We’ve all heard the call of the wild this summer. From the moment tourist accommodation was cleared to reopen from July 4, our lockdown-weary brains fired up with thoughts of finding an idyllic patch of countryside in which to run free and reawaken our numbed senses. For very good reason, glamping has become this summer’s most sensible holiday plan. While a nation yearns for freedom, there has never been a better time to embrace the space and stylishly curated outdoor living that glamping offers. Camping offers space, too, but glamping lets you kick off your shoes and relax as soon as you arrive, filling your days with nothing but fresh air and exploration. Glamping also lets you treat yourself – perhaps with money saved by forgoing flights abroad – to indulgences ordinary campers can only dream of. Extras such as private hot tubs, copper baths and waterside terraces are now as likely to be found on a glamping site as in a five-star hotel. Glamping sites set log cabins, yurts and shepherd’s huts far apart, to create a feeling of privacy and being alone in the wild. Helpful, now that social distancing is all the rage. Happily, it is also likely that the magical feeling of communing with nature will be magnified this summer, with glamping sites limiting guest numbers in order to comply with government guidelines.
Walt Disney World’s vital influence on Florida’s extensive tourism industry will be put to the test this weekend as the huge Orlando resort re-opens its theme parks for the first time since mid-March.
The appeal of package holidays is ease and convenience. But in a post-lockdown world, when even basic travel manoeuvres can feel painfully complex, it’s hard to imagine how they’ll work. Until a week ago, the idea of a beach break in the Med felt about as likely as a trip to the moon.
Barbados is about to tentatively reopen to tourism, the lifeblood of the country's economy. The first commercial flight, from Canada, arrives this Sunday, July 12, with the first flight from the UK, with British Airways, landing next Saturday, July 18. Barbados is one of the countries on the UK Government's "travel corridor" list – so no requirement to self-isolate on your return – and the Foreign Office is not advising against travel there. The Caribbean island, with a population of around 286,000, has to date had just 98 cases and seven deaths related to Covid-19. To have a holiday there, travellers will need proof they are Covid-19 free. Visitors are being strongly advised to take a Covid-19 PCR test before flying, with testing required to have been done within 72 hours of travel. It will also be possible to have the test on arrival. This can be either at the airport free of charge, or in a more relaxed environment at a satellite hotel for US$150 (£117). Until the result comes through – expected to be within 24 hours – visitors need to remain in designated accommodation: either at a government property for free, or, more likely for tourists, at the hotel where you were tested, at your own expense. The hotels chosen for satellite testing and awaiting results are The Hilton Barbados and The Crane Resort. Travellers arriving from countries deemed low risk, which include most other Caribbean islands, and who have not visited a high-risk country in the previous 21 days are exempted from the testing requirements. The UK is currently identified as medium risk (find more information here: barbadostravelprotocols.com). Paul Cleary, managing director of specialist tour operator, Caribtours, said: "You definitely want to to be tested beforehand. No one in their right mind wants to sit on an eight and a half flight with the uncertainty of whether they'll test positive on arrival. We are in the process of coordinating contacts for regional private clinics in the UK where you can get tested." Tourist accommodation on Barbados is now subject to a very long list of Covid-19 protocols. Among many other things, guests will be encouraged to wear masks in public areas when they are likely to be in close proximity to staff and other guests, congregating at bars will be discouraged, at buffets staff will serve diners, and watersports equipment will be sanitised after each use. If guests want to snorkel, they will need their own equipment. Spas are permitted to operate. Not many hotels will in fact be open next week. As well as the Hilton and Crane, those that will be include Little Good Harbour, a secluded west-coast property offering self-catering only for the next few months, and Little Arches, a boutique hotel on the south coast. Other recommended places to stay that have announced they are opening in the next few weeks include Waves Hotel & Spa and Beach View, excellent for families. Classic, high-end west-coast hotels, such as Cobblers Cove, the Coral Reef Club and Sandpiper, are mostly not reopening until October. This is partly due to late summer/early autumn being peak hurricane season and always very quiet, and therefore a time when some hotels close every year. While Caribtours says it has recently had a few Barbados bookings for August, Elegant Resorts, a tour operator specialising in luxury holidays to the island, says its bookings so far have all been for later in the year. Another option to