News: World Travel Awards headed to Ras Al Khaimah for Middle East Gala Ceremony

News: World Travel Awards headed to Ras Al Khaimah for Middle East Gala Ceremony

World Travel Awards has revealed its Middle East Gala Ceremony 2018 will be hosted in Ras Al Khaimah, United Arab Emirates on April 19th.

The red-carpet ceremony heralds the opening leg of the World Travel Awards Grand Tour 2018 – a search for the finest travel and tourism organisations in the world.

The Grand Tour also marks World Travel Awards’ 25th anniversary of honouring excellence in the international hospitality industry.

It will be World Travel Awards first visit to Ras Al Khaimah, the most northerly of the UAE’s seven emirates.

The burgeoning tourism hotspot boasts an enviable climate, traditional culture, sandy beaches and a wealth of activities.

Hospitality leaders from across the region will gather for World Travel Awards Middle East Gala Ceremony at the Waldorf Astoria Ras Al Khaimah to see who among them has been voted the best in the business.

Graham Cooke, founder, World Travel Awards, said: “It will be an absolute pleasure to visit Ras Al Khaimah for the very first time.

“Fringed by the majestic Al Hajar Mountains amid swathes of terracotta coloured dunes, Ras Al Khaimah promises an authentic Arabian experience.”

“World Travel Awards has maintained its position as the industry leader for the past 25 years, consistently proving its value as the global benchmark for excellence in the travel, tourism and hospitality business.”

He added: “This year will be extra special as we will be celebrating our 25th anniversary so there is a lot to look forward to, starting with our Middle East Gala Ceremony 2018 in partnership with Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority.”

As part of the Grand Tour 2018, WTA is also hosting ceremonies in Athens (Greece), Jamaica, Hong Kong, Guayaquil (Ecuador), Durban (South Africa), with the winners progressing to the Grand Final in Lisbon (Portugal).

A natural complement to the bright lights and skyscrapers of Dubai just 45 minutes’ drive away, Ras al Khaimah offers authentic and nature-based adventure and culture, with year-round sunshine, spectacular landscapes, 64 kilometres of sandy beaches, enticing desert adventures, adventure sports activities in the mountains and first-class places to stay.

Haitham Mattar, chief executive, Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority, said: “It is a great honour to welcome the prestigious World Travel Awards gala dinner for the first time to Ras Al Khaimah, an event that brings together travel industry leaders worldwide.

“Choosing Ras Al Khaimah to be the host of this event is testimony of our growing appeal within the MICE sector and we look forward to the guests experiencing our authentic Arabian hospitality and diverse tourism offer.”

Arabian Hotel Investment Conference

The World Travel Awards Middle East Gala Ceremony 2018 will take place alongside the Arabian Hotel Investment Conference, which runs from April 17th-19th.

The leading hotel investment conference connects business leaders from the international and local markets, driving investment into tourism projects, infrastructure and hotel development across the region.

It is attended by the highest calibre international hotel investors of any conference in the Middle East.

Voting for the World Travel Awards Middle East Gala Ceremony is now open and runs until March 18th.

For more information on how to participate visit the official website.


via Breaking Travel News

March 1, 2018 at 11:28AM

News: UNWTO deepens cooperation with European Union

News: UNWTO deepens cooperation with European Union

Advancing sustainable tourism across Europe is at the centre of an agreement signed between the United Nations World Tourism Organisation and the European parliament.

During his first official visit to Brussels, UNWTO secretary general, Zurab Pololikashvili, met with the president of the parliament, Antonio Tajani, the European commissioner for internal market, industry, and entrepreneurship, Elżbieta Bieńkowska, and the vice chair of the committee on transport and tourism, Istvan Ujhelyi.

Addressing the Tourism Task Force of the European parliament, Pololikashvili highlighted the need to enhance integration, connectivity and technology to maximize the role of tourism in creating jobs and stimulating growth in the European Union.

Europe is the world’s leading tourism destination, receiving half of the world’s 1.3 billion international arrivals.

In 2017, international tourism in Europe grew eight per cent, one percentage point above the world average, totalling 671 million tourists.

During the signing of the agreement, Pololikashvili stressed how “the best way to ensure tourism’s positive impact for its people is by working closely with the European parliament as the representative of the people of Europe”.

