LITTLE BLACK BOOK
MARKPeyton, chief concierge at Sofitel Sydney Wentworth, shares tips on local activities with royals, presidents, prime ministers and movie stars. He is a member of Les Clefs d’Or (Golden Keys), a society of elite concierges from across the world. More: sofitelsydney.com.au. Desperate to get back to: Whale-watching on Sydney Harbour or off the coast. There’s nothing better than witnessing, say, a double breach at close range. Top shopping secret: The new personalised stylist service at Westfield Sydney (have all the legwork done for you). Must visit: The Spit Bridge to DEALS OF THE WEEK West coast wonder: Save 30 per cent at San Francisco’s four-star Hotel Palomar; from $138 a room a night to December 27. This historic 1907 property is close to the popular bay city’s best shopping areas, SoMa (South Market) and financial districts, Yerba Buena Gardens and Union Square. More: 133 810; expedia.com.au. Manly walk: a journey of 9.5km through some of Sydney Harbour’s beautiful northern foreshore. Ultimate eco-adventure: Horseriding through Megalong Valley, Blue Mountains. Stand-out afternoon tea experience: Rose Bay Marina Island magic: Book a September or October holiday to the Maldives with return Singapore Airlines flights by August 31. Deals include four nights at Paradise Island Resort, including breakfasts and dinners, from $1979 a person twin-share ex Melbourne or Perth, or $1989 ex Sydney. More: siaholidays.com.au. Kiosk is one of my favourite spots to relax with a coffee on a beautiful afternoon. Inviting culinary destination: The wonderful Hunter Valley for its fabulous array of wineries and dining options. Most memorable splurge: Commissioning local artist Stephen Evans to create a painting of my beloved Bondi Beach. Best experience afloat: A gentle row, with picnic basket at the ready, on the Audley Weir, Royal National Park, just an hour south from the madness of the city. Best-spent travel dollars: Buying a Canon EOS 450D SLR camera and lightweight tripod, as photographs are for life. River dance: Explore the Mekong on Uniworld’s new River Saigon cruiser. Book by September 30 for a $960 saving a couple on a 15-day Timeless Wonders of Vietnam, Cambodia and Mekong cruise from $5648 a person twin-share. Departures January 15-March 25 and September 6-December 27, 2012. More: uniworldcruises.com.au.