Juergen Bartels, chief executive officer of
Le Meridien Hotels & Resorts, has announced the company's plans to manage the 680-room Le Meridien Frankfurt Airport, due to open in 2005.Touting the dramatically-designed, futuristic property as "the top airport hotel in the world," Bartels says the Le Meridien Frankfurt Airport represents a new breed of hotel: One which integrates with the new culture of intra-European rail transportation, adding an important element to the new synergies being created through the cooperation of air and rail travel. Being constructed atop the new Airrail Centre Frankfurt, the 680-room hotel will be designed entirely in Le MŽridien's new Art + Tech style. The brainchild of Bartels, Art + Tech represents a new generation of hotel which combines substance and comfort with style. Each guestroom will feature specially designed beds with the highest quality linens and duvets, 42-inch plasma flat screen television sets featuring high speed internet access and in the bathroom, freestanding power shower towers with multiple body jets and etched glass wash basins set on limestone tables. Specially commissioned artwork and backlit photographs in the rooms will take inspiration from the historical and cultural aspects of the city of Frankfurt and its surrounding areas. Exclusive amenities will include luxury toiletries and 100-gram bars of HŽrmes soap. KLM Royal Dutch Airlines announced that the company intends replacing the Boeing 747-300, MD-11 and Boeing 767 aircraft types currently operated in its intercontinental fleet with two new types, the Boeing 777-200 and the Airbus A300-200. This replacement program will improve the cost efficiency and competitiveness of the KLM fleet as the new aircraft will have lower unit costs and superior operating characteristics within KLM's network. The new aircraft are expected to reduce environmental impact, increase customer appreciation and enhance flexibility in the network. The fleet replacement program is planned to take place in two phases with the first Boeing 777-200ER aircraft to be delivered late 2003. Cumbria is striding ahead after being named as the UK's best walking county by readers of the American travel magazine British Heritage. After being voted into both first and second place, tourism bosses in Cumbria are putting their best foot forward by launching a major initiative to promote the county as Britain's biggest and best outdoor activity park. Firstly, Hadrian's Wall in North Cumbria was declared as the winner in the best Waling Route category. The breath-taking new path, which is due to be officially opened in the summer of 2003, follows the length of the wall, taking in spectacular scenery as well as the historic Roman forts and museums. Then the Lake District was awarded second place in the same category, beating off tough competition from the Scottish Highlands and the Cotswolds. "To win one award is a great achievement but for one region to have both shows just how important walking and outdoor activities generally are in Cumbria," said Chris Collier, Chief Executive of Cumbria Tourist Board. The accolades reinforce Cumbria's claim to be the country's biggest and best outdoor activity part and also underpin the region's officially recognised status as the world's first Green Globe tourism destination.