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Travellers' checks

Adam Nebbs

 

Sporting chance Sports fans willing to endure the long haul over to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, for the 2014 World Cup or 2016 Olympics will need a good hotel in which to recover on arrival, and there's none better than the Copacabana Palace (left). The property, which opened in 1923, was designed by French architect Joseph Gire, who was supposedly inspired by a couple of the Cote d'Azur's finest hotels - namely the Carlton in Cannes and the Negresco in Nice. The place almost went lobby-up in the 1960s when Brasilia became the new Brazilian capital and consular expense accounts headed inland, and it was almost demolished in the 80s, before being taken over and renovated by Orient-Express Hotels. It's currently undergoing another, six-month renovation, and will reopen this November. Rooms are available for summer 2014, but you'll need to get your reservations in early at www.copacabanapalace.com in order to secure a good room for the World Cup. Emirates flies from Hong Kong to Rio via Dubai.

 

Capital promotion The Siam Kempinski Hotel Bangkok (left) has been getting very good reviews since it opened two years ago, and its second anniversary promotion looks like a good excuse to give the place a try. The deal is that for every two nights you stay in September, you'll get a third free. Room rates start from 7,900 baht (HK$1,900) a night, but the tax and service charge will top that up to 9,243 baht. For reservations, go to www.kempinski.com/en/bangkok

 

Into Africa If a Kenyan safari is on your to-do list, there's a fairly affordable one on offer at local agent Nanda Travel. Priced at just over HK$26,000 per person (add HK$2,750 for solo travellers) including fuel surcharges, twin share, this five-night package includes economy-class flights with Kenya Airways, with several game drives at Amboseli National Park, near Mount Kilimanjaro, Lake Nakuru National Park (left) and the Masai Mara National Reserve. Accommodation with meals is at the Kilima Safari Camp (two nights), Lake Nakuru Lodge (one night) and Fig Tree Camp (two nights). To receive a full itinerary by e-mail, call Nanda Travel on 2522 3137, or visit its website at www.nandatravel.com

 

Constructive idea Asia's first Legoland (left) will open in Malaysia next month, just across the causeway from Singapore near Johor Bahru. An attached Legoland Hotel won't be opening until 2014, but the colourful theme park's 40 rides and attractions, such as roller coasters, racing cars and "family focused interactive shows", should make the place worth a day-trip detour for families staying in Singapore. Tickets can be purchased in advance online at www.legoland.com.my

 

Deal of the week Cathay Pacific Holidays' Osaka promotion starts at a cheap HK$3,080 per person (twin share) for economy-class flights and two nights in the BlueWave Inn Yotsubashi. This isn't the best hotel in town, of course, but it does get positive reviews on Tripadvisor (nothing lower than "Average" and mostly "Very Good") and has a good downtown location close to the Shinsaibashi shopping and entertainment district. Extra nights cost just HK$330 per person, which means that two people could stay for five nights for a total of HK$9,876 including fuel surcharges and taxes. Five nights might seem like a long time to spend in Osaka, but with Kyoto and Nara just up the road, you could cover a lot of ground with a JR West Rail Pass Kansai Area, which costs less than HK$600 for four days of unlimited train travel. The passes can be purchased at the airport and even used on the airport train into town. This package will be available until the end of November, by which time Kyoto's famous autumn colours will be at their best. For further details, other hotel choices and reservations, visit www.cxholidays.com and for rail pass information, go to www.jr-odekake.net/en/jwrp

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