City Inn Manchester installs multimedia iMacs

Business travellers staying at the new Manchester City Inn will find it easier
to get work done during their stay, with high-tech Apple Macs installed in every
room. The four-star hotel, which opened at the end of May this year, has struck
a deal with software solutions provider DirectStreams, ensuring that each of the
285 guest rooms are fitted with an iMac.

The initiative will be particularly welcome to
travellers weary of lugging laptops around, as work can be safely saved onto a
memory stick via the USB port and then deleted using “Deep Freeze” software.
This works by permanently erasing all new information when the computer is shut
down, leaving a clean slate for the next guest. Standard rooms and clubrooms
have wired keyboards and mice, while suites include wireless keyboards and mice
in the lounge area, allowing business travellers to sit and work at their
leisure.

The iMacs also serve as the room’s TV system, with
38 channels and 23 radio stations, plus multimedia features such as i-tunes,
i-chat, i-photos and i-movies, allowing guests to select from a range of
entertainment facilities.

Says Huw O’Connor, managing director of City Inn:
“We want to give customers what they should rightfully expect; an in-room
entertainment/multimedia capability that is equal to that which they will have
in their home or in their office”.

Following the introduction of the iMacs at City Inn
Manchester, the group plans to extend the initiative to its four other
properties in London, Bristol, Birmingham and Glasgow.

For more information visit cityinn.com.

Report by Karen Eeuwens

Emirates to launch Newcastle-Dubai flights with economy fare sale

Emirates begins its Newcastle-Dubai route from the end of next week (September
1), and to celebrate the carrier is offering reduced economy fares for those
booking up to the launch date.

The route will be the first direct long-haul
flights from Newcastle airport, and will give passengers the chance to connect
to destinations in India, the Far East and Australasia without having to transit
through Heathrow.

Those booking by August 31 can get a return ticket
Newcastle-Dubai from £373, including taxes and charges, while Newcastle-Beijing
via the Middle East costs from £384, and flights to Hong Kong and Bangkok are
from £438 and £439 respectively. Travel must be taken before March 31,
2008.

Emirates will be flying a daily service on the
route, using a two-class Airbus A330-200 configured for 27 business and 251
economy class seats. Flight EK036 will depart Newcastle at 1340 to reach Dubai
at 0005 the next day. The inbound service, EK035 will depart Dubai at 0720
arriving in Newcastle at 1210.

For more information visit emirates.com.

Report by Mark Caswell

Germany’s Deutsche Bahn trains to become smoke free

Germany is taking another step closer to conforming with European anti-smoking
legislation by banning smoking from all its InterCity, EuroCity and InterCity
Express trains from September 1. Smoking carriages were removed from Deutsche
Bahn regional trains earlier this year.

Smoking in railway stations will also be off-limit
when the bill is passed, although there will be designated smoking areas
available and nothing to stop people lighting up in bars and restaurants
on-site. This highlights Germany’s hesitation to follow the example of countries
such as England and Finland which introduced a complete smoking ban in public
places on July 1 this year.

Only two states in Germany have so far banned
smoking in bars and restaurants, while in total three of Germany’s 16 states
have implemented a ban on smoking in hospitals, schools and public buildings.
However, the government did recently raise the age at which people can buy
cigarettes from 16 to 18, and by the end of the year it is expected that the
restrictions on smoking in public places in other areas of the country will
tighten.

At present, approximately one third of the
population of Germany smokes and around 4.5 million people use Deutsche Bahn
services every day. So in a bid to appease addicts using public transport, DB
will be giving out free nicotine chewing gum to InterCity and ICE passengers on
request. Despite this additional cost, Deutsche Bahn believes the smoking ban
will save them money, as it will be cheaper to keep trains clean.

For more information visit bahn.co.uk.

By Jenny Southan

Ryanair to increase Dublin service

Budget carrier Ryanair is to base two new aircraft at Dublin Airport from this
November, allowing the airline to launch six new European flights and increase
frequencies on a further 12.

The new Boeing 737-800s will bring the number of
Ryanair aircraft in the Irish city to 22. The airline will start flying to
Basel, Szczecin and Budapest in October, on a three-times weekly, two-times
weekly and daily basis respectively. In November, Ryanair will launch daily
services to Nice and Prague, as well as a three-times weekly service to
Katowice.

