May 17, 2012|
When I went to Kota Kinabalu two years ago—ostensibly to climb Mt. Kinabalu and acquire a sweet sunburn snorkeling—I wish I’d known about the Gayana Eco Resort. A 10-minute ferry ride from KK itself, the all-villa hotel has a mission: to protect the local ecology in the marine national park in which it’s located. The resort’s on-site Marine Ecology Research Centre (known as MERC) has, among other projects, spawned and hand-reared endangered giant clams as well as salvaged damaged coral, nurtured it back to life and placed it back in the wild. MERC also breeds fish to use at restaurants at Gayana and at nearby sister property Bunga Raya Island Resort and Spa, which reduces over-fishing in the area and prevents the depletion of local fish populations. Anyone (not just resort guests) can spend the day at MERC helping transfer coral fragments back into the sea and doing other ecologically helpful tasks (warning: a scuba certification may be required).
Gayana Eco Resort villas start at $3,075 per night. Find out more about MERC's efforts at www.merc-gayana.com and book via www.gayana-eco-resort.com.
The original Hotel G in Beijing’s Chaoyang District has been a success, at least in my humble opinion. It’s got a retro feel, artfully decorated rooms and adjustable neon lights in every window (Mom loved this when we stayed there, changing them up every night). Now the “G” force is spreading (tee hee) with two new properties in Thailand. Located near the Si Lom BTS stop, the Pullman Hotel G in Bangkok boasts 469 sleek, white guest rooms as well as Scarlett, a rooftop bar and restaurant overflowing with foliage. In Pattaya, the Pullman Hotel G has over 300 rooms, three pools and a private beach club. Pattaya may be just 1.5 hours away from Bangkok by car, making it a more accessible, cheaper beach getaway than many other idylls, but it’s a little seedy. Here’s hoping Hotel G can turn the tide of blatant sex tourism and make it a worthy destination.
Nightly rates start at $575 in Bangkok and $550 in Pattaya. Right now, there’s a “stay three nights and pay for two” promotion. To book, visit www.pullmanbangkokhotelg.com and www.pullmanpattayahotelg.com.
With all the centenary hoopla, it was bound to happen: some very rich dude is bankrolling the construction of a new Titanic. Specifically, Australian mining mogul Clive Palmer has teamed up with a Chinese state-owned shipbuilding company to construct Titanic II, along with a whole new fleet of luxury ocean liners. Titanic II (no really, that's what it's called) is slated to sail from England to America in its maiden voyage in late 2016. Like the original, the new ship will have 840 rooms and nine decks; unlike its ill-fated predecessor, it will have on-board gyms and swimming pools. Of course, the press release hastens to reassure readers that the safety technology will be 100-percent up-to-date, but come on. Cue the jokes: who’s ready for a Costa Concordia redux? Come on, Leo’s waaaay too old to play Jack in the sequel. This time around, let's hope that the night watchmen pay better attention from the lookout tower, rather than fooling around with their iPhones.