WHEN we woke up after our first night in Hong Kong, winter officially began as the temperature dropped about 10 degrees. I was traveling with my very good friend Jay Unchuan and both of us did not care to pack winter clothes for this particular Hong Kong trip. We didn’t mind at all as both of us love cool weather. Hence, we were happy to be out and about most of the time.
We spent our first two nights in our usual hostel in Causeway Bay, in a small room with a tiny bathroom. We are used to budget traveling and we don’t mind the conservative accommodation since we only use the room to sleep and shower. We spend all of our days and nights shopping and eating. This is Hong Kong to us.
Our next two night’s accommodation was scheduled at The Marco Polo Hong Kong Hotel at the Kowloon side. Conveniently located along Canton Road, Marco Polo’s location is right by the harbor pier and within Harbour City, one of Hong Kong’s biggest and probably the most popular shopping destination. We were pleased to know that our complimentary stay was even upgraded to a Harbour View Room. Our jaws dropped as we were welcomed in our room by the spectacular view of the Hong Kong skyline. Our room was huge! We could do cartwheels if we wanted to (or if we knew how). We had a luggage room with a minibar that was stocked with San Miguel Beer amongst other soft beverages. Free Nespresso and a machine in our room plus the standard free bottled water, instant coffee and tea plus some very powerful, free wifi internet connection in every room.
It was a breath of fresh air to be staying in a luxurious room as opposed to the budget accommodations that we’re used to in Hong Kong. We almost did not want to leave the room after checking in, but we had to put to good use the latest and most distinctive feature of our room at the Marco Polo Hong Kong – the Handy. Each room at the hotel is equipped with one of these handsets that each guest can take out of their rooms and use while exploring the city. The Handy can make free unlimited calls to selected countries worldwide, including the Philippines and the United States. Plus, it has unlimited internet with its own hotspot! Imagine going around Hong Kong with internet on your very own phone, posting pictures on Facebook and Instagram in real time, and using Yelp, and Google Maps whenever you need tips and directions. And most of all, being in touch with friends and loved ones all the time while you are away…
We were like two little children exploring new parts of Hong Kong and revisiting and eating old favorites while being connected to the internet. It was also a very comforting thought to be free of a possible “shock-bill” from our mobile carriers when we returned home as our data was turned off the entire time.
As we came back to our luxurious hotel room with a view (they always keep the curtains wide open by the way, as they should!), we were greeted by another surprise basket of Wine, fresh fruits, cheese, and nuts. Our friends at the Marco Polo Hong Kong sure know how to treat their guests well.
Breakfast came complimentary with our room and as expected, there was a Chinese breakfast corner complete with dim sum, noodles, and soup. It was even a nice surprise to find some Portuguese egg tarts in the spread that were as good as the ones you find in Macau.
This Hong Kong trip was made special and memorable by our stay at the Marco Polo. The Harbour View Room literally gave us a better perspective of the beautiful and vibrant city. The Handy made our exploration much easier. It kept us online in social media and connected to our family and friends at home and in the United States.
We thank our friends at the Marco Polo Hong Kong and Marco Polo Plaza Hotel Cebu for an early and generous Christmas present. I would also like to thank HSBC for the free round trip ticket and Cathay Pacific for the free upgrade. It’s as if all of you guys conspired to create this perfect holiday for us.