GREAT LUX­URY ES­CAPES

The Weekend Australian - Travel - - Front Page -

Get phys­i­cal: Get fit for the colder weather with Sof­i­tel Syd­ney Went­worth’s Ur­ban Win­ter Re­newal pack­age. The ho­tel is pitch­ing the deal as an al­ter­na­tive in the heart of the city to a week-long detox at a health farm. The two-night pack­age, de­signed for two, is priced at $949 and in­cludes two dayspa ex­pe­ri­ences at the Lat­touf Aveda Hair Spa and a health club pro­gram at the Went­worth’s Elixr Health Club, which in­cludes a one-hour ses­sion with a per­sonal trainer. On the more re­lax­ing side, there’s also din­ner for two (Sof­i­tel’s Win­ter Re­newal menu has been de­signed by the ho­tel’s ex­ec­u­tive chef). For stays to the end of Au­gust. More: (02) 9228 9188; www.sof­i­tel­syd­ney.com.au.

Palace in the heart: The most ex­cit­ing ho­tel to open in In­dia re­cently is Nade­sar Palace in the holy city of Varanasi, set on the Ganges. The his­toric build­ing, once the city res­i­dence of ma­hara­jah Prabhu Narain Singh (who hosted guests here of the ilk of Louis Mount­bat­ten and the Queen), has been de­vel­oped as a 10-suite ho­tel amid or­chards and gar­dens full of marigolds and jas­mine. More: www.tajho­tels.com.

Back in busi­ness: The Pierre, the US flag­ship of Taj Ho­tels on New York’s Fifth Av­enue, over­look­ing Cen­tral Park, has re­opened fol­low­ing a lav­ish $US100 mil­lion ($121 mil­lion) ren­o­va­tion. Work in­cluded re­fur­bished gue­strooms and a new restau­rant, Le Caprice at The Pierre, as well as 2 East, a new lobby lounge and re­cep­tion area. ‘‘ The de­signs per­fectly com­ple­ment The Pierre’s clas­sic am­bi­ence of quiet re­fine­ment and re­store a sense of the prop­erty’s orig­i­nal grandeur,’’ says gen­eral man­ager Heiko Kuen­stle. More: www.tajho­tels.com/pierre/.

Cock­tail hour: The Penin­sula Bangkok’s new River Bar

Aman heaven: The next Aman­re­sorts prop­erty to open will be the 24-suite Aman­taka in the de­light­ful World Her­itage­listed town of Luang Prabag in Laos. Af­ter lengthy de­lays, Aman New Delhi, in the In­dian cap­i­tal, is in busi­ness; it’s a con­tem­po­rary oa­sis that in­cludes pool suites and all man­ner of luxe trim­mings, so trav­ellers should take care not to con­fuse it with the un­re­lated bud­get prop­erty Ho­tel Aman Delhi. More: www.aman­re­sorts.com.

City style: Take a Hong Kong break in style with a stay at the five-star Lang­ham Palace ho­tel. Creative Hol­i­days has a three­night pack­age fly­ing Vir­gin At­lantic from $1329 a per­son ex Syd­ney, $1565 ex Ade­laide, Bris­bane, Mel­bourne and the Gold Coast, $1569 ex Can­berra. Pre­mium econ­omy up­grade from an ex­tra $753 a per­son. Be quick: for sale to June 19 for travel to June 30. More: www.cre­ative­hol­i­days.com.

Spa trek: Ca­ble Beach Club Re­sort’s new Cha­hoya Spa comes with seven pri­vate treat­ment rooms, dou­ble Vichy shower room and yoga deck. Qan­tas Hol­i­days has a fournight pack­age at the up-mar­ket West Aus­tralian re­sort with break­fasts, one-hour fu­sion stone mas­sage for two at the spa, a bot­tle of sparkling wine on ar­rival and Broome air­port trans­fers. From $1052 a per­son, land only. Ca­ble Beach Club Re­sort has two swim­ming pools, one for fam­i­lies, the other re­served for adults. www.qan­tas.com.au/hol­i­days.

