Get Pampered At 35,000 Feet
If you have a monster travel budget, a bazillion frequent-flier miles or really want to impress a date, several airlines now offer superluxe accommodations on their international flights. The best choice? British Airways, which eases the pain of ten-hour Los Angeles-to-London treks ($9900) with private minicabins (there are two for couples) and seats that recline into 6'6" beds (pajamas are included). Plus, you can order "room service"--presented on pull-up tables with linen and china--any time. Air France's L'Espace 180 (Los Angeles to Paris, 10 1/2hours, $9872) boasts roomy, fully reclining seats and a separate smokers' bar. Air New Zealand serves fine wines in a cabin turned fine dining room on routes such as Los Angeles to Sydney (15 hours, $8000). South African Airways, the only carrier offering daily nonstop flights from Miami and New York to Johannesburg and Cape Town (15 hours, $8254), features "stratosleepers" with adjustable back supports and 62-inch seat pitches. Swissair (Los Angeles to Zurich, 11 hours, $8456) is the first to include the Interactive Flight Technologies entertainment system, which gives passengers access to 20 movies, 60 hours of music and several computer games. Japan Airlines' first-class section on flights from New York to Tokyo (14 hours, $9670) has a $95,000 lavatory (nearly twice the size of a standard airplane loo) that features a window and gold-plated fixtures. United Airlines' Chicago-to-Hong Kong flight is one of the longest nonstops (16 hours, $8102). Upon landing you'll be whisked by a concierge to the Red Carpet Club, where you can shower and have your suit pressed and shoes shined. And Virgin Atlantic Airways recently opened the Virgin Touch airport salon (for massages, aromatherapy and manicures) in Boston's Logan Airport.
Night Moves: Sydney, Australia
Sydney, which boasts the most beautiful harbor and the best beaches in the world, has nightlife to match. As the sun sets over the water, enjoy the view with cocktails and jazz at the Harbourside Brasserie (Hickson Road, Walsh Bay) or at the Basement (29 Reiby Place). A five-minute walk brings you to the Rocks, where pubs such as the Lord Nelson Brewery Hotel (19 Kent Street) and the Australian Hotel (100 Cumberland) brew their own beers. Hungry? Ride a ferry to Doyle's (11 Marine Parade) for fresh fish or to Watermark (2A, the Esplanade, Balmoral Beach), which combines fantastic views with Australian-Asian cuisine. If it's Friday night, and you want to see sophisticated, professional Sydney wind down, head to Bar Luca (52 Phillip Street) to mingle with the futures traders. Or try Sydney's classy new restaurant Banc (53 Martin Place) for fabulous French fare. A more relaxed--but still trendy--spot is the Edge (60 Riley Street, East Sydney), famous for its pizza. In Surrey Hills there's Bills 2 (355 Crown Street), a great joint that has patrons lined up each night for its East-meets-Aussie delights. You can dance later at the chic Goodbar (11A Oxford Street), or try Kinsela's (383 Bourke Street), a raucous, multilevel party place. Cap the night with a stroll on the balmy beach--without thinking of the nasty winter you left behind.
Computergo, the "office on the go" (below), was designed for those who can't find an adequate or adjustable surface to work on while traveling. Closed, the 21"x14.5"x9" Computergo can be easily rolled down an airplane aisle and then stashed under a seat. Open it, and you have a surface for your laptop, wings for documents and a mouse, organizer and document file pockets and a built-in surge protector. Price: $985. • The Travel Companion Exchange offers Pickpockets & Travel Scams, a 23-page report that tells in detail how con artists, bag snatchers and pickpockets work. Send $3.95 to the Exchange at P.O. Box 833, Amityville, NY 11701-0833.
Golfing On Maui And Kauai
The Hyatt folks take golf seriously, and nowhere with as much style as in Hawaii. On Maui, the luxurious Hyatt Regency sits adjacent to the Ka'anapali course, where the PGA Seniors play the Ka'anapali Classic. Before your round, it pays to visit the golf fitness center, which offers a regimen based on the body-straightening theories of Pete Egoscue. The exercises help promote a golf swing that puts less stress on your body and provides a smoother action, too. On Kauai, the Poipu Bay Resort is a sprawling, low-rise wonder of captured streams, tropical gardens, seductive terraces and first-class restaurants. Hiding amid the tropical flora is a spa, where workouts can be followed by therapeutic massages and a rinse-off in showers set outdoors in black lava rocks. The guest rooms are outstanding--even the complimentary bathroom stuff is great. You'll want to play the challenging Robert Trent Jones Jr. course (pictured here) early in the day. That way, if your swing lets you down, you can return to the luxuries of a hotel that definitely lives up to its promise.