Text size:

  • Small
  • Normal
  • Large
Mahali Mzuri and its wildlife. Jack Brockway / Virgin Limited Edition
Mahali Mzuri and its wildlife. Jack Brockway / Virgin Limited Edition

Travel news: a new accommodation site for London, adventure in northern Iraq and Richard Branson’s new lodge in Kenya

Trek in the Zagros Mountains or relax in London or Kenya.

New accommodation site proves popular

Kippsy, a new collaborative online platform that launched three months ago, has reported an increase in bookings and enquiries from visitors to London from the Middle East, Russia and China.

The website offers London property owners the chance to rent out their unused spaces to guests who want the “comfort and flexibility” of staying in self-contained, centrally located apartments.

The British Commercial Association says that there has been a 36 per cent increase in sales this year thanks to the contribution of Arab tourism in London, estimated to be worth £1.3 billion (Dh7.68bn) per year.

In a speech at the British Hospitality and Tourism Summit in June, the British member of parliament Maria Miller said: “We’re seeing big shifts in where our international visitors are coming from. While our immediate European neighbours and the USA remain the source of greatest number of visitors, it should perhaps come as no surprise that in 2011 the highest spending tourists were from Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, China and Russia.”

Adventure trekking to northern Iraq

The adventure travel specialist Another World Adventures is taking bookings for a new trekking experience into the remote region of the Zagros Mountains in northern Iraq. The Zagros Mountains cover the borders of Iraq, Iran and Turkey, and stand at more than 3,000 metres.

The aim of this expedition is to meet local people, trek in the mountains and climb Mount Halgurd (3,607 metres).

The mountain does not require any technical experience, and the skills required on the mountain will be taught on the lower slopes. This includes use of ice axe and crampons.

The trip takes place from April 12 to 20, 2014 and costs $2,250 (Dh8,264) for the nine days, excluding flights to and from Erbil. The maximum group size is 12. For more information, visit www.anotherworldadventures.com.

Richard Branson opens safari camp in Kenya

Sir Richard Branson opened his sixth Virgin resort this week. The Mahali Mzuri safari camp in Kenya is the British entrepreneur’s latest addition to the Virgin Limited Edition portfolio, and is his third property in Africa.

Mahali Mzuri is situated in the Olare Motorogi Conservancy in the Masai Mara, about 240 kilometres west of Nairobi. Mahali Mzuri consists of 12 sleeper tents and can cater for a maximum of 24 guests at any one time. Rates start from US$590 (Dh2,167) per person, per night, based on double occupancy, inclusive of all meals, drinks, daily game drives, as well and access to the conservancy.

Branson said: “I’m pleased to add my voice to supporters of the tourism industry in Kenya and we see this opening as a symbol of our confidence in its long-term future.”

For more info, visit www.virginlimitededition.com.

rbehan@thenational.ae

Follow us @TravelNational

Follow us on Facebook for discussions, entertainment, reviews, wellness and news.

Back to the top

More articles


Editor's Picks

 Styled with bleached bobs and pale skin, the models wore clean and sporty separates reminiscent of the chic workwear of The Hunger Games. Courtesy Getty Images

Fashion Forward: Thoughtful tailoring at Asudari

The womenswear label Asudari showcased a collection that featured sharp masculine tailoring, but with feminine silhouettes.

Styled with bleached bobs and pale skin, the models wore clean and sporty separates reminiscent of the chic workwear of The Hunger Games.

Designer Lamia Asudari says she was influenced by Delftware ceramics from the 16th century, as well as the imagery of weaponry and artillery. Indeed, pistols, grenades and guns were emblazoned over jackets and dresses.

 Several of Jo Baaklini's pieces featured fruit prints. Courtesy Getty Images

Fashion Forward: At Starch, watermelon shirts, anyone?

“We need to cultivate our own fashion heroes — our own regional brands,” stressed Fashion Forward’s honcho Bong Guerrero in a press con two weeks ago.

Aptly, the slot for this season’s opening runway show was given to two newbies: Jo Baaklini and Timi Hayek, whose talents were scouted by Starch, a group dedicated to launching emerging Lebanese designers.

Between the two, Mr Baaklini had a stronger showing.

 Jean Louis Sabaji’s collection was very good when the tricks were toned down — like the simple white jumpsuit with a sculptural neckpiece. Stuart C. Wilson / Getty Images

Fashion Forward: Jean Louis Sabaji’s debatable debut

Jean Louis Sabaji’s collection was very good when the tricks were toned down — like the simple white jumpsuit with a sculptural neckpiece, the floral crop top, and the radiant yellow pleated skirt.

But most of the time he went too far. There were bell-bottoms, separates that looked like costumes from The Jetsons, and a yellow dress reminiscent of Bjork’s infamous Oscars swan dress — several disparate elements in one multicoloured, multilayered show.

 Launched in 2009 by childhood friends Arwa Abdelhadi and Basma Abu Ghazaleh, Kage bills itself as a label whose “ultimate goal is to design a collection appealing to all.” Courtesy Getty Images

Fashion Forward: Kage pleases all palates

Did the designers of Kage aim to showcase every type of basic clothing on their latest show?

Because there were skirts, shorts, trousers, off-shoulder tops, short dresses, cocktail dresses, long flowy dresses, spaghetti straps, jackets, hoods — and even pyjamas, which with the incoming summer heat, looked especially appealing.

Launched in 2009 by childhood friends Arwa Abdelhadi and Basma Abu Ghazaleh, Kage bills itself as a label whose “ultimate goal is to design a collection appealing to all”, they said in their statement.

 The standout was a grey hooded cape that created a tension between edge and elegance. Courtesy Getty Images

Fashion Forward: Polish, craft (and fur!) at The Emperor 1688

The best show of Day 1 at Fashion Forward was delivered by the three Golkar brothers behind The Emperor 1688.

The coats and capes were the clear winners: they came in all sorts of interesting colours and sizes — and featured exceptionally tailored proportions. There was a lot of volume, but also stiffness.

And whimsy: two favourites were a green double-breasted suit and a blue overcoat with a red clover pattern and gold buttons.

 Midway through Ezra's show, snow started falling from the ceiling. Ian Gavan / Getty Images for Fashion Forward

Fashion Forward: Ezra stuns in snow-covered show

Turns out the Filipino designer Ezra, known for his dreamy couture, still had a few surprises up his sleeve.

Midway through his show, snow started falling from the ceiling.

It created a starkly beautiful atmosphere for his intricately constructed gowns that seemed to be designed for an Ice Queen transported back to the 1950s.

He showed a collection that had a lot of technical firepower behind it: glittering iridescent fabrics paired with head and neckpieces that were moulded and stiffened to stand out in odd angles.

Events

To add your event to The National listings, click here

Get the most from The National