News of the opening of London’s Cumberland Hotel in December 1933 was of particular interest in the hot and steamy tropics. Claiming to be Europe’s largest hotel, it contained 1,000 guest rooms, each with its own hallway, bath and toilet. But it was something else that made headlines abroad. “PICK OWN CLIMATE AT HOTEL/London’s Latest Gives Novel Service” ran an article in The Straits Times of Singapore the following February. Guests at the hotel could, it was reported, “regulate the temperature of their rooms by simply moving a small valve lever”, thereby recreating their home climate, be they from “Alaska or Timbuctoo”. A week earlier, The China Mail had printed a similar article in Hong Kong, where the opening of the first fully air-conditioned building (the third Hong Kong and Shanghai Bank headquarters, on Queen’s Road Central) was still almost two years away. Located opposite Marble Arch, at the top of Oxford Street, The Cumberland – with its awkward pre-war blend of art-deco and neoclassical architecture – seemed gradually to fade into the mainstream of unremarkable London hotels. Today, it is probably best known for being listed as the “usual address” on the death certificate of Jimi Hendrix, who took a suite there about two weeks before he died, in 1970. The hotel was also the location of the American rock star’s last interview, so it is perhaps, in some small way or other, fitting that the Cumberland will next month be rebranded as the Hard Rock Hotel London. The rock-memorabilia-filled property is “paying tribute” to other former residents, including Bob Dylan, Buddy Holly and Diana Ross. Guitar-playing guests, though, might feel more at home at the Ruby Lucy hotel when it opens near the city’s Waterloo Station later this year. German boutique brand Ruby Hotels keeps a Marshall amplifier in every room, and lends guitars from reception. Muji Hotel Ginza to open in April One of the more interesting new hotels opening in Tokyo, Japan, this year is the Muji Hotel Ginza . Occupying floors six to 10 of Muji’s global flagship store, the brand will offer guests the same sort of minimalist and relatively affordable experience – and some of the same household products – that it offers retail shoppers. Doors are expected to open on April 4, and reservations should be open at hotel.muji.com by the time you read this. Muji, which started out as a cheap supermarket brand back in 1980, opened hotels in Beijing and Shenzhen last year, but online guest reviews have been surprisingly poor. This new 79-room Ginza property is likely to provide rather more polished services and facilities, with a large domestic clientele expecting to find a home away from home. Take to the road with new Van Life book In the smoke-belching wake of Lonely Planet’s recent The Vanlife Companion comes motoring manual publisher Haynes, with Van Life . Aimed at longer-term travellers but of interest to anyone planning a van-driving holiday, or with an interest in the camper-van lifestyle, it offers content similar to but more practical than its predecessor. Early chapters cover the freedom and politics of van life, social-media “influencers” and practical planning considerations. A list of about a dozen recommended vehicles is looked at in some detail, before a lengthy section on surviving the realities of life on the road. Van Life , by Nigel Donnelly, which will be published on April 8, can be pre-ordered and previewed at Amazon.co.uk . Deal of the week – two nights in Bangkok, Thailand Starting from HK$2,010 per person, twin share, Lotus Tours ’ two-night Bangkok package has a good range of hotels on offer. Cheapest is the popular X2 Vibe Bangkok Sukhumvit Hotel. This is a fairly good hotel, catering to the millennial crowd, but the superior Anantara Riverside Bangkok Resort, starting from HK$2,660, is better value. A cheaper option by the river is the Avani+ Riverside Bangkok Hotel, which starts from HK$2,370. Prices include flights with Cathay Pacific and daily breakfast.