Travellers' checks

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 18 September, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 18 September, 2011, 12:00am


Ship shape

Singapore's Maritime Xperiential Museum and Aquarium (above) opens on October 15 at Resorts World Sentosa. Housed in a massive steel-and-glass recreation of a ship's hull, the facility features a full-size replica of the bow of one of 15th-century Chinese Admiral Zheng He's huge treasure ships and other historic vessels. Another attraction is the 360-degree multimedia Typhoon Theatre, which takes its audience on a terrifying junk trip out to sea and into the eye of a massive storm. For further details, visit

A new beginning

The St Regis Sanya Yalong Bay Resort isn't due to open until November 11, but bookings are already being taken for a selection of grand opening deals that will be available through to March. The Hainan Island property's 'debut offer' costs a fairly pricey 4,388 yuan (HK$5,350) per night plus 15 per cent tax (with a two-night minimum) but includes a third night's free stay, round-trip airport limousine transfers, daily breakfast and lunch or dinner at your choice of restaurant, as well as a daily 60-minute massage if you book a fourth night or more. Similar suite and villa deals are also available for an auspicious-sounding 11,111 yuan per night. Flights are not included. Go to for further details, or e-mail

Boathouse rocks

Phuket's popular Mom Tri's Boathouse will reopen on October 1 after a complete redesign and renovation. First opened in 1989 and from now on to be known simply as the Boathouse, the new boutique property will offer extended family suites, a two-bedroom beachfront penthouse suite and a rooftop lounge. Special relaunch deals are available online at

Urban legend

One of Africa's oldest and best-known hotels, the Old Cataract in the Egyptian city of Aswan reopened last week, after a major three-year renovation, as the Sofitel Legend Old Cataract Aswan. The hotel was built in a striking location on a granite bluff above the River Nile in 1899 by Thomas Cook & Son, to accommodate the growing number of tourists taking its Nile Cruises, and it was here that Agatha Christie wrote, and partially set, her 1937 novel Death on the Nile. It was also used as a location for the 1978 film adaptation of the book. The newly unveiled property also comprises the former New Cataract Hotel, which was built next door to the original in the 1960s, and Sofitel now offers both as The Palace and The Nile wings. The former is the historical section and contains an Agatha Christie Suite and a Winston Churchill Suite. Visit for more details and special reopening rates. The easiest way to reach Aswan from Hong Kong is to fly Qatar Airways to Luxor then take a three-hour train ride south, or take in the scenery on a Nile boat, the fastest of which takes about 48 hours. Alternatively, you can fly to Cairo on EgyptAir from Guangzhou and take a connecting flight.

Deal of the week

Cathay Pacific Holidays is selling packages a bit farther afield than its usual European offerings, with a three-night stay in Barcelona, Spain, available from HK$6,980. The hotel offered at this price is the Confortel Barcelona, which gets good online reviews for its location, room size, service and cleanliness. Also worth a look is the similarly praised Astoria Hotel, which is available for a package price of HK$7,990. Best of the top-of-the-range properties on offer is the Hotel Arts (top), which is managed by Ritz-Carlton and available for HK$11,280. To reach Barcelona, you'll be flying Cathay Pacific to London and connecting with either British Airways or Spanish national carrier Iberia. Daily breakfast and travel insurance are included in these prices, which are valid for travel until the end of next month. For further details, go to and select the 'new Europe packages' link, which will also take you to similar offers for Budapest, Prague and Vienna.