“Today we are becoming stronger partners in our work to make tourism, and cultural tourism in particular, a driver of prosperity, opportunity, and better livelihoods across the EU,” he added.

UNWTO and the EU parliament will work on promoting good practices and the sharing of knowledge and experiences on the ground.

The agreement coincides with 2018 as the European Year of Cultural Heritage and is an opportunity to highlight the relevance of cultural tourism, which is an outstanding travel asset in the EU countries.

“Over the next ten years, tourism can create more than five million new jobs, not least because the number of tourists is set to double to more than two billion.

“Europe must not let this opportunity pass by.

“Through the growth of tourism, we can offer real prospects for the new generations and boost strategic sectors of the economy, such as transport, trade, luxury goods, shipbuilding, construction, agri-foodstuffs and the cultural and creative industries,” said Ant] Tajani.

“We can’t just wait for this to happen by itself.

“We must work, including with UNWTO, to improve our competitiveness and our skills, to face the challenges of digitalisation and to promote Europe as the world’s number one tourist destination.”


via Breaking Travel News

March 1, 2018 at 11:25AM

News: Cebu Pacific to launch new route to Melbourne, Australia

News: Cebu Pacific to launch new route to Melbourne, Australia

Cebu Pacific has announced plans for a direct service between Manila and Melbourne, Australia, starting August 14th.

“We share the excitement of the Filipino community in Melbourne and Australian travellers who want to experience the Philippines.

“The launch of our service between Melbourne and Manila will give travellers from Australia seamless connections to other destinations in the Philippines at year-round low fares.

“This will enable Filipinos living in the Melbourne area to visit their families more often, and encourage more Australian tourists to spend their holidays in the Philippines,” said Candice Iyog, vice president for marketing and distribution, Cebu Pacific.

“More importantly, we hope to strengthen trade between the Philippines and Australia through more cargo capacity on direct flights that are more affordable.

“This will benefit importers and exporters, as well as retailers bringing products in both countries.”

This is Cebu Pacific’s second destination in Australia following the launch of its direct Manila-Sydney route in 2014.

Since its entry, tourist arrivals from the Philippines has become one of the fastest-growing source markets for Australia, with an average 16 per cent increase over the past four years.

Prior to the entry of Cebu Pacific, tourist arrivals from the Philippines was at about 70,000.

Since 2014, that number has steadily climbed to over 120,000.

“The opening of the Manila-Melbourne route is a testament to growing trade and people-to-people links.

“Melbourne is a great city to explore and increased flights will also bring more Australian tourists to the Philippines.

“This will also be welcome news to a quarter of a million Filipinos who now call Australia home, and the more than 10,000 students who travel there each year,” said Amanda Gorely, ambassador of Australia to the Philippines.

Cebu Pacific will fly three times weekly, Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday.


via Breaking Travel News

March 1, 2018 at 11:25AM

News: Aeroméxico receives first Boeing 737 MAX aircraft

News: Aeroméxico receives first Boeing 737 MAX aircraft

Boeing and Aeroméxico have celebrated the delivery of the first of up to 90 737 MAX airplanes.

Mexico’s global airline plans to use the more fuel-efficient and longer-range MAX jets to expand its network across the Americas.

In 2012 Aeroméxico placed an order for up to 90 MAX airplanes, including the MAX 8 and the larger MAX 9 variant.

The two models offer the airline the flexibility to fly between approximately 160 and 190 passengers on flights of about 3,550 nautical miles (6,570 kilometres), both with better operating costs and passenger experience.

“We are very proud to be one of the first airlines in Latin America operating this aircraft, which allows us to provide operational efficiencies that translate into multiple benefits for our clients, both in terms of their experience on-board and the options they have to reach their destination,” said Andrés Conesa, chief executive of Aeroméxico.

Aeroméxico, the largest airline in Mexico, operates one of the most technologically-advanced fleets in the region.

It is a leading operator of the 787 Dreamliner.

“We are honoured to expand our partnership with Aeroméxico and welcome them to the 737 MAX family,” said Ricardo Cavero, vice president, Latin America sales, Boeing Commercial Airplanes.

“The 737 MAX will provide Aeroméxico with unmatched reliability, fuel efficiency and a premium on-board experience for its passengers.”

