The recession’s got you planning a staycation? Sure a trip to St. Barth may have to move down a few notches on your 2009 to-do list but that doesn’t mean you have to kiss travel good bye this year. Consider Asia, where the combination of the exchange rate, a heavy dependence on tourism and the weak economy means you can do five star luxury travel for shockingly cheap.
I just got back from a whirlwind week in China, and TDO editor Kathleen is currently spending time in Taiwan. We figured that if we are to do Asia right, then we can’t miss one of the most iconic Asian hotel and resort brands: The Shangri-La. Simply saying the name evokes decadence, as it is derived from the fictional location set in the 1933 novel Lost Horizon and has since become synonymous with paradise on earth. The Shangri-La Hotel and Resorts certainly deliver on this mythical ideal with some of the most luxurious properties in the world. But what I found to be a true shocker is when I went to look at rates, expecting something astronomical in the $500+/night range and came up with prices for under $150.
Headed to Thailand? A Saturday night stay mid-May at the Shangri-La Bangkok will only set you back $135. And if you go to Chiang Mai, a night is only $100. In Manila, the Edsa Shangri-La is $132 per night. The same goes for the property in Singapore and Kuala Lumpur rings in at $124.
But the deals get really good when you hit China where the chain operates the most properties. Kathleen is currently in Tainan where an overnight stay at the gorgeous Far Eastern Plaza is only $89. Beer lovers can drink up in Qingdao and then pass out on super high thread count sheets for $94. If you’re headed slightly off the beaten path to Huhhot (a city I’ve been dying to visit), you can get by on only $76 a night.
As anyone who has traveled to Asia can attest to, service there is top notch. When I went for afternoon tea in Shanghai, there were three white gloved attendants just manning the elevator! Too bad I’m already back in the States or I’d be tempted to do a little Shangri-La tour around Asia. Let’s hope that prices are still as good the next time I’m headed over there!