a booming trend in travel
Women are taking knitting trips, adventure trips and spa trips. The Fine Living Network is launching a series on Thursday called All-Girl Getaways, hosted by Stephanie Oswald, editor of travelgirl magazine. There has been a 230 percent increase in the number of women-only travel companies in the past seven years.
Here are some of the trips women are taking.
• Special interest: Some women's travel companies offer niche trips focusing on wine-tasting, running or even knitting. Sally Black, founder of StitchAwayTours, has been organizing knitting trips for several years to places like Scotland and London. Knitters visit sheep farms, yarn shops and yarn factories.
• Pampering: One of the most popular types of travel among women is a pampering escape, whether it's a spa resort or a cruise.
• Adventure: Scuba diving, snorkeling and horseback riding are popular as well as softer adventure excursions to places like India, China and Greece.
• Big cities: New York, Las Vegas, Boston and San Francisco. The cities are accessible and there's lots to do.
Temple visitors flush in luxe
The simple life of monks at China's famed Shaolin Temple got an upgrade with the installation of luxury restrooms worth $430,000.
The official Xinhua News Agency said the most lavish of the restrooms is more than 1,614 square feet and is equipped with a diaper-changing station for infants and a foyer with an LCD television. The toilets also provide access for the disabled and Braille signs for the blind.
The restrooms, which are free of charge for both monks and tourists, opened this spring.
Established about 1,500 years ago, the Shaolin Temple, located in central China's Henan province, is famous for combining martial arts with Buddhism and is a popular tourist attraction.
W hotel opening in Istanbul
W makes its debut in Europe on May 6 when its Istanbul hotel opens. The 134-room hotel, including 26 suites and a spa, will feature chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten's Spice Market restaurant.
The chain has 17 hotels in the United States and four others outside the United States — in Montreal, Mexico City, the Maldives and Seoul, South Korea. A number of Ws are under construction around the world, including a facility in Fort Lauderdale expected to open in October. For more information, go to www.whotels.com.
World's weirdest museums
Independenttraveler.com lists these museums as tops on the list of curiosities:
• Museum of Medieval Torture Instruments: Prague, Czech Republic
• Museum of Bad Art: Boston
• Three sex museums: Amsterdam, Netherlands; Paris; and Husavik, Iceland
• Winchester Mystery House: San Jose, Calif.
• The Mutter Museum: Philadelphia
• Glore Psychiatric Museum: St. Joseph, Mo.
• Sulabh International Museum of Toilets: New Delhi
• Paris Sewer Museum
• Houston's National Museum of Funeral History
• Vent Haven Museum of ventriloquism: Fort Mitchell, Ky.
A deal on Duck Key
Hawks Cay on Florida's Duck Key is offering spring reopening rates to mark its recent $35-million renovation. Rates for Sunday to Thursday stays this month and in May start at $225 per night (plus $48 taxes and fees), a savings of up to 40 percent (discounted two-bedroom villas start at $255, plus taxes).
For more information, call toll-free 1-888-443-6393 or go to www.hawkscay.com.
King Tut to come
to America, again
An exhibition featuring more than 130 treasures from the tomb of King Tutankhamun and other ancient sites will begin a U.S. tour with an opening November in Atlanta.
The Michael C. Carlos Museum of Emory University announced it will open the exhibit at the Atlanta Civic Center from November through May 22, 2009. The exhibit will then move to the Indianapolis Children's Museum from June to October 2009.
''Tutankhamun: The Golden King and the Great Pharaohs'' is the second National Geographic exhibition dedicated to the treasures of King Tutankhamun and ancient Egyptian royalty.
For more information, go to www.carlos.emory.edu.
Compiled from Times wires