COLUMN: Traveller’s Tales: Where will we go to this year?

Roger Wheeler January 16, 2022

The world has cautiously opened up again and we can go almost anywhere including of course our closest friend, France. With all French government pronouncements there always has to be a health warning as they are quite capable of closing their frontiers at a moment’s notice without much warning.

The hoops we have to jump through for all international travel have been drastically reduced down to just one reasonably simple lateral flow test which most countries seem happy to accept, so long as you are vaccinated. Plus you no longer need any tests on your return to UK.

Plenty of countries require you to declare whether you have been in contact with someone infected with coronavirus. France, for example, asks you to certify: “I hereby declare on my honour that I have no knowledge of having been in contact with a confirmed case of Covid-19 during the last 14 days prior to departure”. That is a tricky declaration to make, with a truthful answer demanding the sort of semantics that keeps lawyers in business.


Spain warns you must not travel; “If you have had close contact with a confirmed case of Covid-19 within the last two weeks”. Again, a difficult one, because it depends how you define ‘close contact’. On a typical day I travel by bus, go shopping and possibly go to a pub or restaurant. Statistically, there is a likelihood I have been in reasonably close contact with someone who has the virus. But I don’t know so I can honestly say that I haven’t been in ‘close’ contact with anyone, who can prove otherwise.


Prices have been quite drastically reduced to get us travelling again, so where in the world shall we go.  Gay holiday companies are offering some very good deals with the Greek islands, the Maldives and even French Polynesia at £2,000+ from those nice people at Out of Office.

Not surprisingly the US has become very popular again as they are happy to take our cash. But to avoid any problems why not stay in the UK? We spent the New Year weekend in a great hotel in London, of all places. It used to be called the Mondrian Hotel, right on the south bank of the Thames, but they changed its name to Sea Containers Hotel – one of the strangest names for a hotel I have ever come across.

Sea Containers Hotel

But it is quite lovely, all very art deco based on the interior of the old Queen Mary liner. We had a room on the sixteenth floor, very comfortable with great views of the river and the city. Bed, a huge breakfast buffet cost just £230 for the two of us. This for a five-star hotel in the centre of London is incredible. But similar deals are available at most the capital’s 55 five-star hotels with more opening every week.

Next time we go to town we will be exploring the now very fashionable Shoreditch area with its latest six ultra-modern hotels and now they have a new Mondrian Hotel, definitely worth a weekend.