ICELAND is known for its majestic landscapes and mediocre hotels, at least outside the capital. But a few weeks ago the Ion, a new ‘luxury adventure hotel’, opened in the volcanic wilderness close to Thingvellir national park, site of the world’s first parliament (dating back to 930). Until now, most tourists have visited Thingvellir on day trips from Reykjavik, but they will now be able to stay at the hotel and make forays further into the uninhabited interior.
The hotel, which is geo-thermally heated, has 46 rooms, a spa, restaurant and bar with floor to ceiling windows from which to look out for the northern lights. Doubles from ISK20,000 (£100). www.ioniceland.is
OUTDOOR space at airports is extremely rare — numerous viewing areas were closed for security reasons following 9/11 — but Delta Air Lines has announced it is to open al fresco terraces at its Atlanta and JFK lounges. The 'sky decks', due to open in May at JFK and later in the summer at Atlanta, are the result of a partnership with Architectural Digest magazine. The terraces will be free for business-class passengers but others can pay for access. www.delta.com
THE St Pancras Renaissance, the hotel that occupies the gothic 19th-century building above St Pancras station, has launched a new partnership with Eurostar. Guests in the Chambers, the 38 rooms and suites that occupy the oldest part of the hotel, will now be able to stay in their rooms, or the bar, until 30 minutes before their train departs the station.
They will then be fast-tracked through security, accompanied by a butler and porter, who will stay with them until they are seated in their carriage. Double rooms in the Chambers start at £410, the 'VIP Eurostar transfer' service is free. www.stpancrasrenaissance.com
SCOTLAND’s government has launched a campaign promoting 2013 as the 'year of natural Scotland' and to coincide, Wilderness Scotland, a specialist adventure tour operator based in Aviemore, has created a range of new trips. Highlights include a six-day sea-kayak expedition from Plockton to the Summer Isles, and a week-long mountain bike trip that takes in the isles of Skye and Harris and culminates in the Torridon hills. Both trips cost £895. www.wildernessscotland.com
THEMED cruises are enjoying a surge of popularity in the US, from music cruises such as the heavy metal-themed 'Barge to Hell' to a political cruise organised by National Review, the conservative magazine. Last week, Princess Cruises announced its latest theme: a "Wizard Cruise" designed to appeal to Harry Potter fans. The four-night cruise, which leaves LA on November 27, costs from $650. www.whimsicalley.com
© The Financial Times Limited 2013