The 737 MAX family is designed to offer customers exceptional performance, with lower per-seat costs and an extended range that will open up new destinations in the single-aisle market.


via Breaking Travel News

March 1, 2018 at 11:09AM

News: Germany sees record international visitor figures for eighth consecutive year

News: Germany sees record international visitor figures for eighth consecutive year

The German National Tourist Board, with its year end summary for 2017, is once more able to report a record result for incoming tourism for the eighth year in a row. 

According to preliminary data from the federal statistical office, for the period January to December, 83.9 million international overnight stays were registered in accommodation establishments with at least ten beds.

This is a 3.6 per cent increase compared to the same period in the previous year.

Petra Hedorfer, chief executive of the German National Tourist Board, explained: “In a highly competitive environment, we were able to grow dynamically once more throughout 2017. 

“We have further expanded our leading position as a business travel destination, as a trade fair location and as a convention destination. 

“Furthermore, Germany is booming on the international market as a holiday destination.”

The figures for the UK and Ireland specifically ended 2017 on a positive trend: an increase of 0.5 per cent for the UK and 4.6 per cent for Ireland. 

The top five destinations for Brits and visitors from Ireland are Berlin, Munich, Hamburg, Frankfurt and Cologne in that order (measured in overnight stays).

According to the DIW (German Institute for Economic Research), tourism accounts for 3.9 per cent of Germany’s gross economic product – more than mechanical engineering or retail trade.

Foreign overnight guests generate around €37 billion, almost 30 per cent of tourist consumption in Germany.


via Breaking Travel News

March 1, 2018 at 11:09AM

What you need to know about where and how Chinese tourists spend their money

What you need to know about where and how Chinese tourists spend their money

The spending habits of Chinese tourists abroad is the subject of an Outbound Chinese Tourism and Consumption Trends survey by Alipay.

Chinese Tourists’ mobile habits set expectations for mobile payment. As the study’s author’s state:

“Thanks to the widespread use of mobile payments across China, Chinese people are increasingly accustomed to living a ‘cashless life’. Whether dining out, shopping or using any kind of transportation, people actively choose mobile payment as the preferred method of payment. The advantages are also apparent when traveling abroad: mobile payment is quick and easy; there is no need to calculate change, no need to exchange foreign currencies. A majority of Chinese respondents (64%) expressed ‘convenience, speed, and familiarity’ as the primary reason for choosing mobile payment while traveling overseas.”

The survey, conducted by Nielsen, shows that 65% of Chinese tourists paid for travel expenses via mobile payment during their most recent trip, compared to 11% only of non-Chinese counterparts; and 77% of Chinese tourists spent more via mobile payments than they had on previous trips taken over the past two years.

Proportionally, mobile payments transacted by Chinese travelers at overseas destinations are catching up with cash payments, though bank cards still have the lead. Chinese travelers used cash to pay for 30% of transactions, used bank cards for 42% of transactions, and mobile payments for 28% of transactions. This differs dramatically from the transactional habits of non-Chinese tourists which break down into 44% cash, 52% bank card, and 5% mobile payment.

travel paymenttravel payment

The largest mobile payment spend category is shopping. 63% of Chinese consumers surveyed said they have used mobile payments for shopping during their trip and 76% said that they hoped to do so during overseas travel in the future. Dining is a close second with 62% having already use mobile payments to pay for their meals. Tourist attractions are the third largest spend category with 58% of Chinese tourists saying they have used their mobiles to pay for those.

Importantly, Chinese consumers also expect to find that these venues accept mobile payments. 76% said they hope to find retail facilities that accept mobile payment, 46% said they expect to find mobile payments accepted at dining locations and 40% said they hope accommodations will accept mobile payments.         

Merchant adoption is naturally helping to encourage the practice. 93% of Chinese tourists surveyed said they would consider using mobile payments overseas iff more merchants accepted them; 91% also said that they would spend and shop more if Chinese mobile payment brands were accepted.The average total annual spending of outbound Chinese tourists is rising. It is estimated to reach $5,715 in 2018 (a 3% increase over 2017).

On-location spending at the travel destination averages $3,064 per person, excluding tour group costs and transportation costs. But some regions encourage greater spending than others. Chinese Tourists are most likely to spend more while visiting the United States ($4,462 average per person), followed by Europe ($3,754 average per person), and Australia ($3,541 average per person).

