Watch this space Recalling a time before tourism fell victim to the banality of modern marketing, Nasa's Jet Propulsion Laboratory is encouraging Earthlings to ponder the prospect of commercial space travel with a series of retro-style posters. Five of these appeared online last year, but they, along with nine new designs, are now available for high-definition, poster-sized download at www.jpl.nasa.gov/
visions -of-the-future. Three of the posters (below) are the work of Don and Ryan Clark, of design studio Invisible Creature. The Clarks' grandfather, Al Paulsen, worked as a graphic designer and illustrator for Nasa in the 1960s, and their contributions are among the more authentic-looking. All 14 posters can be downloaded free of charge, ready to be printed and framed. If you're interested in collecting genuine posters from the golden age of travel, posterclassics. com has a good selection of original items categorised under aviation, boats, international travel, Italian travel and French travel. More affordable alternatives can be found at vintagevenus.com.au, where high-quality travel-poster prints are for sale on fine art paper or canvas.
A room with a brew Shangri-La Hotels & Resorts opened its first hotel in China in Hangzhou, in late 1984. This month, more than 30 years and almost 50 Chinese hotels later, the company returned to its roots with the Midtown Shangri-La, Hangzhou. The 417-room hotel, a five-minute walk from West Lake, offers all the expected comforts and amenities, but is perhaps most notable for its Midtown Brewery, a gastropub manned by a resident brew master and offering a selection of ales, porters, lagers and stouts. To mark its opening, the hotel is offering launch rates starting from 1,100 yuan (HK$1,300) per night, with daily breakfast. For further details, visit www.shangri-la.com/midtown.
Off the beaten tracks Anecdotes and yarns from British travel writer Tom Chesshyre's many years spent travelling by train will be published in April in a new collection titled Ticket to Ride: Around the World on 49 Unusual Train Journeys. Chesshyre, whose other travel books include To Hull and Back: On Holiday in Unsung Britain and Gatecrashing Paradise: Misadventures in the Real Maldives, takes the reader along for the ride in China, America, Australia, France, North Korea, Turkey, Iran, India, Sri Lanka, Finland, Russia, Lithuania, Kosovo and other "far-flung corners of the globe". Going straight to paperback, it's available for pre-order at Amazon.com for £9.99 (HK$111).
Family value The Datai Langkawi is inviting families to get back to nature amid the Malaysian island's ancient rainforest with a Family Escapade package. Priced at just over HK$3,000 per night, the offer includes one night's accommodation in a Canopy Deluxe room, daily breakfast for two adults and two children, free meals for children, guided children's activities with a resident marine biologist, a family walk with a resident naturalist, complimentary alcohol-free mini-bar, free Wi-fi, a late 3pm checkout and round-trip airport transfers. The package will be available from Friday to July 5 and from September 1 to December 23. For more information, click on Offers at www.thedatai.com/langkawi.
Deal of the week There are some cheap deals to be had with Charlotte Travel's two-night Bangkok Early Bird Promo package if you book by this Thursday. The best hotel in the lower price range is the Ibis Bangkok Riverside, which is available from HK$1,890 per person, twin share. Plenty of higher-end hotels are offered for not much more, however, including the Banyan Tree and Conrad (both from HK$2,590), the Peninsula (from HK$2,890) and the Grand Hyatt Erawan (from HK$3,090). The St Regis is priced from HK$3,290 but a free third night is offered for guests checking in any time from April 20 to the end of June (when all these prices will end). Flights with Thai Airways and daily breakfast are included. For a longer list of hotels, and reservations, go to www. charlottetravel.com.hk and scroll to the bottom of the page to find the International Packages link.