Lee Cowie

Holiday supper clubs and more gay breaks

For some reason, it suddenly feels as though the travel industry in London has come out of winter hibernation.

For the previous three weeks, there’s hardly been a dickie bird of a bash for poor travel writers to attend – bad form when you think how skint people are in January; the pesky travel companies and PRs should really know better.

This week, things have changed though and the thirsty hack could attend at least a couple of dos a night if they were that way inclined. If it’s not Australia Day, it’s a dinner at the London Eye or the latest from Visit England… next week is similar with another rash of invites popping up in journo inboxes.

Two of the most interesting this week come from two of the country’s biggest package operators and, aside from giving them the chance to schmooze writers, they actually have some news to announce.

Tonight is the turn of Virgin Holidays and their partnership with Hip Hotels. Apparently, they’ve done research with 2,000 holidaymakers and found that many people return from their hols all inspired by the local grub.

Necker Island - Lee Cowie had to work here, poor love

As a result, they’ve got Executive Chef of Morocco’s Kasbah Tamadot Lee Cowie to come up with a range of recipes from their hotels around the world, so people can host their own post-holiday supper club. Lee’s a former executive chef at Sir Richard Branson’s Necker Island, so you’d hope he’d know what he’s doing.

To get the recipes and for other supper club tips, visit www.vhiphotels.co.uk

Meanwhile, tomorrow night Thomson come out of the closet as the first major tour operator to offer gay and lesbian friendly holidays. The Freedom Collection includes holidays where staff are trained specially to make gay people feel at home, properties that are gay exclusive and gay weddings for those wishing to become Mr & Mr or Mrs & Mrs.