Law of the jungle
The palatial Empire Hotel & Country Club in Brunei has just finished sprucing up its 196 deluxe rooms and suites with Italian sofas, Thai bedspreads, English carpets and American wallpaper, among other international contributions to 'lavish designer features ensuring absolute comfort'. Less comfortable but perhaps more fulfilling is the rainforest canopy walk (below), a part of the resort's Rainforest Package, which includes one night's accommodation with breakfast and a full-day tour of Ulu Temburong National Park for two people, with speedy longboats, proboscis monkeys and all that. Prices start from 380 Brunei dollars (HK$2,300) for a superior room, or 430 Brunei dollars for one of the newly renovated deluxe rooms. Visit www.theempirehotel.com/rain-forest-package for more details and reservations. Note that while jungle trekking is thirsty work, alcohol sales are forbidden in Brunei. You can, however, pick up a fairly generous duty-free allowance of beers, wines and spirits on arrival.
Whether or not air travel really was more luxurious and romantic in the first decades of commercial flight, early advertising posters certainly give the impression that it was. In fact, airline advertising of, say, 75 years ago, was probably about as far from reality as it is today, albeit much more pleasing to the eye. The evolution of airline promotion in Britain is the subject of a handsome new coffee-table book, compiled by British Airways, showing how the carrier's predecessors enticed potential passengers to take to the skies and discover the world, or at least the empire. Nearly 200 images of Imperial Airways, BEA (British European Airways), BOAC (British Overseas Airways Corp) and British Airways planes - and many of their destinations - are featured in British Aviation Posters: Art, Design and Flight, by Scott Anthony and Oliver Green. By the time the book reaches the 1970s, and images of Concorde, it's clear the industry was already falling victim to the blandness of modern marketing. Much of the content can be freely browsed online, by decade, in the British Airways online poster gallery at www.britishairways.com/travel/heritage-posters/public/en_hk, while the book itself is available from Amazon.co.uk for about HK$400.
Welcome to my world
Recent Mark Six winners might like to take a few months off with Silversea Cruises on its 2013 round-the-world voyage. Fares for the 115-day trip aboard the Silver Whisper (below centre) start from US$48,114 per person, and go up to more than US$150,000 for a top-of-the-line suite. The itinerary begins in Los Angeles and ends in Florida, sailing by way of Tahiti, New Zealand, Australia, Bali, Manila, Hong Kong, Singapore, India, several African ports and the Caribbean. Travellers of more slender means can join the ship in Hong Kong on February 25 and sail leisurely down to Singapore in 11 days from about HK$46,500. Fares are inclusive of suite accommodation of varying levels of luxury, with personal butler service, all fine dining with wine, champagne and soft drinks, 24-hour room service and all gratuities. For a look at the itinerary and onboard facilities and entertainment, visit www.silversea.com/world-cruise-2013.
Deal of the week
Summer is the cheapest time to visit the United Arab Emirates, with soaring temperatures making its many indoor attractions, and indeed its hotel rooms, all the more appealing. For those who can stand the heat, Swire Travel is offering three nights in Dubai with economy-class flights on Cathay Pacific from HK$6,690 per person (twin share) until the end of next month. The hotel at this price is the five-star Jumeirah Emirates Towers (below right; www.jumeirah.com). You can take either of Cathay's daily flights, but the one to go for is CX731, which leaves Hong Kong at 4.30pm and gets into Dubai at 8.50pm. Otherwise you'll be arriving in Dubai at 5.50am on CX745. (Daily overnight return flights leave Dubai at 6.10pm and 11.30pm.) Also offered with this package as extras are a couple of excursions, including a trip to the top of the Burj Khalifa for HK$790 per person and a day at the Ski Dubai Snow Park for HK$770. For further details and reservations call 3151 8888, or go to www.swiretravel.com, where you'll find this and another cheaper package starting from HK$5,890 for accommodation at the smaller but still acceptable Moevenpick Hotel Deira.