Second entrance to Vatican
About 25,000 people visit the Vatican each day, and the wait in line can sometimes last hours, with some people being turned away. To help ease the crunch, a second entrance is now under construction, according to Lonely Planet. The additional entrance will offer access to less well-known parts of the fascinating and sprawling complex, including the Ethnological Museum, which houses 80,000 objects and works of art. No word on when construction will be completed. Vatican Museums chief Barbara Jatta has also pitched a second route to the Sistine Chapel, which draws enormous crowds on its own. It would be accessed around the Apostolic Palace and there would be extended opening hours.
Fourth night free in BVI
To bring back visitors after Hurricane Irma, the British Virgin Islands Tourist Board is offering a free hotel night on the Caribbean island of Anegada, plus a transportation credit. Book three nights and receive a free fourth night at any of three participating properties: Anegada Beach Club, Four Diamonds Park Villas and Anegada Reef Hotel. Rates vary. For example, a four-night stay at Anegada Beach Club starts at $810, including taxes — a savings of $225. In addition, guests who arrive in Tortola or Virgin Gorda receive a $50 credit for a round-trip transfer by ferry or air. Book by Feb. 28 using promo code ANGW18. Stay through April 15 (bvitourism.com/i-love-anegada).
A hotel fit for McQueen
The Bullitt Hotel, Northern Ireland’s — and perhaps the world’s — sole Steve McQueen-themed hotel, opened in 2016 with 43 rooms. Last October, it opened a rooftop garden terrace and bar, and in December added 31 more rooms. Named for the star’s car-chasing 1968 detective thriller, the hotel calls itself no-frills, but the design is fun and stylish. Visitors liked the theme so much that soon after its opening, two women tried to swipe a 6-foot canvas of McQueen smoking a cigarette behind aviator shades. The near-heist generated publicity for the hotel as the Not-So-Great Escape, but the desk clerks swore it had been a true crime. Slate-gray paint and a full-wall mural of McQueen and Jacqueline Bisset dominated our midsize and comfortable room. The Bullitt has a good time with its king-of-’60s-cool muse, and as Belfast re-emerges, guests are set up to play, too.
New York Times
First-class tip from Tilly
Tilly Bagshawe, the bestselling British author of more than a dozen novels, estimates that she flies 100,000 miles annually. Her secret to scoring an upgrade with miles? Just two little words. “Call reservations and drop the name ‘revenue management.’ Revenue management’s job is to make sure a flight is profitable, so they’re the ones telling reservation agents what they can say. By mentioning it you reveal yourself as someone who knows how things work and understands how seats are released. Say to the agent: ‘Have revenue management released any first-class seats for miles upgrades yet?’ When they say no, ask them to check or just be put through to revenue management so you can ask when they will release some, as well as how many seats are left. Politely respond like this: ‘You have 20 seats unsold? Why aren’t you releasing them?’ Often by the end of the conversation they say, ‘OK, we’ll release one for you,’ or they might tell you to call back tomorrow. Doing that, we’ve had a pretty much 100 percent success rate.”