Lia Zuo Concierge, The Temple House, Chengdu
Flash your passport at Chengdu Museum to get free entry to a whistlestop tour of Chinese history. Even the building is a talking point, with its new wing of honey-coloured tiles. Next, visit the quaint He Ming Tea House (about ¢30, with free refills): you can play mah-jong under trees, watch tai chi groups waving fans and get hustled by “ear-pickers” who, as the name suggests, offer ear-cleaning for $2 (you’ve got to try it). You’ll see the whole spectrum of society down there; it’s people-watching super plus.
Kaurab Shrestha Concierge, Millennium Hotel, Salalah
If you’re a history buff, go to Khor Rori, or Sumhuram Archaeological Park, to see flamingos and the odd camel wandering around the remains of the Queen of Sheba’s palace. Then go down to Marneef Cave and stand on the blowholes to get completely soaked – the waves are wildest in
the summer months. Refuel with a stop at one of Salalah’s famous coconut huts – they’re the sweetest in the world (trust me) and only cost about ¢50. So that’s your day out in Salalah – with change of $9.50.
Tea Ferrari Concierge, The Times Square Edition, New York
It’s a well-known fact that every classic New York morning starts with a bagel – grab a jelly-topped one for $2.45 from Ess-a-Bagel and head to Central Park for the first rays of sunshine. It won’t cost you a cent to climb New York’s latest art attraction, Vessel, at Hudson Yards. Another fun freebie is the ferry to Staten Island (beats a tourist cruise any day), where you can wave hello to Lady Liberty. Finish back up at Bryant Park in Midtown for one of the free movie nights held during summer.