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News: easyJet returns to Southend, Luton Hoo resort sold, Hilton Athens to be redeveloped

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News in brief:

easyJet to return to Southend Airport

easyJet is to resume services at London Southend Airport in Summer 2022 after withdrawing in September 2020.

Services to Palma and Malaga are currently available for booking, and additional routes are due to be announced.

Southend Airport is currently only handling private jet flights after Ryanair ended passenger services back in November.

The airport deserves to be put back into service. As well as a modern terminal building, it has its own railway station with a direct link into London Liverpool Street and Stratford.

I reviewed the Southend Airport ‘experience’ back in 2016 here and it even has a newly expanded Skylife airport lounge which we reviewed here. There is even a smart new Holiday Inn hotel at Southend Airport which we reviewed here.

Luton Hoo sold

Luton Hoo resort sold

Luton Hoo, the 1,000 acre hotel, golf course and spa, has been sold to Arora Group. The seller was Elite Hotels, which also owns Ashdown Park and The Grand Hotel in Eastbourne.

This should be good news. Arora has a good track record of investing in its acquisitions, with the ‘about to open’ Fairmont Great Windsor Park being a good example.

Arora Group is best known for its airport hotels. These include Sofitel Heathow Terminal 5, Crowne Plaza and Holiday Inn Express Heathrow Terminal 4, Hilton Garden Inn Heathrow Terminal 2/3 and Hilton London Gatwick.

As you can see from the image above, Luton Hoo has the potential to be an impressive weekend break and conference spot if enough money is spent on it. It is bigger than most people think, with 228 rooms – double what you find at Four Seasons Hampshire for example.

Not many people know that Luton Hoo is currently part of World of Hyatt, via its membership of Small Luxury Hotels of the World, and can be booked as a Hyatt redemption. You only earn Hyatt points on cash stays if your booking is made via hyatt.com.

Hilton Athens to close

Hilton Athens to be redeveloped as a Conrad

Hilton Athens, one of key hotels in the city, is to be redeveloped following its sale.

The hotel will close, to be replaced with a new luxury Conrad Hotel and a number of apartments. Conrad is also a Hilton brand, of course, so the property won’t be leaving Hilton Honors.

I stayed here many years ago and remember the views of the Acropolis from my room. There is also an outdoor pool which is rare for a city centre property. I can imagine that it is now showing its age – the hotel opened in 1963 – and with increased city centre competition such as the new Grand Hyatt I can imagine that there was pressure for an upgrade.

The new Conrad Hotel is scheduled to open in 2024. It isn’t clear when the existing Hilton will close.


How to earn Hilton Honors points and status from UK credit cards

How to earn Hilton Honors points and status from UK credit cards (January 2022)

There are various ways of earning Hilton Honors points from UK credit cards.  Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses.

Do you know that holders of The Platinum Card from American Express receive FREE Hilton Honors Gold status for as long as they hold the card?  It also comes with Marriott Bonvoy Gold, Radisson Rewards Gold and MeliaRewards Gold status.  We reviewed American Express Platinum in detail here and you can apply here.

American Express Platinum card Amex

The Platinum Card from American Express

30,000 points and an unbeatable set of travel benefits – for a fee Read our full review

Did you know that the Virgin Atlantic credit cards are a great way of earning Hilton Honors points? Two Virgin Points can be converted into three Hilton Honors points. The Virgin Atlantic cards are the only Visa or Mastercard products in the UK which can indirectly earn Hilton Honors points. You can apply here.

You can also earn Hilton Honors points indirectly with American Express Gold (20,000 bonus points), the American Express Rewards Credit Card (5,000 bonus points) and – for small business owners – American Express Business Gold (20,000 bonus points) and Business Platinum (40,000 bonus points).

Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which can be used to earn Hilton Honors points

(Want to earn more hotel points?  Click here to see our complete list of promotions from the major hotel chains or use the ‘Hotel Offers’ link in the menu bar at the top of the page.)

Comments (29)

  • Ben says:

    Ive not registered onto the Forum yet but good news is my BA Gold status just got extended for another 12 months (Exp April 2022 NOW 2023).
    Merry Christmas

  • Bill says:

    “Services to Palma and Malaga are currently available for booking, and additional routes are due to be announced.”

    Are we talking easyJet or Flybe ?

  • FatherOfFour says:

    I’ve used easy from Southend in the past to visit a mate in AMS. Southend is convenient for me by both road and rail – though the trains don’t start early enough for a 7am departure.

    There is almost as much taxiing at Schipol as there is flying over the channel!

    The champagne bar did a good breakfast and I had a decent, albeit pricey fish and
    chips from the pub on another occasion.
    I hope AMS comes back!

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