Wild style The Wildwoods Shore Resort Historic District, to the southwest of Atlantic City, in New Jersey, is home to an incredible collection of 1950s and 60s motels. Built in a unique American architectural style known today as Doo Wop, these fantastically kitsch buildings are classified in evocative sub-styles that suggest their retro designs, including BlastOff, Vroom, Chinatown Revival, Tiki and Phony Colonee. Several dozen remain in business out of the more than 300 that once spread across the Wildwoods district, with inviting names such as the Astronaut, the Singapore, the Ocean Holiday Motor Inn, the Apollo Resort Motel, the American Safari, the Aztec and the Caribbean. A new book, titled Out of Season: The Vanishing Architecture of the Wildwoods, by Mark Havens, provides a photographic tour of the area for the coffee-table traveller.
Havens spent 10 years capturing “the kitsch and nostalgic aesthetic of Wildwood’s unique, modernist architecture” and his book features a number of motels that have sadly been demolished. Also worth looking at is Doo Wop Motels: Architectural Treasures of The Wildwoods (2007), by Kirk Hastings.
These fabulous old properties, says Hastings, “are imagination run wild, with soaring ramps and crazy angles. They are visual wonders, with boomerang roofs, slanted walls, and kidney-shaped swimming pools. They are nostalgia, reminding us of a simpler, more optimistic time.” To find out more about the Wildwoods and its weird and wonderful motels online, visit www.doowopstuff.com and www.doowopusa.org, home of the Doo Wop Preservation League.
Travels with Tintin One of the world’s best-travelled fictional characters, whose adventures have taken him from Shanghai to Africa, will be celebrated at the Journal Tintin Rally in his native Belgium, on September 4. Part of the Brussels Comic Strip Festival (from September 2 to 4), the rally will see more than 80 Tintin fans motoring in from far and wide to show off vehicles that have appeared in various Tintin books, with many drivers and passengers suitably dressed and made-up (above).
Hergé’s Tintin books are known for depicting cars, motorcycles and other vehicles with unusual accuracy and an interactive list of more than 170 of them can be found at dardel.info/tintin/tout.html. There are no direct flights between Hong Kong and Brussels, but you can get there via several European cities with a connecting Brussels Airlines flight. If you’re lucky you might even find yourself on the carrier’s Tintin-themed Airbus A320, which took to the skies last year.
Tokyo on tap Hoshino Resorts has just opened what it describes as Tokyo’s first luxury ryokan, or traditional Japanese inn, in the Otemachi district of the Japanese capital, not far from the Imperial Palace and Tokyo Station.
Hoshinoya Tokyo is the first urban project by the company, which has been in the ryokan business for more than 100 years, and the 17-storey building’s latticed-metal-clad, kimono-patterned exterior (above) contains perhaps the most authentic traditional Japanese accommodation in the city. Facilities include an onsen bath with water from a subterranean hot spring that was unearthed only two years ago, while guest rooms and the restaurant are pure Japanese in both service and design. For a look inside, go to hoshinoyatokyo.com/en.
Deal of the week Swire Travel is selling a package in partnership with Accor Hotels with two, three or four nights’ accommodation in a choice of several mainland cities. These include the Novotel Beijing Xin Qiao from HK$2,690/ HK$3,060/ HK$3,440 for two/three/four nights; the Mercure Chengdu North from HK$2,230/ HK$2,420/ HK$2,630; the new Sofitel Kunming from HK$2,470/HK$2,880/HK$3,290 and the Pullman Xiamen Powerlong from HK$1,820/HK$2,290/HK$2,790. These prices include round-trip flights with either Cathay Pacific or Dragonair and daily breakfast, and are offered for departure until August 30. For full details and reservations, look for the China Accor Hotels Summer Promotion at www.swiretravel.com.