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Travellers' checks

Adam Nebbs

 

Past presentation Imaginative travellers who yearn for the days when tourism was still a glamorous thrill can get a taste of the 1950s experience with the help of a large-screen television, a Blu-ray player and Flicker Alley's re-release of Cinerama Holiday. Cinerama was a format that used three film cameras and later three projectors to project footage onto a massive curved screen, creating a thrilling and immersive viewing experience not dissimilar to modern Imax presentations. One of the movie industry's several responses to the onslaught of television in the 50s, Cinerama Holiday, released in 1955, was the second Cinerama-format movie and features two couples - one Swiss, one American - travelling to each other's home countries, with a quick trip to Paris for the Americans thrown in. This new Blu-ray release uses 3D mapping technology to recreate the curved-screen effect by presenting it in something called a Smilebox ratio (below), and the bigger your TV, the better and more realistic the results. Flicker Alley released Cinerama Holiday's predecessor, titled This is Cinerama, last year, and that film actually offers rather more of a round-the-world sampling of the format's capabilities, with visits to Venice, Milan, Edinburgh, Niagara Falls, Florida and Vienna. Both travelogues are just over two hours in length and offer plenty of colourful point-of-view footage, from bobsled runs and roller coasters to large-scale stage productions and some impressive aerial shots. Each comes with plenty of extra features and can be found at Amazon.com.

Penta deal China's two pentahotels are offering a good deal for guests staying more than two nights between December 14 and February 14. At both the pentahotel Beijing and pentahotel Shanghai, the nightly rate will drop by 50 per cent from the third night onwards and, as these rates are only 375 yuan (HK$475) and 365 yuan, respectively, to begin with, this is a very good deal (especially when you factor in the free Wi-fi, daily breakfast and well kitted-out, traveller-friendly pentalounges - that in Shanghai is pictured right - at both hotels). If you have friends visiting, you can put them up on similar terms, but from a HK$1,100 per night starting rate, at the new pentahotel Hong Kong, Kowloon. For full details and reservations, visit www.pentahotels.com.

Golden triangular Bangkok Airways, which operates a twice-daily direct service from Hong Kong to Koh Samui, will be providing daily scheduled flights from that island to Chiang Mai, in northern Thailand, from December 1. So now you have the option of a convenient side trip, or a triangular route using Dragonair's Chiang Mai service, if you can find a travel agent who can be bothered to arrange that for you. Anyone planning a stay at the popular Chedi Chiang Mai (top), meanwhile, should note that its manage-ment company, GHM, seems to have had the rug pulled from under its feet by the owners of the property, which is apparently to be known as the Anantara Chiang Mai Resort & Spa from now on. The GHM website informs its visitors that legal action against both parties is now underway, so it might be best to steer clear of the place until the dust has settled.

Deal of the week A four-night package to Fiji is on offer at TLX Travel, with prices starting from HK$6,990 per person, twin share, for accommodation at the fairly modest Mercure Nadi. This is a downtown property and most visitors will want to get a bit further out, to places such as Denarau Island or the Coral Coast. Several hotels and resorts are available at these locations, including the Sheraton Fiji Resort and Shangri-La's Fijian Resort & Spa (top), where package rates start from HK$9,120 and HK$10,410, respectively. Flights are with Fiji Airways, which was rebranded from Air Pacific earlier this year. Daily breakfast and airport transfers are included, but fuel tax and surcharges are not. For further details, a full list of hotels and a selection of optional tours and day trips, go to www.tlxtravel.com.

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