Bathrobes and pearls: travel deals, 5 August 2012

Crown Metropol, Melbourne
Souveniring bathrobes, cruising with Agatha Christie or shopping South Sea pearls in Manila, read on for this week's domestic and international travel deals: 


 NSW
It may be chilly but Sydney’s event’s scene is hotting up in August, with the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Festival (August 21-25) or, if lycra is more your scene, the City 2 Surf (August 12). The four-star Metro Hotel on Pitt’s winter special includes one night’s accommodation for two in a superior deluxe queen room, dinner at its restaurant, a bottle of wine and midday check-out on stays until August 31. Costs $199 a room, 1800 004 321, metrohotels.com.au.

VICTORIA
You don’t have to try to smuggle the plush bathrobes out of Melbourne’s sleek Crown Metropol: the hotel is giving you two robes to celebrate winter. They’ll also include an in-room movie, valet parking and breakfast at its newest restaurant, Mr Hive, when you book a one of its Luxe King rooms until September 2.  While rooms normally start from $310 a night, the winter package, with dinner and robes, costs from $395 a room a night, 03 9292 6211, crownmelbourne.com.au. 

Karijini Eco Retreat, Western Australia

WESTERN AUSTRALIA
If you love camping but can’t convince the other half of its joys, start with baby steps, in a deluxe eco tent at Karijini Eco Retreat, in the Karijini National Park, in the Pilbara. The tents have their own bathroom, decks, king-sized beds and linen (no sleeping bags!) yet are designed to be ecologically sustainable, using solar power and recycling water.  Book before August 30, stay two nights between September 1-30 and get a free whale watching cruise for two. Costs from $323 a night, 1800 002 333, quickbeds.com.

QUEENSLAND
The Gold Coast’s glistening foreshore is lined with walking tracks and bike paths which is just as well, as a rash of great, new restaurants has recently opened around Surfers Paradise. The family-friendly Mantra Crown Towers is 100 meters from the beach and is knocking 20 percent off three-night stays in its one-bedroom apartments. Facilities include a lagoon pool, waterslides, kids’ playground, spa and sauna. Stay before October 7, costs from $453 a room for three nights, 131 517, mantra.com.au.

TASMANIA
One of the country’s top lodges, Saffire Freycinet, on the Freycinet peninsula, comprises just 20 beautiful suites looking out to the Hazards Mountains. Book a deluxe suite for four nights, pay for three and get all meals and dinner drinks, activities including guided walks, fishing,  golf, wine tasting, canoeing, cooking demos and learn to mix the perfect cocktail.  The deal also includes $100 to spend in the spa. Costs $5400 a suite, 1800 723 347, saffire-freycinet.com.au.
CENTRAL AUSTRALIA
Larapinta Trail, Central Australia
The Larapinta Trail runs 223 kilometres from Alice Springs across the Western MacDonnell National Park toward Mt Zeil. The area has recently been handed back to its traditional Aboriginal owners and World Expeditions is celebrating by letting you take your best mate free, with a two-for-one deal on its three-day Larapinta Experience. Single travellers will get 25 percent off. Travel between August 31 – September 21. Costs $995 for two people, or $750 for single travellers, 1300 720 000, worldexpeditions.com.au.

EGYPT
Celebrate Agatha Christie’s birthday on her beloved Nile River, with a two-in-one deal and a copy of ‘Death on the Nile’ in hand. The 12-day tour includes seven days cruising the Nile on a luxury small ship, and afternoon tea on the terrace of the Sofitel Legend Old Cataract, where she stayed while penning the book. Costs $7,100 for the first person and their companion travels free. Singles pay half price, costs $5170, 1300 851 800, abercrombiekent.com.au.

THAILAND
Vijitt resort, Patong, Thailand
Set on the white-sand Friendship Beach in Phuket, 30 minutes from Patong, get three nights free when you book seven nights at the five-star Vijitt Resort. The deal includes an hour-long massage for two and buffet breakfast daily. Book before August 31 and get a free upgrade to a pool villa. Normally $1770 a villa, costs $900 for seven nights on stays until October 31, 1300 305 870, islandescapes.com.au.

CAMBODIA
The Angkor Wat temple complex is Cambodia’s biggest drawcard and the world’s largest Hindu site. Stay four nights at the 4.5-star Angkor Century Resort & Spa, just 15 minutes from the massive complex, and get a free private full-day tour of Angkor Wat. Book until 3pm September 21, travel until September 30. Costs from $199 a person for four nights, twin share, 1300 130 485, travel.com.au. 

PHILIPPINES
Manila’s shopping has to be experienced to be believed: South Sea pearls, awesome handbags and a shoe scene that puts all other countries to shame. Stay three nights in the thick of it at the five-star Sofitel Philippine Plaza Manila and pay for only two nights. Book by August 30, stay by September 30. Costs from $431 a room for three nights, 1300 888 180, zuji.com.au.

FRENCH POLYNESIA
Stay five nights, pay for only four at the largest overwater villas in the South Seas, in the five-star St Regis Bora Bora, in Tahiti. The deal also includes return flights from Papeete to Bora Bora airport, and boat transfers from the airport to the hotel, as well as daily breakfast, and if you’re a honeymooner,  bonuses include a free couple’s massage. Book by August 31 for stays November 15-December 20, 2012 and January 10-March 30, 2013. Costs from $3179 a person, twin share, 1800 044 066, travel-associates.com.au.

TOURWATCH
Burgundy’s fame is based on its cuisine, and who better to reveal its treasures than one of three truly great chefs. The digs are a 16th-century chateau and the chefs are Philippe Mouchel of Melbourne’s PM24 , George Biron of Sunnybrae in Birregurra, WA and the official Hottest Chef 2012 in The Australian Hot 50 Restaurant Awards, Andrew McConnell of Cumulus Inc, Cutler & Co, Golden Fields and the Builders Arms. Each chef will spend a week in May with up to 10 guests and the resident sommelier, uncovering the Grand and Premier Crus wines of the Cote d’Or, shopping at the local markets, conducting daily cooking classes and celebrating with spectacular chateau and local restaurant dinners. Costs $9000 a person for seven nights, twin share, land only, tastesofburgundy.com.

Source: Belinda Jackson, Sun Herald

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