Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Island Shangri - La , Hong Kong

Island Shangri - La, this is where I stayed during my April 2010 visit to Hong Kong. This is definitely one of the best hotels I've ever stayed in so far. I couldn't find anything to complaint, not that much. It was nearly perfect.

It is located within walking distance from Admiralty station, Pacific Place, and very near to Victoria Peak. Yeah - at the centre basically.

Pricing wise, yes, I think it is quite expensive - to my budget of course haha. You guys rich people might might think it is cheap lahhh. But I stayed here on business trip, so it was all covered for, so yeah.. it didn't dig any hole into my pocket pheeewwwww. This particular room I stayed in costs more than HKD3,000 per night, that is about RM1,500 per night. The level of excellence matches the amount you spend, though.

The experience was good, alhamdulillah. I was greeted by fresh flower scent once I entered the lobby, the receptionists were very friendly, and the service was very good. I came into the room with a personal message aired on the TV screen, very welcoming, very personal. I guess these little little things, though they are petty little things, make us very comfortable.

The bed was very comfortable, the room was spotless. The room was spacious, to Hong Kong-space-luxury standard, and I think it is more than enough. It is a comfortable room. I probably just didn't really like the color combination in the room, but other than that, it was excellent!

This was what they provided everyday - chinese tea and a basket of assorted fruits. I just love it. You know, when it is free, you find your fruit tasted even better.. wakakaka. Free? Yeah yeah.. they sure have included that in the room cost, but you know human being, when you don't see the cost being spelled out to you, your mind will tell you it is free! Hik.. hik..

You know when I came in, and I looked around the room, tested the drawers etc, I found this particular arrow in one of the main drawers - the KIBLAT! This is just normal in hotels in Malaysia, but in Hong Kong? It added to the plus points - it is easier for us Muslim, because we do not even have to search for the kiblat, don't even have to bring compass, don't even have to look at the direction of sunrise and sunset, it is basically given.

And you see, this is the toilet. Nice? Yeah.. can you see what's on the wall? It is a mini TV. So basically you can stay there for hours and hours watching TV while doing your personal business.

I guess one thing I really want to stress is the level of service, it was really excellent. The staffs are ever ready to help, very courteous, very polite, I don't see that level of service in many hotels I visited in Malaysia. I really wanted to sound patriotic about my country of course, but this particular one, the hotel service, it is just exceed expectation I couldn't find that level of service in Malaysia.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Food Before You Take Off..

Being Muslim, the first thing most of my family and friends asked about Hong Kong is 'Is it easy to get halal food?'. Well, I wouldn't say it is easy, as easy as Malaysia, but it is definitely not difficult either. Tell you what.. you can even find halal food at the airport!

The first time I went to Hong Kong, though I didn't have problem to find for halal food while I was on the island itself, I didn't think that there's halal food at the airport terminal itself. While waiting for the flight to go back to Malaysia, I decided to satisfy my hunger by way of eating a plain-boring-full-of-vegetable sandwich sold at one of the shop lots within the airport. The shop lots share common eating areas, so you basically are free to sit anywhere. It was then, while eating, that I noticed a small sign at the shop nearby - a HALAL sign.

Oh.. and this is what they serve...

My my my.. what the hell am I doing eating that plain vege stuff, when a halal fried chicken shop is there - right in front of my eyes? POPEYE's - is apparently certified halal by the Islamic Department of Lantau Island.

I didn't get to taste it the first time I was there, but that became my staple-airport-food in my next visits.. It is a fast food restaurant, basically operates like KFC, serving fried chicken with various sets. It probably doesn't match KFC's fried chicken standard, but it is more than decent to be consumed.

So guys, if you are famished while you are at Hong Kong International Airport, and you can't wait to board your flight for a flight food to fill your tummy, don't worry.. Popeye's is there. Just look for it!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

The Excelsior - Hong Kong

I stayed at Excelsior during my Nov 2009 visit - it was a business trip, so the hotel is basically quite near to our regional office in Hong Kong Island.

I stayed here for 4 nights, and it was a pleasant stay, basically. Not excellent, but basically it was OK and I don't have much complaint. If you are into shopping, it might be a good location as it is just steps away from many shop lots including SOGO. Located at Causeway Bay, it is very near to Causeway Bay station as well.

The hotel rate, not cheap, but not that high either. When I stayed there, I was charged at about HKD1,000 per night, it might be on a high side if we compare it with average hotels in Malaysia, especially because it is just a standard room. But considering it is located at Causeway Bay, it is OK I think.

The room was quite basic, but the set up caters for working individuals. Free internet connection included. It was clean, and I like the color of the room. Simple, with not much things, very basic, but that's what making it looks spacious, though in actual fact the space is limited. I don't mind spending my time in the room. My room was overlooking the Victoria Harbor, so spending my morning looking at the harbor with a cup of tea was not bad after all.
The room came with a King size bed, the mattress was very comfortable. The room was not that spacious, but basically you will have ample space to move around. For a couple, there will be no space issue.

The breakfast spread was also good, it was elaborate enough, except of course I can't consume many of the things due to halal issue. I just had some bread with butter, fruits and that stuffs.

Will I recommend people to stay here, well.. if price is not the issue, then why not? Except that it is in the middle of the city, some people might not like it. But Hong Kong is all city anyway, isn't it?

It's the beginning!

I've not been blogging for quite some times... malas... but I was thinking to open this blog to keep a list of places, mana nak stay, mana nak pergi, because I sometime find it such a hassle to find good places to stay when I go for vacation or to find halal food when I go to non-muslim countries.

Recently, I've been spending a lot of time doing my survey and study of what sort of things I have to prepare for my September vacation to New Zealand. I have always been fussy about places to stay, so I constantly want to find travel review of those places from those who have stayed there before. So I thought, why not, if I go somewhere, just record it in.

So I thought to keep the list of places I visited, hotel I stayed, or even food I consumed here in this blog, in case it can be an addition to the point of reference to those first timer to the place. I am not sure yet what sort of things I'll put in here, but perhaps it might be more like a journal kind of thing.