Friday, May 16, 2014

The Corliss Group Voyage Hong Kong | The Most Expensive (And Cheapest) Places In The World

What’s the world’s most expensive city for a pint of beer? How about a pair of jeans? Or a date?
Sadly for French beer quaffers, Swiss fashionistas, and romantically-inclined Brits—the answers are Paris, Zurich, and London.

Deutsche Bank has compared the price of everything, everywhere (OK, not quite), so you don’t have to. And for a third year in a row, the priciest country in the world is Australia (that’s of the 19 countries included in the survey).

If you’re looking for the lowest prices overall, head to India. A weaker rupee has helped it remain the least expensive major economy despite persistently high inflation. Among developed countries, the U.S. is easiest on the wallet. Brazil is costly by emerging-world standards.

But the overall rankings mask some sharp differences for individual products. A day’s car rental in China costs $31.90, a mere 26% of the price in the U.S. But Levi’s jeans, Adidas trainers, or an iPhone 5 are all cheaper in the States.

Moscow’s five-star hotel rooms are ruinous—at $905.60 a night, more than double the New York equivalent—and it’s the costliest city for a weekend getaway. But public transport in the Russian capital is a snip.

The survey also tracks the cost of living in major cities. Tokyo, by far the most expensive back in 2001, is now cheaper than a number of cities including Melbourne, Geneva, Oslo and Caracas.

Zurich deserves another mention for the eye-watering cost of its hairdressers—at $60.47, a haircut there is 15 times pricier than in Mumbai. Indian cities are also the cheapest for a date.

The widest disparities are in the cost of basic health insurance, with nowhere else on earth remotely close to U.S. prices. Australia is in second place at 34% of the U.S. figure. In the U.K. its 21%. India, Indonesia, and the Philippines are the cheapest at just 1%.

The price of a date in London includes cabs, burgers, drinks, and a trip to the movies. Cheapskates could plump for a long walk along the river instead. Just don’t get too ambitious about buying a riverfront apartment.


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The most expensive (and cheapest) places in the world



The Corliss Group Voyage Hong Kong, The most expensive and cheapest places in the world

The Corliss Group Voyage Hong Kong: Where to Drink, Shop and Date, According to Deutsche Bank

What’s the world’s most expensive city for a pint of beer? How about a pair of jeans? Or a date?



Sadly for French beer quaffers, Swiss fashionistas, and romantically-inclined Brits—the answers are Paris, Zurich, and London.

Deutsche BankDBK.XE -0.45% has compared the price of everything, everywhere (OK, not quite), so you don’t have to. And for a third year in a row, the priciest country in the world is Australia (that’s of the 19 countries included in the survey).

If you’re looking for the lowest prices overall, head to India. A weaker rupee has helped it remain the least expensive major economy despite persistently high inflation. Among developed countries, the U.S. is easiest on the wallet. Brazil is costly by emerging-world standards.

But the overall rankings mask some sharp differences for individual products. A day’s car rental in China costs $31.90, a mere 26% of the price in the U.S. But Levi’s jeans, Adidas trainers, or an iPhone 5 are all cheaper in the States.

Moscow’s five-star hotel rooms are ruinous—at $905.60 a night, more than double the New York equivalent—and it’s the costliest city for a weekend getaway. But public transport in the Russian capital is a snip.

The survey also tracks the cost of living in major cities. Tokyo, by far the most expensive back in 2001, is now cheaper than a number of cities including Melbourne, Geneva, Oslo and Caracas.

Zurich deserves another mention for the eye-watering cost of its hairdressers—at $60.47, a haircut there is 15 times pricier than in Mumbai. Indian cities are also the cheapest for a date.

The widest disparities are in the cost of basic health insurance, with nowhere else on earth remotely close to U.S. prices. Australia is in second place at 34% of the U.S. figure. In the U.K. its 21%. India, Indonesia, and the Philippines are the cheapest at just 1%.

The price of a date in London includes cabs, burgers, drinks, and a trip to the movies. Cheapskates could plump for a long walk along the river instead. Just don’t get too ambitious about buying a riverfront apartment.






The Corliss Group Voyage Hong Kong, Where to Drink Shop and Date According to Deutsche Bank, The Corliss




Tuesday, May 13, 2014

The Corliss Group Voyage Hong Kong | The Tripologist: What are the Best Travel Apps?

