It’s strange how details go missing as time passes. Two days ago I blogged about the Hong Kong Trip I took back in June 2007, but I came across old journal entries just after the trip and I thought I’d share them here. A lot more detail and it’s fascinating for me to see which details I retained. Perhaps those are the ones that made the strongest impression on me, even after 5 years. But it also makes me glad I keep a blog which records things as they happen. It’s nice for me to revisit happy moments. Or even sad ones – to know that even those days can pass.
My entry about Langham Place Hotel:
I am finicky about hotel bathrooms, and this one did impress with its white marble interior. The open all-glass concept made the tiny room appear larger. And if you’ve wondered, there are shades you can pull down for privacy.
It was love at first sight with the ‘blissful beds’, the hi tech fixtures like the ipod speakers, touch screen temperature controls and 42 inch plasma TV. The rose, lavender or Japanese tea scented extra complimentary pillows which you can request for (from the pillow menu) are a wonderful touch. The densely soft beds were truly blissful!
My only peeve was that the room was small even though we were upgraded from the deluxe to the executive room (310 square feet versus the 280 square feet for the deluxe) for free as it was my companion’s birthday. The executive rooms which are from the 23rd floor onwards, have a larger TV screen and bath. I can’t imagine how small the deluxe room might have felt. I guess I am making a comparison with Singapore hotel rooms and the even more generous spaced ones in Thailand. I have experienced ones in Japan which are much tinier.
I appreciated facilities like the 24hr free Internet access at the business lounge on the 5th level. They have about 4 laps tops and 3 imacs. At peak hour and if there’s a queue, you’re reminded that each guest is allowed only 20min. Time flies when you’re having fun checking emails and surfing the net.
The rain shower plus the hand-held shower was delightful. A hot shower was the best thing to come back to after long walks through the shopping districts. I brought my pedometer along and clocked nearly 17000 steps a day! A record for a sloth like me who hardly reaches 1000 on most days. My feet did feel like they were gonna fall off my ankles. Each step was excruciating even though I was well equipped with sensible footwear like track shoes. Coming back for a hot shower was a great consolation. The shower at this hotel was one of my best hotel shower experiences with the exception of the Amari Watergate hotel in Bangkok, Thailand where the bathroom had a Jacuzzi as well and was luxuriously huge.
Another impressive aspect of the hotel is its great view and head turning sculptures.
This hotel is conveniently linked at the lobby level by sky bridge/walkway to the 4th level of Langham Place Mall which has all the food outlets like Mos Burger, Delifrance etc. The mall is in turn linked to the Mongkok MTR. In Hong Kong, the MTR is the most convenient way to get around.
The published rate for the deluxe room was HKD 3500 but we were offered HKD 1800 through direct e-mail contact with the reservations staff. More hunting made us realise that we could get an even better rate online; i.e. directly with the hotel booking system. We got the best rate for the 2 nights that did not clash with a travel conference that was on during the period (HKD 1150 and a high rate for the 1 night which did clash with the conference – HKD 1400). This translated to S$410 each for a 3-night twin stay. (about S$136.50 Singapore dollars per night per person) The best part was getting the free upgrade to the executive room which would have cost quite a bit more. I realised it’s good to shop around for rates and to travel at non-peak times and weekdays for the best rates.
About Langham Place Mall:
One of the better malls in Hong Kong, this has an amazingly long escalator which goes up 4 floors. Not recommended if you suffer from vertigo.
Shopping was worthwhile. Brand name T-shirts go for S$20, half the price of the equivalent back in Singapore. At the Citygate Factory Outlet, Evita Peroni Hair Accessories like Scrunchies cost 80% less – S$5 compared to S$25 in Singapore.
And my notes before the trip which make me ecstatic that I have actually visited Osaka since then (a bit of a dream fulfilled when something you think will never materialize does) :
Holidays can be exciting, but the preparation can be quite frustrating, especially when you’re unable to get the flights to the destinations you’ve had your heart set on. The decision was between Hong Kong, Seoul, Osaka, Christchurch or Bintan. Being peak season these were the few places we could actually get flights to using Krisflyer (Singapore Airlines frequent flyer club) points.
The appeal of Bintan’s Angsana resort was that we did not have to fly (flying is not my favourite thing these days). But reading blogs about vacationers throwing up on board the Catamaran to Bintan made me reconsider. I am lucky to not suffer from motion sickness, but to start a holiday with people throwing up around me? Perhaps not.
Christchurch has always been my first option as I’ve dreamt of going to the Scenic South Island of New Zealand with its lovely climate and pure air for the longest time, but New Zealand just can’t be done in a few days and really needs to be explored at leisure. If we ever get to NZ it will be a self drive holiday with a farm stay.
Seoul was another interesting option, the scenary in the Korean flicks and high tech Samsung gadgetry were exciting. I have been to Tokyo but I was also thinking about Osaka this time.
With about the same number of Krisflyer points we could get business saver tickets to Hong Kong instead. It was quite a toss-up. I have never experienced business class before so even though I’ve been to Hong Kong twice already, we decided on this destination. Another factor that tipped the scale was that we managed to get a really good off season rate for the Langham Place Hotel in Hong Kong which is a 5 star hotel right smack in the middle of the action in Kowloon (markets, shopping etc).
The Krisflyer points does not cover the airport and security taxes which come up to S$92 per person for Hong Kong. This was much lower than the taxes for Seoul at S$276 each and Osaka at $231 each. I wonder how come the tax for Hong Kong is so low in comparison. Anyway this was another deciding factor.