Something for the WKND Alila Hotels and Resorts, operator of boutique hotels in India, Indonesia and Oman, has made its first overture in China with the Alila Anji, a Chinese-village-style resort with 74 rooms and villas in Anji county, Zhejiang province. About 90 minutes by car from Hangzhou, the resort trades on an ecological theme, and is surrounded by bamboo and tea plantations, not far from where parts of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon were filmed. To mark the opening, four weekend packages, or "WKND Experiences" are being offered, for 2,088 yuan (HK$2,468) and 2,888 yuan per night in a Lakeview Room (above) or Lakeview Villa (below), respectively. They include a Destination Journey, Farmhouse Experience, Kids' Journey and Couple Celebration, and will be available until December 31 for bookings made by the end of August.
Plane English "I was forty-two when the American Airlines aircraft I'd boarded in Chicago was set to explode in midair," writes Arthur Plotnik, in the opening line of the essay "Surviving the Unabomber". It's a compelling piece of prose, and one of the best of many contained in a new book, titled Airplane Reading. Edited by American English professors and scholarly travel writers Christopher Schaberg and Mark Yakich, this "re-examining [of] the strange and ordinary world of air travel" features both previously unpublished writing and essays submitted to their Airplane Reading website. Tony D'Souza's "Flight Benefits" is among the best. It tells of his experiences flying around the world for free as the teenage son of an airline employee, and accidentally discovering the seamier side of Hong Kong when his plans to fly from Japan to India go awry after one too many Asahis at Narita. One piece that didn't make the book but is found on the website is by Scott Saalman, whose great-great uncle, Joe Reed, was a wing walker in the 1920s, doing "loop-the-loops, barrel rolls and [hanging] from planes' axles". Saalman himself is terrified of flying, and his encounter with the fearsome roar of an aircraft toilet flush is comedy gold. Airplane Reading will be published in paperback next month (see amazon.com), but much of its content and plenty more, by both professional and amateur contributors, can be found at airplanereading.org. You can also submit your own writing for consideration.
Spanish discovery Park Hyatt has just opened the brand's first European resort on the Spanish island of Mallorca. Tucked away on the quiet northeast coast, about as far as it's possible to get from the nightmarish fleshpots of Magaluf, the Park Hyatt Mallorca arrives just in time to take advantage of the influx of European tourists reported to be choosing the Balearic Islands over places such as Tunisia, Turkey and Egypt in the wake of recent terror attacks. The 142-room property supposedly resembles a traditional Mallorcan village, with central piazza and clock tower, plus three swimming pools, several restaurants and a spa. If it all starts feeling a bit too much like Discovery Bay, you can slip along the coast to the very pleasant but not (yet) too crowded towns of Alcudia, Pollenca, Port de Pollenca and the striking coastline of Cap de Formentor. For opening offers and a closer look at the resort, visit mallorca.park.hyatt.com. The easiest way to reach Mallorca from Hong Kong is via Frankfurt with Lufthansa, which will get you there in time for lunch after a late-night Chek Lap Kok departure.
Deal of the week The Ibis Phuket Patong is a reasonable entry-level hotel for Farrington Vacations' two-night Phuket Package, which starts from HK$2,750 per person, twin share. The JW Marriott Phuket Resort and Spa is a good choice in the medium price range, from HK$3,490, while its neighbour on Mai Khao Beach, the more upmarket Anantara Phuket Villas (above), is offered from HK$5,450. The package will be available until the end of October but there's a HK$1,550 flight surcharge on departures from July 8 to August 24 and HK$550 from August 25 onwards. Flights with Dragonair, daily breakfast and travel insurance are included. For more details, go to www.farringtonvacations.com.hk.