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Travellers' checks

Adam Nebbs

 

Budget time travel Most of Macau's quaint old budget hotels, such as the early-20th-century Hotel Cantao (right) - where until about a decade ago you could get a high-ceilinged double room with terrace (and rising damp that didn't quite reach the ceiling) for HK$35 - seem to have vanished in recent years. But behind the proliferation of glitzy five-star properties, the city still has a sort of shadowland of cheap lodgings, many of which are listed on a new website set up by the Macau Hoteliers and Inkeepers Association. Priced from just HK$90 per night, many of them look like they'd be better suited to by-the-hour occupation, but one historic property stands out. Listed on the site as Hospidaria San Va, but better known as the SanVa Hotel, it's more time capsule than hotel, and for travellers willing to forgo modern conveniences (such as air conditioning and an en-suite bathroom), the rooms are a real bargain. Prices at the new website (www.macau-budgethotels.org/index.do) are quoted at HK$90 per room per night, or you can go direct to www.sanvahotel.com, where rooms start from HK$140. This is also a good place to stay for Wong Kar-wai fans, not just for the 1960s decor, but because scenes from his movie 2046 were filmed here, and the Rua da Felicidade location couldn't be more central, or further removed from the tackiness of modern Macau.

 

Singapore swings The annual New Year's Eve Siloso Beach Party offers about as much fun as young people can have in Singapore without breaking the law. Running from 6pm on December 31 to 6am the next morning, the event's organisers promise "12 hours of non-stop action at five distinct party zones, our giant foam pool and sandy dance floor!" (If that last item conjures images of the soft-shoe shuffle in the minds of older readers, think again.) TLX Travel is selling a package that includes three nights' accommodation, flights with Singapore Airlines and entry to the beach party from HK$3,999. About a dozen city hotels are available for up to HK$5,399 or you can stay closer to the action on Sentosa (and save the embarrassment of getting from the city to the beach in your swimwear) from HK$5,799 to HK$6,799. For details, go to www.tlxtravel.com, and for party info, visit www.silosobeachparty.com. Older family members can excuse themselves and celebrate the occasion in rather more restrained surroundings, either at Raffles' New Year's Eve Gala Ball, from S$680 (HK$4,320), or at dinner at the old-fashioned Gordon Grill in the Goodwood Park Hotel (top) for S$178.

 

Cushioning the blow One thing that sets long-haul economy-class aircraft cabins apart from emergency refugee evacuation centres is the proliferation of neck cushions. Padded or inflatable, these rather undignified sleep aids have become an increasingly common part of the air travel experience. Now a British company has come up with a design that overcomes the standard model's main shortcoming - that it doesn't support the chin. The J-Pillow (above left and below right; www.jpillow.com) is designed to keep the head upright and provide extra support on the side, and, judging from the presumably genuine customer plaudits on its website, seems to be a major step forward in inflight comfort.

 

Deal of the week Swire Travel is selling a selection of cheap two-night Korean ski holidays, which will be available until the end of February. These include the Yong Pyong Resort (below; from HK$2,490 per person, twin share), Phoenix Park (from HK$2,690), the Alpensia Resort (from HK$2,890), and the High One Resort (from HK$2,990). Various surcharges apply around Christmas and Lunar New Year, and fuel surcharges are not included, but for a quick ski break these are still some of the cheapest prices available, and extra nights can be booked for longer stays. All of the above resorts can be viewed on Tripadvisor. Flights are with Cathay Pacific. For further details and reservations, go to www.swiretravel.com.

 

 

 

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