consider is a villa: along the west coast are some very desirable ones to rent. Blue Sky Luxury (blueskyluxury.com), an agency with a large portfolio of villas that have undergone the rigorous Covid-19 accommodation protocols, has lots of availability this summer. Life on Barbados is moving towards some semblance of new, socially-distanced normality. Shops, bars, restaurants and beaches are open, and the tourist board reassuringly says "visitors will be welcome to participate in all aspects of Barbadian life". To explore, holidaymakers can ride on the buses (face masks necessary) and rent cars. Physical distancing requirements are set at three feet (just under one metre). Flights from the UK are resuming very cautiously. The British Airways flight, from Gatwick, will initially be twice weekly. Virgin Atlantic is starting a weekly service, from Heathrow, on August 1, then increasing to three times a week in October. In pre-Covid times, BA and Virgin operated daily London-Barbados flights. Caledonia Jets is planning to start first-class-only flights on a 100-seater Airbus A340 for £7,500 per person return, weekly from Stansted to Barbados, with pre-departure Covid-19 testing arrangements for £300pp. However, it is waiting Atol approval from the Civil Aviation Authority.
I finally left Seville, from where I sent my last postcard, as Spain entered what the government are calling the new normal. However, passing through Ronda I saw that the people do not necessarily agree. The term ghost town has, by necessity, been vastly overused in these pages, but what else can one say? The lovely old historic restaurants like Hermanos Macías, opposite Spain’s most historic bullring, and the classic Almocabar, named for the gate in the Moorish battlements it sits beyond, are both closed.
Loveholidays customers have complained to Which? Britons arrived in Spanish resorts last weekend to find their hotels were shut; they then had difficulty contacting the company they had booked through. Paul Davis, from Lincolnshire, was sold a family break to the resort of Salou on the Costa Dorada by loveholidays and is among several customers who have complained to Which?. Mr Davis, his partner and son were some the first Britons to arrive in Spain on Saturday following the country’s exemption from the Foreign Office warning against all but essential travel and its inclusion on the UK Government's list of destinations exempt from quarantine measures. When the family made it to the 4R Regina Gran hotel, they found the gates were padlocked, Mr Davis told Telegraph Travel. He couldn’t immediately reach loveholidays to find out what was going on and so was forced to book into another hotel on the same street. Later, he Googled 4R and found a sister hotel further down the resort – his booking had been moved there without his knowledge. What if Covid-19 spoils my holiday? Key questions answered, from cancellations to second spikes "You can only [get through to] someone at Loveholidays for a new booking, or you use the online talkline, which comes with hours of waiting," said Mr Davis. "I rang up the booking line, spoke to the person on there and got through to a gentleman in another department. He took my number and email and said he’d get back to me in half an hour – I still haven’t heard back." Many other customers have struggled to contact loveholidays over the phone or via live chat, according to Which?. Loveholidays added: "Our in-resort team is available 24/7 by telephone for anyone who has a problem whilst on holiday. The number is provided in all booking documentation and on our website." Mr Davis later spoke to the other hotel in the 4R chain, which told him to cancel the seven-day booking he'd made at the back-up hotel on Saturday evening. After a two-hour wait, the hotel agreed to a refund for six nights. This left Mr Davis roughly £250 out of pocket. "I wouldn't use loveholidays again – they are taking new bookings, but you can’t contact anyone for an existing booking – it’s a bit wrong, really," he added. Which? contacted loveholidays about several complaints it received, either from customers who'd turned up and found their hotel was closed, or discovered it was closed before they travelled. Can I visit Spain? The latest travel advice as quarantine dropped A loveholidays spokesperson said that the firm has not been informed of the closure of Mr Davis's hotel. They added: "We are updating customers regarding any hotel closures where we are made aware of this by accommodation suppliers and will work with the customer to find a suitable alternative hotel for their holiday. "We apologise for any inconvenience or distress this may have caused our customer. We will of course refund the customer the cost of his hotel booking and will remove the hotel from accommodation offered on our website until such time as we are notified it is open." Mr Davis said he had yet to be contacted by loveholidays, or to receive a refund, when Telegraph Travel spoke to him on Friday afternoon. Another complaint came from Anita Lorenzo. She contacted loveholidays after discovering that the Sol Wave House hotel in Magaluf, where her son and his friends were due to stay, was closed. Ms Lorenzo was assured they would be sent details