Bristol Airport announces Bristol-California, Sofia-Bristol services

Bristol Airport has announced that Icelandic low-cost airline, WOW air, is set to launch new flights to San Francisco and Los Angeles from Bristol Airport via its Reykjavik hub.

The move follows WOW’s announcement in December that Bristol was to become its second UK departure point for flights to Iceland and North America.

The new flights to California will commence services beginning June 13, 2016. Tickets have gone on sale this week from £139 one way. Flights will depart Bristol Airport on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, with all services providing the opportunity to connect onwards to Los Angeles and San Francisco.

Skuli Mogensen, founder and CEO of WOW air, said: ‘The addition of Los Angeles and San Francisco to our rapidly expanding network is a game changer for WOW air as we cement ourselves as the industry leader in the ultra-low-cost long haul category. We always aim to be the cheapest flight provider on the routes we fly to and with the £139 fare between the UK and California we have accomplished this once again.

‘Our low fares and service with a smile have been integral to our success and we expect that these new routes, at this price, will continue to excite guests from the UK and leave them asking where WOW air will fly next.’

Separately, Bristol Airport said that Wizz Air, a leading European low-fares airline, has this week started operating its new service from Sofia to Bristol, U.K. The twice-weekly service will be operated on Mondays and Thursdays.

San Diego Gets New Four Points by Sheraton Hotel

The Four Points by Sheraton brand, a part of the Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide portfolio, has opened its newest hotel in San Diego, US.

The new Four Points by Sheraton San Diego Downtown has been converted from an existing hotel, under ownership of hotel operating company, Pinnacle Hotels USA. The hotel features 220 guestrooms; around 1,400 square feet of meeting facilities; a 24-hour fitness centre; an outdoor heated pool; and the First Avenue Bar & Grill dining venue.

The hotel is located in downtown San Diego, close to San Diego International Airport and the San Diego Convention Center. The Four Points by Sheraton San Diego Downtown hotel is offering free shuttle service to the airport, a non-smoking environment, and complimentary internet connectivity to its guests, for room rates commencing at $139 per night. The local attractions include SeaWorld, Legoland California, and Knott’s Soak City, along with the famous San Diego Zoo.

Brian McGuinness, the senior vice president, specialty select brands, of Starwood hotels and resorts, commented, ‘San Diego is a vital market for both business and leisure travellers and we’re excited to open our second Four Points by Sheraton in this great city. Our guests are seeking an honest value, genuine service, and the amenities they need to stay productive on the road. We look forward to continuing our commitment to providing great hotels at great rates.’

The brand has plans to open 24 new hotels in 2012, and has a portfolio of round 160 hotels around the world in 30 countries presently.

Hilton Carlsbad Oceanfront Resort and Spa Opens in Carlsbad

Hilton Carlsbad Oceanfront Resort & Spa, a Hilton Hotels brand property in Carlsbad, US, is to open for service in July 2012.

The new 215-room resort is located on the Ponto Beach in north San Diego County, and offers impressive views of the Pacific Ocean. The resort features Chandler’s Restaurant & Lounge for beverages and snacks, 25,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor meeting space and the 5,600 square-foot, Ocean Crest Spa. The leisure facilities include a swimming pool and a fitness centre.

Wave Crest Oceanfront owns the resort, and it is operated by Wave Crest Hotels Resorts. It is expected that it will provide around 200 jobs to the local economy.

Bill Canepa, the managing partner for Wave Crest Oceanfront, said, ‘We are truly thrilled to have opened this beautiful resort, and we are grateful to our team, to our Carlsbad neighbours and to the many guests who have already booked stays, weddings and events with us. I can’t think of a more beautiful resort setting in all of San Diego County.’

Carlsbad is a beach city that offers plenty of sports and recreation activities, dining, entertainment, and shopping venues, as well as a range of tourist attractions to visit with the family. These include the San Diego Zoo, the SeaWorld amusement park, and the Legoland theme park.

Introductory rates commence at £148 per room, per night, for rooms that include the signature Hilton Serenity Bed fixtures, complimentary high-speed wired and wireless Internet access, and complimentary PrinterOn remote printing.

Violent Crime Increases Could Hurt Tourist-Friendly San Francisco

One of the United States’ top tourism cities, the last thing San Francisco needed was a crime wave to scare away its legion of international fans. Following a series of stabbings in the city’s traveller-heavy inner districts, authorities are planning to implement measures designed to keep the city safe at night. The measures will help San Francisco’s lucrative tourism sector and boost home values.

It’s certainly an odd situation in a city regarded as one of the country’s most safe and universally tolerant. Crime in San Francisco has typically been significantly lower than in its surrounding city areas, and even lower than that observed in metropolitan areas in Los Angeles and San Diego. The city’s recent crime ‘wave’ is rather unusual, and it’s beginning to gain a place in the city’s psyche.

The ‘crime wave’ – as local media are calling it – stems from a series of stabbings and vicious fights which occurred within the city centre. San Francisco’s large central city is generally safe throughout the night, with few tourists or locals affected and all-round crime figures low. A stabbing near Coit Tower – one of the city’s tourism hot spots – has set things off, with another attack following it.

City government has already taken steps to address the problems, increasing police officer visibility during the night and encouraging tourists to take care when in unfamiliar areas. While the reported crime wave is taking up newspaper space, it’s something that isn’t that unusual. Given the history of unusual murder in San Francisco, the city may in fact be enjoying a period of relative safety.

For tourists, it’s certainly off-putting. San Francisco remains one of the United States’ most dynamic and interesting tourism destinations, and it’s unlikely to disappear from the map due to a short series of crimes. However, it sits at a relatively difficult junction now – with local authorities wondering if its reputation for tolerance and peacefulness may take a public relations hit.

Los Angeles’ Historic Hotels Continue to Attract Star-Crazy Visitors

California’s largest city is a slight enigma, housing an iconic film industry yet lacking a independent  identity, particularly in its central suburbs. While Los Angeles remains one of the nation’s top tourist draws, its lack of cult attractions is one of several factors holding it back from becoming a must-see international city. That is, of course, a lack of cult attractions within the city itself.

Walk through Los Angeles’ suburban areas and you’ll constantly be confronted with reminders of its history – large ‘gold rush’ styled villas and equally expansive boulevards. The city comprises part of the nation’s largest economy and looks particularly affluent when viewed from street level, with the iconic ‘California-style’ housing spreading for miles into the desert surroundings and nearby hills.

But venture outside of suburban Los Angeles and you’ll find a series of historic hotels, each home to thousands of creepy stories and classic riches-to-rags disaster tales. Los Angeles’ recent history isn’t lacking in controversy and tragedy – during the height of the city’s drug-fuelled boom, rock star and iconic figure David Bowie suggested that it should be ‘burned from the face of the earth.’

While the city’s various historic hotels draw in guests, it’s the Sunset Tower Hotel that draws most of the celebrity interest. Built in the late 1920s and used as a housing complex by John Wayne, this big and blocky building is one of several lined with photographs of its former guests. It’s not a complete image of vintage Hollywood, however, as modern amenities make it a more attractive residence.

If the thought of a bland night in the Marriott, Intercontinental, or Four Seasons lacks the creativity that Los Angeles is known for, don’t let it become your only choice. A weekend in one of the city’s numerous historical hotels is equal parts interesting and luxurious, and a welcome alternative to its central city character-devoid complexes.