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A look at two luxurious new hotels in Israel and Cuba - and the secret of enjoying the last day of the holiday...


There’s nothing worse than that final day of holiday, where not only is your break coming to an end, but you’ve had to check out of your room and hang around at a loose end until boarding the plane.

Unless you’re in Barbados, that is, where Virgin Holidays has announced plans for The Departure Beach. With an air-conditioned lounge, WiFi, beach bar and restaurant, there’s also a premium bathroom and shower area, complimentary beach towels and plastic bags for your swimwear if you’ve squeezed in one last dip — a lot more fun than hanging around grumpily in reception.

The Departure Beach is planned for Brownes Beach on the island, and will also have a Virgin Atlantic check-in, with transfers from the hotel after breakfast, to the airport.

Due to open in May 2018, entry will be for Virgin Holidays customers only, with an opening price of £20 per adult and £15 per child or free for those staying at Savannah Beach or on a cruise ending on the island.

Five-star in Cuba

Cuba’s first five-star hotel has opened in the heart of Old Havana, offering a new luxurious option for visitors to the island. Gran Hotel Manzana Kempinski La Habana has 246 rooms and suites as well as six restaurants and bars plus spa, with views looking out over the historic city centre.

The hotel is built on the original Manzana de Gómez site, the first European-style shopping arcade which dates back more than 100 years, before being converted to have government offices and even a school on the upper floors.

With its own Evocacion Tobacco Lounge featuring rum and cigars, you can also look out to one of Hemingway’s favourite spots, El Floridita, over a daiquiri in Constante Bar, as well as eating in the restaurant with its floor-to-ceiling views or enjoying tapas on the pool terrace. 

Netanya's new boutique beach

The newest of the luxurious Tamares Hotels collection is transforming the coast in Netanya with its latest opening, the West Lagoon Resort.
Looking out over the Mediterranean beaches from its cliff location, the hotel’s 273 rooms and suites have sea view balconies and décor inspired by the natural beauty of the sea, from turquoise and pale shell tones.

With fresh fish tapas on the restaurant menu, plus a spa and pool overlooking the sea, the WestLand kids’ club runs during weekends and holidays so parents can indulge as their kids discover the activities on offer, including a string of marine-themed options. 

And along with a synagogue open year-round, there’s an events space on the 15th floor plus a terrace looking out over the waves for weddings and other special occasions.


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