3 hour PCR testing to be offered at Gatwick
I recently wrote about the rapid PCR tests now available with Collinson for just £95 with a 3 hour turnaround, a great option if other tests go wrong or for last-minute travel. Now it’s been announced the same tests will be offered at Gatwick as well for the same price.
As yet there are no further details of when this may be introduced.
It’s also worth noting that Collinson does a lateral flow test for return to the UK that is self-administered for only £28.75.
If you are struggling to find a cheap reliable provider or want to find someone local, I recommend the Covid Testing Network comparison site which shows you things such as nearby testing, cheapest home testing, and has trusted providers.
HT: Travel Gossip
Small Luxury Hotels offers status boost
If you stay at a Small Luxury Hotels property and don’t collect Hyatt points, then it’s always worth joining their status program called Invited. Even on your first stay, you get 10% off and early check-in late check-out free.
Now SLH are offering an upgrade to Intrigued members when they book a city break. It’s not clear if it’s targeted or not. If you book a city break as Intrigued they are will upgrade you to Inspired so that you’ll receive breakfast included in your stay. Your new Inspired status will last for 12 months, so this new benefit and as well as a room upgrade subject to availability will last for 12 months.
If you would use the benefits a lot, it could be worth looking at short stay somewhere to get the status. There’s also 10%, 15% or 30% for all stays through to 31 December 2021, exclusively for INVITED members.
The page to book a city break stay is here. Being the weekend I’ve been unable to ascertain further details from SLH but I will revisit once I get more details.
Options for a UK city break hotel are The Gainsborough Spa Bath, Flemings Mayfair, and the Dunstane Houses in Edinburgh.
Hilton’s new hotel offerings
Hilton has in the last few weeks opening a number of new hotels in Europe. In the UK this summer they have opened the Westminster Curio in London (review), the Hart Shoreditch Hotel London, Curio Collection by Hilton and the Fellows House in Cambridge (reviews of both coming soon).
Here is a look at the new European properties.
Hotel Camille Paris Gare de Lyon, Tapestry Collection by Hilton: Opened September 6
This month sees the opening of the first Tapestry Collection property in France. Flanked by the boutiques and bars of Marais, and the literary heritage of the 5th arrondissement, Hotel Camille Paris Gare de Lyon, Tapestry Collection by Hilton is the perfect spot for a city break in France’s capital. Close to Bastille, a 15-minute walk from the Notre Dame Cathedral and with a range of Metro lines nearby, it’s a great location for signseeing. There’s also a glass-roofed atrium provides to enjoy a drink. I think the room decor looks really smart and I definitely plan to try it out next time I visit Paris.
Tapestry hotels are similar to a Curio being individual properties. They are generally slightly less luxurious than a Curio but this hotel looks pretty luxurious to me.
Rates per night start from: £125/ €144
Canopy by Hilton Madrid Castellana: Opened September 9
The third Hilton opening in Spain’s capital this year, Canopy by Hilton Madrid Castellana is located a few minutes away from some of Madrid’s most popular tourist attractions, such as the Real Madrid Santiago Bernabau Stadium, Paseo de la Castellana and Plaza Cibelesand.
The other thing that sells it to me is the relaxation offered if you want a break from sightseeing to enjoy the sun. You can enjoy the rooftop pool which has views of the city’s landmarks from your sun lounger. There’s another terrace with light meals from Planta Z, a food truck offering local fare. Alternatively, for something more substantial you can head inside to the atmospheric à la carte restaurant, Escandolo, for cocktails and modern gastronomy.
Rates per night start from: £129/ €150 with breakfast
Also, in the Spanish capital, DoubleTree by Hilton Madrid Prado, re-opens this week following its closure due to the pandemic back in March 2020. This 61-room boutique hotel, set in the Barrio de Las Letras neighbourhood, is discreetly stylish, close to the Prado and dozens of tapas bars and just a short walk away from all the major museums.
Rates per night start from: £112/ €129
Hampton by Hilton Barcelona Fira Gran Via: Opened September 6
The Hampton by Hilton Barcelona Fira Gran Via opens in Barcelona this month and is the second Hampton by Hilton to open in Spain. It’s not in the main tourist location but is a five-minute drive from Fundación Arranz-Bravo, the perfect spot for the city’s contemporary art scene. A bit further out, 15 minutes’ drive or taxi ride will take guests to the bars and cafes of La Rambla and the sands of Barceloneta beach. As always, Hampton by Hilton guests will get the brand’s signature free breakfast with healthy options, On the Run ™ breakfast bags, and free WiFi in every room. While it’s not the most luxurious of Hilton brands, it’s definitely a bargain at around £55 a night in an expensive city.
Rates per night start from: £55/ €64 with breakfast
DoubleTree by Hilton Brussels City: Opened September 7
Located within walking distance of the city’s biggest attractions and overlooking Place Rogier and the Botanical Gardens, DoubleTree by Hilton Brussels City is the perfect base to explore all Belgium’s capital has to offer. Following an extensive renovation drawing on both Art Deco design as well as more modern aesthetics, guest rooms and communal areas such as the hotel lobby and bar have been improved to feel both modern and classic. Some Doubletree’s can be a bit downmarket but again the rooms looked really good for the great price point. Guests can take advantage of amenities including the hotel’s fully-equipped fitness centre, sauna and self-service Wundermart.
Rates per night start from: £92/ €107