IRISH AIRS: Irish regional airline SkyNet snagged
DOT approval Monday to offer scheduled service between Shannon and
Newark -- a route not currently served by any carrier, although
Continental is scheduled to re-launch daily service May 1. SkyNet,
which also got the thumbs-up to offer charter flights between
Ireland and the U.S., told the DOT it plans to launch the
Shannon-Newark service on or about May 15, using 767 aircraft.
SkyNet -- which debuted in June 2002 -- flies between Shannon,
Dublin, Amsterdam and Moscow. For more, visit www.skynet.aero, which
features travel-agent log-in functionality.
STEP ON IT: Auto Europe's 2004 car rental rates
bottom out in Ireland, with prices as low as $14.99 per day, and
the firm is offering early booking incentives for reservations made
by March 31 for travel to Dec. 31. Clients get free upgrades, from
compact to intermediate, as well as 25% off higher-category rentals
and 10% off standard rentals. Agents, meanwhile, earn cash bonuses
or Auto Europe "travel dollars," redeemable for any service that
the firm provides, such as air fare, hotel or car upgrades.
Retailers net an additional $5 in cash or $10 in travel dollars for
each booking with a minimum of five car rental reservations;
certain conditions and restrictions apply. Auto Europe has rental
offices in Cork, Donegal, Dublin, Dun Laoghaire, Galway, Kerry,
Killarney, Knock, Rosslare, Shannon, Sligo and Wexford. Contact
Auto Europe at (800) 223-5555 or www.autoeurope.com.
NO EXTRA EUROS: Celtic Tours said it will
eschew currency surcharges -- despite the hammering the euro's been
giving the dollar -- and guarantee its 2004 brochure land prices
for both individuals and groups on all Ireland and Europe
itineraries booked and under deposit by March 31 for travel through
December. But time may be of the essence for agents: Director of
sales and marketing Marc Kavanagh said Celtic may "re-evaluate" the
policy come April. For more, call (800) 833-4373, send an e-mail to
[email protected] or visit www.celtictours.com.
LUXE-URIOUS: The Academy Hotel in Dublin has
joined Los Angeles-based Luxe Worldwide Hotels. Rates at the
100-room Academy Hotel, located at Findlater Place, include Irish
breakfast, and guest rooms are outfitted with high-tech amenities
such as satellite TV, voicemail and Internet access. The hotel pays
travel agents 10% on all bookings; rates through Oct. 31 start at
about $159 per room, per night (double occupancy), mid-week. "We
welcome the Academy, which offers a country home atmosphere in the
midst of Dublin," said Ben Deane, Luxe Worldwide Hotels' vice
president of Business Development, Ireland, in a statement. Luxe
represents 15 affiliated hotel properties across Ireland. Check out
the property at www.academy-hotel.ie or visit www.luxehotels.com.
TODAY, INN HISTORY: In other Irish hotel news,
the five-star Shelbourne Hotel in Dublin -- formerly a Le Meridien
property -- is now part of the Marriott International portfolio.
After extensive renovations to be completed in 2007, the historic
190-room hotel on St. Stephen's Green -- the birthplace of the
Irish Constitution -- will be rebranded as "The Shelbourne, a
Renaissance Hotel." The restoration -- to include the addition of
air conditioning and 86 more rooms -- will cover guest quarters,
the lobby and dining facilities. (The hotel will have two
restaurants and three lounges.) Other amenities will include a gift
shop, health club with indoor swimming pool, a business center and
off-site valet parking. In Ireland, Marriott also operates the
148-room Druids Glen Marriott Hotel & Country Club some 25
miles south of Dublin. For more, visit www.marriott.com.
LEGENDARY: Sceptre Ireland's Folklore and
History package -- now priced from $1,079 per person, net --
includes roundtrip air fare, eight nights' accommodations, car
rental or chauffeur, a "Zozimus" guided walking tour of Dublin, and
full breakfast daily. Two nights each are spent at the Breaffy
House, Co. Mayo; the Sand House Hotel, Co. Donegal; the Everglades
Hotel, Co. Derry; and the Hibernian Hotel, Co. Dublin. For more,