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Tag-Archive for "Hong Kong"

Traders Hong Kong–modern, small room and not the best location Aug 12

IMG_2768My wife and I had only one night in Hong Kong in connection with a trip to Korea from Europe. I chose Traders hotel in Hong Kong as I am a Golden Circle Jade member and there are some perks involved in that Smile We arrived quite late at the hotel as we had been a bit delayed and I had arranged for pickup from the hotel. This turned out to be a large bus that had to drop off a few other people before driving us to Traders hotel and hence it took more time than expected.

IMG_2769The check in was fast and we got a room “upgrade” – I had booked the cheapest room as we were only staying there for the night but we were upgraded to a room with a harbor view. The bed was more queen size than king size but then again hotel rooms in Hong Kong are a bit on the small side. There was also a desk with a chair, I got welcome gift due to my Jade membership, we got some complimentary water and there was a small fridge with some drinks. The room also included a wardrobe with a couple of robes, a small safe and iron/ironing board. The room itself was with a beige carpet and light walls and we had a view of the ocean but we didn’t see much of the main harbor as that was blocked by other skyscrapers.

The bathroom was tiled and in light colors. It featured the same amenities that I’m used to when staying at Traders in Kuala Lumpur and there was a bathtub with a shower option (by using a shower curtain).

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We had breakfast at Cafe508 on the lower levels. The breakfast did include most of the stuff that you want for breakfast but maybe we came just after the main rush as it seemed pretty empty and “dirty”.

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P1000155Located on Queen’s Road West it is not the ideal location of a hotel. The hotel is on Hong Kong Island and a bit west of the center. Both my wife and I had problems getting our taxi drivers to drive us to the hotel even if we tried to say the name of the road. I was on Queen’s Road central and ask my driver to continue west as I knew the road would turn from Queen’s Road Central to Queen’s Road West and the taxi driver just suggested hotels along the way. But note that it is not far to walk to the nearest tram stop and from here you can take the tram to get on the subway. Taxi can be expensive in Hong Kong as it seems like the passenger has to cover the toll when driving through the tunnels from Kowloon to Hong Kong Island.

I’m not sure that one night at a hotel gives you enough inside to make a good review. But the bed was comfortable and room was nice but I think I would pick a more centrally located hotel if I was going to spend many days in Hong Kong.

Gard – trip reports and pictures

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The world’s tallest hotel opens: Ritz-Carlton in Hong Kong Mar 22

It seems like hotels are opening in tall buildings around the world…Armani Hotel in Burj Khalifa in Dubai, Grand Hyatt at Jin Mao building in Shanghai etc. But now there is a new hotel that takes the title as the world’s tallest hotel. During these days the Ritz-Carlton opens in the International Commerce Centre in Hong Kong. The building itself is about 490 meters (1590 ft) tall and it is at the time the 4th tallest skyscraper in the world and the hotel itself occupies the floors from 102nd to 118th floor!! If you get a room with a view towards Hong Kong Island the view must be just spectacular – and there is even an indoor pool on the 118th floor. But staying at the hotel will of course come at a price – the rooms seems to start at about 4500 Hong Kong Dollar when looking at the hotel homepage – about 600 USD. But if you can’t afford staying there you can always go to the observation deck on the 100th floor called Sky100 Winking smile. Check out more information on the hotel homepage.

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Review of Sheraton Hong Kong Oct 12

I stayed at the Sheraton Hotel & Towers in the end of September 2009. The room was booked online at the SPG site and it was 1400 Hong Kong Dollar (approx. about 170 USD). I chose the Sheraton as I’m Starwood preferred guest and as it was located in the same area that I stayed in the last time I was on HK…at Tsim Sha Tsui in Kowloon. I got to the hotel by taking the airport express train into the Kowloon station (costing 90 HKD) and from there I took a taxi to the hotel and it was only like 5-10 minutes and cost 35 HKD (4.5 USD). Click below to read the entire review of my stay at the hotel and see photos and videos :-)


