New Smyrna ups UK profile

One of Florida’s lesser-known beach destinations has got off to a fast start in its efforts to court the UK trade and consumers.

Smyrna

Since appointing both a UK representation and PR office last October, New Smyrna Beach on Florida’s northeast coast has already welcomed two trade fams and a media group and interest among UK operators is rising, said Debbie Meihls, Executive Director of the New Smyrna Beach Area Visitors Bureau.

“We need the UK market, and plan to work closely with agents, operators and the media,” said Meihls who previously held roles with the St. Petersburg/Clearwater and Bradenton CVBs.

Funway, Virgin Holidays and USAirtours are among the operators already featuring the destination, she added.

The state’s second-oldest city (after St Augustine) is an under-the-radar beach destination that although just an hour from Orlando feels a world away from the Sunshine State of theme and water parks.

One of the U.S’ ‘top 10’ surf towns, New Smyrna Beach is home to prolific marine, bird and wildlife that inhabit the intra-coastal waterway and nest among the Indian River’s mangrove islands.

Visitors can take a two-hour cruise to spot bottlenose dolphins, manatees and sea turtles, or head out to Ponce de Leon Inlet lighthouse, the second-tallest lighthouse in North America.

Aside from its 14 miles of white sandy beach, there’s also an eclectic dining - with one-off rather than chain eateries - and shopping scene, a burgeoning arts community, and coastal and river watersports that include kayaking and paddleboarding.

Sixteen dive sites attract abundant fish life while miles of multi-use trails are used by walkers, joggers and cyclists. Accommodation options range from B&Bs to oceanfront hotels.

nsbfla.com

United by New York

United Airlines is to increase the frequency of its flights from Heathrow to Newark Liberty International Airport this summer.

United

The airline will operate an additional sixth daily Heathrow-New York/Newark nonstop service during the period April 5 to October 28, (both dates westbound), offering more flights per day to Newark than any other carrier operating out of Heathrow.

The additional New York/Newark flight (UA7) will depart Heathrow daily at 11:40, arriving in Newark at 15:05 the same day.

The return flight (UA77) will depart New York/Newark daily at 21.30, arriving at Heathrow at 09.40 the following day.

The flights will be operated by Boeing 763-300 aircraft featuring a total of 214 seats – 30 flat-bed seats in the airline's new Polaris Business Class and 184 in Economy, including 49 Economy Plus seats with added legroom and increased personal space.

Flight times will be eight hours 25 minutes westbound and seven hours 10 minutes eastbound.

“This additional flight continues to demonstrate the success of our services from Heathrow to the East Coast,” said Bob Schumacher, United’s Managing Director Sales – U.K. and Ireland.

“Our New York hub provides our U.K. customers with more travel options, not only to the Big Apple, but also offers an extensive range of connections from Newark to destinations across the U.S. and beyond.”

From London/Heathrow, United operates up to 17 flights a day to six of its U.S. hubs: Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, New York/Newark, San Francisco and Washington, D.C./Dulles. The airline also offers nonstop service from Edinburgh to New York/Newark and (on a seasonal basis) Chicago, and from Manchester, Birmingham and Glasgow to New York/Newark.

united.com

Snow business for Kimpton

With the ski season in full swing, and record snowfall in many resorts, there is still time for clients to enjoy a U.S. winter sports break.

Kimpton

Kimpton Hotels and Restaurants is offering some stylish après-ski experiences in states as diverse as Vermont and Utah.

In Manchester, Vermont, in the heart of the Green Mountains, Kimpton Taconic Hotel is close to two award-winning ski resorts: Bromley Mountain and Stratton Mountain.

Guests can unwind after a day of skiing with Taconic’s custom amenities sourced from local Manchester businesses including an adult colouring book from the Southern Vermont Arts Center and their own hygge kit, equipped with Darn Tough Socks (which claim to last a lifetime), a candle by Icy Palmer and hot chocolate from Silly Cow.

Room rates start from around £120 ($150) a night in March and April.

