Shermanstravel Blog

Hong Kong

Cruise Ship in Sydney HarborWelcome to wave season! At the very end and beginning of every year, cruise lines roll out promotions for sailings through the next year – sometimes even two – in hopes of booking passengers early. The deals can take the form of steep discounts over 50 percent, 2-for-1 fares, onboard credits, free airfare, and other special packages. For you, this means that there’s no better time to go big – or at least dream about it. Here, we offer eight unbelievable cruises for the ultimate nautical adventure… Read more

Macau Planning a trip to China’s gambling capital? With private, walled-in gardens, public beaches, and historic sites that reference the city’s strong Portugese influence, you’ll have plenty to do, whether you’re hitting the slots or not. The best part: We’re featuring a great deal this week that includes this destination, and saves more than $1000. Not bad. Now, what should you pack for your trip?

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City Tours to Take at NightIf you tend to stay away from cheesy double decker bus tours while on vacation, well…we can’t blame you. Often, the only real way to get to know a city is to just walk it, unguided, and let the adventure unfold as you go. But there’s something irresistible about surrendering to a nighttime tour: cruising down busy avenues, letting yourself be dazzled by marquee lights as they whiz by, and getting a birds-eye view of a city just as its restaurants, bars, and nightclubs begin to come alive. Just remember to put down the camera once in a while; for posterity sake, you won’t want to let the whole evening go by with your face behind a lens!

Though not as well known as its neighbor to the south, the city of Sharjah in the UAE has managed to carve out a reputation independent of Dubai and Abu Dhabi – for starters, it is a burgeoning art destination, with over 15 museums to its name, and even has its own observatory wheel. Now, thanks to a brand new night tour, visitors can now be guided through the city’s most dazzling features after the sun goes down. The Buhaira Corniche, Al Qasba (a prominent theater and exhibition space), Mega Mall, the Central Souk, and Al Noor Mosque (a destination in its own right) are just a few of the spots accessed on the new tour, which runs from 8pm to 11pm every night. $25.75 per person; for more information, click here. Read more

The Biggest Hotel Heists in HistoryCannes, the glittery French resort city, has been attracting some unwelcome guests over the past few months: thieves.

Back in May, during the Cannes Film Festival, thieves ripped a safe from the wall of the Novotel hotel and made off with around $1 million worth of jewelry – less than a week later, a de Grisogono necklace worth over $1 million was stolen during a festival party at a hotel in nearby Cap d’Antibes.

The biggest heist came in late July when a brazen, baseball-cap-clad thief, thought to be part of the infamous Pink Panther jewel thief ring, walked into the Carlton Hotel in broad daylight (where, ironically, scenes from Hitchcock’s To Catch a Thief were filmed). He brandished a gun at staff and swiped $136 million worth of jewelry. The heist was one of the biggest in history.

And that’s not even mentioning the Kronometry watch store, which was robbed twice in the last five months.

If your traveler’s curiosity has you wondering about other hotel heists, here are a few others that made news — and some that made history. Read more

Accor Hotels Super SaleThis summer, take the international vacation you’ve always dreamed of with Accor Hotels’ Super Sale. Enjoy a romantic vacation to Paris, explore the sights of Hong Kong, soak up the arts and culture of Sydney, and many more international destinations. With this sale, you’ll save up to 50 percent on seasonal rates at the same hotels. Valid for stays from July 6 through September 1, select properties include: Read more

Jokulsarlon LagoonLooking to expand your travel horizons this summer or fall? We’ve got the deals for you. From Bonaire to Bali to Bulgaria, travel outside the usual domestic or Caribbean destinations and head somewhere truly special this season – and still save in the process. Read more

The PeninsulaThe first time I stayed at the Peninsula Hong Kong, in spring 2011, it seemed pretty great. A weather station on the roof dispatched temperature and humidity readings to the rooms, front-desk messages arrived by silent fax, and a “valet box” allowed freshly shined shoes and newspapers to be delivered inside rooms each morning without even having to open the door. Of course, there was also the fleet of 15 chauffeured Rolls-Royce Phantoms, including a vintage one from 1934, to assist with departures or arrivals (unless you preferred using the hotel’s twin helipads). Inside the oldest hotel in Hong Kong – and the first in the small luxury chain – my room overlooked the Hong Kong Cultural Centre in Kowloon and faced the skyscrapers across Victoria Harbour. It was hard to complain. Read more

Though not a total culture shock for Westerners due to its British colonial heritage, Hong Kong can at times be overwhelming, So, on a recent trip to Hong Kong hosted by Cathay Pacific Airways, Island Shangri-La, and the Hong Kong Tourism Board, I decided to venture out to discover a more quiet side of this bustling city. I chose a half-day trip to the island of Lamma – a hotspot for local movie stars and expats – for some hiking and swimming.

I set out from the Island Shangri-La, in the Central area of Hong Kong Island, to the ferry terminal, which is just a short walk from Hong Kong Central Station and the Central MTR subway stop. Read more

Peninsula Hong Kong dim sumGlobal travel exposes us to all sorts of cheap eats from roadside vendors, whether it’s dim sum in Hong Kong (pictured) or a hot dog with relish in New York City. New this spring, Peninsula Hotels gives a nod to this kind of street food with room service menu items called “Snacks & the City.” I’d like to know what street cart is selling Kobe beef sliders and fries with truffle aioli, like the Peninsula Chicago, or filet mignon hoagies, like the Peninsula Beverly Hills. Also, buying “street food” on the street is kind of half the fun. However, as room-service options these new menu items really spice up the old stand-bys, and they’re available 24 hours a day (unlike food trucks or street vendors). Though prices may start at street fare levels of around $3, expect to pay a bit more for many of the upscale delights. Participating Peninsula locations also include Shanghai, Beijing, Tokyo, Bangkok, and Manila. www.peninsula.com

Use our Travel Search price comparison tool to find the lowest rates and travel deals on hotels, flights, vacation packages, and more.

