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Looking 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 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
Global 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
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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.
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.
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Set amid a striking natural harbor and backdropped by imposing jade-colored mountains, Asia’s hyper-vertical metropolis commands attention from any angle, at all hours. But Hong Kong’s famed views are perhaps best savored over the city’s equally celebrated cuisine.
For a quintessentially scenic lunch, ascend Victoria Peak by tram for dim sum at Tien Yi in the renovated Peak Tower shopping complex. With its lofty panoramas of Hong Kong and the surrounding islands, this restaurant is a must, especially for those accustomed to eating their barbecued pork buns and shrimp dumplings in gaudy Chinatown banquet rooms. Ask to sit next to a window overlooking Victoria Harbour, and you’ll understand why the restaurant’s name means “the pinnacle of the world.” Read more
If there’s one thing Hong Kong does supremely well, it’s shopping – from high-end malls to vibrant open-air markets, there’s always something for sale (sans the sales tax!). While strolling in the boutique- and gallery-filled Soho neighborhood, just off trendy Hollywood Road, I happened upon Vintage HK, a very chic second-hand art, clothing, and knick-knack store run by a sharp-eyed hipster named Nadia. Equal parts kitsch and cool (mostly a combination of both), Vintage HK stocks everything from giant plastic Chinese characters (like the Cantonese word for “happiness” pictured in this store window) to funky shoes and accessories to adorable gold shaving kits decorated with animated tigers, horses, or pandas (see photo after the jump). Read more
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