Travel: Great Escapes - Lake Como to ancient wonders
Room with a View
There are no sandy beaches on Lake Como. That hasn't stopped the Grand Hotel Tremezzo from building one, however.
Its brand new T Beach comes complete with sun loungers, a floating pool, classic Italian Negronis and Bellinis... and sand. The beach boasts its very own grill too, facing directly onto the water with a view of Bellagio and the surrounding mountains.
And the price? Sheesh. If you have to ask... well, ok then. It starts from €648 per night. Buon viaggio!
Disneyland Paris is ready to unveil a brand-new mini-world dedicated to the Disney/Pixar film 'Ratatouille'.
'La Place de Rémy' is named for the little chef, and looks set to launch on July 10 in Walt Disney Studios Park.
Features include Ratatouille: The Adventure, an original ride that shrinks guests to the size of rats (erm ... not literally, of course) before shooting them through a 3D culinary adventure on trackless "ratmobiles".
True to the movie, there's also Bistrot Chez Rémy, a table service restaurant serving his famous ratatouille in a larger-than-life setting.
Going to press, Abbey Travel had up to 20pc off hotel and park tickets for summer 2014, provided you book before June 30. abbeytravel.ie.
Forgot to renew your passport? A new pilot programme at Molesworth Street allows one-day passport renewals for citizens who have a last-minute passport issue.
Just 20 daily appointments are available, and they must be booked from 2.30pm the previous day at dfa.ie. The service costs €150.
Deals of the week
BARGAIN: It's not easy finding competitive cruise prices this summer, but Thomson Cruises has a seven-night 'Ancient Wonders' trip departing Turkey on July 9 from €771pp. The price is full-board.
SPLASH: Sri Lanka is back with a bang, and Trailfinders has a sensational seven-night package including flights, transfers and five-star accommodation from €1,349pp, valid for September and October departures. Another classic tour includes a visit to an elephant orphanage, with a total price of €1,449pp. Trailfinders.ie.
STAYCATION: You don't have to travel to Spain to do a Camino. In celebration of St James's Day, CaminoWays.com is holding its first-ever walking festival in the Wicklow Mountains on July 27. For €10pp, hikers can take on guided trails ranging from 4km to 12km, with delicious Spanish food available on the day. Be sure to book in advance by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
NB: All deals subject to availability.
For more travel tips, deals and inspiration, visit independent.ie
One Night Stand
Overnight stays in Ireland
Where: Kellys Hotel, Dublin
Why: If you're looking for a buzzing city break in the heart of Dublin, then Kellys Hotel is the perfect choice. Perched above South Great George's Street, this boutique bolthole is a stylish and funky spot, in a building which dates back to the 1870s. Inside, the hotel is a twisting warren of just 16 rooms, linked to reception by an interior bridge lined with stained glass and weathered walls. The rooms vary in size, but all are sleek, minimalist and decorated with unique artwork.
Highlights: It's hard to beat the location, with some of Dublin's best restaurants just steps away. Step out onto George's Street with an empty belly, and enjoy some Mexican at 777, pulled pork at Pitt Bros BBQ, or tapas at Fade Street Social. For a pint, you only have to walk downstairs to find Hogans, and you needn't leave the hotel at all for entry into The Bar With No Name. You also have the Candle Bar (pictured above) which is snug, chic and for residents only. The prices are another bonus – you can often get a room for as little as €69 midweek.
Lowlights: With its position on such a busy street, as well as noise from the bars, this isn't the spot for a peaceful night away. There are a few quieter rooms, but this is a hotel for night owls who want to be part of the action. Best for: Those looking to enjoy Dublin's nightlife. Concierge's Choice: Staff recommend a cocktail just around the corner in the new Drury Buildings (another venture of Declan O'Regan's).
Ask for room number: If your budget can stretch to it, the penthouse is an amazing option. Sleeping up to four, it's airy, plush and one of the most stylish suites in Dublin. If a quiet room is important, ask if one is available when booking.
Guests of honour: You'll often find hotshots from Silicon Valley paying a visit, and it's also a favourite with those in the fashion business. The quirky interior makes it a favoured location for TV and magazine shoots, too. Rates: Rooms are usually around €109, but can be found cheaper midweek and off season. The penthouse starts from around €180 midweek. All rates include a continental breakfast, with excellent pastries and coffee, which is taken in L'Gueuleton just downstairs (sit at the airy terrace on a sunny day). Contact: kellysdublin.com/ 01 648 0010