Take away some­thing to chew on

The Weekend Australian - Travel - - Travel - Susan Kuro­sawa

SNEAK­ING a few ex­tra morsels off the ho­tel break­fast buf­fet is pretty stan­dard: per­haps an ap­ple for af­ters, a muf­fin for morn­ing tea.

Most of us con­sider it fair play, jus­ti­fy­ing our ac­tions by reck­on­ing it makes no dif­fer­ence to the ho­tel if we con­sume said food on the spot or sev­eral hours later.

Depar­tureLounge is as guilty as the next guest but draws the line at wear­ing a multi-pock­eted over­coat and mak­ing off with sides of smoked salmon and bowls of bircher muesli. Lounge con­fines her pil­fer­ing to the odd ba­nana, be­ing a sub­scriber to one of the great self-delu­sions of travel: ‘‘ I’ll only have fruit for lunch.’’

The Grand Mer­cure St Moritz at Queen­stown, New Zealand, has de­cided not to take this petty theft sit­ting down and has come up with a ‘‘ lunch-to-go’’ op­tion for $NZ10 ($9). At the ho­tel’s Lom­bardis restau­rant, guests can ‘‘ pack their own lunch bag with items of­fered at the break­fast buf­fet’’. It all seems rather civilised, al­though Lounge pre­sumes there must be a set size for this bag: maybe one of those air­port cabin bag­gage test units will be put up be­side the buf­fet to check weight and girth. www.ac­corho­tels.com.au. AC­CORD­ING to ho­tels af­fil­i­ated with last­minute.com.au, an av­er­age of 5460 bathrobes are stolen each week while one prop­erty has re­ported a miss­ing snack-vend­ing ma­chine as well as a re­frig­er­a­tor. The top five strangest re­quests made by guests? Ask­ing for a room change be­cause of the pres­ence of a ghost. A re­quest for an en­suite bath­room to be cleaned with vine­gar. A plea to bor­row shoes from a staff mem­ber. De­mand­ing a porter be sent to col­lect dirty laun­dry from a guest’s car. A re­quest for a ceil­ing mir­ror to be in­stalled. Lounge is un­char­ac­ter­is­ti­cally speech­less. www.last­minute.com.au. WHILE in Fiji re­cently, Lounge dis­cov­ered a ho­tel that has re­ally thought through the ques­tion of keep­ing guests thor­oughly re­freshed. The new Fiji Beach Re­sort & Spa, man­aged by Hil­ton, is at Nadi’s De­na­rau, just along from the Sof­i­tel. Aside from its beach­side lo­ca­tion and chic con­tem­po­rary lines, the main at­trac­tion here for Lounge is the com­pli­men­tary Free­dom Fridge of eight bev­er­ages (soft drinks and Fiji Wa­ter), which is re­plen­ished daily. And most rooms have a bar­be­cue on their bal­cony or ter­race; DIY bar­bie packs are avail­able from room ser­vice and the on-site deli, Epicier, also sells meat, mari­nades and gro­ceries (ex­cel­lent bak­ery items).

Many other ho­tels would do well to note this con­ve­nience and largesse rather than stick­ing to the clas­sic mini­bar for­mula of ridicu­lously markedup Toblerones and light beers. And don’t get Lounge started on the sub­ject of those dev­il­ish fridges with com­put­erised con­tents: those ones that clock up charges as soon as you move the con­tents, when all you re­ally wanted to do was read the la­bel and marvel at the caf­feine lev­els in a can of Red Bull. www.re­sort­fiji.com.

LOUNGE

LOUNGE IN Bali, the In­terCon­ti­nen­tal Re­sort at Jim­baran Bay, near the Four Sea­sons, also shows su­perb gen­eros­ity to guests who have booked ex­ec­u­tive club rooms. Its big Club Lounge serves such a range of food and drinks dur­ing the daily cock­tail ses­sion from 5pm to 8pm that guests fre­quently load up on the sub­stan­tial snacks (bowls of pasta, stir­fries, canapes) and skip din­ner. The club does a full af­ter­noon tea and late-night snacks, too, with com­pli­men­tary break­fast served through four out­lets, in­clud­ing room ser­vice. In Lounge ’ s ex­pe­ri­ence, this is way be­yond the ho­tel norm. No need to nick an emer­gency ba­nana here. www.bali.in­tercon­ti­nen­tal.com.

loves: SBS’s su­perb new six­part minis­eries The­Cir­cuit, set in Broome. Ex­cel­lent drama of this kind acts as er­satz travelogue: be­yond the gritty and fre­quently bleak story-line, the dra­matic land­scapes of the Kim­ber­ley shine through.

loathes: The very idea of the movie Rogue , open­ing on Au­gust 30. Sur­prise story-line: Amer­i­can travel writer en­coun­ters a man-eat­ing croc in the Aus­tralian out­back.

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