Allow us to upgrade your travel plans with an exceptional oceanside escape, a tempting train ride across Malaysia and a heads up about new flight routes worldwide.
The town of Ericeira, an hour’s drive from Lisbon, has been a World Surfing Reserve since 2011 but that’s not the region’s only draw. “There are beautiful landscapes for bike rides, incredible estates producing wine and one of Portugal’s crown jewels, the Mafra convent, nearby,” says Pedro Lopes, founder of the Immerso hotel.
For their first foray into hospitality, Lopes and his wife, Alexandra Almeida d’Eça, dreamed up their ideal vacation stay – a place for privacy and a connection to nature. “We were unproductive to begin with because we thought of every small detail over and over,” says Lopes.
“We were unproductive to begin with because we thought of every small detail over and over”
The toing and froing was worth it: the low-slung building, designed by Tiago Silva Dias, blends in with the valley and overlooks the sea. For the interiors, Dias and Almeida d’Eça chose the art, including Iva Viana’s decorative plaster panels and tapestries from Laurence Leenaert. “We didn’t want anything to stick out; it’s about being immersed in nature,” says Lopes. But the hotel does include some standout features, not least its spa, a good place to relax after your surfing lessons.
Find your seat, buckle up and relax with our round-up of new routes, departing from Greenland, Shanghai, Cape Town and beyond.
South African Airways
Cape Town and Johannesburg to São Paulo
After almost shutting down, South African Airways is on the ascent. Its first long-haul service following its near collapse is to Brazil. The movement of passengers and goods between the two Brics countries has picked up of late but SAA faces competition from LatAm Airlines.
Shanghai to Cairo
China is ramping up its intercontinental game, leading to routes that have never been flown before, such as the first from Shanghai to North Africa. With one of the highest GDPs in Africa, Egypt is an obvious choice for a service from China, which continues to invest heavily in the continent.
New York to Faro
Amid a post-pandemic boom, US carriers are looking for new markets to exploit. The latest volley from United, which has already added destinations including the Canaries and the Azores to its route map, is a service to Faro – harnessing the US craze for Portugal. It will be the first direct service from the US to the Algarve.
Nuuk to Iqaluit
Greenland is building longer runways that can handle big jets in Nuuk and Ilulissat but Air Greenland is already making moves ahead of these openings, with a new nonstop service from its capital to Nunavut in Canada. Close cultural ties, geographic proximity and a lack of scheduled flights between Greenland and Canada are among the reasons for the launch.
Vágar to New York
The Faroese carrier is dipping its toe into the transatlantic market. It ran an Airbus A320neo between Vágar and Stewart Airport in Upstate New York for just a few weeks in 2023 and now plans to bring the service back in September 2024, again for about a month. One wonders whether it wouldn’t have a better chance of success flying into one of the major New York area airports.
Play as you go
The latest Panasonic camera chooses the Micro Four Thirds sensor over the company’s recent full-frame models. This makes for a smaller, more manageable device than many DSLRs. The 25.2-megapixel sensor is enough for great photos and this camera introduces a phase detection autofocus system, previously the preserve of bigger cameras from Panasonic.
In-ear buds need to work hard to match the effectiveness of over-ear headphones but compensate with lightweight convenience. The new QuietComfort Ultra Earbuds, however, ticks all the boxes. Bose buds let in just enough of the outside world to tell you if your partner is calling but minimise playtime noises when working from home.
The portable Move 2 builds on the original with longer battery life and better sound, even if it remains a big, heavy unit, weighing 3kg. Sonos products are always simple to set up and use, and its speakers talk to each other effectively.
Travel adapters are tricky things: you always need several and they often have the wrong connectors. This new slim adapter, designed for use in the US, has two USB-C sockets, so you can plug in two devices, and it’s powerful enough to handle a laptop and a phone simultaneously.
The British hi-fi brand has finessed an already elegant design with its latest noise-cancelling headphones by matching striking looks with softly cushioned ear cups and headband. Sound quality is strong, whether your connection is wireless or wired, and there are two cables supplied for versatility.