Eating out in Hong Kong Sep 28

So where do you go to eat and what do you eat when you reach a new place? That is always the question. Well, thanks to I met up with some locals tonight and went out to eat with them. We went to a place that by Norwegian standards probably would have been closed by the food inspection services….but it was really excellent. But just to give you an idea of the place….it was pouring down outside and there were just plastic walls to keep the rain out. Inside there were large, round wooden tables with small plastic stools to sit on. The concept here was that we had to wash our own chopsticks, plates, glasses etc in tea! And when I asked for a bathroom I was led to the “back yard” and I just had to pee there. The food was excellent and here is the food presented by Ada :-)

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Flight to Hong Kong – Lufthansa First Class Sep 28

At about 5.30 PM one of the staff came over to me in the lounge and said ”Mr. Karlsen. The flight to Hong Kong is ready for boarding”. So I packed my stuff together and went with him downstairs where I got my passport back from the First Class lounge tiny little passport control and then I was handed over to a driver that took me to her Mercedes S400 Hybrid…she told me that they had only had the car for about 2 weeks so it was brand new. The Lufthansa First class lounge experience was great – the service was impeccable and both food and drink selection impressive – going to a SAS lounge after this will never be the same.

My driver took me to the Lufthansa 747-400 plane and she walked me to the door of the plane before she said goodbye and I was handed over to the staff on board. It has been a long time since I had the pleasure of walking up the stairs to the top floor of a 747. The Lufthansa first class is located on the upper deck of the 747 and there are about 16 seats there. They seem to be a bit old and I understand that an upgrade is being planned in the end of this year. I had seat 83 K which is by the emergency exit so there was lots of space. But note that there is a permanent “trolley” here where they store drinks. Some have mentioned this as a problem but I didn’t think this was an issue.

My FA asked me right away if I wanted something to drink…so I went for the Champagne, The champagne of the day was Piper-Heidsieck Cuvee Rare. I have to say that after being through Bollinger, Taittinger, Taittinger Rose and several types of red wines in the lounge, I was not really capable to tasting the fine qualities of the Piper-Heidsieck – but it seemed pretty good. When I asked my FA what kind of champagne I was drinking he informed me and then he asked “Why? You didn’t like it?” – not sure why he assumed that. After about 40 minutes we were pushed back and rolled across their airport to get ready for takeoff. Takeoff feels different when seated on the upper floor that’s for sure. Before takeoff we got slippers, a toiletry bag and pajamas. The FA asked about my size and I was like “I don’t know…what do you think?” He seemed a bit bothered by this – I guess he have heard it before. But I ended up with Large to extra large that was a bit too big for me.   The toiletry bag was pretty big but didn’t really contain that much. Ear plugs in a holder, a tooth brush and tooth paste, a comb, a face mask, a moisturizer and a shoe horn.

After takeoff we got a warm cloth soaked in water. I’m not sure what fragrance that was used but the scent was great :-) After about 30 minutes in the air the first class started their service  by putting a cloth on the table and handing out an appetizer…tuna fish with orange or something like that, I even got a real rose stuck in a hole next to my table. It was a nice touch I guess but it is not something I will miss if they remove it from the service. The tuna fish was great but it would have been great if they staff had informed me about what was being served. I also got menus by the way explaining what kind of drinks and food that I could expect

For starter I had the option of Caviar, crawfish, watermelon with goat cheese and tartar of goose breast. Next course was the option between a salad or spicy lemongrass soup and main course options were prawn, mushroom and pancetta stew, swordfish with beans, pumpkin ravioli and sugar or spice duck breast.
My FA took my order and while I was waiting I watched a bit of Angels & Demons on the TV screen. And this is one area where Lufthansa scores pretty low. The screen for each seat is TINY and can’t be compared to the Emirates option at all. When I flew Emirates A380 on business class I had a 17” screen or something  like that and on Lufthansa it is like 10”. But it is video on demand so you can pause it and stuff but the screen is jus t too tiny. About 1 hour into the flight the start was served and I got a nice portion of caviar. I think caviar is a bit like fois gras….it is great but only in small quantities :-)

I guess the FA had seen that I was taking a lot of photos so she kindly offered to take a photo of me ;.) The female FA did a good job by the way but I’m not sure I understand why she kept on addressing me in German to start with every time she spoke to me. Yes, I know that you would all like people to talk German but it is not really going to happen just because you start your conversation in German ;-)
The caviar was served with lemon, onion and some kind of sour cream on the side. From there we moved on to the salad which was a bit on the boring side but still pretty good.  For main course I chose the duck breast with polenta and spinach. Not bad at all and the duck has a lot more character than e.g. chicken.  But the combination of a chunk of meat, a scoop of polenta and a heap of spinach doesn’t really scream fine dining.

