Rest and refresh
Plaza Premium Lounge, which operates independent lounges in more than 70 major airports worldwide, has added two more spaces at Toronto Pearson International Airport. The Concept Lounge, new to Terminal 1 (pre-security, domestic departures), offers refreshments, as well as a “Fast Track pass” to get through security. The flagship Landmark Lounge joins Terminal 3 (international departures), where you can book in for a wide array of food and drinks, shower room access, a nursery room, a kids’ play area and other amenities. Stays in either lounge can be reserved ahead at plazapremiumlounge.com.
In Europe, night trains are having a moment again, especially as long-distance rail is considered a crucial way for the E.U. to cut flying-related carbon emissions and hit climate targets. Expanding now is Nightjet, operated by ÖBB (Austrian Railways), which added new routes in December: connecting Vienna to Paris, and Amsterdam to Zurich. Tickets range from budget-conscious single seats to private compartments in your own sleeper car or couchette carriage. Still in the works is Midnight Trains, a Paris-based startup that aims to offer a retro-glam “hotel on rails” experience when it launches in 2024.
Ancient route restored
The historic Trans Bhutan Trail is slated to reopen this year, for the first time in six decades. Once the sole way to get across the landlocked mountain kingdom, the newly restored, approximately 400-kilometre route is expected to welcome tourists as of April 2022, a move intended to help boost the economies of adjacent rural communities. Tour operator G Adventures will offer two new trail-related treks, including an 11-day tour with camping, hikes on select stretches and, of course, views of Paro Taktsang (Tiger’s Nest), the country’s famous cliff-clinging monastery.
Screen before you spa
Taking a COVID test has become a new normal for flying. Whether such screening will roll out more widely to other travel settings remains to be seen, but at least one spa has added the step: Upon arrival at Ste. Anne’s Spa, the destination retreat in Grafton, Ont., guests are asked to take a (complimentary) rapid antigen test, and also pass the new Predictmedix station, an AI-powered archway designed to detect symptoms (such as a fever). The measures are geared toward offering what we head to the spa to find: a little extra peace of mind.
Sign up at thestar.com/newsletters to get our weekly Travel Headlines newsletter in your inbox. The federal government recommends Canadians avoid non-essential travel. This article is meant to inspire plans for future travel.