Four Seasons Hong KongWhile there are many reasons to visit Hong Kong, one of the biggest is the food. At a sensorial level, the city is awash with flavors, textures, and ingredients that even the most experienced Chinese-food connoisseur will find startling and sublime. At a statistical level, only Paris and three Japanese cities have more Michelin-starred restaurants than Hong Kong. Twenty of Hong Kong’s 60 starred restaurants are in its hotels, and five of those have more than one.

For the traveler, this presents a particular opportunity to combine gastronomy with sloth (or dining with undistracted digestion). Now you really can enjoy the best meal of your life, and then do nothing more than crawl into bed – perhaps scoffing at the chocolates on your pillow, and only possibly pausing to take off your clothes (of course, that depends on what comes next). Consider this crib sheet on how to plan a satisfying and satiating Hong Kong vacation without leaving your hotel:

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Thanks to airline miles blogger The Points Guy for tipping us off to this incredible deal: Starting tomorrow, July 7, Cathay Pacific is celebrating the September 1 launch of its Chicago to Hong Kong route by selling 100 $100 round-trip tickets from ORD to HKG.

Here’s how it works: Each Thursday in July, Cathay will sell 25 tickets at the hugely discounted price. Just log on to the sale page at 3:25pm (the route’s scheduled departure time), and click “purchase” as quickly as possible.

Even if you’re not Chicago-based, this is a steal. Fares from the East Coast to Chicago this fall cost around $200 (save for Thanksgiving and Christmas travel), bringing the total round-trip cost to a measly $300. Flying from the West Coast to Chicago to Hong Kong is geographically illogical, but you’ll still save a bundle: Plan to pay around $230 to fly from LAX to ORD.

Naturally, demand for these tickets will be sky high, and nabbing the rate will take a bit of luck. We suggest bookmarking the sale page, opening the site in a few different browsers (and perhaps on your phone and iPad, too), and get ready to hit “refresh.”

Use our Travel Search price comparison tool to find the lowest rates on hotels, packages, and more travel deals.

Great vacation memories spring from many sources: Photographs tell the literal side of the story, but those one-of-a-kind acquisitions – an intricate Colombian rug, an antique Mexican doorknob, a one-off dress by an Israeli designer – continue to live with us, transmitting their provenance through time. Since shopping districts the world over are becoming increasingly interchangeable with big-box stores, we sought out urban neighborhoods, some emerging and others longer established, where you can still find homegrown items that impart a true sense of place. Read on for our top 10 picks.

Use our Travel Search price comparison tool to find the lowest rates on flights, hotels, packages, and more travel deals.

Forbidden City BeijingSHERMAN’S EXCLUSIVE

The Luxury Top China tour specialist Wendy Wu Tours offers a 12-night sampler itinerary mixing well-known attractions with lesser-known charms. A China Experience for Smart Luxury Travel readers includes a mainland visit and a Hong Kong extension, with excursions led by expert local guides. Highlights include the Terracotta Warriors in Xian, the Forbidden City in Beijing, and cosmopolitan Shanghai.

The Value Rates start at $2,880 and include airfare from LA or New York, stays at four-star hotels, most meals, tours, entertainment, transfers, and visa fees. Readers will receive perks totaling $320, including a spa package and a guided day trip to Macau or a sunset dinner cruise in Hong Kong.

The Catch The group tours typically include 20 or fewer travelers. An upgrade to a private tour runs an extra $800 a person.

The Details 877-993-6399 (mention Smart Luxury Travel); wendywuschina.com

From the Winter 2010/2011 issue of Smart Luxury Travel magazine by ShermansTravel.com.

For general trip-planning information, see our China Travel Guide.

Whether killing time or scrambling to find last-minute souvenirs, most of us are at one time or another saved by airport shopping. Yes, every airport comes with the standard magazine stands and tacky gift shops, but our top 10 airports for shopping take their retail seriously. We’re talking endless duty-free arcades, luxury boutiques galore, and, maybe most notably, small local retailers that supply homegrown items unique to the destination itself. And isn’t that what souvenir shopping is all about? These gateway hubs span the globe, from Portland to Dubai, and offer the traveler more than just a distraction before boarding – they provide a viable (not TSA-related) reason to arrive the recommended three hours before (international) departure time. Get a sneak peek at the goods with our Top 10 Airports for Shopping slideshow, then read our Top 10 Airports for Shopping article to plot your next layover.

Use our Travel Search price comparison tool to find flight, hotel, cruise, and more travel deals.

hong-kong-traders-hotel.jpgShangri-La Hotels and Resorts is shouting out to value-hungry business travelers and vacationers once again with the launch of its Hong Kong Traders Hotel on August 1, 2010. In keeping with the Trader Hotel’s mid-market mantra, the new Hong Kong property promises its guests “high quality accommodations with value for money”. Located in Hong Kong’s Western District, the hotel is immersed in a melting pot of modern and traditional: local eateries, temples, and traditional shops make up the surrounding blocks while just a couple of miles away, guests will find the city’s bustling business district and happening nightlife venues. Read more

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