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PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 04 January, 2005, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 04 January, 2005, 12:00am

To boldly go


Virgin Holidays, perhaps following in the footsteps of its ballooning owner Sir Richard Branson, says it's bringing adventure travel to the main-stream. It plans to sandwich 'mini adventures' and 'experiences' between the two halves of a city or beach break. Its Taste of Adventure programme offers destinations such as the US and Canada, the Caribbean and Latin America, east Asia and the Indian Ocean, and Africa and Mauritius.


More than 500 tailor-made holidays are featured, plus suggested itineraries. Prices start at #779 (HK$11,975) for adults for 10 nights in Florida. The holiday is based in Miami, but switches to the Everglades for a three-night adventure. Car hire and scheduled Virgin flights are included.


Virgin says the new programme is based on customer research showing that, although most holidaymakers like to try something different, they're unwilling to commit to a full-blown adventure. It showed a growing demand for 'soft' adventure holidays, particularly among families with teenagers and travellers over 50.


Neatly packaged


The Inter-Continental Grand Stanford hotel is offering three new winter deals, with deluxe harbour-view rooms.


The Mimimalist (single or dual) costs $1,450 a night, room only. The Winter Singles package (single) includes an American buffet breakfast for $1,550. The Winter Doubles deal (double) includes breakfast for two and costs $1,650. For an extra $400 a night, guests can upgrade to a Club Floor room.


All packages include a welcome fruit platter and morning news-paper, use of the fitness centre and outdoor heated pool (below) and shuttle. They'll be available until March 31, but blackout dates apply this month and in March. Inquiries: 2731 2882 or e-mail reservations@grandstanford.com.


Send news items to stephen.mccarty@scmp.com.