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Mauritius Cleared For Holidays

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MAURITIUS Its government has removed sanitary containment and cleared the way for visits to Mauritius. Lucy Reid 

Mauritius is now preparing for its first visitors since the virus prompted strict containment measures and gradual border closures. It’s reported that no local instances of Covid-19 have been recorded since April 26th.

It cites the backing of the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) and the implementation of compulsory measures undertaken by the Tourism Authority of Mauritius in its readiness to open the Indian Ocean’s most popular tourist destination.

See our Mauritius review:

  

British Airways Boosts Holiday Flights

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LONDON British Airways is to increase its flight frequency for holiday spots from Gatwick. Mick Hyare

Cancun, St Lucia and Cape Town are set for extra flights this winter in a rostering that offers nine weekly flights to St Lucia, with extra services on Saturdays and Wednesdays.

This follows news that Virgin Atlantic is dropping St Lucia from its Gatwick schedule in June after some 20 years.

From December, British Airways will also boost its LGW-Cancun route with an extra weekly Sunday flight, taking the total to six per week.

From 10 January 2021, there will also be two extra flights a week to Cape Town making it a total of 19 from London.

Adam Carson, British Airways’ MD at Gatwick, said: “We know our customers crave some winter warmth as these are incredibly popular destinations. To make it even easier to get there we’re increasing the number of flights to St Lucia, Cancun and Cape Town from London Gatwick and we’ve put them on days that work well to maximise travellers’ time and annual leave.”

Our review: Hard Rock Resort in Cancun
...and Secrets Maroma Beach, Cancun

Grand Hôtel du Palais Royal

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PARIS The change of season and the end of last year's yellow vest protests made Paris a perfect weekend prospect - especially when the stay was at the exclusive Grand Hôtel du Palais Royal.  Sat Bal

The hotel is more intimate than its name suggests: 57 rooms and 11 suites set in imposing 18th-century architecture. Apt too that the hotel is part of the Small Luxury Hotels of the World group which itself features over 500 small, but perfectly formed, boutique venues around the world.

PURPOSE

A weekend of partying. Where better to disport ourselves than the Panoramic Suite? The most luxurious suite in this maison took up the strain with panache. Its versatility also makes it ideal for business stays and families.

LOCATION

Very Paris, but located away from the noisy bustle thanks to the hotel’s position by the neighbouring gardens of Palais Royal. Yet the Louvre, Place Vendôme and Palais Garner are an easy stroll away.

DESIGN

This elegant five-star hotel was designed by Pierre-Yves Rochon whose design portfolio includes the likes of the Four Seasons Hotel George V and the Shangri-La Hotel in Paris. The artwork is imposing on arrival into the lobby where Hellenistic sculptures add to the guest greeting. Hangings and fabrics come from the expertise of Pierre Frey with furnishings by Philippe Hurel and lighting by Delisle.

PANORAMIC SUITE

This is the best suite in the house, edging past the Royal Suite, and was the perfect venue for our party stay. Its exclusivity was made immediately obvious by our own private elevator which whisked us to the seventh floor.

The first real impression was made on the terrace outside the suite. With the Eiffel Tower clearly visible to the left of us and the Louvre and Palais Royal gardens in our sights, the Panoramic Suite certainly lived up to its name! The Palace of Versailles might have been out of our panorama but the "Sun King" feel prevailed nonetheless.

We made instant use of the expansive terrace which was flooded by sun and, soon enough, with bottles of France’s best. Nearly 300 sq ft of space and an assortment of loungers, tables and chairs easily held 15 people here. Let the party commence!

Our view from our seventh floor terrace - Vive la France!

The feeling of seclusion and privacy here meant that there we no qualms about plugging in sound systems unintrusively.

The Panoramic Suite also features a private dining room in the lounge area and king beds beyond for when sleep becomes a necessity.

It has to be said that the circa £3,500-plus that secured this suite over the weekend will get you ‘Paris space’ ie. more compact than apex suites in other cities and the Panoramic will thus only sleep two adults and two kids. The rest of the rooms in the hotel follow suit with Paris space and start at around £350. Yet the upside is that all rooms, suites and leisure spaces come with a finesse that is unequivocally…Paris.

As if to emphasise the sunny day, shafts of daylight set the marble bathroom aglow, amply furnished with double sink, bath and shower in the Panoramic.

STAFF AND SERVICE

The lounge bar

Staff joyfully aided and abetted our seventh-floor shenanigans, encouraging us Brits to make merry. The warmth and courtesy percolated down to the lobby. Special mention must also be made of Leon, the French-sounding Englishman, who presided over the intimate hotel lounge bar and swapped tales of Birmingham and tricks with gin.

Le Lulli restaurant is headed by Jean-Baptiste Orieux whose exquisite dishes are made from local and seasonal ingredients.   

Elsewhere, Wi-Fi comes free and accomplished ‘Clefs d’or’ concierge caters for all whims. There’s also a Carita spa, Turkish bath and fitness centre. There are also special services for families and children.

GRAND HÔTEL DU PALAIS ROYAL

4 rue de Valois, Paris, FR, 75001

33-142-961535

www.grandhoteldupalaisroyal.com

www.slh.com

Screen Actors Guild Awards

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LOS ANGELES It was all smiles at the 26th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards with a roll call of Hollywood names in attendance at The Shrine Auditorium on January 19, 2020. Laura Booth

Brad Pitt and former wife Jennifer Aniston (below) crossed paths, and smiles, backstage after winning awards. He: best supporting actor for his part as a stuntman in Quentin Tarantino's Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood. She: best actress in The Morning Show.

Wifey opts for vintage Dior by John Galliano

Briton, Phobe Waller-Bridge also toasted success in LA with best actress in for Fleabag.

But it was South Korean film Parasite that happily confounded pundits by winning the best ensemble cast award, ahead of Hollywood's biggest stars. Its SAG award sets it up as a big prospect for the Oscars next month.

(L-R) Meryl Streep (standing), Zoë Kravitz, Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman, and Laura Dern (standing)

Picking up his statuette, Brad Pitt joshed that he would have to update his Tinder profile with news of his SAG Award. Of his role as Cliff Booth he joked: 'It was a difficult part - a guy who takes his shirt off, gets high and doesn't get on with his wife. It was a big stretch...'

(L-R) Margot Robbie, Zoë Kravitz, Meryl Streep, and Charlize Theron

Best supporting actress went to Laura Dern for Marriage Story putting her in pole position for an Oscar. Scarlett Johansson shimmered in a teal Armani Privé gown for her outstanding female actor in a leading role award in Marriage Story.

Elsewhere, Peter Dinklage was crowned best actor in a drama series for Game of Thrones, while Tony Shalhoub won best actor in a comedy series for The Marvelous Mrs Maisel.

The Irishman star Robert De Niro picked up lifetime achievement award and picked up the rhetoric on Donald Trump's 'blatant misuse of power' adding, 'But we're in such a dire situation and it's so deeply concerning to me and so many others, I have to say something. '

Robert De Niro accepts the Screen Actors Guild Life Achievement Award from Leonardo DiCaprio

... and gets congratulated by old pal Al Pacino

Renée Zellweger (best actress) wears Maison Margiela with Jennifer Lopez in a Georges Hobeika black gown - and $9 million of Harry Winston jewellery inc 73.55 carat (count 'em!) diamond necklace set in platinum

Cliff Booth and Leonardo DiCaprio, maybe

Charlize Theron and Quentin Tarantino. Definitely

Pics : Getty Images

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