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No, the W Barcelona hasn't turned into one of those European shopping malls with cars being raffled off by pretty women in tight dresses. The answer is pretty simple, actually: Starwood is gearing up to announce a new partnership to sponsor the Mercedes-Petronas Formula One team, and just in time for the press conference tomorrow, an actual formula one race car has been put on display in the lobby, for guests to admire.
We're used to just seeing cool art, a cocktail bar, and maybe some of that weird signature W grass in lobbies. But a race car? That'll do nicely!
We're lovin' our rev-head friends this week: but today's deal is even better than getting a good view of a Formula One race. The Casanova Hotel in Barcelona has an F1 Racing Package that lets you do some of the driving. Yep, way better to risk your own life than just to watch someone else risk theirs (sorry, that was our mother talking).
The F1 Racing Package at Casanova gets you two nights' accommodation with breakfast and airport transfers, plus you get to race a Porsche Cayman around the Montmelo F1 track. Well, not exactly race but you do get to drive five fast laps, after getting a bit of training. Pay more and you can go for a Ferrari or a Lamborghini, if you prefer.
So if speed is the aim of your holiday, cough up your 1,185.56 (around US$1,800) and head to Barcelona. Yes, that's seriously the price they quote for the package, we're guessing because it includes some weird rate of VAT. You might find the 56 cents if you dig around under the back seat of the Porsche.
Here's one for all you motorheads out there. You probably knew even before we did that 2008 sees the Formula One return to Singapore, and on top of that it's going to be the world's first night-time F1 Grand Prix.
The real experts also know it's one of just three anti-clockwise circuits out there, which is bound to make it even more exciting (or at least trickier).
So you've got a few choices. Slum it with the rest of the race watchers or shell out some cash and stay at the fancy Fullerton Hotel, which has an F1 Experience package going for S$2000 (US$1450) a night, with a minimum stay of four nights from September 25-29.
F1 lovers at the Fullerton will get access to an F1 dedicated champagne and cocktail lounge on qualifying day and race day too, along with exclusive access to the rooftop viewing platform overlooking the track.
A few other freebies are thrown in: champagne in your room when you arrive, WiFi, daily champagne breakfast and a complimentary minibar--but don't get too excited since that doesn't include the alcohol.
[Photo: Panda 229]