Just landed

3 Jan 2008 by Mark Caswell compiles this week’s stories from the lighter side of business travel.

Match made in heaven?

Guests of De Vere Hotels may soon be rubbing shoulders with the likes of John Terry and Wayne Rooney, if plans for a joint venture between the hotel chain and the Football Association go ahead. The FA’s on-off training academy in Burton could be made economically viable by adding a 150-room De Vere property on site, with the association buying a certain number of bed nights per year. Rumours of oversized beds in the Peter Crouch Suite are unfounded.

The drive of your life

Etihad Airways has revamped its limousine offering for first and business class passengers travelling to and from Abu Dhabi airport. Around 12,000 passengers use the service each month, and Pearl (business class) passengers will now travel in a Caprice Classic, while Diamond (first class) customers will be transferred in a luxury Cadillac DTS, complete with a 4.6L, 290hp V8 engine – well, it beats catching the bus.

The great Escape

Sol Melia Hotels and Resorts has launched a new game on its website to woo visitors. Sol Melia Escape encourages guests to take on a virtual character and “fly” Peter Pan-style around the world using Google Earth, landing in random destinations with the chance of winning a week’s free stay at a Sol Melia property. If you don’t like the chosen destination you can “drop in” on another one – and don’t worry, the hotel chain promises to include parachutes (or return flights) with the actual prizes. Visit

Music to your ears

All-business class airline Eos is giving away Bose equipment or bonus Club 48 loyalty scheme points with return tickets booked before January 18. Passengers get 15,000 points or a pair of Bose in-ear headphones for tickets costing less than US$4,000, and tickets over this amount will earn members 30,000 points or a Bose Wave Radio. wonders if Maxjet is listening.

DIY drinks

Luxury chain Conrad Hotels and Resorts is offering guests the chance to create their own cocktails from a new “Conradtini” menu. Customers can ask for as little or as much help as they want from resident mixologists, with the menu including base ingredients, mixers, garnishes, serving styles and glassware. “We want everyone to feel comfortable ordering their cocktails the way they enjoy them most,” said a spokesperson – that’ll be sat on a beach with my own private butler then…

Mark Caswell

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