Voyage to learning
LUXE AND LEARN: Silversea Cruises has enhanced its onboard Silver Perspectives Enrichment Program with the addition of further expert lecturers covering fields such as science, health, music, naval history and literature. The initiative also covers Relais & Chateaux’s only cooking school at sea and a series of wine-themed voyages accompanied by international vintners. The family-owned Italian cruise line operates five all-suite ships and three expedition vessels with itineraries covering seven continents and more than 700 ports. More: silversea.com.
HOUSE RULES: Swire Hotels has launched The House Collective brand to encompass its three “House” properties and strengthen their haven-like character and strong design credentials. The trio comprises The Upper House in Hong Kong, The Opposite House in Beijing and The Temple House in Chengdu, China, unveiled earlier this month. The new property is in a traditional courtyard building and offers 100 studio rooms and 49 guest residences, three restaurants, a bar and day spa with a teahouse. More: the-house-collective.com.
HANDS-ON HOTELIERS: It was 30 years ago this month that David Hay and Michael Speers of Thorn Park by the Vines in the Clare Valley first saw the original Thorn Park estate, with a shearing shed, dam and 135-year-old stone homestead “in need of renovation”, and turned it into one of South Australia’s best-loved country-house hotels, with a gourmet reputation to match. These two consummate hosts have been running the smaller Thorn Park by the Vines, with three ensuite double guestrooms and fine food from Hay, since 2009 and have also opened Thorn Park on the Island at Penneshaw, Kangaroo Island, a chic three-bedroom holiday rental, and Thorn Park in the City, a one-bedroom apartment for short or mid-term leases in Adelaide. More: thornpark.com.au.
PACKAGED TREATS: The award-winning Byron at Byron resort and spa in northern NSW has a cut-price Chasing the Winter Sun package that includes accommodation, buffet breakfasts, house wine with lunch in The Restaurant, day spa vouchers and daily bike hire. From $315 a night for two. More: thebyronatbyron.com.au.
DO NOT DISTURB: InterContinental Danang Sun Peninsula Resort on Vietnam’s central coast has opened three Sun Peninsula Residences in a corner of a private bay with ocean views and direct beach access. Villa Hibiscus and Villa Frangipani each accommodate up to six guests and feature two pools, while the smaller Villa Ixora sleeps four. The residences were conceived by Bangkok-based hotel specialist Bill Bensley (who also designed the 107room resort, which opened in 2012) and are aimed at families and house-party groups who can book per villa or as one estate. More: danang.intercontinental.com. ON THE MOVE: AndBeyond has introduced six new mobile camping safaris in Botswana’s wildlife-rich nature reserves. The journeys, on set dates through to February, are designed for two to six travellers and range from six to eight nights. Destinations include Chobe National Park and the Okavango Delta, safaris progress between campsites set up with ensuite tents and some departures include a finale of a few nights at one of the operator’s luxury lodges. More: andbeyond.com.
FRESH NEW LOOK: Sheraton Mirage Port Douglas Resort, which opened in 1987, has begun a $40 million “game-changing renovation” to revamp its 294 guest rooms, including the creation of “swim out” accommodation with direct lagoon access from private balconies. The project includes the redevelopment of the Mirage Country Golf Club and the resort’s main buildings, surrounding pools and landscaping of substantial tropical gardens, and is expected to be completed by early next year. More: sheratonportdouglas.com.
RIVER ROVERS: APT’s 2016 Europe River Cruising brochure includes a portfolio of products with two new booking offers. Passengers who reserve and pay 10 months in advance receive an Early Payment Discount of $200 a person on seven-night cruises and $400 a person on 14-night cruises. There are also deals for party bookings of five people or more and fly-free offers from Australia on a selection of cruises along popular rivers such as the Danube, Rhine, Moselle, Bordeaux and Portugal’s Douro. Book by July 31. More: 1300 196 420; aptouring.com.au.
The Temple House, Chengdu, China, above; Sun Peninsula Residences at Danang, top right