River views: Cock­tails at The Penin­sula Bangkok now come with views thanks to the newly opened River Bar be­side the Chao Phraya River. The ho­tel has a one-night Sum­mer Splen­dour pack­age to Septem­ber 15 from 9500 baht ($339) a room with break­fast for two, a $US100 credit to be used in the ho­tel’s restau­rants, bars, spa, bou­tique or for a room up­grade, and a gift cer­tifi­cate for a free night at any Penin­sula ho­tel world­wide. More: www.penin­sula.com.

Gem of an of­fer: Canada’s Fair­mont Banff Springs, mar­keted as ‘‘ the cas­tle in the Rock­ies’’, has a money-no-ob­ject two-night pack­age in which the ex­tras in­clude a half­carat di­a­mond. Ac­com­mo­da­tion is in the Pres­i­den­tial Suite or Spa Suite; in­cludes re­turn limou­sine trans­fers be­tween Cal­gary air­port and the ho­tel, fresh flow­ers and cham­pagne on ar­rival, per­sonal concierge, tast­ing menu din­ner in The Banff­shire Club with wine pair­ings, spa treat­ment for two, a round of golf with the Fair­mont Banff Springs Golf Course pro­fes­sional or a day of guid­ing and in­struc­tion with the Fair­mont Snow School (in sea­son). There’s also din­ner on the sec­ond evening, break­fasts and gratuities. From an eye-pop­ping $C8499 ($9544) for

Isle of dreams: Angsana Velavaru, Mal­dives two; avail­able from May to Septem­ber and De­cem­ber to April. More: www.fair­mont.com/banff­springs.

Down to busi­ness: Sin­ga­pore’s Four Sea­sons Ho­tel is of­fer­ing an all-in­clu­sive Value Meet­ing pack­age. From $S325 ($274) a per­son for week­days, $S315 Fri­day to Sun­day, which in­cludes break­fast, use of meet­ing room with lunch and cof­fee breaks. For a lit­tle re­tail ther­apy, Or­chard Road’s golden mile of shop­ping and en­ter­tain­ment is close by. Fol­low­ing a re­fur­bish­ment last year, the ho­tel of­fers high-speed in­ter­net ac­cess and wireless con­nec­tiv­ity. More: www.foursea­sons.com/sin­ga­pore/.

Sof­i­tel ex­pands: French-based Sof­i­tel Lux­ury Ho­tels, which is open­ing the 438-room Sof­i­tel Dubai Jumeirah Beach in Septem­ber, has un­veiled plans for two more ho­tels to be de­vel­oped in the United Arab Emi­rates. In China three con­tracts have been signed in the coun­try’s east­ern and south­east­ern re­gions; construction is un­der way and the first open­ing is ex­pected at the end of 2010. Sof­i­tel also has ho­tels un­der construction in Pak­istan, Bahrain and Saudi Ara­bia. More: www.sof­i­tel.com.

Wish upon a spa: Penin­sula Ho­tels has part­nered with Espa to cre­ate a range of Sim­ply Penin­sula treat­ments and prod­ucts. There are two es­sen­tial oil blends, Re­fresh­ing (le­mon­grass, rose­mary and wild mint) or Re­lax­ing (ylang-ylang, patchouli and clove), avail­able in prod­ucts such as silky body lo­tions, hand cleansers, shower gels, sham­poos and con­di­tion­ers. The spa range is be­ing pro­gres­sively re­leased at Penin­sula prop­er­ties, start­ing with Hong Kong, New York, Chicago, Bev­erly Hills (Los An­ge­les), Tokyo and Bangkok. More: www.penin­sula.com.

Wa­ter world: Angsana Velavaru re­sort, in the pris­tine South Ni­landhe Atoll of the Mal­dives, is open­ing a clus­ter of 34 In-Ocean Vil­las (each with spa­cious deck­ing, in­fin­ity pool and ham­mock sus­pended over wa­ter). The com­plex, with its own Ital­ian restau­rant and bar, is 1km from the is­land of Velavaru and is touted as this small In­dian Ocean na­tion’s first ‘‘ float­ing re­sort’’. Guests also have ac­cess to the fa­cil­i­ties of Angsana Velavaru proper, which has beach­front ac­com­mo­da­tion. Start-up rates from $US750 a villa a night, in­clud­ing break­fasts for two. More: www.angsana.com. Barry Oliver and Alexan­dra James More lux­ury ho­tels es­capes:

www.theaus­tralian.com.au/dd.

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