South Pacific at Its “Peak”


If you still haven’t decided how to spend New Year’s Eve 2009, consider an intimate dinner in Hong Kong, hosted by an expert in local cuisine, followed by a private cruise in Victoria Harbor, complete with a rooftop pyrotechnic show involving more than 40 buildings on both sides of the harbor. The evening’s festivities are part of the premier stop on Abercrombie and Kent travel company’s private jet trip through Asia and the South Pacific, leaving Seattle on December 27, 2008, and returning to Los Angeles January 19, 2009, with stops in Hong Kong, Hanoi, Siem Reap, Bangkok, Bora Bora, Australia, and Tahiti, feasting on local cuisine along the way. The “Southward from the Peak” trip offers 52 guests a seat on the 757-200ER jet, which flies from city to city. Abercrombie and Kent will tailor activities at each destination, arranging access to ruins from the Khmer Empire, a private botanical garden in Australia’s tropical rainforest, and a performance of classical Apsara dancers during a poolside feast in Cambodia. Accommodations throughout the trip include Hanoi’s Metropole Hotel, the Oriental in Bangkok, the St. Regis in Bora Bora, and the Raffles Grand Hotel d’Angkor. The trip is ,350 per person, assuming double occupancy. (800.554.7094,

—Alexandra Foster

Study Abroad


The International Wine Academy of Rome is offering private wine courses set in the luxurious and historic Il Palazzetto, an estate built in the 1500s that overlooks the Spanish Steps in the heart of Rome. The courses will educate visitors about wines from the more popular Barolo and Brunello di Montalcino varietals to little-known, rare local grape varieties Petit Rouge and Malvasia Puntinata. Following the Friday evening course, the estate’s restaurant will host a dinner prepared to accompany the wines studied?and the teachings continue as the instructor introduces and explains the pairings of each wine and dish. And if all the wine finally goes to your head, you are invited to stay at the Hotel Hassler, just a stumble across the road from the academy. The wine excursion is offered on weekends from October 31 to November 30, 2008, and from January 4 to March 12, 2009. (,

Alexandra Foster