travellers' checks

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 18 May, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 18 May, 2008, 12:00am

Mandarin and Cantonese

Gourmets travelling from Hong Kong to Japan can indulge in a spot of home-grown food at the Mandarin Oriental Tokyo, which is hosting chefs from sister hotels in Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur and Hong Kong. Working with chef de cuisine Kenichi Takase, they have been creating world-class Cantonese fare for diners at Sense Restaurant (below). As part of the guest-chef series, dubbed Cantonese Delight, Bong Jun Choi of Lai Po Heen Restaurant, in the Mandarin Oriental Kuala Lumpur, will be making dim sum specialities from June 16 to June 21. A Cantonese Delight lunch costs 7,000 yen (HK$518); dinner 17,000 yen. To find out more, visit

Novel idea

How about combining your next holiday with a bit of literature? Next month, Captain Cook Cruises' Murray Princess (below), which plys South Australia's Murray River, will feature a special guest: Samuel Pickering, who has written 21 books and is the man who inspired the character of Mr Keating in Dead Poets Society, played by Robin Williams. Pickering, who will be in Australia researching his next book, will give a number of talks during the seven- and three-night cruises departing on June 6 and the four-night cruise departing on June 9. The seven-night cruise departs from, and returns to, Mannum. Prices start from AU$775 (HK$5,682) per person on a twin-share basis. Visit for more details.

Art beat

Locating and appreciating Chicago's art will become easier with the introduction of a range of tours that focus on sculptures, murals, statues and monuments in various parts of the Windy City. Launching in the summer, the tours are aimed at highlighting the US city's art scene as well as its many older monuments. A wide spectrum of styles, time periods and subjects will be covered. Routes will take in the southern, western and northern areas of the city, and include works in public spaces, while a fourth will celebrate the Terra Foundation for American Art, examining the city's legacy of pre-1980s art. Tours, which will take place on Wednesdays, will cost US$20. Go to to find out more.

Better by design

What happens when you bring together seven acclaimed designers and one luxury hotel brand? The answer is Dellis Cay, in Turks and Caicos, British West Indies, a 226-hectare island retreat slated to open at the end of next year. Now is the time to book an island escape, choosing one of seven lifestyle areas, each designed by a different architect. The creative geniuses behind this tropical paradise include London's Zaha Hadid and David Chipperfield, Milan's Piero Lissoni (artist's impression above) and Chad Oppenheim, from the US. The complex will include 54 two- and three-bedroom beach-house residences, eight five-bedroom, 3,850 sq ft beach villas and nine six-bedroom ocean villas. Visit for further details.

On the wall

The Shangri-La Beijing is offering wine lovers the chance to attend a dinner on the Great Wall with American critic Robert Parker this coming Saturday. Part of the Wine Lover's package - which also includes limousine transport to the Great Wall, a 21/2-hour treatment in the hotel's CHI spa and two nights (May 23 and May 24) in a Valley Wing premier room or a Diplomat suite - the seven-course meal will be paired with eight wines. Rates start at 37,988 yuan (HK$42,437) for a couple in a Diplomat suite and are subject to 15 per cent service charge and availability. The price of the dinner is 15,888 yuan per person. For more details, log on to

Deal of the week

FCm Travel's new executive leisure division is offering a three-night Sofitel Thailand package to Chiang Mai and Bangkok, starting from HK$4,388 per person until June 30. The package includes return economy flights with Thai Airways, two nights' accommodation at the beautiful Sofitel Riverside Chiang Mai Hotel in a deluxe room and one night at the Sofitel Silom Bangkok, also in a deluxe room. Breakfast is included. If a three-night break seems too short, you can add a night in Bangkok for HK$1,095 per room, and you will receive an upgrade to the Club Sofitel room. For further details, contact Matthew Brien on 2830 2875.