ARM­CHAIR TRAV­ELLER

The Weekend Australian - Travel - - Front Page -

Pre­miere of this 2007 Bri­tish­made four-parter with co­me­dian Paul Mer­ton; at least one Chi­nese of­fi­cial he meets thinks he’s for­mer Cana­dian prime min­is­ter Paul Martin. Tues­day, 7.30pm, BBC Knowl­edge.

This week gung-ho French ad­ven­turer Diego Bunuel is hang­ing out in Iran; his would not be pleased. Wed­nes­day, 7.30pm, Nat Geo Ad­ven­ture. Co­nan Doyle (who men­tions the ho­tel in one of his Sher­lock Holmes books).

Mean­while, at Lon­don’s Brown’s Ho­tel, the Pic­cadilly land­mark fab­u­lously face-lifted by de­signer Olga Polizzi, feels it should be de rigueur to have a copy in each gue­stroom of Agatha Christie’s 1965 book most of which she wrote while in res­i­dence. To hor­ror, this Miss Marple mys­tery is avail­able from ama­zon.com on a Kin­dle wireless read­ing de­vice. www.lon­don.lang­hamho­tels.co.uk; www.brown­shotel.com.

THE con­cept of writ­ers-in-res­i­dence is not new but last year the An­daz Liver­pool Street Lon­don, the first ho­tel un­der Hy­att’s 2007-launched An­daz ‘‘ un­com­pli­cated lux­ury’’ brand, in­tro­duced a reader- in-res­i­dence ser­vice that ap­par­ently in­volved a py­ja­maclad jour­nal­ist giv­ing read­ings in the bar and of­fer­ing guests bib­lio­ther­apy: that is, as­sess­ing their read­ing de­fi­cien­cies and pre­scrib­ing the right books. The An­daz port­fo­lio pro­motes it­self as ‘‘ gim­mick free’’. is valiantly pop­ping her anti-scep­ti­cism pills. www.lon­don.liver­poolstreet.an­daz.hy­att.com.

GO­ING to bed with a good book takes on new mean­ing at New York’s Li­brary Ho­tel, on the cor­ner of Madi­son Av­enue and 41st Street, where each floor rep­re­sents one of the Dewey dec­i­mal cat­e­gories: sciences, lit­er­a­ture, lan­guages, his­tory and so forth. Each gue­stroom also fea­tures shelves of books ap­pro­pri­ate to its floor’s cat­e­gory. The rooftop bar is called Book­marks and if you walk a cou­ple of blocks west you’ll come, ap­pro­pri­ately, to the New York Pub­lic Li­brary. www.li­brary­ho­tel.com.

AND for next con­va­les­cent cruise, she has ear­marked by Boris Akunin as pri­or­ity read­ing. ‘‘ At Port Said an­other passenger boarded the Leviathan,’’ it be­gins. ‘‘[ He] walked up the gang­way, swing­ing his shoul­der bag, while the porters sweated as they strug­gled un­der the weight of his am­ple bag­gage: ex­pen­sive suit­cases that squeaked, high­qual­ity pigskin trav­el­ling bags, huge bun­dles of books and even a fold­ing tri­cy­cle (one large wheel, one small one and an ar­ray of gleam­ing tubes).’’ Ir­re­sistible.

FIND of the week: Just launched in Hong Kong are day cruises to a choice of four des­ti­na­tions on Aqua Luna, a hand-built red-sailed 28m Chi­nese junk. From $HK290 ($46) to $HK380 a per­son; chil­dren’s prices avail­able. Aqua Luna also of­fers day and evening trips on Hong Kong Har­bour. More: www.aqualuna.com.hk.

loves: Two gi­ant pan­das will ar­rive at Ade­laide Zoo in late Oc­to­ber but will be in quar­an­tine un­til the pub­lic open­ing on De­cem­ber 14. Zoos South Aus­tralia pres­i­dent Heather Cad­dick tells that a ‘‘ huge panda-shaped clock at­tached to the ETSA Util­i­ties build­ing in Ade­laide is count­ing down the days un­til Funi and Wang Wang, from Chengdu in China’s Sichuan Prov­ince, make their first ap­pear­ance’’.

The new­com­ers will be the only gi­ant pan­das on exhibit in the south­ern hemi­sphere and will re­side in a mul­ti­mil­lion-dol­lar pur­pose-built en­clo­sure ‘‘ with a golden bam­boo for­est and ma­ture elms lin­ing the walk­ways’’. It’s all part of an up­grade of Ade­laide Zoo that will fea­ture a new en­trance plaza fac­ing Botanic Park and link­ing the zoo to the Botanic Gar­dens, Tor­rens River and the city’s cul­tural precinct. www.zoossa.com.au.

loathes: The thought of jet­set­ters trav­el­ling with a Kin­dle in their pocket. could think of other places to put it.

DEALS OF THE WEEK

Sin­ga­pore rooms for sale; Star Flyer early­bird spe­cials; dou­ble the value in Waikiki. Th­ese and other money-sav­ing of­fers are fea­tured in

hol­i­day deals, up­dated daily: www.theaus­tralian.com.au/travel/dd

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