Ryanair’s expansion has been facilitated by
increased capacity provided by the opening of Check-in Area 14 at Dublin
Airport, as well as the opening of Pier D in October. Says Michael Cawley,
Ryanair’s deputy CEO: “By launching these six new routes, three of which
(Budapest, Nice and Prague) are already served by Aer Lingus, and one of which
(Basel) competes with Aer Lingus’s high fare route to Zurich, long-term access
between Dublin and these cities has been secured.”

The airline will also significantly expand services
on 12 of its existing routes from Dublin. Services to Edinburgh and Birmingham
will increase from three-times to four-times a week, while an extra weekly
flight to Manchester will bring this route to a five-times weekly service.
Flights to Bournemouth will also increase from seven-times a week to
nine.

Further afield, services to Bratislava, Kaunas,
Krakow and Riga will soon be operating daily, while the airline also plans to
add extra an extra weekly flight to its existing Gdansk, Rzeszow, Tenerife and
Wroclaw services.

Says Cawley: “With these new routes and additional
flights, Ryanair expects to carry a record ten million passengers through Dublin
Airport in 2008”.

For more information visit ryanair.co.uk.

Report by Karen
Eeuwens

Hotel du Vin opens in Cambridge

It has been a busy time for the MWB Group, owners of the Malmaison and Hotel du
Vin brands. July saw the opening of the latest Malmaison in Reading – the newly
renovated Great Western Rail hotel – and this week sister brand Hotel du Vin
opened its tenth hotel in Cambridge.

This latest boutique offering is located in
Cambridge city centre on Trumpington Street, and is housed in a renovated
university building, with 41 bedrooms and suites (some with private roof
terraces and garden areas) complete with Egyptian cotton sheets and monsoon
showers.

The hotel’s European bistro serves breakfast, lunch
and dinner and features Hotel du Vin’s inaugural open-style kitchen. Many of the
unusual architectural elements of the interior have been preserved, such as the
labyrinth of vaulted cellar rooms where guests can enjoy a glass of champagne at
the hotel’s bar. There is also a specialist wine tasting room, library and
private dining room.

The Cambridge hotel is the first of a handful of
Hotel du Vin properties slated for the coming months. Next up is York in
November, with 42 bedrooms, private dining facilities, bistro and bar, while
Newcastle, Edinburgh and Poole are all due to be added to the growing list in
2008.

Hotel du Vin Cambridge
Trumpington
St
Cambridge
+44 (0)1223 227 330
hotelduvin.com

Report by Jenny
Southan


BA swaps Molton Brown for Elemis

British Airways has unveiled Elemis as the new partners for its lounge spas and Club World amenity kits. The announcement brings to an end the six-year agreement between BA and Molton Brown to provide its premium customers with treatments on the ground and moisturisers in-flight

From October this year Elemis will take over the running of BA’s current airport lounge spas at Heathrow’s T1 and T4, and JFK’s T7. At the same time the Molton Brown in-flight amenity kits will be replaced with Elemis products.

There will be two types of spa treatments on offer depending on whether passengers are preparing for a flight or recovering at arrivals. The departure offering will aim to aid sleep and relaxation, while the arrivals treatments will look to “re-awaken and energise”. There will be four treatments on offer – face, foot, hand and scalp – and customers will be able to enjoy 15-minute treatments on”state-of-the-art intelligent massage chairs”.

 The new amenity kits will include Elemis Eyes Awake Recovery Gel, Pro-Coll Marine Cream, Lip Revive and Rehydrating Ginseng Skin Tonic, as well as socks, eye shades, ear plugs,toothpaste and toothbrush. Says Finola Lehane, brand and service development manager, BA: “Our customers will benefit from Elemis’ extensive experience in producing top-quality skincare, both through treatments in the British Airways lounges and on-board via the amenity kits. Our two brands are synonymous with quality and luxury, and we anticipate that our customers will be delighted with the new spa and amenity products.”

The partnership with Elemis starts ahead of the opening of BA’s new hub atT5 next spring, which will feature three spa lounges (two in departures and one in arrivals), all with the Elemis offering.

For more information visit ba.com, elemis.com.

Report by Mark Caswell