A quarter of Chinese tourists’ total travel expenses go to shopping; 19% to accommodation and 16% to dining.

There’s a bit of good news for airlines and airports in this study. 61% of outbound Chinese tourists will spend their shopping budget at Duty-Free Shops—the top retail category—which makes accommodating mobile payments critical.

Some have already go the message. Finavia, which manages Helsinki Airport, introduced Alipay at a number of its concessionaires at the end of 2016 and also launched Alipay tax refunds through Global Blue last year.    

Helsinki Airport commercial director Elena Stenholm from Finavia says:

“We work in close cooperation with our commercial partners to develop the customer experience. AliPay has been received very well, and we encourage businesses to enable it. If the biggest commercial operators at the airport come along, the amount of outlets accepting AliPay will increase tenfold at once.”   

Finnair also introduced Alipay payments for inflight purchases like duty-free items onboard its Helsinki-Shanghai route last year, and at the Finnair lounge in the non-Schengen area of Helsinki Airport.

Related reading: Why more business travelers are leaving cash behind


via tnooz

March 1, 2018 at 11:02AM

News: New digital offering from Abu Dhabi Department of Culture & Tourism

News: New digital offering from Abu Dhabi Department of Culture & Tourism

The Abu Dhabi Department of Culture & Tourism has launched a comprehensive new digital initiative which will act as a ‘one-stop’ reference, allowing users to gain instant access to every possible aspect of cultural life and heritage in the destination.

The portal lays a marker by encompassing a website as the main hub for information, a mobile app for both iOS and Android devices, social media presence on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube, as well as Podcasts on Soundcloud and iTunes that feature weekly broadcasts of cultural topics and discussions with experts.

By covering such a wide range of interfaces, and comprehensive content, Abu Dhabi Culture looks to offer a gateway of information for visitors to Abu Dhabi, as well as the local communities and residents.

Mohamed Khalifa Al Mubarak, chairman, Abu Dhabi Department of Culture & Tourism, said: “The Abu Dhabi Culture platform is an important step in our journey to present Abu Dhabi’s rich culture to the world, as it represents our continuous efforts in reinforcing the emirate’s cultural and intellectual presence, as well as contributing to the UAE’s position internationally in the application of technology and digital transformation.”

Importantly, the initiative addresses a mix of audiences. Abu Dhabi Culture will also support culture researchers and academics by providing in-depth studies and information about the many historic sites in the capital.

As a user experience, Abu Dhabi Culture aims to bring together every possible aspect of Abu Dhabi’s cultural offering into one place.

It will use the very latest technologies and functionality and feature continuously updated content, fresh new photos and videos, a 360° walkthrough for each cultural location or activity, contact information and an interactive map, a ‘book a visit’ option for individuals, groups and schools, as well as an education kit for multiple locations.


via Breaking Travel News

March 1, 2018 at 10:48AM

36 Hours: 36 Hours in São Paulo

36 Hours: 36 Hours in São Paulo


36 Hours

36 Hours in São Paulo

The city’s treasures lie just below the surface: world-class restaurants, Brazil-class music and an ever-ebullient arts scene.

Paulista Avenue, one of the busiest thoroughfares in São Paulo.CreditDado Galdieri for The New York Times

Chaotically refined, verdantly concrete, intimately gargantuan: The most populous metropolis in South America was but a middling coffee city until the mid-20th century, when an influx of northeastern migrants set off a growth spurt that shows no sign of stopping. With seemingly infinite skyscrapers nearly blocking out the sun (when its famously overcast skies don’t do it first), visitors don’t always take to the city instantly. But its treasures lie below the surface: world-class restaurants, Brazil-class music and an ever-ebullient arts scene, from alternative theaters to sparkling new museums. And though Paulistanos are often stereotyped as harried and overworked, that’s only compared to other Brazilians; compared to most megacity dwellers they are downright easygoing. Meanwhile, there’s ever more to see, as the slow-cooker of progress — or is it gentrification? — regenerates the once-abandoned historic center, block by block. But downtown is still no hipster paradise. It’s as vibrant and culturally alive as it is gritty and pickpockety, enough so that many wealthy residents stick to greener, wealthier areas. Visitors, of course, can take in the best of both.



