Plane views The colourful and nostalgic world of vintage airline posters, and how to collect them, is explained by a German graphic designer known only as Michael on his attractive and easy-to-navigate website, Propeller Propaganda. Featuring a couple of hundred posters from his personal compilation – dating mainly from the 1930s to 60s, a time before bland uniformity overtook airline marketing – the site also offers advice on assembling collections by airline, aircraft type, poster artist, destination, artistic style and so on. Upcoming international auctions and exhibitions are listed, along with links to dozens of dealers around the world, and there’s a biographical list of some of the better-known poster artists. For a more passive introduction to classic airline poster art, visit vintageairlineposters.net, where the Simmonds Collection – which is claimed to be the world’s largest collection of vintage airline posters – is presented in slide-show form. Probably the best book on the subject is The Art of the Airways (2002) by Geza Szurovy. It’s out of print but new and used editions, with a preview of the contents, can be found at Amazon.com.
French connections Air France has several cheap early bird fares to European cities (via Paris) on offer at www.airfrance.com.hk, including Madrid and Oslo for HK$4,890, Milan for HK$4,960, Barcelona for HK$5,180 and Venice (above) for HK$5,230. Note that these prices include taxes and fuel surcharges. The last day for early bird booking is this Wednesday, for departures from September 11 to 30 and from January 11 to March 31, but if recent reports of falling visitor numbers to France from China are anything to go by, Air France will likely follow up with a similar promotion, possibly with even lower fares, very soon. It’s also worth keeping an eye on the above website (or subscribing to the e-newsletter) for the brief “flash deals”, which Air France has been running lately, with even lower prices on offer, such as the recent all-inclusive HK$4,000 to Gothenburg in Sweden.
Soneva returns Sonu Shivdasani and his wife, Eva, started the now ubiquitous “barefoot luxury” concept with their first Maldives resort, the rustic, eco-chic Soneva Fushi, back in 1995. Tourism was then still a relatively new concept in the islands (the first resort, Kurumba, had opened only in 1972, when, it’s said, tourists could still get into the country without a passport) and Soneva Fushi was arguably the first really upmarket property to open in the islands. The couple launched Soneva Gili in 2001, but sold it – along with their Six Senses resort and spa empire – in 2012, leaving them with just Soneva Fushi and Soneva Kiri, in Thailand.
Eagerly anticipated among jet-setting old Maldives hands, then, is Soneva Jani, a property due to soft-open on October 1, in the Medhufaru lagoon, in the Noonu Atoll, north of the capital, Malé. Each of its 24 “water villas” will feature a retractable roof for sleeping under, and gazing at, the stars (above right) and a private pool, and several will have a water slide leading from the upper deck down to the lagoon. No special opening offers had yet been posted at time of writing, with 21-day advance-booking rates starting from an eye-watering US$2,777 per night, but the place is already fully booked for the first 10 days. For a virtual visit to the Sonevas Jani and Fushi, go to www.soneva.com.
Deal of the week With reports that an Indonesia-wide ban on alcohol might be on the horizon, now may be a good time to visit Bali. Westminster Travel is selling a three-night Business Class package to the island, starting from only HK$6,590 for twin-room accommodation at the InterContinental Resort from September 16 to October 31. Junior suites at the Ritz-Carlton are offered from HK$7,820 until December 19 while suites at the Anantara Seminyak Resort & Spa are priced from HK$8,530 until the end of October.
More expensive options include a garden-view pool villa at the Banyan Tree Ungasan (above) from HK$11,770 and a pool villa at Alila Villas Uluwatu from HK$13,000, until December 19. These prices (quoted per person, twin share) include business-class flights with Cathay Pacific or Dragonair, breakfast and travel insurance. For more details and reservations, visit www.westminstertravel.com.