Hotels in Israel and London, cycling in France, rail travel in Venice
Our pick of luxury rail travel, cycling and hotel bargains in France, London, Israel and Italy
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The Grand Canal, Venice: visit the city on a mini break aboard the Orient Express
The Sheraton Hotel in Tiberias on the shores of Galilee has been given a special award by the Israel Tour Guides Association. The guides have given the hotel a Certificate of Appreciation for improving the image of Israel for tourists, and for the quality of service and the warmth of their welcome. Bookable through Israel specialist operators or with Sheraton (www.sheraton.co.il/english; 800 325 35353)
● The Eton Collection’s flagship hotel, the Threadneedles and its Georgian townhouse hotel, the Academy in Bloomsbury (virtually next door to the British Museum), have joined forces with the museum to offer a weekend package from £195. As well as one night’s accommodation with breakfast and a glass of champagne on arrival, there are tickets to the museum’s latest exhibition in its series on rulers, “Shah Abbas: The Remaking of Iran”, and an exclusive talk for hotel guests by the exhibition’s curators. The package is available on May 9 and May 23, and a double room costs from £195 at the Academy and from £260 at Threadneedles (www.theetoncollection.com).
● Fitness enthusiasts can take a cycling holiday in July or August around the dramatic scenery of the Dordogne and save £50 per person when booking by the end of March with French specialist, Belle France. After days cycling through glorious countryside studded with castles teetering on cliff tops, honey-coloured stone villages, deep gorges and shady riverbanks, overnight stays are at hand-picked hotels, some with pools. Prices are from £829 (for departures up to 16 July) and from £859 for the rest of July and August) include seven nights’ half board accommodation, cycle hire, luggage transfers and route notes. Add £32 per person for return ferry crossing (01580 214010; www.bellefrance.co.uk).
● Israel specialist ISSTA is offering unbeatable savings at hotels all over Israel, including £44 per person per night (based on double occupancy) at the charming Rimonim hotels in Tel Aviv, Sefad, Eilat and Tiberias. And if you are still thinking about jetting off to Israel for a relaxing, sun-filled Pesach, the firm is offering 12 nights at the beachside Sharon in Herzliya from £1,893 per person (based on two sharing, with flights (www.isstadirect.com; 0800 032 0458).
l Dramatic savings — up to £500 per person — with Cheli & Peacock if you stay 10 days at Kinondu Kwetu, the up-scale operator’s newest luxury beachside lodge. Located on Kenya’s Indian Ocean coast, the resort offers a wide range of activities including sailing, mountain biking, tennis, deep-sea fishing, sailing or scuba diving. Prices are from £2,950 per person (based on two sharing) and include 10 nights’ full-board, flights and private transfers (www.chelipeacock.com)
● The glamorous Venice Simplon-Orient-Express is offering a special-price package to Venice. A mini break, combining an overnight journey aboard the legendary train — with all meals including afternoon tea — plus two nights at the legendary Hotel Cipriani, one-way flight and transfers, costs £1,990. Until October 24, subject to availability (www.orient-express.com/offer; 0845 077 2222).
● International Festivals Bureau, the specialist arts travel firm, is now offering inclusive hotel packages to major music festivals. Packages include the superb Verona Opera Festival, which runs from June 19 to August 30 this year and features Carmen, Aida, Turandot, Barber of Seville and Tosca. Prices from £191 per person, based on two sharing, for one night’s accommodation in a four-star hotel and a good-category ticket for a performance (www.ifbarts.com; 0870 247 1204).