Travel news: join the sunny SoCal crowd, float on Kashmir's Lake Dal or chill out in Iceland
Settle down to enjoy the Northern Lights
Less than an hour's drive from Reykjavik, on the edge of Thingvellir National Park, Hotel Ion (www.ioniceland.is) makes the perfect base for exploring south-west Iceland's natural wonders or taking adventure to extremes. Activities include snorkelling, hiking and rafting, a glacier tour and SuperJeep safaris. A three-to seven-night summer adventure package with Discover the World costs from £535 (Dh2,985) per person, including airport transfers, a SuperJeep midnight sun safari, lava-caving and a local two-course lobster dinner. Find out more at www.discover-the-world.co.uk.
Join the cool SoCal crowd in Santa Monica
Pack your biggest sunglasses and tanning spritz: the Oceana Beach Club Hotel in Santa Monica has just had a different sort of designer makeover. The hotel's public spaces have been revamped in a wonderfully retro, summer-in-the-Sixties kind of way and, in its new restaurant, Tower 8, local Michelin-starred chef and avid surfer Josiah Citrin is in charge. Look out for the pool hosts handing out the ice creams and iPads to those on the sunloungers. Take a stroll down the famous pier or enjoy one of the hotel's complimentary activities such as hiking, yoga or cycling. A double room costs from US$538 (Dh1,976) per night, including taxes and breakfast (www.hoteloceanasantamonica.com).
Another good excuse to visit Amsterdam
After a decade-long renovation, the Rijksmuseum on Museumplein is set to open next weekend; among the highlights is a new Ottoman gallery as well as the famous collection of paintings from the 17th-century Dutch Golden Age. To mark the occasion, the five-star Grand Hotel Amrâth, itself 100 years old this year, is offering a one-night museum experience, which includes entrance to the Rijksmuseum (as well as the Coster Diamond Museum), a canal boat tour, a day's bicycle hire and entrance to its spa from €179 (Dh842) per person, based on two people sharing a double room, including taxes. Book at www.amrathamsterdam.com.
A houseboat with a history in Kashmir
Sukoon is a newly restored luxury houseboat that has just been launched on the waterways surrounding Lake Dal in Kashmir. Once aboard, guests will find five comfortable bedrooms with large windows for good lake views, bathrooms with hot running water and Wi-Fi completing the list of mod cons. Public areas include a roof terrace for the best views of the Pir Panjal mountains at sunset, and a sitting and dining room. From April 15, a room costs 7,500 Indian rupees (Dh508) per night, including breakfast, afternoon tea, dinner and motorboat transfers. For bookings and more information, visit www.sukoonkashmir.com
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