My reason for going to China was to do business in Beijing for a couple weeks, but in my efforts to book the cheapest ticket, get the most miles, and have the best chances of my upgrades clearing, it made sense to do a stopover for a night in Hong Kong. There was a pretty good rate at the Le Meridien Cyberport, and I'm working on qualifying for SPG Platinum so I gave it a shot. I figured that I could use the opportunity to have a night in Hong Kong, a city I had never visited before.
When it comes to jetlag, I'm not that consistent with how I handle it. A couple weeks ago, I had a terrible week where I had to put in two full days of work in Vancouver, and then after Vancouver, pop down to Seattle to take the red-eye to Newark, do two meetings in New York City, and then fly back to Minneapolis that evening for two days of work in Minneapolis. Surprisingly, I was on the ball and nailed all those meetings! Last year when I went to Thailand, I got to the hotel, had a great sleep, and I was up and ready to go the next day and spent all day seeing Bangkok. Anyhow, coming into Hong Kong this time was a completely different story. Even though I felt okay when we landed, all of a sudden I just felt exhausted when I got to the hotel. Thus, my hopes of seeing a bit of Hong Kong were not realized. Instead, I got to Hong Kong, had a good rest, and then left in the morning for Beijing.
My enjoyable flight in Air Canada Executive First was scheduled to land in Hong Kong at 5:50PM. It was a bit late, though, and we didn't get there until around 6:30PM. Going through customs and picking up my bags was not the fastest experience in the world, and when that was finally done, it was time to head to the hotel. I was a bit nervous about using public transportation as it was my first time in Hong Kong, but I figured I'd try it out. The Hong Kong Airport Express train is $100HKD, and it takes you to Hong Kong Central, a station that is in the heart of town. The train is extremely clean, and there are only a couple stops before Hong Kong Central.
Once at Hong Kong Central, the Le Meridien Cyberport runs a shuttle that is only steps away from where one exits the train. I timed it well, and I only had to wait about eight minutes before the shuttle came. The shuttle is very nice. It's bigger than a van, but smaller than a bus, and it has leather seats. I was not charged for my ride to the hotel, but I was charged $29 HKD the next day for my ride back to Hong Kong Central. I'm not sure if I was supposed to be charged the first time or not.
The Le Meridien Cyberport is not that close to the central part of town. They do have the shuttle that will take you to Hong Kong Central, and from what I understand, there are a few points of interest near the hotel, but if you stay there, you should know that you're definitely not at all in the heart of Hong Kong - perhaps that's why my rate was so cheap.
When I arrived at the hotel, the staff was very friendly, and they spoke very good English. I had room 1205, and the room had a pretty nice view of the water. Of course, there was not much to see at night, and the next day it was pretty hazy, so I didn't exactly enjoy the view. The bed was quite comfy, and the bathroom was large, with one of those clear-wall showers. I think those showers are so neat, and I've found them to be quite common in Asia. I get a kick out of them, though. What if I weren't traveling alone or with a significant other? What if I were here with my brother? I don't exactly want a glass window to him taking a shower! Haha in any case, the room was nice. It had an iPod dock, and the internet was fast.
There was also a nice note from the manager with some nuts. I thought the note was nice, considering that I'm only an SPG Gold, not a Platinum. By the time I was settled into my room, it was almost 9PM. If were to take a cab to downtown, find some food, etc, I wouldn't be back until late. I knew I had a long day of work in Beijing on Monday, and rest was the most important for me. So despite my adventurous spirit, I chose not to leave the hotel. I think I made the right call, but I'm still bummed that I've been to Hong Kong, but I've still never really been to Hong Kong!
I popped down to the hotel gym, which was pretty good, for a quick jog. I'm not sure about you, but when I'm traveling international, I find that foreign food + jetlag can often mess with my stomach so in order to keep my body functioning normally, I make sure to exercise a lot and stay hydrated. Seems to work!
I then went down to the hotel restaurant to catch up on some e-mails and have dinner. I thought the food was great! I started off with some french onion soup, and then I had some Asian fried rice dish with a fried egg and chicken satay. Delicious! They gave me a coupon for 50% off food at the restaurant when I checked in. Not sure if that was because I was Gold or what, but it was appreciated.
I went up to the room, passed out, and had a good night's rest. I was really hoping I would sleep in till 9AM, but those biological clocks just don't work like that… I was up at 5AM.
I thought the Le Meridien Cyberport was a nice place, and the train / shuttle combo is a pretty easy and cheap way to get to the airport. Would I stay there again? Not sure… Maybe if I had another 18 hour layover it would be a good place to stay, but I might look into an actual airport hotel, rather than having to waste an hour of time in transit on both ends. And if I were going to Hong Kong to spend some time there, then I would probably stay some place closer to town.