Lying on a sun lounger overlooking the 8th floor swimming pool, surrounded by the mix of old and new buildings that is modern Hong Kong, it’s gratifying to know that we made it. A visit to this city has been high on my to-do list for years, and now we are here.
We’ve promised ourselves a lazy day today after the 30 hour stint yesterday. We slept on the plane, of course, if you can call it sleeping. ‘Birthday Girl’, Virgin’s first Boeing Dreamliner acquired last year, gave us an impressively smooth ride in its climate and light-controlled cabin (no window blinds, the glass automatically adjusts the light to reflect the passengers’ perceived time zone) but the very nature of the beast doesn’t lend itself to deep sleep. Apart from which, what actual time is it? I’ve suddenly lost track.
The efficient Airport Express train brings us to Kowloon Station from where we catch the free Shuttle Bus that delivers us right into the bowels of our hotel in Tsim Sha Tsui (the dual language onboard information TV helpfully tells us how to pronounce it. For Tsui think Choy rather than Suey).
We’ve been told about the charms of Asian customer service, and here is the evidence of it. Kit, the diminutive but extremely helpful Guest Services Officer, takes us to our room from checkin and points out the aircon, the mini-bar, the lighting, and the view.
And boy, what a view. It’s turned to night in the short time since we left the bus, and Hong Kong is ablaze with lights. We’re looking directly over Victoria Harbour, and it’s magnificent. Colours sparkle and change as we watch, boats ploughing across the scene before us. It invites further exploration.
We opt for the Chinese Restaurant within the hotel for our evening meal, and ponder over the extensive choice of options with fascination and some trepidation. With delicacies quite unlike our local Cantonese restaurant on offer, we’re not entirely sure what we’re going to get. However the pork and ginger noodles are excellent, and the accompanying asparagus shoots are delightfully crisp and tasty.
And now it’s Monday morning, the sun is shining, it’s comfortably warm and the city is beckoning. We’ll take our time to adjust today, but this place promises to be everything we’d hoped and much more.
Let’s get started!