of alternative accommodation before the trip last Saturday, but when they’d heard nothing from loveholidays by Friday evening, they booked a self-catering apartment for £600. Rory Boland, editor of Which? Travel, said: "It is beyond belief that holidaymakers have been left in a position where they have either had to fork out hundreds of pounds for alternative accommodation or risk being left with nowhere to sleep. "It is distressing enough to face an emergency like this, but it is completely unacceptable for customers to be left struggling to contact their holiday provider to resolve it," he added. Mr Boland said these were the latest in “a long line” of complaints Which? has received from loveholidays customers. Many had been waiting for months to secure refunds for holidays cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic. "We would advise people to book their next trip with a better operator that has proven it deserves their money – and that won’t leave them locked out of their own hotel.” A loveholidays spokesperson said: "Our 'in-resort' team is in place to assist customers who are travelling with any issues that arise. We are aware of a few instances where customers have arrived at hotels that are closed and our 'in-resort' emergency assistance team are working with those customers to find them suitable alternative accommodation."
Rome has been slowly awakening from its coronavirus lockdown slumber since June 3, when Italy reopened its borders to international tourism.
Hotels in England have begun to reopen – but not quite as we knew them. Almost without exception, their websites have added tabs detailing extensive coronavirus-prevention measures. Guests might be subject to temperature checks, one-way systems and pre-arrival questionnaires enquiring about travel history – rather than the usual pillow preferences. All of these measures aim to halt transmission of the virus, but what actually happens if a guest does test positive? Here we detail how hotels are dealing with the challenges of operating during this difficult time and what systems they are putting in place to keep guests safe.
Masked up and brimming with excitement, I’m heading for lunch in the Rio neighbourhood of Leblon, eager to enjoy a restaurant meal for the first time in three months – and support a local business at the same time.
Wizz Air has dismissed critics of its decision to restart its UK flights in May at the peak of the pandemic as “naysayers”. Owain Jones, the low-cost airline’s UK managing director, also said accusations that the carrier resumed services early to avoid paying out refunds for cancelled flights are “nonsense”. The airline was branded “hugely irresponsible” for launching services from London Luton while the UK was still under lockdown. Consumer group Which? said it was a “cynical cash grab” as Wizz would not need to pay out refunds to services that went ahead. “There will always be naysayers,” Jones told Telegraph Travel, adding that Wizz wanted to resume flights as soon as possible to help repatriate stranded foreigners and assist essential workers. He said the accusations that the airline was trying to avoid paying out refunds was “fanciful thinking from people who might not understand how to run a business”. “If you fly an airline to avoid making refunds you would probably quite quickly use all your money up. It’s nonsense,” he said. “What we did was during April, we were looking very much at how we could get things back in the air as soon as possible, that’s what our customers wanted.” The airline has been one of the fastest-growing in Europe in recent years, shifting from its focus on eastern and central Europe to more popular leisure destinations in Spain and Portugal. Jones said Wizz’s early restart meant it became a blueprint for other carriers in Europe. He said his cabin crew and customers have become accustomed to the “new normal” in terms of face masks and social distancing, but he does not believe the guidelines are here to stay. “We are still having hotspots of Covid-19,” he said. “But hopefully when things improve, I’m not sure these things will be required forever after.” While many of the world’s airlines grounded their fleets amid the global lockdown, Wizz Air took the opportunity to recalibrate, grow its network and expand its offering. It has launched 170 new UK routes this year. Jones said despite the crisis, Wizz remained focussed on growth. “Every single country has had some sort of restrictions in place at one point or another,” he said, “the trick is being nimble enough to adjust your capacity to meet the type of demand there.” He said he estimates Wizz will be at 80 per cent of pre-pandemic passenger numbers by the end of the year, adding: “[Demand] will be coming back, in some places it will be quicker than others. We have a very different outlook to any airline saying it will take five years to get back to pre-Covid levels.” While Jones is optimistic for Wizz’s future, he says some airlines may not survive the pandemic. “It’s a tough business,” he said. “It’s one thing to stop your aircraft flying, it’s another to get them back in the air. “You will see some airlines maybe not expanding, and maybe some consolidation in the European market.”
