Travel news: from food adventures in Jordan to a new luxury Ethiopian hideaway

From language learning to a new luxury lodge in Ethiopia.

Take a women's wellness break at this retreat in Sagres. Courtesy of Escape Haven
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Get appy in four European languages

The online language school Rosetta Stone has created a free travel app, complete with a built-in phrase book for those wanting to learn Spanish, Italian, French or German. It's compatible with the iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad, and moves from the phrase book to "lessons", including speaking and vocabulary (

Women's wellness comes to Iberia

Escape Haven, an Australian travel company offering women-only luxury spa and surfing retreats in Byron Bay and Bali, is now offering a new wellness retreat for women in the Portuguese town of Sagres. Guests will stay in a shared private villa, combining yoga with surfing and healthy eating over a six-night stay. Start dates are October 12 and 19; €2,000 (Dh9,701) per person all inclusive ( Emirates ( flies direct to Lisbon from Dubai in seven hours.

Join the Jordanian culture club

The Jordan Tourism Board has launched a new dedicated gastronomic microsite designed to showcase the country's diverse and exciting culinary scene, as well as its warm Bedouin hospitality. The website comes as the destination plans to focus on gastronomy for 2014 and highlight the culinary experiences that the country has to offer beyond the iconic landscapes of Petra, Wadi Rum and the Dead Sea.

As well as an overview and introduction to Jordanian food, the website features interactive recipes with step-by-step videos on how to create native specialities including tabbouleh dough and cucumber yogurt salad. Jordan now boasts a burgeoning food scene, with the streets of the capital Amman buzzing with street vendors serving falafel sandwiches and shawarma, mansaf, fresh bread, savoury pastries stuffed with meat or spinach, Arabic-style pizzas with thyme, and dozens of other light bites, to high-end restaurants. To view the website and learn more, visit

Bale out with an Ethiopian escape

Ethiopia has a nascent luxury tourism industry and, from next month, you can stay at the Bale Mountain Lodge. Set in one of the world's largest cloud forests in Bale Mountains National Park, 400 kilometres south-east of the capital Addis Ababa in the country's Southern Highlands, the 30-bedroom lodge boasts views over Afroalpine moorland, and is surrounded by spectacular flora and fauna (spot giant forest hogs, leopards and the rare Ethiopian wolf), and has a Savoy-and Dorchester-trained chef on hand. The lodge is the first in a series planned by a UK based company, Jember, with an African non-profit conservation fund and the involvement of the Ethiopian Wildlife Conservation Authority. For more details, see

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