I AM TRAVELLING WITH MY HUSBAND AND TWO YOUNG GIRLS TO GUANGZHOU, LONDON, MANCHESTER AND BERLIN. THERE ARE SO MANY APPS FOR TRAVEL I FEEL OVERWHELMED. IN YOUR OPINION, WHAT IS THE BEST APP THAT IS SIMPLE AND QUICK TO USE WITH MAPS, THINGS TO DO, SUCH AS GALLERIES AND POSSIBLY CHILD-FRIENDLY ACTIVITIES. ALSO WHAT MUST I TURN OFF TO AVOID GLOBAL ROAMING CHARGES? T. LAKE, BILGOLA



I use City Maps 2Go, which accesses thousands of city and regional maps that you can download for use in offline mode. It locates your position, lets you search for addresses and locates ATMs, restaurants, points of interest, including galleries, museums and child-friendly activities. You can stick pins into the map, which is helpful to find your way back to a particular shop or restaurant. City Maps 2Go is available for Apple ($3.79) and Android (free) platforms. Another option is Pocket Earth, however, it is available only for Apple, also at $3.79. To avoid data roaming charges turn off the data feature on your phone. On an iPhone, tap "Settings" and turn Cellular to "off". On most Android phones, find "Settings", tap "More Settings", tap "Mobile networks" and set Data roaming to "off".

I AM A 62-YEAR-OLD FEMALE AND I WILL BE TRAVELLING ALONE TO JAPAN IN OCTOBER. COULD YOU RECOMMEND A GOOD PLACE TO STAY IN TOKYO? I AM NOT INTERESTED IN NIGHTLIFE, JUST GOOD, CHEAP RESTAURANTS, INTERESTING SHOPS, MUSEUMS, GALLERIES AND BEAUTIFUL PARKS. HAPPY TO SPEND AROUND $200 A NIGHT. A WORKMATE RECOMMENDED UENO.J. MCLEOD, WAMBERAL

The Ueno Touganeya Hotel (tougane-h.com) might be a good fit. The hotel is just a two-minute walk from Keisei Ueno Station, on the direct line from Narita. Rooms are small - just 12 square metres, which is not unusual for the Japanese capital - but comfortable enough for one. The hotel gets a robust international clientele, the reviews on Tripadvisor are good and the management responds, always a pleasing sign.

You're in easy reach of shopping and dining. Ueno Park and the Tokyo National Museum are right on your doorstep and you have easy access to Asakusa, Akihabara and Ginza. Room rate is around $80 a night.
Another possibility just slightly to the north is Ryokan Sawanoya (sawanoya.com), a small, friendly and traditional family-operated hotel in the historic Yanaka precinct, with excellent reviews.

You'll be sleeping on futons and leaving your shoes at the entrance and the owner is an outstanding host with a big English-speaking clientele. The closest station is Nippori, about a 10-minute walk. A room with bathroom is about $110.

WE ARE FLYING SINGAPORE AIRLINES FROM LONDON TO SINGAPORE, WHERE WE HAVE A SEVEN-HOUR STOPOVER TO CONNECT WITH A QATAR AIRWAYS FLIGHT TO DENPASAR. THE AIRLINES DON'T HAVE AN INTERLINE AGREEMENT SO WE CAN'T CHECK OUR LUGGAGE. WE HAVE BOOKED A ROOM AT THE AMBASSADOR TRANSIT HOTEL IN CHANGI AND BEEN INSTRUCTED TO COLLECT OUR LUGGAGE FROM LOST AND FOUND BEFORE CHECK IN FOR DENPASAR. WE ARE CONCERNED ABOUT THE LOGISTICS. R. EVANS, PYMBLE

Qatar Airways does not have an early check-in service that would allow you to get your luggage and check it in for the flight to Denpasar before going to your hotel. In such cases it is standard procedure for the hotel to arrange for your check-in luggage to be stored at the baggage services counter, until you are ready to pass through immigration, collect your luggage and go to the check-in desk for your Denpasar flight. The only other alternative would be to collect your luggage and spend your layover time at a hotel such as the Crowne Plaza Changi Airport Hotel, which is connected to Terminal 3. Since you already have the booking at the Ambassador Transit Hotel, and given the firm assurances Changi Airport has given me, I'd say you can rest easy with your original booking.

CONVERSATION
OVER TO YOU . . .
The question was:
Have you had success seeking insurance cover for a pre-existing medical condition? Share your story.

