One of the more infamous "video nasties" when it was released on VHS and Betamax in the early 1980s, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974) might not seem the obvious choice for a new hotel theme. One fan of the movie, though, is soon to open just such a property at one of its primary locations - the Last Chance service station, in the small town of Bastrop, in central Texas. Out back will be four cabins for accommodation, and there will be a souvenir shop, a restaurant (unwary diners should probably avoid the chilli), a small museum and a live-music venue. The new owner has also installed replica fuel pumps and other movie-correct fixtures and fittings, which should enhance viewers' enjoyment of the film, which will be playing on a loop on several television screens around the property. The hotel is expected to open this summer, with a couple of the original actors in attendance to cut the ribbon. For more, see www.facebook.com/texaschainsawmassacregasstation.
Looking down Flyover Country is a new app that shows places of interest that you are flying over - from the seat of your plane, and without the need for an internet connection. To get started, just tap your places of departure and arrival on the map, click to download the flight path, and then save it for offline use during your flight. Your device's GPS function will show your location, altitude, speed and heading, as well as many numbered points of interest on the map (there are several choices of map format), which link to Wikipedia articles when tapped. It's a fun way to try and identify what you're looking at far below if you have a window seat on a clear day, and much more informative than the seat-back map if you're wondering what's down below on a night flight, flying over cloud or sitting away from a window. The app was developed with funding from the United States National Science Foundation, which is why there are also options to view geological formations and dinosaur fossil locations, although these can be turned off to save memory. Short-haul regional flight paths from Hong Kong use up about 15MB for the initial download, which is best done from home with a Wi-fi connection, and these can be deleted after your flight. It can also be used for road trips, hiking, cruises and other ground-level activities. Flyover Country is free of charge but you'll need Android 4.1 or iOS 8.3 or later for the GPS function to work in airplane mode. For more information, visit fc.umn.edu.
Crowded canals Be prepared for longer queues for the city's vaporetti, or public water buses, if you're planning to visit Venice this summer. Residents have long complained (and rightly so) about tourists crowding them out in high season, and now the local government has decided to give them boarding priority at eight of the busiest vaporetto stops. The trial separation between Venetians (who pay €1.50 [HK$13] per single journey ticket) and foreigners (who pay €7.50) is due to begin in June, at stops on the Canal Grande and the islands of Burano, Murano and Lido.
Deal of the week Just a handful of hotels are on offer with Farrington Vacations' two-night Shanghai package, but they are all worth a look. Cheapest is the Swissotel Grand Shanghai, in Jingan district, which is priced from HK$2,250 per person, twin share. Rooms at the Okura Garden Hotel, which occupies the colonial-era French sporting club in the old French Concession, start from HK$2,390, while somewhat higher up the luxury scale, you can stay at The PuLi - which describes itself as "an urban resort" - from HK$3,690. Topping the price list are the Park Hyatt and The Peninsula, which are offered from HK$3,950 and HK$4,350, respectively. These rates, which include flights with Dragonair and daily breakfast, will be available until the end of August, but with some flight surcharges from July 8. Outbound flights from Monday to Thursday are only available after 3pm. For full details, go to www.farringtonvacations.com.hk.