Banyan Tree Hotels & Resorts will open its first resort in Africa, on the northern tip of Morocco, near Tangier, in September. Originally scheduled for a 2013 launch, Banyan Tree Tamouda Bay will offer 92 villas – each with a private pool and garden – four restaurants and all the usual luxury amenities. The most attractive thing about this resort, though, is its location, with three enticing day-trip destinations nearby. The nearest is Ceuta, a curious little Spanish enclave just 10 minutes’ drive up the coast (and visible from the resort). Then there’s Tangier. Although no longer the centre of international espionage and intrigue it was back in its romantic heyday, it’s still one of North Africa’s most fascinating cities, and the traditional gateway to the continent for overland travellers. Read Iain Finlayson’s Tangier: City of the Dream (1992), and you’ll be raring to go. It’s only about an hour’s drive from the resort to Tangier, and from there Gibraltar is just a 45-minute ferry ride away. The resort is currently offering a free night’s accommodation for every three nights from September 1 until the end of October at www.banyantree.com/en/em-morocco-tamouda-bay. The most direct air route to Tangier from Hong Kong is via Amsterdam. From there you can fly with either Royal Air Maroc or Air Arabia Maroc.
Listen up Amazon’s Audible Studios is releasing audiobook editions of several of Peter Fleming’s works this week. Fleming, an explorer, writer and wartime military intelligence agent who inspired brother Ian’s James Bond, was one of the best-selling travel writers of the 1930s. He and his friend Evelyn Waugh (Labels: A Mediterranean Journey, 1930; Remote People, 1931) reinvented the genre during that decade with an exceptionally witty, dryly observant and self-deprecating style that still inspires writers today. Three of Fleming’s best-known works, Brazilian Adventure (1933), One’s Company: A Journey to China (1934) and News From Tartary: A Journey from Peking to Kashmir (1936) are offered in unabridged form, as is the lesser-known To Peking – originally published in 1952 as Forgotten Journey – an annotated diary that he wrote on the way from Russia to China in 1934. These and other audiobooks by Fleming will be available at Amazon.com from Tuesday for US$9.99 each. Alternatively, up to two 2012 editions (similarly unabridged, same narrator) can be downloaded free if you sign up for a trial. All of the above titles are still in print for those who prefer reading to listening.
Seat bags Plane Industries is a new company taking the Kickstarter route to pre-sell luggage and computer bags made from recycled aircraft seat covers. Held together with Italian leather, this “Luxury Waste” will be imprinted with the buyer’s name and some numbers that represent what the firm estimates the fabric has experienced: “18,000,000 Miles”, “68 Countries”, “36,000 Feet in the Air” and “575 Miles per Hour”. Which airline the seat fabric came from is not mentioned, but from the look of it, I’d guess probably a British regional budget carrier. If you’re already wondering if this is really such a great idea, you’re not alone. Recent visitor comments on the design and tech site Gizmodo.com include “Just what I want. A bag made out of the most disgusting fabric ever. A lot of butts have been on that cloth”, and, “To paraphrase George Carlin, why would I want a duffel bag made from fabric full of beer farts?”
Deal of the week Farrington Vacations’ two-night Bangkok package starts with a room upgrade and a welcome cocktail in the Zoom Sky Bar at the Anantara Bangkok Sathorn from HK$2,150 (per person, twin share). Other hotels on offer include the Shangri-La (from HK$2,790) and the St Regis (from HK$2,990). Extra hotel nights in either Pattaya or Hua Hin are available for longer stays. These prices – which include flights with Cathay Pacific – will be available until October 31, but with a HK$250 surcharge until August 24. For a full list of hotels, go to www.farringtonvacations.com.hk.