U.K. briefs: Hotel updates, cultural tidbits

NEW YORK -- Travel industry news from the U.K. includes special hotel deals, new museum exhibits and updates on transportation. An end-of-the-year roundup follows:

Hotels

  • Stapleford Park, a manor house in Leicestershire, England, reported a double-digit increase in U.S. visitors in 2000 vs. 1999.
  • Located about 90 miles north of London, the 51-room country house hotel is set on 500 acres of parkland with an 18-hole golf course. On-site activities include falconry, clay shoots, archery and horseback riding.

    The manor house also has a full spa. Per-night room rates range from about $290 to $715 through year's end. Rates for 2001 will range from $305 to $730. Prices do not include VAT but do cover daily breakfasts.

    Commission is 10%. Bookings can be made by calling e-mailing [email protected].

  • Two Club Inter-Continental floors opened at the Churchill Inter-Continental London. The floors house 66 rooms and 18 suites.
  • Marriott acquired the Regent's Plaza Hotel in London and renamed it the London Marriott Hotel West Hampstead.
  • A golf academy opened at the Turnberry Hotel, Golf Courses & Spa in Turnberry, Scotland. The Colin Montgomerie Links Golf Academy will teach the basics of golfing in two lesson levels: The Review, for about $32, and The Full Monty, for about $375. The Turnberry is a Westin Hotels & Resorts property.
  • Paragon Hotels competed the first phase of a major refurbishment of the Paragon Hotel near Earls Court in London.
  • The upgrade is meant to bring the hotel up to a four star level. A new entrance into a marbled lobby area off Lillie Road was added. The hotel's 500 bedrooms were redone and four suites were added.

    Phase two of the facelift will include a new canopy over the 13,568-square-foot ballroom. Single rates start at about $210; double rates start at $260. Breakfasts are included. Agents must call the hotel direct at (011) 44 207-385-1255.

  • Dublin, Ireland-based Jurys Doyle Hotel Group opened its fourth London property, the Jurys Great Russell Street.
  • Located a five minute walk from Covent Garden, the British Museum and Oxford Street, the building was constructed in 1932. In addition to conference and banquet space, the hotel has a bar, restaurant, lounge, and business center.

    The property, which does not have U.S. representation, provides a Web site with more details, at www.jurysdoyle. com.

  • The Gleneagles resort in Scotland installed an Internet-access kiosk in its lobby, enabling guests to send and receive email. The E-Point Kiosk was manufactured by Incorporated Technologies, Tillicoultry, Scotland.
  • Culture

  • London's Victoria and Albert Museum completed a silver gallery, which houses more than 1,000 pieces of silver from the National Collection of Silver. A new permanent exhibit, "English Silver 1800-Present," joins an existing collection called English Silver 1300-1800.
  • London's Royal Albert Hall launched a Web site that provides a calendar of events and a search mechanism to determine when favorite performers are scheduled. Visitors to the site also can add their names to the facility's mailing list. The site is at www.royalalberthall.com.
  • The Ninth Annual British Antique Dealers' Association Antiques & Fine Art Fair will be held March 21 to 27 at the Duke of York's Headquarters in London's Chelsea district. Events will include a fashion show, charity gala, culinary demonstration, wine tasting and lectures on Victorian design and country homes.
  • About 100 dealers are expected to exhibit. Admission costs about $15 per person. Group bookings earn 15% commission. More details are available by calling (877) 872-0778.

  • The British Museum in London opened a Web site at www.thebritishmuseum.ac.uk/compass. It is designed to assist visitors in planning their trip to the museum in advance.
  • Transportation

  • London City Airport announced that on-line booking is available on its Web site at www.londoncityairport.com.
  • The Docklands Light Railway began direct weekend service between the Tower of London and Greenwich. Trains operate every 20 minutes on Saturday and every 15 minutes on Sunday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. A combined Sail and Rail ticket can be purchased by those wishing to go one-way by river boat.
  • Other news

  • The London Convention Bureau appointed New York-based Marketing Challenges International to be its U.S. representative. The firm will work in tandem with the British Tourist Authority.
  • Greatdays Travel Group, a wholesaler of independent vacations to Great Britain, opened a sales office in Dallas. The firm also named Charlie Newton vice president for North America earlier this year. Greatdays is headquartered in Manchester, England. The phone number for the Dallas office is (214) 443-0247; its toll free number is (888) 844-0247.
  • A paragliding company in Scotland, Active Highs, will offer flights over the Nevis Range -- the highest mountain in Britain -- starting in April. The cost is about $100. Details can be found on the Web site at www.activehighs.co.uk.
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