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Travellers' checks

Adam Nebbs

 

Swinging Scotland Said to be the first hotel built specifically for golfers, the Station Hotel opened next to Scotland's Turnberry golf course in 1906. It was a popular venture and golfers travelled from far and wide to take up residence for a few days while they enjoyed the picturesque west coast links. In 1924, there was even a Hong Kong Week held - jointly organised by the Royal Hong Kong Golf Club and Jardine Matheson - where members spent part of their summer home leave at the hotel. Now called the Turnberry Resort (above), and a member of Starwood Hotels & Resorts' Luxury Collection, the property will next month open the Turnberry Performance Academy, which offers specialised training in all areas of golf, for players of all ages and abilities. The resort has a wide range of holiday packages suitable for families, and special offers can be found at www.turnberryresort.co.uk. Travelling to Turnberry from Hong Kong is, of course, rather more straightforward than it was in 1924, but you'll still need to get to Glasgow Airport, which can be most easily reached via Dubai, with Emirates. From there, it's less than a two-hour drive to the resort.

Jungle booking Once (like Kashgar) the preserve of grungy backpackers doing the Lonely Planet China circuit - and placing just as highly on their tiresome "when-I-was-in" scoreboards - Xishuangbanna, in southern Yunnan province, is now a fairly mainstrean destination, especially for domestic tourists. Tucked away down near the border with Myanmar and Laos, this tropical prefecture has just seen the opening of the Anantara Xishuangbanna Resort & Spa (above), which describes itself as "the first and only five star hotel and pool villa destination experience in China's utopia". With 80 deluxe rooms and 23 pool villas, the resort promises all sorts of interaction with local indigenous tribes, from tea-picking with the Jinuo to a singsong and sit-down meal with the Hani. The closest airport, an hour's drive away, is Xishuangbanna Gasa International, also known as Jinghong International, and the easiest way to get there from Hong Kong is with China Eastern from Guangzhou, although the carrier also flies in from Kunming, Chengdu and Beijing, and Lao Airlines hops over from Luang Prabang. For opening rates and resort details, go to xishuangbanna.anantara.com.

Central casting Only about 10 per cent of tourists visiting Vietnam went to Da Nang last year, so it's perhaps no surprise that Dragonair's upcoming scheduled service to the city has stirred the nearby luxury resorts into co-operative action. The newly branded Central Coast Vietnam's website (www.centralcoastvietnam.com) is basically a sales platform for the region's upmarket resorts, including The Nam Hai (above), Hyatt Regency Danang, Fusion Maia Danang, Furama Resort Danang, The Ocean Villas, Angsana Lang Co and La Residence Hue. It is, however, more informative and better presented than the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism's rather scrappy 1990s-style website (www.vietnamtourism.com) and if you're wondering where to stay in the region, the properties on offer are the best available from Hoi An up to Hue. Dragonair will begin regular thrice-weekly services between Hong Kong and Da Nang on March 28.

Deal of the week If Uluru, or Ayers Rock (above), is on your to-see list, you may be interested to know TLX Travel is selling a package that includes two nights there and one night in Sydney, starting from HK$9,699 per person, twin share, if you can leave in the next three weeks. Round-trip, economy-class flights to Sydney are with Singapore Airlines (via Singapore, with an option to take a one-night break there in either direction with accommodation from only HK$260), and flights to and from Uluru are with Virgin Australia. Hotels offered in Sydney are mostly of the unremarkable, mid-range variety (Travelodge, Holiday Inn, etc), but at Uluru you can choose from the three-star Kings Canyon Resort (for the above price) and a posh tent at the five-star Longitude 131° luxury camp, where prices start from HK$22,699 per person. For full details and reservations, call 2270 7600 or visit www.tlxtravel.com/Oceanica-Packages.asp.

 

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