Sunday, May 20, 2012

[Travel] Day 8: Zurich to Hong Kong and the Hyatt Regency Tsim Sha Tsui

It has been pointed out that i forgot captions in this entry. Sorry that was unintentional! Back to the post: Because of time changes and such, Day 8 was really only 14hours. But at least it was an eventful 14 hours.

We pulled up outside the terminal in the White Van ofGenericness and each of us went our separate ways - and if you aren't picturingthe Journey video after reading that, then I don't know what to say to you anymore.

Boarding would begin in a few minutes so I took theopportunity to walk around the gate area and stretch my legs. My backpack wasnow practically bursting at the seams and I was quite happy to have purchasedthe new one in Anaheim.

The Swiss Air boarding system for this flight differed fromanything I've seen before. No zones, no priority boarding. Just pre-boards forthose needing time and then general boarding was called. First and business hadtheir own dedicated lane, with both of us turning left once we entered theplane but first continuing on through.



My seat for the flight was 2K, which meant a window. I wasgreeted by a kindly female flight attendant who offered me a pre-flightbeverage (champagne, please!) and who gave me another pair of pajamas to changeinto. I wish she had been my flight attendant throughout, but she ended upserving the other aisle. I got a rather dour gentleman who was cold butefficient. Very much fit the Swiss stereotype.

My first impressions of the cabin were positive, though itcertainly seemed like the product was not as new as the plane I'd flown the daybefore from Montreal to Zurich. Indeed it would prove to be the casethat the seat and bed were both smaller and less comfortable. There was alsoless privacy. On the other hand, I wasn't flying in coach and so who the hellwas I to complain, right?




I went and changed into the pajamas - I'll spare you all anothershot of me in the bathroom but I willgive you a picture of the bathroom itself. The flight attendants distributedmenus and took orders, while also serving the amuse bouche. My notes on theamuse bouche are, and I quote, "fish rolls?" What does it mean? Ileave that to future historians to figure out. Fish rolls?







Shortly after take-off the dinner service began. Onegentleman made the reasonable request to skip dinner and go straight to bed as,for him, it was effectively 11:30 PM. No way I was passing up this meal,especially given the slim chances that I'd actually fall asleep.

The appetizers were once again delicious. The main course -olive-encrusted lamb - was okay. The crust tasted incredible but the lambitself was lacking in flavor. On the other hand, I was eating olive-encrustedlamb on a plane and that somehow made it taste a bit better. The real highlightof the meal were the two glasses of Inniskillin icewine. Even now, days later,I can still taste it. This trip will make a lush of me yet. Oh yes, and therewere a few Diet Cokes too.

Somehow I failed to take a photo of the chair-as-bed. If Irecall correctly that's because I was the last one to ask to have my seatconverted and I think I felt bad taking a flash picture when the cabin lightswere dimmed and everyone else was sleeping.














Ah, sleep. On a plane. Not happening. I spent nine hourslaying in "bed" watching Big Bang Theory. Turns out you can get a lot of episodes of Big Bang Theory inwhen you aren't sleeping. I also read more Sherlock Holmes and I played througha bit more of the RPG. About two hours out of Hong KongI was famished since, after all, I'd not slept. I had a little bit ofeverything for breakfast, including a Diet Coke.








About forty minutes out of Hong KongI changed into my clothes and stowed my stuff for landing. As we left the planewe were met by Swiss-contracted staff whose job it was to escort us throughpriority immigration/customs. I like the sound of that! We didn't wait in anyline and the whole experience from deplaning to getting my bags took aboutfifteen minutes. Plus the airport has free wireless so I caught up on e-mail inthe interim.

At that point I faced a decision on how to get to the HyattRegency Tsim Sha Tsui. The best combination of reasonable price and efficiencyis the Airport Express Train to Kowloon Station and then the K3 bus to theHyatt. But at that point I really just wanted to be in my hotel bed as quicklyas possible and so I sucked it up and got a cab.

Guess what? Turns out I can't sleep in a train but I cansleep in a cab. What the hell? About two minutes into the cab ride I was outlike a light and I only awoke to an elderly Filipino man screaming"Hyatt" at me from the front seat. Well, that's a fine how-do-you-do.

A representative from the Hyatt met me at the door andushered me upstairs to check-in while he took my luggage. Once the clerkrecognized my Diamond status she offered to continue to check-in at the RegencyClub on the 23rd floor. I passed on that as really I just wanted my room keyand a place to pass out. She gave me the key to my room and explained theDiamond benefits, including free breakfast/evening snacks up in the RegencyClub and free wireless.

I made it up to my room on the 18th floor. Once I got in theroom I absolutely could not figure out how to turn on 90% of the lights.Thankfully a bellhop showed up with my luggage two minutes later and explainedto me that you had to insert the key (and keep it inserted) in a slot by thedoor and that this turned on the master controls in the room for the lights andair conditioning. I snapped a few photos and then prepared for bed.

Turns out the Hyatt Regency TST must be reading the blog(okay, not really) because they accepted the Anaheim Hilton's challenge on"best view I've ever seen from my hotel room". Sure, it's notDisneyland, but it is a pretty stunning view of Hong Kong's skyline from acrossVictoria Harbor. Color me impressed. Shortlythereafter I went to bed, grateful to be laying in one again.











Since I'm not sure where else I'd put this, let me give you my review of the Hyatt Regency TST, having been here for a few days now. It is a wonderful hotel, especially with status. The bed is pretty comfortable, the service is strong, the wireless is fast enough and the location is decent. It's not as convenient as staying on Hong Kong Island, but the subway stop is right outside the hotel's door and the Star Ferry commute into Hong Kong is pretty great. The only complaint I have with the hotel is that it has no real front door. There's this tiny little entrance on a side street and then there's an entrance from within the mall. I am convinced that there's actually a secret entrance that we Muggles can't see. One of these days I'm just going to confidently stride into the wall where I think it should be and I'll either end up at Hogwarts or the Hospital. Either way I hope Emma Watson comes and visits.

In other words, I'd stay here again in a heartbeat.


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