretan police took a very dim view of the antics of the party of amateur soccer players, who were British (now who would have guessed?). They were accused of ‘scandal and misrepresentation of a costume or uniform’ and spent a night in the cells (still in their outfits). They described conditions inside as ‘horrendous’.
When they appeared in court, however, the prosecutors dropped the charges against them because no-one showed up to testify that they had been upset by the tourists’ conduct.
The men were arrested in the holiday resort of Malia, which has, over the past couple of years, become synonymous with young Britons behaving badly. It’s said to have been awarded the Greek island party crown previously held by rowdy resorts such as Faliraki in Rhodes and Kavos in Corfu.
by Andy Moreton
Check out Luxique’s range of luxury hotels in Crete – and if you’re looking for a relaxed and peaceful stay, you’ll be delighted to learn that none of them is in Malia.
Madrid is going to unprecedented lengths to try to make sure its streets are clean and free of litter.
A 300-strong team of rubbish police will patrol the Spanish capital and slap fines of up to 1,500 euros (£1,340 / $1,880) on people dropping paper, tossing away cigarette ends or failing to scoop up their dogs’ mess.
Also targeted by Madrid’s conservative city council will be graffiti artists, men who urinate against trees, people feeding the ducks in the park and even residents who sprinkle the pavement when watering pot plants on their balconies.
The most controversial regulation is aimed at the poor and hungry who rummage through rubbish containers for discarded food or cardboard to sleep on. It could result in a fine of 750 euros (£670 / $940). A spokesman for the opposition United Left party called this measure absolutely shameful. “Anyone who is in such need doesn’t do it out of choice, but to survive.”
One group of Madrilenos who seem likely to have to change their ways are the many who enjoy pipas or sunflower seeds and create a little pile of husks at their feet while sitting on a bench watching the world go by.
by Andy Moreton
Luxique’s selection of luxury hotels in Madrid is anything but rubbish. Check it out!
Naked alpine ramblers have been warned to keep their clothes on from this spring – at least in one area of Switzerland - or face fines.
Apparently, hiking through the heather with nothing more than a rucksack and a pair of strong boots is a growing pastime, especially among Germans.
The walkers have been at liberty to wander free of clothes and of prosecution because there’s been no law to prevent them. But the Swiss canton (state) of Appenzell Innerrhoden has now said it will slap fines of 200 Francs (£122 / $175) on any holidaymaker who’s caught rambling au naturel.
“We have been receiving many complaints,” said Markus Dörig, a spokesman for the canton. “The local people are upset and we in the government share their concern. How would one feel if one was to go walking and suddenly came across a group of naked people?”
Not surprisingly, there’s been disappointment among naked hiker websites in Germany. One said it was a harmless pursuit aimed simply at getting back to nature. “Abandoning unpractical clothes enables a direct contact with the wind, sun and temperature,” it said.
The area of Appenzell Innerrhoden is well known for its natural beauty but not its liberalism: the canton gave women the right to vote only in 1990 under pressure from the Federal High Court and international human rights groups.
by Andy Moreton
Luxique offers more than just the bare facts about an unrivalled selection of luxury hotels in SwitzerlandAscona to Zurich. from
The world’s biggest wholesale fish market is reversing a month-long ban on tourists at its pre-dawn auctions.
The manic daily tuna sales at Tsukiji market in central Tokyo often draw hundreds of visitors, many from abroad. But loutish tourists were accused of flouting hygiene rules and causing disruption with flash photography. Some had apparently been caught hugging, licking and even riding the huge frozen tuna that are Tsukiji’s most famous commodity.
While the ban on visiting has been lifted, guards will hand out strict guidelines governing behaviour. An official said: “We recognise that the auctions are part of the Tokyo scenery and a popular tourist attraction.”
Tsukiji handles more than 400 different types of seafood from tiny sardines to 300kg (660lb) tuna, from cheap seaweed to the most expensive caviar. It’s the source of fresh sushi and sashimi to top restaurants around the world.
by Andy Moreton
Take a look at our unrivalled selection of luxury hotels in Tokyo together with a helpful Tokyo city guide.
The drive by the authorities in Venice to improve the city’s image goes on relentlessly.
I wrote a couple of weeks ago about moves to encourage boorish tourists to show more respect. Now the target is the souvenir stalls which cluster around churches and piazzas.
The stalls sell a range of cheap mementoes from gondola key rings to replica Carnival masks and fridge magnets. “We’re going to get these tacky stalls to clean up their act,” said the city’s cultural heritage superintendent, Renata Codello.
She said the vendors represented “fully-fledged examples of urban decay” and would in future have to keep a greater distance from churches and other tourist attractions.
A reader recently asked the travel expert at the Times newspaper in London about the prospects of an affordable journey to Venice by train.
I pass on the information that there’s a very good overnight service from Paris called the Artesia Stendhal (www.artesia.eu), which means that you can leave London’s St Pancras on the Eurostar (www.eurostar.com) after lunch, depart Paris at 7.42pm and arrive in Venice the following morning at a civilised 9.39am. There are four-berth couchettes as well as one- two- and three-berth sleeper cabins and full catering facilities.
The train arrives at the Santa Lucia station in Venice, which is right on the Grand Canal. Water taxis and water bus stops are immediately outside down the wide flight of steps.
One of the more unsung of the luxury hotels in Venice has deservedly been winning prestigious travel industry awards recently and is now established as one of the best in Europe. The San Clemente Palace – situated on a private island – is available to book through Luxique. It’s currently running a series of special offers.
by Andy Moreton
Venice is stepping up its campaign to try to encourage badly behaved tourists to show more respect for the city.
Twenty million people visit Venice every year and boorish visitors are a source of extreme annoyance to the residents and the city authorities.
The ‘clean-up tsar,’ Augusto Salvadori, says large posters will go up in prominent positions with the message Tenere La Città Pulita (Keep the City Clean).
There will also be reminders to tourists using the Vaporetti (water buses) to give up their seats to elderly people and pregnant women and to backpackers to remove their unwieldy loads before boarding. Foreign fare-dodgers will also be targeted.
The moves are the latest phase of a campaign started two years ago to spruce up the city’s image and clamp down on unacceptable tourist behaviour. A ban on street vendors selling grain led to a significant decrease in the estimated 20,000 pigeons in St Mark’s Square.
Now, a group of young women called City Angels aim to stop visitors dangling their feet in fountains, walking around shirtless and throwing food wrappers on to the ground. In addition, the Venice authorities want to deter people from lowering the tone by eating fast food and packed lunches in popular locations.
One city official commented: “Tourism has a huge impact on Venice – there are 60,000 inhabitants but 20 million tourists. It’s a matter of trying to get along together.”
by Andy Moreton
Browse Luxique’s unrivalled selection of luxury hotels in Venice, including the world-renowned Cipriani, Gritti PalaceBaglioni. and