Apr 9, 2014

Lovin' the Conrad in Hong Kong

Hong Kong is often our entry city into Asia. It is a wonderful place to visit so we usually plan to spend three or more days there getting adjusted to the time difference.  Hong Kong is comprised of Kowloon Peninsula and 100s of islands. Getting from the airport on Chek Lao Kok Island to the Conrad Hotel on Hong Kong Island was very smooth as it always is in HK. After picking up our baggage we bought a ticket and boarded the sleek train that took about 30 minutes to get to Hong Kong Island where there are normally buses to transport people to their hotels but is was near midnight so the buses were not running but there was a line of taxis waiting so the transition was as smooth as possible. I wish it was that easy everywhere. 

The Conrad is located on the top 61 floors above Pacific Place shopping area.  The views from our room and the 59th floor Executive Lounge were mesmerizing. We have been to HK many times in the last 15 years and it seems each year there is a new jaw-dropping building in the skyline. The city has more than 1200 skyscrapers and more buildings over 500 feet than any other city.  

Hong Kong has wonderful parks and Hong Kong Park is just steps
from the Conrad. It has walking trails, fountains, ponds, an aviary, and a variety of other attractions.  It is home to the Tea Museum. Taking a walk in a park is a great way to eliminate jetlag. Another park we visited had an exercise area. The equipment was rather simple with senior citizens in mind. One of the activities was supposed to improve circulation by walking shoeless over upright small stones. Truthfully, it is a bit painful.  I think all parks should have such an area. Another park had a display of herbs with descriptions of their medicinal benefits.

Another thing that we love about Hong Kong is the Tourist Boards Kaleidoscope offerings.  They are only available to foreign visitors. There is a HK Tourist Board desk in the airport where arriving visitors can sign up and another in Kowloon near the Star Ferry Terminal. It is necessary to show one’s passport in order to sign up. Some of the programs fill up fast and a couple charge a nominal fee. We have enjoyed several of these free or nearly free activities including Cantonese Opera Appreciation Class which we highly recommend.  Once we understood the history plus the
nuances of the makeup and costuming we found the performance very enjoyable. We really enjoyed our Tea Appreciation Class at the museum in Hong Kong Park but there is so much to learn about tea and tea ceremonies that we need to take the class again. There is a tour for everyone interested in learning about Chinese history and culture from tai chi to feng shui to Chinese medicine and much more.  I wish more cities offered such programs.  There are also self-guided walks and other free things to do plus most museums are free one day a week.  

It often pays to upgrade to Club Level. HK Conrad Hotel’s Executive Club Level includes breakfast, tea time, cocktail hour with a bevy of offerings which, for us, usually serves as dinner, plus internet making it a great value. I liked the presentation of some of the food items in trendy canning jars.