Lurking among the thousands of colourful old airline timetables on display at timetableimages.com is a selection issued by Hong Kong Airways – a small flag carrier that operated regional flights from 1947 until it was taken over by Cathay Pacific in 1959.
The timetables from 1958 and 1959 are particularly notable for containing articles and advertising, making them curious time capsules of Hong Kong’s early tourism trade. Hotels advertised include the Miramar, Peninsula and Astor, in Tsim Sha Tsui, as well as such long-forgotten places as the Carlton Hotel, out on Tai Po Road, in northern Kowloon, and the New Ritz Hotel and adjoining New Ritz Swimming Pool, in North Point. Among the more familiar advertisers are Lane Crawford, Jimmy’s Kitchen and Dairy Farm, which in those days provided in-flight catering to Hong Kong Airways and, it says, “all other major airlines”.
Brief illustrated articles feature the opening of the Hong Kong Tourist Association’s first office in the arcade of the Peninsula hotel, and visits by noteworthy passengers, including three Japanese fashion models and a female “mathematical wizard” from India.
Company staff are also profiled. Mezzo-soprano and student of the Royal Irish Academy of Music Bessie Pei Hsien Yang, readers learn, gave up a career in music to be a “flight stewardess”. A column is also contributed, apparently for one issue only, by pilot Captain David Lampard, who, like most of his colleagues at the airline, saw active service with the Royal Air Force during the second world war.
Now you can travel light thanks to a new Japanese rental website
Locarry.com is a new Japan-based website that aims to connect people who like to travel light with locals who are willing to lend or rent them various requisites.
The pickings are still fairly slim, but the plan is that eventually visitors will be able to find everything from basic clothing (“coat, jacket, shirt, bottoms [sic] and shoes”) to cosplay gear and kimonos, as well as equipment for sports (“snowboard, ski and surfboard”), photography gear and so on.
This could be a useful site once it gets going, especially perhaps for travellers visiting Japan on a carry-on-bag-only ticket with a low-cost carrier and who could use a good winter coat in Hokkaido, or diving gear in Okinawa. As well as arranging for your own travel needs in advance, you can also sign up to lend or rent items to travellers visiting Hong Kong.
Site registration is free and easy, and there are no commission fees.
Grand Hyatt Athens replaces the old Ledra
Opened in 1980, the Athens Ledra Marriott was known as one of the best hotels in Greece – until Marriott pulled out at the end of 2013. The hotel continued, but with a downturn in tourism and national economic woes, it closed in 2016, against a noisy backdrop of angry demonstrations by unpaid staff. After several reported sale attempts, an American buyer was found last year, and this month the hotel has been unveiled as the Grand Hyatt Athens.
Only the second Hyatt property in the country (joining the 20-year-old Hyatt Regency Thessaloniki), the 309-room hotel is currently offering discount opening rates at athens.grand.hyatt.com.
Deal of the week – a three-night package at The Pavilions Phuket
A double upgrade from Spa & Pool Pavilion to Tropical Pool Villa at The Pavilions Phuket is on offer at Connexus Travel for bookings made before August 30 (for stays until March). The package price for this three-night deal starts from HK$4,390 per person, twin share, or there is the option of a Hill View Suite with no upgrade (but with free evening cocktails and tapas) from HK$3,560.