AIR FRANCE trimmed business-class fares by about 50% for bookings made at least 30 days prior to the departure date. Sample one-way fares based on the new business-class fare include Chicago-Madrid, $1,880; Philadelphia-Paris, $2,236; and San Francisco-Nice, France, $2,419. Rates, which include fuel surcharges but not government-imposed fees, are non-refundable. There is a minimum seven-day stay requirement.
BARCELO HOTELS & RESORTS opened a five-star hotel in Layos, Spain, about six miles from Toledo. The 86-room Barcelo Alba de Layos is situated on the 18-hole Layos Golf Course and features a spa, a swimming pool and an ice fountain as well as horseback riding, falconry, hunting, off-road driving and hot-air ballooning. There are two restaurants and bars and nine meetings rooms accommodating groups of up to 250 people. Introductory rates start at about $176 per room, double, through Dec. 31. To book, visit www.barcelo.com.
RENALTO, an apartment rental company in London, created a SmartSearch feature that enables travel agents to research apartments for clients looking for an alternative to hotels. Bookings are commissionable, and apartments are sorted by location, price, number of bedrooms and amenities. A one-bedroom apartment across the street from the Tower of London, for example, can sleep a family of five for $250 per night with a three-night minimum stay. A one-bedroom Notting Hill flat with an elevator, balcony, daily maid service and free parking, is priced at $224 per night. For reservations or more info, go to www.rentalo.com.
UNIBAIL-RODAMCO, the owner of Paris Expo, and Paris' Chamber of Commerce and Industry merged their convention and exhibition activities under the new brand ViParis. The deal covers nine venues in the Paris region, offering a total of nearly 2 million feet of exhibition space. The first result of the merger is the official launch of the expansion of Parc d'Expositions Paris-Nord Villepinte with the construction of a new exhibition hall of more than 100,000 square feet, expected to become operational in 2010. For more info, visit www.viparis.com.
THE LEONARDO EUROPEAN HOTEL CHAIN began construction of a property in Berlin, expected to open in May 2009. The Leonardo Royal will be located within a building in the Otto-Braun-Strasse and will be the fourth Leonardo hotel in Berlin. The other properties are the Airport Hotel Berlin-Schonefeld, the Hotel Best Western Leonardo Berlin and the Hotel Excelsior. Three hotels are expected to open in Cologne and Munich this year. The company operates more than a dozen hotels in Germany, Belgium and Switzerland. To book, visit www.leonardo-hotels.de.
Europe Editor: Felicity Long
Phone: (781) 659-1301
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