Strictly for the birds Unimaginative advertising, website and PR company copywriters have ensured that most of the world's hotels and resorts are currently either "nestled" or "perched" somewhere, rather than simply "located" (unless "strategically" so, making them "ideal for both business and leisure travellers alike"). Now, one of London's better hotels has extended this ornithological theme by installing bird houses on the open terraces of its newly renovated rooftop rooms. "Nestled in London's fashionable Knightsbridge district," according to more than one travel website, The Berkeley is close to Hyde Park, from which it is hoping to attract birds to nestle and perch to their hearts' content in custom-made accommodation (right). This being a posh property, the bird houses are themselves touted as luxurious, and are made from sustainable timber with solid natural oak roof tiles, and painted in soft bone (which is a shade of white, not a geriatric condition). Balcony King Rooms, complete with en-suite avian room mates, start from £514.80 (HK$6,408) inclusive of all taxes. Visit www.the-berkeley.co.uk for more information and reservations. Similar bird houses can be viewed and purchased online at the maker's website, www.sparrowandfinch.co.uk
Ship shape Romantic travellers will soon be able to connect with their inner Joseph Conrad aboard the Alila Purnama (left), a 46-metre, three-decked re-creation of the vessels once used by Bugis seafarers from south Sulawesi in Indonesia, and owned and operated by Alila Hotels & Resorts. Four cabins and a master suite can accommodate a total of 10 passengers, whose various whims will be catered to by a crew of 16. There's also a library, lounge, bar, dining area and Wi-fi so you can upload your nautical snaps on a daily basis in air-conditioned comfort. The Alila Purnama makes her inaugural voyage from Raja Ampat in Indonesia's West Papua province on December 15. From April to October, she will be making regular trips to Komodo Island, with a six-night journey from Saturday to Friday. Guests will fly to Labuan Bajo from Bali, then sail via Rinca Island - home to Komodo dragons - to East Sumbawa in the Flores Sea. You can find out more about the vessel and how to get aboard her at www.alilahotels.com/purnama where a downloadable brochure is available.
Christmas spirit The Mandarin Oriental, Munich (right), is offering an authentic Christmas experience in traditional German style, with a Christmas package that includes two nights' accommodation (children aged under 12 can share a room with parents free of charge), daily à la carte breakfast, a glass of mulled wine on the hotel's rooftop terrace, free use of the minibar, a guided tour of Munich's historic Christmas market, a Christmas tree pendant made by Baccarat and a glass of Champagne in the HW Rüsch Baccarat Store, from US$1,549 double occupancy. The Christmas package will be available from November 30 until December 24 and can be booked through www.mandarinoriental.com/munich or by e-mail at email@example.com. Lufthansa operates a daily overnight service from Hong Kong to Munich.
Deal of the week Westminster Travel is selling a business class package to the beer-brewing northern city of Qingdao, Shandong province, that includes round-trip, business-class flights with Dragonair and three nights' accommodation at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Qingdao - Chengyang for HK$4,600 per person, twin share. Other available hotels include the Crowne Plaza (HK$4,850), the Shangri-La (below; HK$5,450), InterContinental (HK$5,050) and Le Meridien (HK$4,930). These prices are quoted for packages booked until the end of this month, after which time they will drop slightly for stays through to February (but with the usual Christmas and Lunar New Year surcharges). Solo travellers can stay at the DoubleTree for a HK$500 package-price supplement, which is closer to HK$1,000 for the other hotels. Daily breakfast and travel insurance are included. For more details, visit www.westminstertravel.com or call 2313 9800, and quote reference No28039.