When dessert came around my female FA just skipped me for some reason…I guess she looked at me and thought “You’ve had enough” or maybe it was just a slip of the mind ;-) But I grabbed my male FA and asked him if I could get the pear tart with brown butter ice cream which tasted great with some decaf coffee and some Baileys. So after a loooong day it was time to call it the night. I went to bathroom and brushed my teeth and slipped into the pajamas and went to sleep. The chair was actually very comfortable as a bed and it felt like it was possible to recline it all the way back to a proper bed. I did sleep until I was woken up for breakfast ;-)

When I was woken I had a slight hang over from the drinks last night but that’s how the cookie crumbles right? ;-) Once again we were handed the cloth that smelled excellent and I also used the opportunity to slip into normal clothing again. The breakfast was a bit strange…the female FA asked if I wanted muesli but what I got was some sort of sour cream mix…and then I got honni corn on the side. I was not sure that that was it…but all of a sudden I was also asked if I wanted some scrambled eggs and bacon. All in all not a bad breakfast but it would have been great to get some information about the options…or maybe I didn’t read the breakfast menu well enough.

All good things come to an end right? And after about a 10 hour and 30 minute flight it was time to land in Hong Kong. After a steep descend we landed at Chek Lap Kok airport in Hong Kong. If I were to give a conclusion of this flight I would say that Lufthansa delivers a very good product from the lounge to the flight experience. The service on board was good and even with their old layout, the seat was very comfortable and gave me a good night sleep. The food amd drink selection was also very nice. One area where there is room for a lot of improvement is of course when it comes to personal entertainment. The screen today is just too small compared to the competitors and even if “Size doesn’t matter” it was still just too tiny. When I checked the price of a round class ticket on first to HK, I think it was like 75000 Kroner (about 13.000 USD). I wouldn’t mind flying first class every time I travel but I’m not willing to spend that much on the ticket ;-) So I guess I have to save up some SAS points again so I can try out first class on a different airline.

Get in touch if you have any questions or comments :-)

Join me at the Lufthansa First Class terminal Sep 26

About to enter Lufthansa First Class terminal in Frankfurt

Flight to Frankfurt Sep 26

The flight to Frankfurt was pretty standard apart from the fact that it took 2 1/2 hours as there was a “traffic jam” at Frankfurt airport. Here are some photos and videos.

How did he know…. Sep 26

I had a very early flight today and I came to the airport at about 5.30 AM. Stavanger airport is getting too small it seems like because once again there was quite a lot of chaos. I went to the lines where you can normally find Lufthansa business class check in but this was all of a sudden replaces by Thomas Cook as there was a plane leaving for “syden” (charter plane to the south of Europe). All of a sudden this SAS employee comes up to me and says without further introduction and like he read my mind “There is a bit of chaos here and the business check in counter is not open. But here is your boarding card” And then he handed me the boarding pass in a Lufthansa First class folder. How did he know that I was the right person to hand the boarding card to?? Anyway, great service from the guy and SAS :-) He told me to just cut in line for the baggage drop as I was flying business but when I came over to the one baggage drop counter the guy there wouldn’t have anyone trying to bypass the line. So he told me to just get in line…and it was loooooong. So I went over to the guy who handed me the boarding pass and he kindly took me to a empty check in counter so that I could drop by luggage there. Thanks for the great service ;-)

I’m going to Hong Kong :-) Jul 28

A few years back Nikki and I went to China and Hong Kong was one of the stops on the way (check out the Hong Kong trip report here). The only problem was that I caught a cold in Beijing and by the time we came to Hong Kong I felt miserable. And to top it off….this was in 2003 and it was just when the SARS virus hit town. All in all the visit was not a huge success to say the least. But now I’m going to check it out again – in September I will visit the city once again and hopefully I will be in better shape this time and hopefully I will be left with a more positive impression of the city. Have you been to Hong Kong? Feel free to get in touch if you have any recommendations when it comes to must see places, places to eat, bars with a view etc.

Here is one video from YouTube

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