It has finally happened: outdoor pools in England can officially reopen from July 11, and indoor pools from July 25. Make the most of the warm temperatures sweeping the country and dive straight in - whether that's an exclusive and slinky rooftop pool, or a beautiful clifftop natural pond for a dip with an ocean view. Make a splash in enormous creations on country house estates, or paddle about in family-friendly spots. From Cornwall to the Cotswolds and Hampshire to Hertfordshire, discover the best hotel pools for this summer. Cliveden, Berkshire It's not too often a swimming pool can be partially blamed for bringing down the government. This pool can. In 1963 on a hot summer's day, 19-year-old model Christine Keeler peeled off her clothes and went for a dip. John Profumo (the then Secretary of State for War) spied her naked body, and so began their subsequent affair – resulting in his resignation and further political turmoil. Today, the listed pool is equally as refreshing, and is reopen from Saturday 11 July for residents. The indoor pools are open from July 25 for residents and members, and will open to day guests from September. Read the full review: Cliveden
Just as we are told we can visit 75 destinations without needing to self-isolate when we get home, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) goes and gives the cruise industry a kicking, warning against all holidays afloat.
So, finally, we can hit the road again. The unexpectedly broad – if inconsistent – removal of quarantine and Foreign Office restrictions for more than 70 destinations (including most of Europe and as far afield as Australia) last week transformed the world of travel at a stroke.
Eurostar's decision to cancel its direct service to the slopes next winter has left skiers without their much-loved eco-friendly alternative to flying
Malta knows a thing or two about invasions. For more than 7,000 years, Phoenicians, Greeks, Romans, Arabs, French and Brits, 14 cultures in all, came, saw and bunkered.
It was a trip to Berlin in 2008 that awakened in me a love of the city break. I was 20, on summer holidays from university, and in the German capital for five days with two friends. We did not stop, drinking in everything the city offered us. We split our time between two different hostels, east and west, went to bed with the larks and woke for noon.
The white sands of Bo Phut Beach on Koh Samui, a popular tourist island in the Gulf of Thailand that usually sees more than two million visitors a year, lie deserted. A couple of jet skis and kayaks bake in the sun, looking more like beached whales than sports equipment waiting for sunbathers.
It reopened on July 4, and now's an ideal time to visit – with a surfeit of cost-effective accommodation and activities
Fontsanta isn’t the sort of hotel that ever gets really buzzing. It’s the kind of understated five-star property that always seems half empty, even when it’s full, because it offers so much space. There is no need for face masks in the vast, gallery-like lobby, and if it weren’t for the widely available hand sanitiser at every door or desk, I’d be hard pressed to find evidence of a pandemic here. Even the spa is open, and as I’m face down on the treatment bed being pummeled within an inch of my life, I’m blissfully unaware that my masseuse is wearing a face mask.
The UK Government has updated its guidance for cruise ships, advising all British people to avoid travelling on them.
There is barely a clearer example of the impact the coronavirus pandemic has had on global air travel: an Airbus A380, the world’s largest passenger aircraft, has been stripped of its seats to make way for cargo.
A coastal campsite in northern Spain has created a so-called “safe” area, where guests do not have to follow strict social distancing measures if they test negative for Covid-19.
Those with cash to spare are seeking a slice of calm in a country that has been praised for its handling of the crisis
There are maybe three main worries causing potential travellers to be wary about venturing over the Channel right now. Firstly, are they likely to be in contact with disease? Secondly, and conversely, will precautions taken against the disease render a holiday artificial, like party-time in the ICU?