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Staybridge Suites Opens in Liverpool
The 132-suite Staybridge Suites Liverpool has just opened, giving visitors a moderately priced option in this burgeoning UK city, which this year is serving as Europe’s “Capital of Culture.” The Staybridge brand, which is owned by the InterContinental Hotel Group, is known for standard amenities aimed at creating a home environment, such as suite-style accommodations, full kitchens and a complimentary breakfast buffet. Visit www.staybridge.co.uk.
In other Liverpool news, Corinthia Hotels International says it will open the Ramada Plaza Liverpool in England in 2010. The property will serve as the centerpiece of The Quarter, a mixed-use development on the emerging hotel strip along Liverpool’s waterfront, which will also be adjacent to the city’s new Arena and Convention Center. It will be aimed at corporate and high-end leisure travelers.
Liverpool, also known as the Beatles’ hometown, is the new site of the Hard Days Night Hotel, where each of the 110 rooms tells a different part of the Beatles’ story. The city is also celebrating its appointment as the 2008 European Capital of Culture.
Valencia, Spain to Host Grand Prix of Europe
Valencia, Spain this summer will be home to Formula One racing when it hosts the Grand Prix of Europe. The event starts with practice rounds on August 22, with the main event occupying the city’s streets on August 24. More than .5 million people are expected to turn out for the event, as the race cars of 11 international teams drive around at 200 miles per hour.
We hear that an estimated $40 million has been spent to transform Valencia’s city streets into a 3.4-mile Formula One “track,” which also curves around the city’s new harbor and new Juan Carlos 1 Marina.
Spain is the only country hosting two races on the circuit; Barcelona took its turn in April. Valencia has already hosted a number of major sporting events, including last year’s America’s Cup, the World Superbike Championship, the IAFF’s World Indoor Athletics Championship and the MotoGP World Championship.
Tickets for the three-day weekend event are on sale and range in price from around $393 to $755. Spectators can also choose to view the race from the water, aboard seven grandstand boats equipped with multiple screens to monitor the entire race. These seats will cost an additional $355 to $433. To purchase tickets online, go to www.extratours.es/en/index.jsp. For more information about the event, go to www.valenciastreetcircuit.com/index_eng.html.
U.S. and UK Agencies Will Expedite Travel
The U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), the unified border agency within the Department of Homeland Security charged with the management, control and protection of United States borders, signed a joint agreement with the United Kingdom. The agreement will allow development of a bilateral pilot program to facilitate travel between the two nations. The International Expedited Traveler Initiative will integrate CBP’s Global Entry program with the British registered traveler program.
“This agreement is an important step in fortifying our international cooperation between the United States and the United Kingdom,” said CBP Commissioner W. Ralph Basham. “We look forward to building the pilot that will extend the benefits of expedited and automated CBP processing to low-risk British travelers, while at the same time providing reciprocal benefits for U.S. citizens traveling to the United Kingdom.”
CBP announced the Global Entry pilot program in April to build upon other CBP trusted traveler programs, such as NEXUS and SENTRI. The programs are designed to facilitate and expedite the entry process for pre-registered, low-risk international travelers into the U.S. NEXUS is a joint program with the Canada Border Services Agency that allows expedited processing into the U.S. and Canada at the land border and at Canadian pre-clearance airports. SENTRI provides for dedicated processing at the U.S.-Mexico land border.
The Global Entry pilot kicked off for U.S. citizens and U.S. permanent residents in June at three initial airports: JFK International Airport in New York, George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston, and Washington Dulles International Airport. CBP started accepting online applications in May. It is expected that citizens of the United Kingdom will be invited to apply as soon as late this year. CBP signed a similar agreement with the government of the Netherlands May 19.
Four Nights for Price of Three in Paris
Hilton Arc de Triomphe Paris is offering four nights for the price of three from July 1 to August 31. The deluxe hotel will also provide an itinerary of free activities and top attractions that travelers can experience while staying in the City of Lights. Travelers can take advantage of a variety of seasonal complimentary activities from musical performances and dancing on the banks of Seine to waived admission for the Louvre on the first Sunday of each month.
Nightly rates start at 290€ (approximately $452). For reservations, please call 011-33-1-58-36-67-20 or email [email protected]
Festival Verdi Group Itinerary in Italy
Central Holidays is pleased to introduce a new Opera and Gastronomy extravaganza itinerary in Italy's Parma, showcasing the town’s famed Verdi Festival held each year in the fall season. Ideal for music and food lovers and set during one of the most spectacular times of the year to visit Italy (October 16-22), this 6-night/8-day itinerary offers the perfect combination of art, culture and gastronomy for which Italy is renowned.
Travelers on this special itinerary will attend two of Giuseppe Verdi's most popular operas, Rigoletto and Nabucco performed at the famous Teatro Regio in Parma and at the Teatro Valli in Reggio Emilia. They will also sample some of Italy's finest aromas and flavors with private tastings at balsamic vinegar, Parmigianino cheese and Parma Prosciutto establishments.
This group program is priced from $2,089 land-only or $3,050 including round-trip international air travel from JFK to Bologna departing on Oct 16 and returning on the 22nd, air transfers while in Italy, as well as taxes and fuel surcharge. Prices listed are based on group bookings of 20 travelers (per person, double occupancy). Prices for individuals are available on request.
For additional details, visit www.centralholidays.com or call 1-800-935-5000
London Shopping Package
London's Jumeirah Lowndes Hotel is offering a new "Shop and The City" package which launches just in time for the Harvey Nichols Summer Sale.
With prices starting from £276 + VAT per room per night based on two sharing, shoppers can enjoy, overnight accommodation, breakfast for two, £50 Harvey Nichols voucher, personal shopper service, Knightsbridge Shopping Guide, a Pevonia foot care pack, and complimentary use of The Peak Health Club & Spa.
“Shop and the City” is valid on Friday to Sunday stays until December 31. he package is subject to availability and excludes 17.5% VAT and a discretionary 5% service charge.