Shortcuts: Updates from Monaco, Ethiopia and Qatar

Those not content with having a €2.4m Bugatti Chiron sports car in their garage can now splash out on a matching boat, thanks to a new collaboration between the supercar maker and Monaco­based yacht builder Palmer Johnson. Last week they announced plans to produce a series of motor yachts from 50ft to 80ft, starting with the Bugatti Niniette, a 66ft­yacht inspired by the Chiron. Like the 260mph car, the yacht makes extensive use of carbon fibre and its accentuated centre line and two­tone colour scheme draw on longstanding Bugatti design traditions (though the top speed is a rather more modest 44 knots, or 51mph). “Even from a large distance when entering a port, the Niniette will be recognised as a true Bugatti,” says Etienne Salomé, design director at Bugatti, which has been part of Volkswagen since 1998. The open deck features a Jacuzzi and fire pit alongside leather­clad sunloungers; downstairs is a lounge area and a master suite with double bed. The first Niniette will only be built once a firm order has been taken; Palmer Johnson says it is confident this will be imminent and that construction will take 12 months. Starting prices have not been publicly announced but will be similar to the car, which means that after optional extras the Niniette will probably be the most expensive VW ever.

Ethiopia UK ­based tour operator Tadele Travel has launched what it claims are the first organised road biking holidays to Ethiopia. The guided group trips will explore the northern province of Tigray, passing through the ancient city of Axum and the Gheralta Mountains, making use of a network of newly built tarmac roads which as yet see little motorised traffic.

They will be led by Richard Nerurkar, a former British Olympic marathon runner and now co­owner of Tadele Travel, alongside Alemayehu Sitotaw, a competitive cyclist in Ethiopia for 35 years. Three different eight­day itineraries are being offered: the shortest covers 200km over four days with the remainder of the time on cultural excursions; the longest includes 587km or riding over six days. Prices from £1,975 per person.

Qatar Qatar Airways is to introduce a new business class cabin featuring double beds and “private suites” for four. A mock­up of what the airline calls its “QSuite” cabin was unveiled last week at the ITB trade show in Berlin; it will be fitted to Qatar’s fleet from June. It features moveable panels and television screens that allow adjoining seats to be connected to form single spaces for two or four. The airline hopes the arrangement will appeal to travelling couples, families and groups of executives who want to have meetings while onboard.

By Tom Robbins

Published on Mar 18,2017 [ Vol 17 ,No 880]



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