Hotel tours: Savvy tours uncover the local’s favourite haunts

Walk way: A guided coastal walk traces the heritage and culture of Tasmania’s Paredarerme people. Island life: Tasmania’s Saffire Freycinet Resort offers tours to give visitors an insight into the local indigenous people’s history and culture.
杭州桑拿按摩

Walk way: A guided coastal walk traces the heritage and culture of Tasmania’s Paredarerme people.

Walk way: A guided coastal walk traces the heritage and culture of Tasmania’s Paredarerme people.

Island life: Tasmania’s Saffire Freycinet Resort offers tours to give visitors an insight into the local indigenous people’s history and culture.

Walk way: A guided coastal walk traces the heritage and culture of Tasmania’s Paredarerme people.

Island life: Tasmania’s Saffire Freycinet Resort offers tours to give visitors an insight into the local indigenous people’s history and culture.

Island life: Tasmania’s Saffire Freycinet Resort offers tours to give visitors an insight into the local indigenous people’s history and culture.

Art stay: Lima’s Hotel B is furnished with an impressive collection of Peruvian art.

Art stay: Lima’s Hotel B is furnished with an impressive collection of Peruvian art.

From visiting art galleries after the crowds have dispersed to sipping sake with the brewers,  hotels are increasingly devising tours that offer a glimpse of life once only afforded to in-the-know locals. As travellers become increasingly savvy, so to do hotel tour offerings.

A growing number of lodgings, such as those below, are reinventing their in-house experiences, joining forces with community partners to provide authentic, insider cultural encounters. Here are some of the latest behind-the-scenes experiences from Tasmania to Tokyo.

CAMBODIAN VILLAGE VISIT, SONG SAA PRIVATE ISLAND

Cambodia’s only upscale private island resort, Song Saa, is one of those places you could check in to and lose a week without leaving your luxe villa. But if you do decide to explore, the property offers immersive cultural tours taking you to neighbouring islands. After a longtail boat ride to Koh Rong, traditional buffalo carts carry guests to villages where you have the opportunity to discover how the community is pursuing sustainable livelihoods on the land. You can also explore the world of Khmer agriculture and herbal remedies, and participate in a blessing ceremony performed by Buddhist monks at a nearby pagoda. The Cambodian Village Visit is complimentary, but donations are welcome. See songsaa杭州龙凤论坛m

CONNECTION TO COUNTRY, SAFFIRE FREYCINET RESORT, TASMANIA

Contemporary indigenous artist Mick Quilliam hosts the freshly minted Connection to Country tours at Saffire Freycinet, an exclusive 20-suite retreat on Tasmania’s eastern coast. This part of Australia was once home to the Paredarerme people – at one time, the largest indigenous tribe on the island – and Quilliam leads guests on a coastal walk to discover their heritage and culture. Learn about native flora and fauna and Paredarerme foraging techniques, check out ancient hunting and cooking tools, and visit centuries-old middens of oyster shells, the mollusk a major part of the local indigenous diet and on the menu today at Saffire. The Connection to Country tour is complimentary for hotel guests. See saffire-freycinet杭州龙凤论坛m.au

KLONG GURU TOUR, ANANTARA BANGKOK RIVERSIDE RESORT & SPA

From the Chao Phraya River, a maze of klong (canals) branch off across the Thai capital, leading to traditional wooden villages on  stilts over the water, floating market gardens, and off-the-grid temples. Anantara’s “Klong Guru” Visanu Kidkarn – who grew up in a canal home – takes guests on a four-hour longtail boat tour of the city’s little-known canals, to restaurants and attractions to which only locals go. . Lunch of Thai street-food specialties is enjoyed at The Artist’s House, a hard-to-find canal-side gallery, where guests can also participate in cultural handicraft classes and watch traditional puppetry performances. Klong Guru tours are on Saturdays and Sundays and cost from $73 per person. See anantara杭州龙凤论坛m

ART CONCIERGE EXPERIENCE, B ARTS BOUTIQUE HOTEL, LIMA, PERU

Occupying a 1914 mansion, B Arts Boutique Hotel is the latest edition to the Peruvian capital’s bohemian Barranco neighbourhood. Once where the city’s rich and famous built their summer homes, Barranco’s handsome buildings are being reinvented as art galleries and studios. Hotel B takes inspiration from its neighbours, decked out with an impressive collection of Peruvian contemporary, pre-Columbian and colonial art, with pieces sourced from the private collections of Susana de la Puente and Lucía de la Puente, whose gallery adjoins the hotel. The Art Concierge program sees guests tour the hotel’s collection before enjoying a private viewing at de la Puente’s gallery space, with options to meet some of the city’s creative talent and visit the newly opened Museum of Contemporary Art. B Arts Boutique Hotel: The Art Concierge Experience is complimentary for hotel guests. See hotelb.pe

