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Four Asian hotels with heritage tours

11 Sep 2013

The following four hotels make the most of their historic settings, and provide guests with informative guided tours so that they too can experience a slice of history during their stay.

Hotel: Intercontinental Shanghai Ruijin

Location: Shanghai  

Tour details: As soon as you set foot in the 404,685 sqm garden estate surrounding this property you are transported to early 20th century Shanghai. The hotel is made up four heritage buildings and two new hotel wings. The original structure was built by British newspaper magnate H.E Morris, and during its history as both private residence and guesthouse, has hosted the likes of Chairman Mao, Chiang Kai-Shek and President Nixon. The property has retained some historical features, such as Shanghai's oldest Dao temple – dating back 600 years – and a 14th century water well. The vintage decor also takes you back, with patterned marble floors, coffered ceilings and large bespoke murals depicting Shanghai street scenes from the early 1900s.

Staff can tailor design heritage routes of the property and its grounds according to guest's specific interests. Private guides are also on hand to recommend places close to our hotel, such as Tianxifang and Shaoxing Road. Prices for these custom tours vary according to the route and time. For RMB 1888++ (US$308), however, guests can purchase the "In the Know” package to enjoy accommodation, daily breakfast, a 60-minute massage for one, and one afternoon tea set for two in the film library. This also includes a Hotel History and Downtown Walking Tour.  

Contact: +86 21 64725222 or visit www.intercontinental.com

Hotel: Langham Place, Mongkok, Hong Kong   

Location: Mongkok, Kowloon  

Tour details: Langham Place, Mongkok, Hong Kong offers its guests a Culture Tour of the Kowloon neighbourhood Mongkok's streets, and the hidden gems amongst them. This allows guests to have an authentic "insider" experience of the historical and cultural facets of the bustling district. The tours – which also include a nightly Mongkok Market Tour – are free of charge to all in-house guests. Mongkok retains many characteristics of old, traditional Chinese Hong Kong. The Culture Tour takes you along Shanghai Street towards Yau Ma Tei, stopping at shops ranging from traditional Chinese wedding accessory stores and wooden antique furniture, to Buddhist trinkets. Owners of these shops share nostalgic memories with the tour attendees along the way, exposing them to real first hand accounts of Hong Kong's history. The tour departs at 11am Monday–Saturday from the hotel’s X Team Desk on the lobby level. Reservations are essential.  

Contact: +852 3552 3369 or visit http://hongkong.langhamplacehotels.com

Hotel: La Residence d'Angkor  

Location: Siem Reap, Cambodia  

Tour details: Personal guides are on hand to take you on a tour of the iconic Angkor Archaeological Park for two days at US$96 for two. The guides show you the top sights at the best times of day, and can even arrange for private viewings of the temples.

Alternatively, for US$95 per person, a heritage tour takes you to an 11th century temple somewhat more off-the-beaten-track – Bateay Ampil – along the Ancient Angkorian highway. The walk is about 7 kms and includes dirt road, vegetation and a stop at a small 11th century hilltop temple. After the walk you are provided with bikes for the next 7 kms to another temple and a hotel-organised picnic on the banks of an 11th century man-made lake.  

Contact: +855 63 963 390 or visit www.residencedangkor.com   

Hotel: The Fullerton Hotel Singapore  

Location: Singapore  

Tour details: A Heritage Guided Tour led by a hotel-appointed historian is available to in-residence guests from Mondays to Thursdays from 10-11am and 5-6pm on Saturdays. Registration is done at the concierge’s desk. The tour takes guests to historically significant points in and around the hotel including the former main entrance of the General Post Office, Post Bar (pictured), the former Billiard Room of the prestigious Singapore Club – now the Straits Room – and The Lighthouse, the hotel’s Italian restaurant which used to host a beacon that guided ships approaching Singapore from 1958-1979.  

Combine this with the recently launched A Maritime Journey tour, which focuses more on the hotel’s historic buildings – Customs House, Clifford Pier and The Fullerton Waterboat House – built in the 1900s and 1960s. This tour is between 5-6pm on Fridays and 10-11am on Sundays. The hotel also provides maps of a one-to-three hour walking trail that allows guests to discover landmarks in the neighbouring civic district and surrounding area. Stops include Cavenagh Bridge, Old Supreme Court and City Hall.  

Contact: +65 6733 8388 or visit www.fullertonhotel.com  

Alex Andersson 

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