A little about the first hours in Hong Kong and short hotel review

Hong Kong Travel Blog

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Paivi and I basically crashed out at 9:30pm last night after getting in to the hotel, which was perfect. Jet lag really worked in our favor as we were both thrilled to be up and about at 6:30 the next morning

Hotel Aside: The Langham Hotel is apparently pretty old, but the insides are gorgeous. Our smallish room was obviously in the “you got your tickets from Travelocity at a discount” sections of the hotel (more on that later), but it was comfortable and nicely laid out for what we needed. The décor is of the dark wood and gold curtains variety with two beds (not one, which was a surprise). Our view was nothing to speak of, but that’s what going outdoors is for. The hotel does supply a single power converter for your electronics and I found the fact that the bathroom had a shower AND separate tub pretty cool.

The neatest and most unexpected (and the cause of brief embarrassment) thing about the room, though, was the fact that most of the lights, the AC, maid service, and “do not disturb” requests are all electronically networked. What that means is that, from my bed, I can turn on half the room lights, turn on the bedroom lights, turn on an external do not disturb indicator, and call for out-of-cycle maid service. All of this requires that you keep your keycard in a slot in the wall and –bang-it works. The only issue with this scheme, though, is that if you’re not aware of how it works already, trying to figure out which button does what – IN THE DARK – can be hard. I ended up pressing the maid service button 5 or six times trying to get the lights on. Both of us were somewhat surprised as she opened the door 20 minutes later while I was in my boxers. Oh well. It’s not like I was in the throws of passion with a leather Buddha or something. No harm done. J

My only initial complaint was that the beds were both –really- hard, but after sleeping the night in them I think either I’ve been too tired to care or they have some hidden comfort property that I just cant see from the outside.

Oh, yeah, and this hotel apparently is undergoing construction from 8am – 6pm. When w briefly returned later the afternoon from a trip out, the whole floor was vibrating, the walls were shaking, and the noise was horrendous. At least we were well motivated not to crash there the whole afternoon!

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So we got in Thursday evening pretty much on time. The flight went as well as could be expected. I got most of the way through Harry Potter, did a couple of sketched of people who’s photos I’d taken with me, played some Civ IV, etc.  The first 11 hours were perfectly peach, but after that it got hard. I think it was mostly because I was really tired but still too uncomfortable to sleep. I had to resign myself to listening to an ipod and watching our snail-like progress on the monitors.


The only real anomaly was the poor 8-10 year old girl sitting next to me who was airsick from the time we took off until the time we landed. She went through at least 8 sick bags during the flight. 


The descent was gorgeous and the surroundings looked exactly like you think Asia should look like: pointy hills and mountains, the sun low in the sky, and lots of fog.


Unfortunately, I was pretty exhausted by the time we got off the plane and I hadn’t made any real concrete plans earlier to get to the hotel from the airport. We looked into the hotel shuttle but, while the cost was low, it would’ve taken us well over an hour to get to the hotel that way. Ultimately, a taxi seemed the most convenient route, if the most expensive.


Some guy nearby in the airport nearby asked us if we needed a taxi and I, being as tired as I was, didn’t think to tell Paivi not to say yes. This guy (who’s type is usually banned from most airports), flashed us something that was obviously supposed to look “official” and proceeded to lead us –away- from where I thought the taxis should be.  Luckily, I wasn’t completely gone and was going to pin him down on price just to get out of the conversation. What he came back with was $200HK more than what it should’ve been. Ok, how do I politely get out of this? Before I decide, he walks us to a shag minivan at the sidewalk and gestures for us to get in. That’s it for me. No red taxi, no trip. Paivi and I mumble no thanks and walk away, only to have him follow us for at least 100 yards trying to “negotiate” the price. Yeah right.


Ultimately, we found a cab and made it to the hotel without further incident.