Located at the base of Aspen Mountain in Colorado, Sky is one of the few properties in Aspen with ski-in access, and its resident bar, 39 Degrees Lounge, hosts Aspen’s liveliest après-ski poolside parties.

The hotel offers complimentary ski storage and equipment transfer to any of Aspen’s four mountains and can book fat bike tours, cross-country skiing and snowshoe tours. Winter rates start from around £166 ($208) per night, based on two adults sharing.

In downtown Salt Lake City, Utah, Kimpton Hotel Monaco Salt Lake City provides guests with easy access to a host of skiing activities and après-ski hotspots, with the nearest ski resort just 20 minutes away and nine other resorts, including Park City, accessible within just an hour’s drive. Winter nightly rates start from £146 ($183) a night.

taconichotel.com
theskyhotel.com
monaco-saltlakecity.com

Coachella's desert notes

California’s desert city, Palm Springs, will welcome some of the biggest names in music to the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival.

Coachella

Taking place over two weekends in April (14-16 and 21-23), the festival will see the city awash with famous faces that this year will include artists Beyoncé, Radiohead and Kendrick Lamar.

Coachella, which attracts more than 80,000 visitors each year, is known for taking place under desert blue skies.

The varied musical acts perform over six stages and visitors are also drawn to its art exhibitions and retro funfair.

And for those not opting to attend Coachella itself, Palm Springs’ party vibe can be found at associated pool parties, club nights and events throughout the festival.

A number of the city’s top hotels, including Hilton Palm Springs, Renaissance Palm Springs and Riviera Palm Springs offer travel packages and shuttle services to Coachella, an event that marks the start of festival season in Palm Springs.

Elsewhere in Palm Springs there’s hiking in the Indian Canyons, riding the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway, shopping in independent boutiques, browsing the downtown art district and a host of top-rated restaurants, bars and cafes.

Palm Springs is located 100 miles east of Los Angeles.

coachella.com
visitpalmsprings.com

DoubleTree in New York

DoubleTree by Hilton has opened in Times Square West, New York.

Double Tree

Located in the heart of Manhattan, just steps from the Broadway theatre district, the 37-storey property features 612 rooms, each with locally-inspired artwork and with many offering great views of the city or the Hudson River.

The newly-built hotel is close to The Jacob Javits Convention Center, dozens of shops and restaurants, the Empire State Building and several other New York attractions.

Features include Lovage Rooftop & Indoor Lounge and Magnolia Restaurant, an American bistro with menu items curated by Executive Chef Brian Pancir, a longtime chef for the New York Yankees (baseball) and New York Giants (American football) sports teams.

newyorktimessquarewest.doubletreebyhilton.com

Norwegian’s 10 new routes

Low-cost airline Norwegian plans to launch 10 new transatlantic routes from five cities in the UK and Ireland this summer.

Boston

The new services comprise 38 weekly flights from Edinburgh, Belfast, Cork, Shannon and Dublin to smaller airports in the Greater New York, Boston and New England areas.

The airports' ‘significantly lower’ landing charges have enabled Norwegian to offer one-way fares from £69.

From June 15 Norwegian will operate flights from Edinburgh to Stewart International Airport, Providence Airport and Bradley International Airport, serving the New York, Boston and New England areas.

And starting on July 1 are flights from Belfast International to Stewart International and Providence Airport; operations from Cork to Providence; and flights from both Shannon and Dublin to Stewart International and Providence.

All the new routes will be operated by new Boeing 737 MAX aircraft.

Norwegian CEO Bjorn Kjos says: “We are excited to finally be able to launch services to the U.S. from Ireland, Northern Ireland and Scotland, and we would like to express a big gratitude for the extensive support from consumer groups, government officials, airports, and the travel and tourism industry on both sides of the Atlantic in our quest to offer affordable transatlantic flights for all.”

Norwegian also flies to eight U.S. cities from Gatwick: Boston, Fort Lauderdale/Miami, Orlando, Vegas, Los Angeles, JFK and Newark (both New York) and Oakland.

Norwegian.com