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Travellers' checks

Adam Nebbs

 

Name of the game The new "Exotic destinations" tab on the Air France website links to an impressive display of offbeat city names, many of which look more like trivia quiz answers than realistic holiday propositions. Among them are Conakry, Ouagadougou, Bamako and Lomé in Africa - all on offer from HK$9,490 for a round trip. In South and Central America and the Caribbean, choices include more familiar names, though still of exotic appeal, including Havana, Panama City, Bogota and Rio de Janeiro, which are going from HK$11,100 return. Classier destinations, such as Punta Cana, in the Dominican Republic, and St Martin and Fort-de-France in Martinique will set you back from HK$14,350. You should add about HK$5,000 to these prices for fuel surcharges and tax, and stopovers of varying length in Paris will, of course, be required. For more details, visit www.airfrance.com.hk

 

A convenient roof The Wallawwa (right; www.thewallawwa.com), a boutique resort and former Dutch colonial manor house close to Colombo international airport, reopens this month after a summer of renovation. New accommodations include four Garden Suites and the 150-square-metre Mountbatten Suite, which have been added to the existing dozen rooms and suites, all set in a pleasant garden of about 1.2 hectares. The Wallawwa is just a 15-minute drive from the airport and a much better introduction or farewell to Sri Lanka than its dismal selection of airport hotels.

 

Homecoming queens Cunard has just released its World Voyages brochure for 2014, with the line's three queens - Queen Mary 2, Queen Victoria, and Queen Elizabeth - scheduled to visit 85 ports in 40 countries. Passengers can spend from eight to 133 days at sea, and both the Queen Mary 2 and Queen Elizabeth will be putting in at Hong Kong - in late March and early April, respectively - on their way back to Southampton, Britain. Onboard credits of up to US$3,000 are being offered for bookings made before February 28 next year. To download all three World Voyage itineraries, go to www.cunard.com/2014wv

 

Earn your wings As part of All Nippon Airways' 60th anniversary celebration, the airline is inviting young people to design a colour scheme for one of its aircraft. The competition will be judged in three age categories - 12 and under, 13 to 18, and 19 and over - and the winner will receive two tickets to the aircraft unveiling in Tokyo, and a model of the decorated plane, a Boeing 767 (right), in the winning colours. Entry forms and a blank fuselage diagram can be downloaded at ana60thcontest.jp

 

Deal of the week Westminster Travel is selling a business-class package to Sapporo, Japan, priced from HK$10,350 this month and HK$10,060 in October and November for three nights at the Grand Hotel (www.grand1934.com). Aside from having a beer hall called Big Jug, the hotel is most notable for being the city's oldest, dating back to the 1930s. A more modern option is the Sheraton (www.sheraton.com/sapporo) which is just out of town but close to the Shin-Sapporo train station, and where prices start from HK$10,830. Another option is the Grand Park (www.parkhotelgroup.com/otaru) which is located about 45 minutes from Sapporo in Otaru (above), a picturesque and popular tourist town famous for its Russian architecture and music box and decorative glass shops. You can stay here from HK$11,820 until the end of next month, and from HK$11,030 in November. These prices include business-class flights with Cathay Pacific, daily breakfast and travel insurance. For more details, visit www.westminstertravel.com or call 2313 9800, and quote reference number 27662.

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