News from the world of travel
The AJN takes you around the world to see what’s new in travel.
Small group Japan tours with A&K
With Japan having eased border restrictions on tourists from October 11, luxury travel company Abercrombie & Kent has released Japan tours ranging from the popular Classic Japan – part of the Luxury Small Group Journey collection – to new tours.
A new 10-day tour to experience winter in northern Japan includes the coastal city of Hakodate, Japan’s seafood capital Sapporo, the charming port city of Otaru and the snow-covered mountains of Niseko while exploring 2000 years of history.
Another new tour is the 12-day exploration of art and culture, travelling from cosmopolitan Tokyo to the Noto Peninsula, and from cultural Kyoto to the islands of Noashima and Teshima. Tour participants can experience tea ceremonies, geisha performances, Zen gardens and avant-garde galleries.
The nine-day Classic Japan tour takes in the breadth of Japan’s culture and history, from the contemporary flair of Tokyo to the charms of traditional Kyoto and the culinary arts of Osaka. Travel on the bullet train past majestic Mount Fuji to Osaka, savouring the markets of the Dotonbori district.
On this tour discover the art of the tea ceremony, witness sumo wrestling and enjoy a special geisha dinner, before staying at Gora Kadan, one of Japan’s exclusive ryokans.
This year Abercrombie & Kent is celebrating its 60th year of operation and has offices in more than 30 countries.
Its Luxury Small Group Journeys embrace luxury travel with tours having an average size is 14 people and led by an English-speaking tour director and local guides.
Features include luxury accommodation, internet, insider access to sites (often before the crowds arrive); travelling bellboys who handle luggage between destinations; and the option of breakfast in bed on two leisurely mornings!
Boutique Sydney hotel opens
Sydney’s newest luxury hotel, The Porter House Hotel – MGallery, welcomed its first guests in mid-September. The boutique hotel, which has 122 guest rooms, is located on Castlereagh Street and becomes Accor’s 400th hotel in the Australia/Pacific region.
The Porter House Hotel occupies the first 10 floors of a 36-storey mixed-use tower. A residential component comprising 131 apartments, with private entry from Bathurst Street, sits above the new hotel, while a multi-level food and bar area has been created within the restored 1870s heritage-listed building, which was once a tobacco factory and warehouse and later became a shop for leather merchant George Johnson & Sons.
Guest facilities at The Porter House Hotel include a fitness centre and outdoor heated pool.
The hotel is situated in the heart of Sydney’s CBD, close to Hyde Park, Pitt Street Mall, QVB, theatres and restaurants.
It is a member of Accor’s MGallery Hotel Collection, a group of distinctive boutique hotels.
Tourist haven in Thailand
Southern Thailand’s Mu Ko Lanta National Park reopened to tourists on October 15 following its annual restoration, allowing Pimalai Resort & Spa to take guests on scenic boat tours to two of the region’s most idyllic islands – Koh Haa and Koh Rok.
Every year, the national park in Krabi is closed for six months to allow its forests, flora and fauna, and vibrant marine life to be rejuvenated.
The five-star Pimalai Resort & Spa is set on one of Thailand’s idyllic beaches, Kantiang Bay, and has 121 rooms, suites and villas, plus two infinity pools that appear suspended in the forest canopy overlooking the ocean.
Activities at the resort include Thai cooking classes, yoga sessions, trekking along jungle trails and relaxing treatments at the spa.
The sports centre has tennis, badminton and basketball courts, a running track and cycling trails.
Guests can take a boat trip to Koh Haa to snorkel in a spectacular coral reef set in an aquamarine lagoon, then enjoy a leisurely return ride as the sun sets over the Andaman Sea. A scenic boat trip to Koh Rok features swimming, snorkelling and onboard lunch.