Friday afternoon is the perfect time to explore the old center, when it is still humming with office workers streaming in and out of modest shops and restaurants. Plot out your destinations on a paper map beforehand, as cellphone-gazers attract skilled pickpockets. But then stop worrying. Wander from the free galleries of Centro Cultural Banco do Brasil to the Monastery of São Bento, and then find espresso and Portuguese pastry at ultratraditional Casa Mathilde. Head into the Sesc 24 de Maio, a brand new, ballyhooed, mostly public high-rise cultural center whose highlights include an art gallery and top-floor cafe. (For members, it’s the rooftop pool.) For bargain shopping, take a cab or Uber over to Rua José Paulino in Bom Retiro, where Brazilian confecçõesclothing (not candy) manufacturers — run true factory outlets, selling wares that would otherwise find their way, with jacked-up prices, to stores around the country.

A Casa do Porco Bar focuses on pork dishes, including a dish called torresmo com goiabada: cubes of pork crackling topped with a squiggle of guava paste.CreditDado Galdieri for The New York Times

2) 6 P.M. PIG OUT

If cooking is an art form, then the mind-bending dishes that Jefferson Rueda coaxes from pig parts is a porcine symphony. A Casa do Porco (The House of Pig) Bar may be the least kosher, least halal restaurant in Brazil, but just about everyone else loves it. The pig de resistance is torresmo com goiabada, an appetizer that is less hors d’oeuvre than chef d’oeuvre: Cubes of luscious pork crackling attached to tender meat by a layer of fat are topped with a squiggle of guava paste. It’s appetizer, dessert and dietary sin all in one: dry and sweet and creamy. The affordable tasting menu (around 100 reais, or about $20.90) is a no-brainer, and a thoughtful new vegetarian version mimics the porky one. No reservations accepted, which is why you’re getting there at 6 p.m.: Otherwise you might spend your evening waiting for a table.


For overlapping periods of the early 20th century, the ornate palacete (little palace) downtown at the corner of Rua Direita and Rua Quintina Bocaiuva housed a beloved musical instrument store, the Record radio network and Irmãos Vitale, a renowned music publisher. The cobblestone intersection became known as Music Corner, but the musical tradition died about when downtown did. That changed in 2017, when Casa de Francisca moved from the genteel Jardim Paulista neighborhood to the second floor, bringing a cultural jolt to a still rough and tumble area. Reserve a table for an eclectic lineup of Brazilian bands, which play on a circular stage in a teal-green space that recalls Old Havana. The classiness extends to the bar and kitchen — cocktail sensibilities came to São Paulo late, but you wouldn’t know it from the top-notch old-fashioned (35 reais).

Customers can order an espresso and Portuguese pastries at the ultratraditional Casa Mathilde.CreditDado Galdieri for The New York Times


4) 9:00 A.M. FRUIT FRY

You can’t really claim to have visited São Paulo if you haven’t treated yourself to a pastel de feira, rectangular dough pockets with your choice of a near infinite varieties of fillings — escarole, chicken and catupiry cheese, “pizza” — rapid-fried on the spot at stands that anchor just about every farmer’s market in the city. Doesn’t sound like breakfast? Don’t tell that to those packing the tables, downing them with a pico de gallo-like “vinagrete” in between gulps of just-pressed sugar cane juice laced with pineapple or ginger. One of the best Saturday morning markets is on Rua Mourato Coelho in Vila Madalena, a hippie-turned-hipster-turned-upscale neighborhood. Post-pastel, wander the stalls, admiring the spices and cheeses and angling for samples of mango, papaya and, if it’s in season, the must-try jabuticaba.

5) 12:30 P.M. EDIBLE ART

For one of the cheapest upscale lunches you’ll ever have, head to the Pintar Materiais Artísticos, an art supply store (you read that right) in the Pompeia neighborhood. In an awkward L-shaped space shoehorned into the shop is Petí Gastronomia, with ever-changing prix fixe menus of “democratized” contemporary cuisine from the lauded chef Victor Dimitrow. But Petí’s real hero may be its accountant: Just 47.50 reais will get you three courses of, say, octopus carpaccio, pork rib with mole poblano, and “cacao four ways” for dessert. Creative drinks come with poems handwritten on their coasters, courtesy of the wait staff. If there’s a line, browse the shelves of art books by or about Latin American artists.

