Jazz, July 4 deals and a guide to hot hotels
Israel’s Red Sea resort at night: the port area will come alive with the sounds of Jazz from August 23-26
Jazz fans should be booking now for the Red Sea Jazz Festival in Eilat from August 23 to 26. Taking place under the stars at the city’s Port, this year’s festival has three new venues, including a 4,000-seat hall. The line-up features 70 international artistes, including Dee Dee Bridgewater, Marina Maximilian-Blumin, John Scofield and Lionel Loueke, plus 100 Israeli musicians. There will also be a tribute to jazz great John Coltrane, who would have been 80 this year, in an event featuring his son, Ravi. As usual, the festival includes a huge range of jazz, from traditional to modern, taking in gospel, Latin, funk, soul and fusion, as well as workshops conducted by Boston’s Berklee College of Music and Israel’s Rimon School of Jazz, and the post-festival jam sessions, held poolside nightly at sponsor Isrotel’s Riviera Hotel (00972-3-5271026; www.redseajazzeilat.com/en).
If you are heading for Paris this summer to visit Paris Plage – white sand, palm trees, sunbeds and parasols along a two-mile stretch of the Seine (July 20 to August 20), you can take advantage of free night deals through city break specialist, Cities Direct. Offers include the three-star Glasgow Monceau Hotel, from just £199 per person for three nights, based on two sharing, including return flights from Luton (01242 536900, www.citiesdirect.co.uk).
Eurostar has introduced new single fares to all its destinations, making a fly-there, train back (or vice-versa) a cost-effective option. The new fares start from all inclusive £35 for London to Paris or Brussels. Eurostar has also simplified its fare structure and removed those annoying conditions such as a Saturday night away and weekend day return (www.eurostar.com or call 08705 186 186).
The Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park, perfectly located just a few Louboutin-shod paces from Sloane Street, has launched a “Luxe for Less” programme for dedicated shoppers. It costs £308 for one night’s accommodation for two in a Courtyard King Room, with breakfast, and includes reductions at selected stores at Westfield London, an Armani goodie bag and an invitation to a 15-minute makeover at the Westfield branch of Armani. (0207 235 2000; www.mandarinoriental.com).
If you can pack by July 4, First Choice is offering tempting late deals to Florida for Independence Day when the night sky above Disneyworld will be lit by fireworks. Crunch busting trips include seven nights at Disney’s All-Star Sports Resort, departing Gatwick July 3, from £730 per adult and £325 per child based on shared, room-only accommodation. Alternatively, 14 nights self-catering at the Villas of Somerset in Kissimmee, a spacious, comfortable base close to Disneyworld, starts from £634 per adult, £545 per child, based on shared accommodation, departing Manchester (0871 200 4455; www.firstchoice.co.uk).
Tuscany’s newest hotel, the sublime Il Salviatino, will begin welcoming guests in July. The 58-room villa on the outskirts of Florence has been lavishly and meticulously restored to reflect its rather grand past, with frescoes, marble fireplaces and rich fabrics. Set in 11 acres of parkland, with views over the Florentine skyline, facilities include a holistic spa, two pools and a gourmet al fresco restaurant. Black Tomato is offering three nights from £1,188 per person (based on two sharing) with breakfast, flights and car hire (www.blacktomato.co.uk; 020 7426 9888)
The same über-chic operator is offering a package for another jazz festival, in Copenhagen from July 3 to 12, with 900 concerts across 100 venues. Based at the Danish capital’s stylish Hotel Twenty Seven, three-night packages cost from £599 per person (based on double occupancy), including flights, transfers and accommodation (www.blacktomato.co.uk; 020 7426 9888).
If ever there was a hotel website designed with JC readers in mind, it is the new Luxe City Guides website www.luxecityguides.com, for which editors have been scouring the world’s top cities to find properties to feature in their new Hotel & Villa Collection. Rather than simply listing amenities, the Luxe guides claim to be “personal, opinionated and ultra-selective”. Website users can also book some of the properties, as well as swap opinions and information and receive special offers. There is also a free hardcopy of a Luxe City Guide with every booking (www.luxecityguides.com).