Wedded bliss The former Thai backpacker haven of Koh Samui has seen an influx of international hotel and resort brands over the past year or so, with the Conrad, which opened on September 1, being the most recent. Le Meridien ( www.lemeridien.com/kohsamui ; above) is next in line, with a launch scheduled for this Friday. With InterContinental and Movenpick properties also due to open this year, Le Meridien is attracting publicity with the offer of a 'Thai Me Down' wedding package that costs a tidy three million baht (HK$758,000). For this, the resort offers three nights' accommodation for up to 154 people in 77 suites and villas, including an ocean front pool villa for the bride and groom; a daily open spa for women; a series of cocktail parties and personalised meals created by the executive chef; a whisky and cigar party for men; and a pre-event fung shui consultation to 'design a beautiful wedding that weaves together the indigenous natural and cultural features of the resort and island, preparing the couple to embark on a happy and balanced life together'. A trip down memory lane The latest member of the Dorchester Collection, a deluxe hotel named 45 Park Lane (after its upmarket location; below), opened in London earlier this month, just a few steps from the original Dorchester hotel. The address was for years known to all self-respecting cab drivers - and many wealthy tourists - as the location of the original Playboy Club. Home, from 1966, to what was once said to be the world's most profitable casino (thanks to the patronage of oil-rich Arabs whose homes and embassies stood nearby), the Playboy Club lost its gaming licence in 1981 after some crafty manoeuvring by local gambling interests. It disappeared from the scene and the building was given over to private flats before being morphed into this 45-room boutique property, which is served by the first European restaurant venture of celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck. Naturally, 45 Park Lane makes no mention of any Playboy pedigree on its website ( www.45parklane.com ) but any hopes of that name being lost in the mists of time were dashed when a new Playboy Club ( www.playboyclublondon.com ) opened just around the corner on Old Park Lane last June. Southern exposure After a couple of years of delay, the Southern Spirit luxury train (above) will begin regular services between Adelaide and Brisbane, via the Great Dividing Range, in November. The five-day journey through four Australian states includes 'whistle-stop tours' of places of interest, such as Grampians National Park, Taronga Western Plains Zoo, the Hunter Valley and Byron Bay. Two classes of full-board accommodation and service are available, but even the lower-tier Gold class costs A$4,400 (HK$35,500) per person. For more details, go to www.thesouthernspirit.com.au . Deal of the week A two-night business-class package to Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia, is on offer at Westminster Travel, starting at HK$4,790 for flights on Dragonair and accommodation at the Novotel 1Borneo ( www.novotel.com ). For a package price of HK$5,150, though, you can stay at the Nexus Resort Karambunai ( www.nexusresort.com ), or the more comfortable Magellan Sutera Resort (below; www.suteraharbour.com ) for HK$5,310. Shangri-La's Rasa Ria and Tanjung Aru properties ( www.shangri-la.com ) top the price list with rooms starting from HK$5,550 and HK$5,420, respectively. Breakfast and insurance are included in these prices, which are quoted per person, twin-share, and will be available until December 15. If you get bored of the beach, the Sutera Harbour Resort (of which the Magellan Sutera Resort is part) recently relaunched a vintage steam locomotive, a relic of British North Borneo, on part of the original North Borneo Railway line between Tanjung Aru and Papar. The round trip takes four hours and runs on Wednesdays and Saturdays. See the link at the resort website for details. For reservations call 3665 3488, e-mail email@example.com or visit www.westminstertravel.com .