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Carry On: News for business travellers

Eight oddest places to stay | Air NZ's million passengers | Boost for flying skiers | Emirates sponsors Irish Open | New route of the week

Nevil Gibson
Mon, 28 May 2012

The eight oddest places to stay
Wellington author Pip McCurdy is always on the go, looking for the most weird and wonderful, curious and quirky overnight places to stay. Her new book, Stay Somewhere Strange, identifies Nelson’s The Boot bed and breakfast as the most amazing place in New Zealand, with its sitting room as the toe. “A bedroom tucked halfway up the leg and a kitchen in the heel, it is like residing in fairytale,” she says – a plastered monument to craftsmanship and whimsy. “This place is truly extraordinary.” The Boot has been admired here and overseas since it opened in 2000. Its courtyard is shaped as a footprint and the courtyard wall is the sole of another Boot.

The Giant’s House in Akaroa was selected as second best. Described as a mosaic masterpiece, it is a stately home sitting in a garden full of full size almost human sculptures and their friends, clothed in the most ornate of mosaics.

The remaining six places are:
Nikau Sanctuary (Raglan), a luxury yurt with twinkling lights above, heated floors below and the most enticing bedding and furnishings – “a Bedouin dream straight from the Arabian Nights.”

The Jailhouse (Christchurch) was previously a women’s prison and is now backpacker accommodation with each cell a private room. “The bars remain on the windows. The door must be at least 12cm thick. They do give you your own key, however.”

Maruia Springs Spa (Lewis Pass) provides “your own kimono and Japanese sandals to make use of unlimited access to the hot springs in a stunning mountainous setting; single sex hot steamy communal bathhouses complete with a plunge pool to finish off.”

Woodlyn Park (Waitomo) offers several accommodation options, such as sleeping in the cockpit of the old DC freighter that carried troops out of Vietnam, a Hobbit-style motel or a railway carriage.

Pagoda Lodge (Kerikeri) provides African safari tents perched on individual timber platforms overlooking a meandering tidal inlet. “Sit on your private deck sipping your gin slings at dusk listening to the crickets chirping somewhere deep in the lush tropical vegetation.”

Solscape Eco Retreat (Raglan) also offers a range accommodation options but the tepees are the most unique. “Set among native bush you can spend a night living and sleeping as a native American. Cooking and bathing are outdoors with a nod to privacy here and there.”

Air NZ carries million passengers in April
Air New Zealand carried 1.02 million passengers in April, up 1.8% from a year earlier. Long-haul passengers increased 4.4% to 113,000 from 108,000, while domestic traffic crept up 0.6% to 680,000. Passengers carried on Asia, Japan and the UK routes increased by 16.9% to 48,000, followed by Australia and the Pacific, up 4% to 230,000.

Boost for flying skiers
Air New Zealand and Virgin Australia are teaming up to increase the number of flights between Australia and Queenstown by 8% for the 2012 ski season. The new services will see a 13% rise in seats from Melbourne, 10% increase from Sydney and 3% rise from Brisbane. The airline is also increasing its domestic capacity to Queenstown, with more than 300 extra seats now available from Wellington and 650 extra seats from Auckland.

Emirates sponsors Irish Open
The success of the Emerald Isle's high-flying golfers has lured Emirates to its first sponsorship deal there. Emirates will be the official airline of the tournament, which takes place at the Royal Portrush Golf Club from June 28 to July 1. World number one Rory McIlroy will join fellow major champions Graeme McDowell and Padraig Harrington on the fairways for the European Tour event. Salem Obaidalla, Emirates' senior vice president of commercial operations for Europe and the Russian Federation, said the three-year sponsorship deal followed the launch of its Dublin service in January.

New route of the week
Cathay Pacific subsidiary Dragonair is launching a new service to the Kolkata, formerly known as Calcutta, the capital of West Bengal and onetime base for the East India Company as well as capital of the British Raj until 1911. After Indian independence in 1947, Kolkata – once the centre of modern Indian education, science, culture and politics – went into several decades of decline and economic stagnation under communistic state governments. But since the early 2000s, it has experienced an economic rejuvenation and accelerated growth.

It has many of India’s most important cultural institutions, such as the Academy of Fine Arts, the Victoria Memorial, the Asiatic Society, the Indian Museum and the National Library of India, as well as major cricketing venues and franchises. Kolkata differs from other Indian cities by giving importance to soccer and other sports.

The Dragonair service from Hong Kong will commence in the northern winter of 2012, when Kolkata’s new airport terminal opens, with four flights a week operated by Airbus A320 aircraft. Cathay Pacific says the proposed flights schedules offer good connections from Auckland to Kolkata. It will be the seventh destination to be launched or resumed by Dragonair this year. Since April, the airline has begun services to Xi’an, Guilin, Jeju and Taichung (Taiwan) with scheduled services to the Clark Freeport Zone in the Philippines later this month and Chiang Mai (Thailand) in July.

Nevil Gibson
Mon, 28 May 2012
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Carry On: News for business travellers