According to E. Sweet, "My husband suffers asthma, which is usually covered as a pre-existing medical condition, but often not if you've been hospitalised for it in the past six to 12 months. We took a trip to Europe in September last year, and two weeks beforehand, he was hospitalised. We no longer met the eligibility criteria with CoverMore but had success with Webjet's travel insurance. My advice is to shop around and read the fine print. Be absolutely honest. My husband became sick again in London and it gave us peace of mind to know he could be treated because he was covered."
G. Morgan writes, "I have cover from my ANZ Visa credit card. They require an application each trip, because I had a heart bypass. That costs $75. The card fee is $89 p.a. I regard the cover as good."

From M. and J. Forster, "We have a couple of pre-existing conditions. We asked about travel insurance at Medibank Private, our private health cover provider, and had no problems."

S. Painting (aged 70) writes, "I have pre-existing medical conditions and I have comprehensive travel insurance with CoverMore. I have not had any problems with them at all. "

Next question: Have travel apps for phones and tablets made you a more enlightened traveller, or do you now spend too much time looking at the screen? Send a response to tripologist@fairfaxmedia.com.au. The best response will win a Lonely Planet guidebook.



Friday, May 2, 2014

The Corliss Group Voyage Hong Kong: Hard-to-get reservations

To properly impress, celebrate, or indulge - and we mean once-in-a-lifetime properly - you'll need to push the fine-dining boat out a fair bit further than usual. Here are our recommendations and tips.


Many of the world's finest dining experiences require more than deep pockets. A certain level of ingenuity and persistence are necessary to garner the “impossible to get reservation”. Intensive research, some local knowledge and foreign language skills can also help to open doors to Michelin-star restaurants' little-known private rooms and to members-only clubs. Some equally special experiences merely require travel to exotic, faraway places.

Here, you'll find a handful of unique dining destinations, hidden rooms and places of pilgrimage,that only those in the know, know about.

Noma, Copenhagen

Claims to be the most difficult restaurant in the world in which to secure a reservation. On the sixth day of the month, every month, reservations open for tables three months in advance. Allegedly more than 20,000 emails flood Noma's computer system on that day. One way around the issue is to book Noma's private dining room, located above the restaurant's main dining room and next door to the prep kitchen and culinary "lab". The long, private space overlooks Copenhagen's waterfront warehouses and a new pedestrian footbridge that links the dockside with the city.


London's older clubs, like Annabel's, on Mayfair's Berkeley Square, has been welcoming members since 1963. Established as a private member's club, Annabel's elegant restaurant is complete with Morrocan-style ceiling and its own starlit dance floor.


Jiro Ono is the 86-year-old chef and owner of this three-star subterranean sushi bar in Gina. Consisting of only seven seats, all of which face the bar, it affords up-close views of Jiro at work. This restaurant is a place of pilgrimage for sushi aficionados. The ¥30,000 per person ($330) 20-course menu of sashimi, sushi and uni (fresh sea urchin) can be matched with sake. The whole experience is over in an hour, but to secure a seat you need a Japanese local (perhaps your hotel concierge) to make the reservation.

Taillevent, Paris


One of Paris' grand dining institutions, Taillevent was awarded its firstMichelin star in 1948 and held three stars for 34 years. Housed in amansion, formerly the residence of the Duc de Morny, in Paris' 9th Arrondissement, Taillevent has two private dining rooms – the Guimet, where the Duc de Morny received Napoleon, and the Saturne, the Duc's bedroom, decorated with Louis XVI panelling. Chef Alain Soliveres offers a choice of four menus, starting at €120–230 ($180–$340).

Longitude 131, Uluru


At dusk, as the desert colours begin to work their magic, a table for two is set on a private sand dune overlooking Uluru and Kata Tjuta national park. As the light changes and rolls over the ancient rock formations, the sun gradually sets, giving way to a dazzling night sky. A billion stars twinkle gently above, the desert is quiet and dinner is served.

Hutong, Hong Kong


On the 28th floor of 1 Peking Road, elevator doors open to reveal glamorous Michelin-star Hutong. Dimly lit to take full advantage of floor-to-ceiling views across the harbour and the city's famous light show, Hutong is wildly romantic. And the private rooms. are even more so. Its northern Chinese dishes are fiery and beautifully presented, especially the signature soft shell crab served with deep-fried chillies.

Kee Club, Shanghai


The sister club to Hong Kong's legendary private members' Kee Club, this newer, Shanghai outpost permits non-member visitors to its restaurant. Housed in two grand 1920s villas, it is also home to an impressive art collection, and offers four private dining rooms.

