Palace intrigue The Pera Palace Hotel Jumeirah, in Istanbul, celebrates its past celebrity guests with more enthusiasm than most. It has five Ernest Hemingway suites, six Greta Garbo corner rooms and six Pierre Loti suites. Although all guests can dine at the Agatha restaurant, the hotel (above) contains only the one Agatha Christie room – No 411, where, the hotel suggests, she wrote Murder on the Orient Express (although room 203 at the Baron Hotel, in the currently besieged city of Aleppo, in Syria, lays equal, and probably more rightful, claim). To celebrate the 125th anniversary of the author’s birth, the Pera Palace will be running a week-long crimefiction- themed festival in late October, and has just started promoting a “Black Week” package, starting from €305 (HK$2,650) per room, per night. On top of accommodation and breakfast at Agatha’s, guests will be invited to various panel discussions featuring guest writers and Christie’s grandson, Mathew Prichard. They will also be escorted to several “whodunnit” events at nearby bookshops. The Pera Palace opened in 1895, having been built specifically to host passengers of the Orient Express, and was the first public building in the city to provide electricity, hot water and a lift. It eventually fell into decay and was closed in 2006, but was reopened in 2010, after a US$29 million renovation. For information on the Black Week package – so named because of all the murder, we assume – and other Christiethemed offerings, visit the hotel’s website via www.jumeirah.com.
Bali trio Alila Hotels and Resorts is offering what looks like a competitively priced and well-organised Three Faces of Bali package that includes five nights in three of its properties on the Indonesian island – Alila Manggis (two nights), Villa Idanna (above; one night) and Alila Ubud (two nights). Prices start from US$270 per night (plus 21 per cent tax and service charge, so a total of about US$327) for two guests, including round-trip airport transfers, transfers between the resorts, daily breakfast and afternoon tea, two dinners, a Grand Panoramic Trek with lunch, and a signature spa treatment. A fournight Two Faces of Bali package – skipping the Villa Idanna – is also available, with similar benefits, from US$245 per night. Prices will be available until the end of the year, but will go up by about 15 per cent during high season, from July 16 to September 15. For full details and reservations, click on Rates & Offers at the website of any of the three properties, which can be found at www.alilahotels.com.
Shining heritage Due to open sometime in the autumn, The Patina, Capitol Singapore (above) is yet another hotel making good use of the Lion City’s architectural heritage. Occupying the old Capitol Theatre, which opened in the 1930s and closed in 1998, and neighbouring Stamford House, which was built in the early 1900s, the 157-room hotel is part of what is being billed as “the city’s first integrated luxury lifestyle development”. Some rooms will offer 24-hour stays, no matter what time guests check in. It’s located at the junction of Stamford and North Bridge roads, near Raffles City. Patina is a new brand, with this property and one in the Maldives that is currently in preparation. Its website, patinahotels.com, is light on details, but the Singapore property will be a member of Leading Hotels of the World, which has already prepared a comprehensive webpage, with full details, photos and a reservations link. You can find this by going to www.lhw.com.
Deal of the week A two-night stay at the Anantara Bangkok Sathorn (above) from HK$2,250 is one of the highlights of Farrington American Express Travel’s latest Bangkok package. This deal includes a room upgrade, a welcome cocktail at the rooftop bar and a 4pm checkout. The price is offered per person, twin share, but if you can muster four people, the price drops to HK$2,050 each for a twobedroom suite. Daily breakfast and travel insurance are also included in these prices, which will be available until July 8, whereafter a HK$1,050 flight surcharge will be in place until August 23. From August 24 to October 31, the surcharge drops to HK$700. For further details and a long list of other hotels on offer, go to www.amextravel.com.hk, or for telephone queries and reservations, call 3121 3121 and quote Tour Code L2015BKKA001.