A dance school brings teachers outside, inviting commuters to the downtown area to join them.CreditDado Galdieri for The New York Times


São Paulo’s world-renowned street art is everywhere, but most visitors just head to Batman Alley, a traffic-free tangle of passages covered in wildly creative works and surrounded by upscale cafes and galleries in Vila Madalena. A tour with the guide Renato Goes takes you there first, and then to the Outdoor Museum of Urban Art — where works are spray-painted onto the pylons under an elevated subway line — and downtown, where creations cover entire sides of buildings. Don’t be surprised if there’s a detour: Mr. Goes follows São Paulo’s best on Instagram, so you never know when you’ll stop on the side of the highway to admire work done the night before. Booked through Around SP, a three-hour tour is 490 reais and up.


When northeastern migrants came to São Paulo last century, they brought their down-home cooking with them: dried meats, a rice and beans dish called baião a dois and tapioca in countless forms. You can find all three at the unpretentiously stylish Fitó, which serves food inspired by the cuisine of Piauí state. Especially worth your stomach real estate is the paçoca, a mix of manioc flour with shredded carne de sol (beef cured for three days, though no longer in the sun as its name implies). A meal for two with drinks will run you around 100 reais.


Brazil’s Arab roots run deep — two of São Paulo’s last three mayors are of Lebanese descent — but most families arrived generations ago. Al Janiah is a rare nightspot and restaurant staffed by recent immigrants, largely Syrian refugees. The owner, Hasan Zarif, a native Brazilian born to Palestinian refugee parents, meant the place to be a bar and restaurant but it has morphed into a community center as well, with book launches and Arabic classes. Weekends, though, are all about night life, with live bands and a distinctly underground student vibe. And hummus, incredible hummus. The Palestina Libre cocktail (25 reais) is a delicious mix of anise-flavored arak, zaatar, mild biquino peppers, lime, mint and cachaça. If the cocktail’s (or the bar’s) politics bother you, well, as a sign on the wall reads, “A vida transtorna” — life unsettles, life perplexes, life agitates.

The São Paulo skyline.CreditDado Galdieri for The New York Times



Avoid newfangled brunch spots, and have an authentic Sunday morning meal at a padoca, slang for bakery. But a padoca is hardly just a bakery — it’s a full-service restaurant that is also part diner and part deli; every neighborhood has one, just ask around. For the truly local experience, order pão na chapa, buttered and grilled halves of the buns Brazilians call French bread, with a pingado — strong coffee with a little milk — and maybe an astonishingly cheap fresh-squeezed orange juice. There’s no shame in taking a dive into the pastries behind the counter (not literally, though you’ll be tempted) or ordering an omelet. Just don’t call it brunch.


On Sundays, Paulista Avenue is closed to traffic and taken over by pedestrians and cyclists. You could entertain yourself wandering from political demonstration to street performer to craft vendor to Beatles cover band, but even better is to culture hop among the institutions lining the city’s main drag. There’s the brutalist Museu de Arte de São Paulo and the shiny new Japan House, but the highlight these days is IMS Paulista, a new branch of the Instituto Moreira Salles, where wide-ranging, innovative exhibitions appeal equally to art aficionados and those who just like looking at pictures.


With São Paulo’s limited subway system and clogged highways, nothing is more important than location. Avoid straying too far from Paulista Avenue, where you’ll find plenty of choices. Those seeking an upscale experience will be happy in the leather-upholstered luxury of the Fasano São Paulo, where doubles start around 1,700 reais. Pousadas, or inns, are usually found in smaller towns, but Pousada Ziláh has six rooms in a 1932 house that aches with understated charm, a mere 10-minute walk from the bustle (and subway) of Paulista Avenue. Five of the six have outdoor balconies or terraces, and start at 345 reais. To be closer to the downtown excitement, a good budget choice is 155 Hotel near skateboarder-filled, alternative theater-bordered Praça Roosevelt. Doubles start at 150 reais.



via NYT > Travel

March 1, 2018 at 10:48AM

5 Places: Five Places to Go in Nashville

5 Places: Five Places to Go in Nashville


5 places

Five Places to Go in Nashville

Nashville’s Wedgewood-Houston neighborhood was long a run-down part of town. After creative types moved into the area, trendy restaurants, galleries, distilleries and other business have followed.