The Corliss Group Voyage Hong Kong: Break into the Hong Kong market with 10 top tips


Hong Kong buyers look for quality properties and quality businesspeople to work with. Know your stuff and you’re far more likely to tap into the lucrative market.


Roger Searl, Founding Partner of Info-nation in Hong Kong, spoke to OPP and passed on his 10 top tips for selling in Hong Kong.

1.      The key Asia Pacific markets are Thailand, Bali, Japan, Australia, China and London. Hong Kong investors are very savvy London investors. The historical link with Britain (the holding of british national overseas BNO passports) with the high chance of family connections in the UK, are key driving factors.

2.      Unlike Western consumers, fresh air, food and healthy space etc can often be more important than sun sea and sand. Focus on promoting the things Chinese like to do when travelling – proximity to shops and restaurants may be more important than a private beach…

3.      Trophy homes are also important. However this is now a lot more low key, and tends to be displayed far less publicly.


4.      Immigration specialists  – especially if perceived as independent – can be useful. Chinese HNW individuals often look to secure immigration status in other countries (EU, US) to have a passport with more flexibility for travel etc.


5.      You don’t necessarily need huge marketing budgets, but Chinese investors like to see a commitment to the market and need reassurances that their money is being wisely invested.

6.      Don’t forget they will probably not even be able to read your website (or Google your company) in English. Translate!

7.      There are a number of websites and a few magazines targeting Chinese investors, but this is no where near as mature a market as, say, Europe or US.

8.      You need to think about a realistic approach. There is no point in placing an ad in a magazine without thinking it through and expecting the business to start coming.

9.      Don’t get involved with how the Chinese will get their money out of China, they will know how.


10. Often property investment for HNW individuals is conducted through third parties rather than directly with the individual. This can be tricky and hard sometimes to know how real the opportunity is.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

The Corliss Group Voyage Hong Kong, Top deals: Cruise with Shannan Ponton or Tim Webster, on Russian rivers or Melbourne’s biggest ever cruise ship



BRAD Crouch has sought out the week’s best cruise specials. These fabulous deals are sure to be snapped up fast.


CRUISE from Hong Kong to Sydney with stops in Vietnam, Singapore and the Top End aboard the 1990-guest Sun Princess. The package starts with a flight to Hong Kong and a night at the Citadines Ashley Hotel, followed by the 17-night cruise visiting Nha Trang, Ho Chi Minh City, Singapore, Darwin and Port Douglas before finishing in Sydney. The package departs on October 11 and is priced from $2499 a person, twin share.


APT will introduce a newly refurbished Russian river cruise ship next year, which it promises is the most luxurious vessel to grace Russia’s waterways, with features such as five dining options and a pool with two hot tubs. APT is offering river cruises aboard the Anastasia as part of several itineraries for 2015, including the 14-day Russian Waterways from Moscow to St Petersburg via the Volga, Svir and Neva rivers. Priced from $7795 a person, twin share, highlights include sightseeing in Moscow and St Petersburg, visits to the Golden Ring cities of Uglich and Yaroslavl, as well as Goritsy, and lakes Onega and Ladoga.


FEEL like a winner by getting health and fitness tips on a fun cruise with The Biggest Loser coach Shannan Ponton. Cruises on Carnival Spirit this winter will have Ponton on board helping with workouts and suggesting healthy meal options. Cruise to New Caledonia and Vanuatu with Ponton from $979 a person, twin share, on a nine-night cruise departing Sydney on July 23, or on an eight-night cruise to New Caledonia departing Sydney on August 12, priced from $909 a person, twin share.

ATLANTIC TRIP

NEW York, London, Paris and 5-star luxury in between feature on an escorted transatlantic cruise aboard the Queen Mary 2. Priced from $8500 a person, twin share, this 17-day trip departs September 24 and includes air travel to New York and return from Paris, a seven-night cruise aboard the QM2, three nights in New York, two nights in London, three nights in Paris, dinner and show at the Moulin Rouge in Paris and sightseeing tours in all three cities. The trip is hosted by TV personality Tim Webster.

BIG AND BEAUTIFUL

PRINCESS Cruises will base a record five ships in Australia next year, with the 2600-guest Golden Princess debuting down under as the biggest ship ever to have Melbourne as its home port. Its five-month season over 2015-16 will include holidays to New Zealand, the South Pacific and Tasmania, with fares starting from $1849 a person, twin share, for a 13-night New Zealand cruise. More than half of the 108,000-tonne ship’s staterooms have private balconies and it has four swimming pools, 10 restaurants and cafes and a spa.