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Brighten up January with a new direct flight to Bali, literary luxury in Jerusalem and a new hotel collection launching in Madrid


If you’re dreaming of tropical paradise as winter bites, it’s now easier than ever to fly to Bali with new direct flights from Heathrow to Denpasar.

The route from Garuda, Indonesia’s international carrier, begins on January 22, running three times per week – so you can now complete the 7,760-mile flight in 15 hours and 35 minutes instead of the previous connection in Singapore or Jakarta.

Prices start from £548 for a single journey including taxes and fees, and will depart from London every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. For now, only the outbound leg is direct – flying back home from Bali’s famous surf, soul and sand will still involve a transfer in Jakarta.

Book a book in Jerusalem

Guests at the Waldorf Astoria Jerusalem won’t have any trouble finding bedtime reading when they check in, thanks to a new service launched at the hotel.

The Book Master Service was created after a survey of 2,000 luxury consumers found that around one in five wanted the literary extra as part of their stay.

The hotel’s concierge team will be recommending local tales personalised to guests’ interests, provide recommendations for the best bookshops to browse nearby and can also arrange for any book to be placed by your bedside each day (on request).

The hotel will be featuring Israeli 1966 Nobel Prize laureate, SY Agnon, among others, who lived in Jerusalem, while a similar service at the Waldorf Astoria Edinburgh – The Caledonian will be highlighting The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde from Robert Louise Stevenson.

The survey also discovered that the traditional concierge is as important today as in years gone by, with nearly a third of leisure travellers saying they plan little to none of their trip in advance, and another 47% revealing they intentionally leave some details unplanned until they get to the hotel – making the most of the concierge’s insider tips on arrival.

Spain in luxury

The first property from new luxury hotel brand, BLESS Collection Hotels, has opened to guests in Madrid this month, with more properties planned for city breaks and beach destinations including Ibiza.

The new brand is part of the Palladium Hotel Group which has 50 different hotels across Spain, Sicily, Mexico, the Dominican Republic, Jamaica, and Brazil.

BLESS Hotel Madrid, in the Salamanca district, has 111 rooms, a rooftop pool, spa and retro bowling alley, as well as a personal butler to create ‘bespoke bathing experiences’ and personalised pillow and bed linen menus.

There are also plans for pop-up art, culture, fashion and gastronomy events, including live music and photography exhibitions. Prices start from £328 per room.


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