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Adam Nebbs

 

 

Canadian club A trio of classic Canadian hotels - all built and once owned by the Canadian Pacific Railway - are celebrating landmark anniversaries this year. The oldest, ostensibly, is the Fairmont Banff Springs in Alberta, which, according to Fairmont Hotels & Resorts - who took over the property in 1999 - opened in 1888. In fact, the hotel built that year was destroyed by fire in 1926 and little or nothing remains to justify a 125th birthday bash; but various packages and events are afoot throughout the year. Claiming to be the most photographed hotel in the world, meanwhile, Quebec City's Fairmont Le Château Frontenac (above) is on firmer ground with its 120th anniversary. This grand property is selling a package priced to reflect the hotel's 1893 opening date: C$189.30 (HK$1,445) per night, including breakfast and "a vintage reprint poster of the famed Château Frontenac". Finally, the Fairmont Empress in Victoria, British Columbia, completes the triumvirate as it celebrates its 105th birthday; special offers are yet to be finalised. Details for all three hotels can be found at www.fairmont.com.

 

Floating ideas The shortage of hotel rooms currently afflicting Myanmar's tourism industry appears to be mirrored by short supply in the river-cruise business, with Orient-Express set to launch another boat in July to meet demand. Joining her larger, 43-cabin sister ship Road to Mandalay on the rivers Ayeyarwady and Chindwin, the Orcaella will feature 17 suites and eight cabins, with floor-to-ceiling sliding glass doors and en-suite bathrooms. She will ply seven- and 11-night itineraries between Yangon and Bhamo year-round, except in May and June. Prices on the Orcaella start from US$5,040 per person for a seven-night cruise, with all onboard meals, excursions, transfers and domestic flights included. For further details, go to www.orient-express.com.

 

 

City cycles Starting from next week, every other Friday the general manager of Pentahotel Shanghai will take small groups of guests on free bicycle tours around the scenic concession area of Changning (above), with a coffee break at a cafe in the French Concession. Bookings must be made 24 hours in advance. Guests here and at the Pentahotel Beijing can otherwise use the hotels' "pentafun bikes" free of charge. For further information and bookings, visit www.pentahotels.com.

 

 

Race reservations Although the event doesn't take place until September, anyone thinking about attending the Formula One Singapore Grand Prix (above) should book well ahead for the best prices, rooms and vantage points. Swire Travel has several packages on its website already, with flights on Cathay Pacific and Singapore Airlines. Prices range from just over HK$5,000 for two nights in a modest hotel and a three-day race ticket, to a little more than HK$11,000. A full list of Grand Prix package options can be found in the Vacation Package section at www.swiretravel.com.

 

 

Deal of the week TLX Travel's three-day Halong Bay cruise package includes one night's accommodation at the Sofitel Plaza Hanoi and one night aboard a Bhaya Classic cruise vessel, which will take you around the bay area. The price from now until September is HK$4,380 per person, for two people sharing a deluxe cabin, or HK$5,070 for a Royal Suite. These prices also include round-trip flights to Hanoi with Dragonair, breakfast at the hotel and lunch, dinner and brunch on board the boat. A more expensive package provides two nights aboard a different vessel, the Au Co (above), from HK$7,130. Both the Au Co and Bhaya Classic can be viewed at www.bhayacruises.com if you scroll down to "Our Vessels". For package reservations, visit www.tlxtravel.com select Indochina in the Package section and scroll down until you find Halong Bay. Alternatively, call TLX direct on 2270 7600.

 

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