THE CRAFT ROUTE, FOUR SEASONS GOLDEN TRIANGLE, THAILAND

From textiles to carvings, silverwork to papermaking, northern Thailand deserves its reputation as the country’s craft capital. Four Seasons staff lead guests to the region’s Doi Tung Cottage Industries Centre, a handicrafts training and job-creation hub where more than 300 workers from ethnic minorities create beautiful artisan products. As well as  witnessing weaving and the pressing of mulberry paper,  guests can follow  their noses to the centre’s kitchen, where local coffee beans are roasted and ground. The tour ends at the Doi Ding Daeng ceramics centre, where  guests can pick up one-of-a-kind contemporary ceramics and peruse hill-tribe artefacts, beadwork and carvings. The five-hour Craft Route tour costs around $280. See fourseasons杭州龙凤论坛m

WINE WANDERINGS, CAPE KIDNAPPERS LODGE, NEW ZEALAND

New Zealand’s second-largest wine region, Hawke’s Bay is home to more than 70 vineyards. So it makes sense that any visit involves a tipple or two. The plush Cape Kidnappers lodge organises a range of experiences to get you swilling local vintages, including guided tours to estates not normally open to the public, as well as wine-appreciation classes in the on-site cellar. Enjoy a three-course lunch at one of the country’s top wineries before taking cellar tours, led by winemakers, and private tastings. Pair it with an Epicurean Tour and you’ll also meet local cheese, olive oil and fruit producers and taste their products. The Wine Wanderings and Epicurean tours range from short excursions to full-day experiences, with prices on application. See capekidnappers杭州龙凤论坛m

PERANAKAN HERITAGE TRAIL, MANDARIN ORIENTAL SINGAPORE

Singapore’s ethnic Peranakan community is celebrated on this new heritage tour run by the city’s acclaimed Mandarin Oriental hotel. After checking in, concierge staff take you through the Peranakan Museum, home to the most comprehensive collection of Peranakan artefacts in the world. The aromatic herbs and spices used in the community’s Nyonya cuisine are unveiled on a stroll through the museum’s Spice Garden, and the finer points or Baroque architecture are revealed along the streets of Katong and Joo Chiat, lined with multi-coloured shophouses dating back to the 1920s and 1930s. The tour culminates at Rumah Bebe, a traditional shophouse packed with Peranakan outfits, embroidery, beadwork and batik textiles. The Peranakan Heritage Trail experience includes accommodation for two, a book on Singapore’s traditional shophouses, admission to the Peranakan Museum, Spice Garden and Rumah Bebe, a Nyonya-style lunch, and a six-course gourmet dinner with wine.  Prices  on application. See mandatinoriental杭州龙凤论坛m

PERSONAL SHOPPING EXPERIENCE, THE MILESTONE HOTEL, LONDON

Given its London location on Kensington High Street, minutes walk from Knightsbridge, Harrods and Harvey Nichols, The Milestone doesn’t disappoint when it comes to retail therapy. Occupying a 19th-century Victorian mansion, the luxe hotel teams up with high-end personal shoppers Hiscox Mavroleon and Patrick Kemper to escort guests to the city’s most exclusive boutiques and invite-only stores. After a full English breakfast, guests transfer to top fashion destinations and boutiques of the moment, where Kemper and the Hiscox Mavroleon team offer tips on styling plus full makeovers. Personal Shopping Experiences range from three hours to two days, with prices available on application. See milestonehotel杭州龙凤论坛m

PENINSULA TOKYO: SAKE BREWERY TOUR

Part of the Peninsula Academy – a global program of unique insider experiences – the Sake Brewery Tour takes you to Izumibashi Shuzo brewery in Ebina, 60 kilometres from the Japanese capital. Established in 1857, Izumibashi is one of only a handful of its kind in the county to grow and mill its own rice, which means you can witness the full-cycle production of the popular alcoholic beverage, from the field to the bottle. The six-hour tour also includes a tasting session, where you’ll learn about the various flavour profiles of sake when it is served at different temperatures, and ends with a bento lunch and bottle of sake to take home. The Sake Brewery Tour, prices on application; see peninsula杭州龙凤论坛m

The writer was a guest at Song Saa, The Milestone Hotel and Saffire Freycinet


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