Wednesday, September 5, 2012

My First Round-the-World Redemption: Hong Kong

Part III: Hong Kong
Part IV: Hong Kong to Bangkok in CX F
Part V: Bangkok and VIE Hotel Bangkok
Part VI: Bangkok to Tokyo in TG F
Part VII: Narita and Hilton Narita
Part VIII: Narita to Frankfurt in LH F
Part IX: Frankfurt and Sheraton Frankfurt Airport
Part X: Frankfurt to Munich in LH C and Munich to Newark in LH F
Part XI: Conclusion

After using the showers and computers at Cathay Pacific’s Arrival Lounge, I decided to take the Airport Express train to downtown Hong Kong. On the way to downtown Hong Kong, I wanted to stop in Kowloon so I can see the new Ritz-Carlton hotel which occupies the top floors of the International Commerce Center.

International Commerce Center 

Once I arrived at Kowloon Station which is located inside the super-expensive Elements shopping mall, I tried to find the entrance to the Ritz-Carlton but got lost. Not only did I get lost but I also felt out of place because I was wearing a North Face sweater, jeans, and sneakers while the security guards were wearing nice suits and the stores that are located inside the mall are super high-end. I was inside the mall around 9AM on a Sunday so the mall was empty since the stores didn’t open until later in the day.

Elements Mall 

After finding the entrance to the Ritz-Carlton Hong Kong, I felt uncomfortable about coming inside because I definitely was not wearing clothes that one would expect of a Ritz-Carlton guest especially at their Hong Kong location where the cheapest rooms go for $600+ on any given day! However, my curiosity and obsession for luxury, high-end hotels led me to take a quick peek inside the hotel. I was only able to see their ground floor which was still beautiful because their actual lobby is located on the 103th floor. I wish I had photos of the hotel but felt that if I took out my camera to take pictures of the hotel then the eight employees who were mainly bellmen would call security on me because I definitely did not look like a guest.  

Ritz-Carlton Hong Kong Infinity Pool on the 118th Floor

Ritz-Carlton Hong Kong Lobby

Ritz-Carlton Hong Kong Premier Executive Suite
After spending some time inside the hotel, I decided to go to Mong Kok which is located north of Tsim Sha-Tsui which is home to a number of five-star hotels like the Shangri-La and Peninsula Hotel.

The Peninsula Hong Kong and Their Fleet of Rolls Royce!

The reason I chose Mong Kok was because of the infamous Ladies Market. However, nothing was set up by the time I got there because it was still too early. So, I decided to walk around and went inside the Langham Place Hotel so I could get some recommendations on a good dim sum restaurant in the nearby area. The concierge recommended the restaurant inside the hotel but I figured the price would be higher than what I wanted to pay so I asked her for another location and she mentioned Jasmine Garden which is located inside Langham Place Mall which is connected to the hotel via skybridge. I decided to give Jasmine Garden a try but was disappointed with the quality of the food.

After the disappointing meal, I decided that I should get back to HKIA (Hong Kong International Airport) so I can enjoy Cathay Pacific’s lounges before my flight to Bangkok. So, I took the subway from Mong Kok Station to Central Station which is where I did a connection to the Airport Express.

On the way to HKIA via Airport Express! 

When I arrived at HKIA, I went to the First Class check-in counters to make sure that my checked bags were properly tagged to Bangkok. From there, I went to “The Wing” which is a Business and First Class lounge. Unfortunately, I was unable to use the cabanas which were only for First Class passengers because of the renovation. However, I was able to enjoy some amazing shrimp wonton at the Noodle Bar which I highly recommend!

Business Class Seating Area in "The Wing" 

Noodle Bar in "The Wing"
From there, I decided to visit “The Pier” which is a First Class lounge since it was near my departure gate. After arriving at “The Pier”, I was rather disappointed because there are no windows and it felt rather crowded compared to “The Wing” which has high-rise ceiling. While I was waiting, I met up with a FlyerTalker who I was able to guest in because he was a Business Class passenger and therefore wouldn’t have access to this lounge.

After enjoying some company, I realized that it was time to board for my flight to Bangkok. Fortunately, there was no last minute equipment change for my flight which meant I was able to fly in a plane where I was closer to the nose of the aircraft than the pilots since I secured seat 1A! 

Cathay Pacific Boeing 747