Brand new Le Touessrok (above), the oldest luxury resort on the Indian Ocean island of Mauritius, has gone through several owners since it first opened in the early 1970s. It flourished as a playground for international jet-setters after being acquired in 1983 by South African businessman Sol Kerzner (of Sun City fame), who had opened the nearby Le Saint Géran resort a few years earlier. Kerzner later attached both properties to his new One&Only brand in late 2002, before vacating Le Touessrok in 2007. The resort’s excellent reputation then went into apparent decline, before it was acquired, and closed down for renovation, by Shangri-La Hotels & Resorts last April. Due to reopen on November 1, the brand-new Shangri-La’s Le Touessrok Resort & Spa is now taking reservations, with special opening room rates starting from €265 (HK$2,290) per night from November 1 to December 19. From January 6, rates will start from €425. For further details, visit www.shangri-la.com/mauritius.
Travel cycles Both the first man and the first woman to cycle around the world made brief stopovers in Hong Kong. Englishman Thomas Stevens used a penny-farthing bicycle (and a few steamships) to get from San Francisco and back, via Europe, the Middle East, India, China and Japan, from April 1884 to December 1886. A decade later, American housewife Annie Kopchovsky (right) set off on a similar journey, then described in the media as “the most extraordinary journey ever undertaken by a woman”. Before she set off, Kopchovsky changed her name to Annie Londonderry (having been sponsored by the Londonderry Lithia Spring Water Company) and, like Stevens, travelled a fair distance by ocean steamer, getting from France to Japan (via Hong Kong) in just six weeks. Despite some apparent economy with the facts, it was an incredible achievement, yet by the time she died, in 1947, long-distance cycling was so commonplace that her obituary omitted any mention of it. Published next month, The Self-Propelled Voyager: How the Cycle Revolutionized Travel, by Duncan R. Jamieson, tells the stories of both these adventurers, and many others like them. It begins with the pioneers of cycling and looks at how the activity gradually became a popular mode of long-distance travel through the 20th century. Stevens’ self-penned Around the World on a Bicycle is still in print, and can be found in free digital editions online. Kopchovsky’s forgotten story was finally told in full in 2007, by her great-grandnephew Peter Zheutlin, in Around the World on Two Wheels: Annie Londonderry’s Extraordinary Ride.
Capital ideas The Rosewood Beijing is selling two packages to stimulate the senses in two very different ways throughout September. One is called Stay and Play with Mei, and includes a bottle of champagne or spirits to knock back in its new Mei nightclub lounge and bar, a “day after” breakfast served until 5pm, unlimited “hangover-cure” wheatgrass shots or Alka- Seltzer drinks, and a 90-minute Healing Abhyanga massage for two. With one night’s accommodation in a Premier Room, the package is priced from 2,900 yuan (HK$3,500). A more relaxed offering is the Trés Sense Pampering package, which includes one night in a Sense Spa Suite (below), a couple of massage treatments, unlimited detox wheatgrass shots and smoothies, an in-room candlelit dinner for two, Manor Club access and dedicated room butler service. Prices start from 4,500 yuan. For full details and reservations, go to www.rosewoodhotels.com/beijing and click Offers.
Deal of the week The Eastin Grand Hotel Saigon (below) has been getting very positive reviews since it was rebranded from the Movenpick Hotel last April, and is offered with Farrington American Express Travel’s two-night Ho Chi Minh City package from just HK$2,090, until the end of October. Closer to the centre of town, the new Le Meridien Saigon is priced from HK$2,590 and The Reverie, which also opened earlier this year, is available from HK$3,990. These numbers all include flights with Cathay Pacific and daily breakfast. For more hotels and reservations, go to www.amextravel.com.hk or call 3121 3121.