In which we present a regular round-up of news from the world of Grown-up Travel
A Room for London: London’s most exclusive hotel opens its doors
Shaped like a boat and moored above the Southbank Centre, this one-off, one-bedroom hotel has room for just two guests and is only open for one year.
Named A Room for London, the accommodation is also an art installation commissioned by Living Architecture and Artangel. Living Architecture is a social enterprise that operates a handful of holiday homes throughout the UK and aims to provide members of the public with the opportunity to experience contemporary architecture at first hand. The Artangel organisation commissions creative projects by contemporary artists.
Selected from over 500 entries submitted in an open competition, the winning design is the creation of David Kohn Architects and the artist Fiona Banner. The team drew inspiration from Joseph Conrad’s bookHeart of Darkness, which documented his riverboat voyage through the Congo in 1890. Seemingly washed up on the roof of the Southbank Centre’s Queen Elizabeth Hall concert venue, perhaps after a flooding of the Thames which flows directly past, the vessel comes complete with enough features and extras to rival the most luxurious of conventional hotel rooms. The bedroom has panoramic views across central London, and a separate kitchenette with Miele fridge, microwave and dining space is provided. The ground floor is completed by a spacious en suite bathroom that spans the entire width of the boat. Accessed by a ladder, the upper level comes complete with a small library and outdoor viewing platform.
Israeli tourist accused of accidentally starting Chile fire
Investigators have arrested and freed on bond an Israeli tourist they believe set off a blaze that consumed 12,140 ha of a national park in Chile.
The fire started on Tuesday, allegedly when 23-year-old Israeli tourist Rotem Singer failed to properly extinguish a roll of toilet paper he had been burning.
Mr Singer denies starting the fire and his family accuses the Chilean authorities of making him a scapegoat for the disaster. He faces up to 60 days in jail and a fine if found guilty.
“It is very important to me to say that I was not the one who started this fire,” Singer told CNN Chile.
“They just dumped this on me. I did not think the trial was going to be handled the way it was. I never confessed,” Mr Singer stressed, insisting reports to that effect were due to “a translation error”.
Village Opens Snow Church in Bavaria
The Bavarian mountain village of Mitterfirmiansreut has opened a house of worship made of snow and ice to commemorate a similar church that took shape in the country 100 years ago. Construction had been delayed by a dearth of snow and warm weather.
One hundred years ago, the residents of (and let’s see if you can say this in a single breath) Mitterfirmiansreut built a church out of snow in protest. A trip to Sunday mass for the people in the mountain village meant a 90-minute trek to the neighboring town of Mauth. When their pleas for a church to be built in their own town were rejected, they responded by building their own out of snow and ice.
To commemorate those events a century later, Mitterfirmiansreut residents have rebuilt their famous snow church. On Wednesday night, Catholic Church Dean Kajetan Steinbeisser blessed the temporary church, which was bathed in the glow of blue light. The church, which one prominent German newspaper has dubbed “God’s Igloo,” is more than 20 meters (65 feet) in length and also includes its own 19-meter-high tower. It has been built using 1,400 cubic meters (49,000 cubic feet) of snow as well as slabs of ice.
Nemesis: Sub-Terra ride set to open in 2012 at Britain’s Alton Towers
A new indoor dark ride debuting in 2012 at Britain’s Alton Towers theme park promises to be a psychologically terrifying and physically thrilling experience set in the secret underground catacomb of an alien creature.
Dubbed Nemesis: Sub-Terra, the new ride is based on the original back-story for the 1994 Nemesis inverted roller coaster that travels over a river of blood. The Nemesis legend tells of a brooding and unpredictable extraterrestrial discovered during an excavation and worshipped by a cult.
Concept art for the new ride shows the blood-red tentacles and a bulging serpent’s eyeball of the ancient malevolent creature emerging from a volcanic terrain.
Construction has already begun on the Nemesis: Sub-Terra building, which will descend two stories below ground.
Set to open March 24, the new attraction is expected to be built by ABC Rides of Switzerland, which created the Extremis indoor special effects drop tower at London Dungeons (also run by Merlin Entertainment, parent company of Alton Towers).
A prototype Vertical Dark Ride concept by ABC Rides features a central drop tower with benches that rotate and stop at animated scenes at various levels inside a themed building.