Travel news round-up: Hotel Checkout and the best traveller smartphone apps

Travel editor Nigel Thompson brings you the best from the hospitality industry and the top apps for holidaymakers

Tyke that: Revamped Cedar Court, Wakefield

Hotel checkout
Wakefield’s popular four star Cedar Court Hotel has completed a major renovation. The final stage of the £500,000 investment – which had previously seen the upgrading of 66 bedrooms and two conference rooms – has completed the lounge area restyling and created easier access to the grounds at the rear of the property. Rooms start at £29 a night.

Budget design hotel chain Motel One has opened its 50th property with a debut in Brussels. The 490-room hotel is close to the Belgian capital’s St Michael’s Cathedral and Grote Markt and has a bar serving a special selection of Belgian beers in the courtyard garden. The firm recently opened at Princes Street, Edinburgh, and plans to have a portfolio of 74 hotels by 2016. Rates at Brussels start at €79 a night with free Wi-Fi.

Get up to 40% off rooms at the UK’s 33 mid-range Novotel hotels. Book by September 8 for stays between July 19 and October 2 for rates starting at £40 a night based on two sharing.

Doormen at the K West Hotel in West London, have been told it’s OK to roll up their sleeves and show off any tattoos as the contemporary four star Shepherd’s Bush property adopts an informality policy. New house rules see receptionists wearing H&M dresses, and waiters in classic red and white Converse trainers. Rooms start at £125 a night.

Travel app-date
Notability (there’s a clue in the name) is a note-taking app for iPhone and iPad.

You can type and edit text with a choice of fonts, styles and colours, annotate documents, make recordings and take and embed photos on the go.

And you can sketch with a finger, using a selection of pens, paper and colours.

It automatically backs up to the cloud, via the likes of Dropbox and Google Drive.

Mirror Travel reckons this is borderline genius at £2.99.

Travel test
The terrace at the Tower Restaurant looking out to Edinburgh CastleMagnificent views: Tower Restaurant
What: the Tower Restaurant, Edinburgh. Set menu lunches from £18.95 (two courses).

Where: above the showpiece National Museum of Scotland, Chambers Street.

Performance: the Tower is Scotland’s first rooftop restaurant and another smash hit from James Thomson, the country’s best-known restaurateur, who created the celebrated Witchery by the castle esplanade.

Pride of place goes to the terrace, with magnificent views sweeping from the Greyfriars Bobby statue and pub up to the south face of the castle. If the weather is cooperating, this is a fine place for an aperitif.

Inside, most seats offer a view of the castle and/or the crown steeple of St Giles’ Cathedral and service was attentive without being overbearing.

To the food – the starter of pork rillette and black pudding was delicious, though the layers of parsley butter were a little intrusive.

For the main, a Borders lamb rump, wild asparagus and garlic fricassee was good, assisted ably by a fine glass of white Burgundy.

Tempting as the desserts were, Mull cheddar with home-made oatcakes could not be ignored – a wise decision. The espresso was particularly fine.

Quibbles: a colleague was given the wrong meal/course, but that was quickly rectified. Only one loo each for men and women.

Verdict: Very good, a splendid birthday or anniversary treat on an Edinburgh city break.


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