My grandparents had two Himalayan cats, they were wonderful, loving and highly intelligent. I've often thought that if I ever wanted to go looking for a cat (rather than just falling for every stray I see) it would be a Himalayan.
One word of caution, if you are not accustomed to long haired cats, you should be prepared for daily brushing. This is important not only to control shedding and hairballs, but also to prevent matting which can be a serious problem.
Here's the wikipedia entry for Himalayanshttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Himalayan_cat
I think those pictures are a pretty good representation. My grandparents kitties did not have the really smooshed up modern persian face, their's was a little more natural looking, but I'm sure that has to do with breeding for certain features.