Andrew Hannigan prepares cocktails at Bastion bar and restaurant in Nashville’s Wedgewood-Houston neighborhood.CreditJoe Buglewicz for The New York Times

There’s a spark of energy that shows no sign of slowing down in Nashville’s Wedgewood- Houston neighborhood. Situated a few blocks south of the city’s downtown, the area was long a run-down part of town with warehouses, factories and garages. Today, artists, musicians and other creative types are moving into shiny modern condominiums and homes. Just as local real estate developers have been attracted by the inexpensive land and prime location, entrepreneurs have been lured in for these same reasons, too, and are opening restaurants, distilleries, art galleries and other businesses that draw crowds from all over town.


Once a jam factory, now a bar and restaurant: the front area of this airy, two-year-old space is home to a bar cum lounge with mismatched couches and chairs with deep cushions. The cocktails are innovative, the spirit list is long, and an oversize plate of decadent nachos is the sole dining option. Hidden behind a sliding, metal door, however, is an intimate 24-seat restaurant where diners choose from a grid style menu to design their dream five-course dinner; entrees change weekly but emphasize local ingredients in eclectic New American dishes. One of the city’s pricier restaurants, a meal is a splurge but delicious and the vibe is worth it. Alcoholic drinks at the bar start at $12, a dinner for two with a glass of wine each is about $180.

434 Houston Street,

Dozen Bakery is housed in a former truck repair shop.CreditJoe Buglewicz for The New York Times

Dozen Bakery

Housed in a former truck repair shop, this spacious bakery opened three years ago and is always jammed with locals who come to treat themselves to the brown sugar and cornmeal cherry scones, pecan bars and lemon madeleines. But the most popular indulgence by far is the croissant baked with ham, cheese and whole grain mustard; the breads, such as the French style baguette and rye raisin loaf, are tasty too. There’s also a cafe area where lunch and weekend brunch are served. Baked goods start at $3.

516 Hagan Street,

An art opening at the David Lusk Gallery.CreditJoe Buglewicz for The New York Times

David Lusk Gallery

Big bucks aren’t necessary to buy a piece of high-caliber contemporary American art: that’s the premise of this light flooded art gallery with soaring wood ceilings, which the seasoned art gallerist David Lusk opened in a former truck mechanic business in 2014. In fact, it was this venue from the Memphis-based gallerist that helped generate interest in the neighborhood. Mr. Lusk’s collection includes paintings, photographs and sculptures, and he takes pride in having a close relationship with the close to three dozen artists he sells. Several Nashville natives are part of the mix, including Kit Reuther, who is known for her abstract paintings and sculptures in muted tones. Prices from $500.

516 Hagan Street,

Nashville Craft Distillery opened two years ago.CreditJoe Buglewicz for The New York Times

Nashville Craft Distillery

Bruce Boeko, a Former forensic scientist, is behind this sleek two-year-old distillery, which is sheathed in steel and glass. Coming here is an immersion into the art of hand crafted spirits: patrons can smell the grains brewing which are used in the whisky, gin and other tipples and also have the opportunity to witness the fermentation and distillation process firsthand with a tour of the production room. The Naked Biscuit Sorghum, a slightly sweet drink made with sorghum, is the best-seller, and the space has a cast concrete bar where customers can imbibe. Cocktails start at $7.

514 Hagan Street,

Cotten Music Center, with its expansive collection of guitars and mandolins, is a relative newcomer in the neighborhood.CreditJoe Buglewicz for The New York Times

Cotten Music Center

This Nashville establishment is more than a half-century-old but a relative newcomer to the neighborhood. The music store, which opened here in 2013, features an expansive collection of handmade guitars and mandolins as well as hard-to-find vintage guitars. Don’t play the guitar? Not a problem. The instruments are each pieces of art in their own right with rich stories, and the knowledgeable staff is more than happy to share their history with anyone who’s interested. Guitars from $300.

