Aug 02, 2012|
The luxe Fairmont Hotels & Resorts brand is opening up its first property in India this week. The 255-room hotel is in Jaipur, a stunning must-visit destination in Rajasthan that is one of the stops on the famed Golden Triangle (along with the Taj Mahal in Agra and New Delhi). It’s dubbed the Pink City because its terracotta architecture was colored pink back in colonial days to welcome British royalty. Built in the style of a Mughal dynasty-era palace but with all the modern amenities, the five-star hotel’s rooms have intricately patterned screens and floors with complex geometrical designs. (By the by, I’m pretty sure that the large, elaborately decorated bathroom in one of these rooms is bigger than the modest guesthouse I stayed in when I was there!) There are lovely palaces as well as a hilltop fort, and I remember getting a huge kick out of the 18th century observatory (because I’m a huge nerd who likes astrolabes and sundials). There are also awesome textiles, like clothing and bedding, on offer for the shopaholics among us. The Fairmont Jaipur’s opening package is heavily discounted from its regular rates—from now till October 31, stay two nights at around $1,400 per night and get a third free. Rooms after October 31 will cost you over $2,500 a night.
To book the opening package, visit www.fairmont.com/Jaipur or call (+1) 888-289-1012.
I’ve never thought to myself, “Hey, I’d like to take a holiday in Kazakhstan!” Maybe I should—after all, more and more people are. Even if Borat didn’t pique your interest at the time, the Sacha Baron Cohen mockumentary is to this day attracting visitors to the Central Asian nation. In fact, in April the Kazakh foreign minister told BBC that 10 times more people were applying for visas to go there than before the film came out in 2006. And on July 26, a new policy took effect allowing HKSAR passport holders to visit the country for up to 14 days visa-free. With new twice-weekly direct flights between Hong Kong and Kazakhstan’s largest city, Almaty, starting on August 28, you too can be a part of the throngs. Experience a city surrounded by snow-capped mountains that’s home to some unique architecture (think St. Petersburg-esque cathedral-like domes and spires). Expect Soviet realism-inspired public art, dozens of public fountains and a diverse population that also encompasses Russian and Uighur cultures. The best part? Despite the uptick in arrivals, it’s still relatively untouristed.
Round-trip flights between Hong Kong and Almaty start at $4,950 from www.airastana.com.
Having only learned how to drive at age 20—which is late for most Americans, who get behind the wheel the minute they turn 16—I’ve never fully understood the allure of watching really, really fast cars whiz around. (Give me the videogame simulators at Namco Wonder Park in Causeway Bay any day!) But if I were ever going to shell out money to get whiplash, I’d head to Singapore for the F1 race at the end of September. Not only is it the only F1 night race in the world, it’s also the only street circuit in Asia, meaning the entire course winds through regular city streets. If you’re not much for autos, it’s also a three-day nonstop party with performances by Katy Perry, Maroon 5
and many more. If you want to go, Swire Travel is offering up some deals. You can depart any time between September 19 and 22 (the race runs from the 21st to the 23rd), fly Cathay Pacific or Singapore Airlines, stay in a number of different hotels and get tickets for all race days. These three-day/two-night or four-day/three-night specials start at $4,990 per person and range all the way up to a hair-raising $30,590. The pricey option includes services like an air-conditioned suite for race-viewing, free-flow champagne and special catering. Swire Travel is also selling standalone race tickets from $1,270 each.
Book Singapore F1 packages from www.swiretravel.com or call 3151-8837.
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