Catch-up in Kunming Although it might raise eyebrows at the Holiday Inn Kunming City Centre and the Crowne Plaza Kunming City Centre hotels, the new Sofitel Kunming's claim to being "the only international luxury hotel in Kunming city centre" is a fair one. Given the recent rate of hotel openings on the mainland, it's also surprising that, with the Intercontinental Kunming (located on the edge of town), this is only the second international five-star hotel in a provincial capital of about 6.5 million people that's a busy transport hub for the many popular tourist sites around Yunnan province. No doubt more are on the way. The 400-room Sofitel, which opened last month, contains three restaurants serving mostly Chinese and other Asian cuisines (with an all-day nod to Sofitel's native France in the buffet restaurant), and a signature So Spa (above) within what its website calls "a visually enthralling universe". Opening rates start from 999 yuan (HK$1,180) for double occupancy with breakfast until mid-April. Dragonair, HK Express and China Eastern fly to Kunming daily.
Deal of the week Farrington Vacations' Shanghai (Pudong) package starts from HK$1,890 for two nights at the fair-to-middling Holiday Inn Shanghai Downtown. The most expensive hotels on offer are the Peninsula and Park Hyatt, offered from a reasonable HK$3,750 and HK$3,790, respectively. Good value in the mid-range is the Okura Garden Hotel (right), a Japanese-run property built above what was once the colonial-era Cercle Sportif, or Sporting Club, in the old French Concession. Rates there start from HK$2,390. For more details and hotel choices, go to www.farringtonvacations.com.hk.