434 Houston Street, Suite 131,

A version of this article appears in print on , on Page TR9 of the New York edition with the headline: Long Run-Down, and Now an Attraction. Order Reprints | Today’s Paper | Subscribe



via NYT > Travel

March 1, 2018 at 10:48AM

Travel Tips: 5 Tips for a Luxury Trip to Rome for Less

Travel Tips: 5 Tips for a Luxury Trip to Rome for Less


Travel Tips

5 Tips for a Luxury Trip to Rome for Less

The Eternal City is home to historic art and architecture, designer clothes and accessories, and luxury lodgings — here’s how to have it all, on a budget.

CreditLars Leetaru

A visit to the Eternal City with all the bells and whistles doesn’t have to put a big dent in your wallet, says Simone Amorico, a native Roman and a co-owner of Access Italy, a company that sells luxury trips to Italy.

“If you know where to stay, dine and shop and when to visit, you can come to Rome and have an affordable luxury trip,” he said. Here are some of his best tips to do just that.

Time It Right

January through March and November and December (the week before Christmas is the exception) are the best times to visit Rome, especially if you’re looking for a break on lodging. High-end travelers can get between 30 and 50 percent off usual rates at five-star hotels. This also when hotels offer special promotions, like a third night free or a spa treatment and daily breakfast included with your stay.

Mr. Amorico advised travelers in the United States to consider a trip during Thanksgiving week. “While Americans may have time off, Italians don’t celebrate the holiday, and it’s considered low season which means hotel prices are low,” he said.

For those who can’t travel to Rome during off-peak season, Mr. Amorico said that it’s best to stay in hotels in less touristy but still located in well-situated neighborhoods such as Monti, Testaccio and Parioli. The properties in these areas have nightly rates at least 20 percent lower than ones in touristy spots. Or, consider renting a luxury apartment, which can be between 30 and 50 percent less expensive than a luxury hotel. Sites like Access Italy and OneFineStay offer a portfolio of Rome apartment rentals.

Dine Smart

Stay away from the overpriced, average restaurants situated in Piazza Navona, Pantheon and Campo dei Fiori, Rome’s main squares. You’ll enjoy less expensive and tastier meals and also get more of a local flavor of the city by dining at spots in Monti, especially on Via Urbani, where there are some excellent trattorias. Other areas worth visiting for great local restaurants include Via del Corallo, Piazza del Fico, Via Giulia and Via del Governo Vecchio.

When it comes to lunch, Mr. Amorico suggested enjoying a thin-crust pizza (around $10) at a pizzeria or going to a trattoria for a bowl of pasta (around $12) such as his favorite, cacio e pepe. This strategy allows you to save your money for a nice dinner or two with wine in some of Rome’s terrific seafood and fine dining spots. His top recommendations are Assunta Madre for seafood and Ristorante Tullio for classic Italian dishes like cannelloni and Roman-style artichokes.

Book Private Tours on Weekdays

A private guide is a pricey indulgence and worthwhile mainly if you’re interested in learning more about a particular topic, like historic architecture or art. But if you plan to hire one, do it during a weekday. During the week, guides in Rome cost usually around 20 percent less compared with weekends (and during low season, they can be up to 40 percent less).

If you’re in the city between May and October and want to hire a guide to see the Vatican Museum, do it on a Friday night, when the museum is open late. “A guide will charge a lower price on these Friday nights than during the day because it’s a lot cooler and less crowded,” Mr. Amorico said.

Shop During Sales

Rome’s many designer stores, including big-name luxury brands you may be familiar with, usually have sales twice a year, Mr. Amorico said. Winter collections get discounted in early January while summer collections get reduced in early July. The sales last between four and six weeks.

But Mr. Amorico also suggested checking out the fashionable and well-priced clothes, shoes and handbags from lesser-known designers for great looks on a budget. They’re usually sold in independently-owned boutiques in Monti, Trastevere, Parioli and Fleming.

Walk Everywhere

Finally, regardless of your budget, the best way to see Rome is by walking. Don’t bother spending your money on a car and driver or taxis, Mr. Amorico said. “Rome is like an open-air museum, and the only way to experience it is on foot,” he said.

A version of this article appears in print on , on Page TR2 of the New York edition with the headline: Roman Holidays With Money to Spare. Order Reprints | Today’s Paper | Subscribe



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March 1, 2018 at 10:48AM