Some years ago I had planned on visiting Hong Kong but then the SARS virus hit & scuppered those plans. However, many years later I was finally able to realise one of my goals of visiting in October 2011 when my husband & I went there for the first of several holidays. For our first trip we stayed in one of the 3 Spa Suites they have at The Regal Airport Hotel, with full privileged access to the Club lounge, (where we met up with a friend who is based in Hong Kong one evening: it was lovely to see him again). Our suite had a great view & contained our own private steam room, Jacuzzi & four poster bed. Each day we had a couple massage in our suite which was gloriously relaxing &, of course, totally decadent. The hotel has a total of 1,171 bedrooms, Hong Kong’s largest pillar-free ballroom, numerous meeting and function rooms. There are six quality restaurants in the hotel that serve international cuisine, including Cantonese, Sichuanese, Shanghainese and Japanese cuisines, plus there is a contemporary American bar and grill, as well as a fabulous lounge and café. Halal food is also available from a certified Halal kitchen. Other facilities include the wonderful spa, an indoor heated swimming pool, outdoor pool, and a gym that is open 24/7.
The Regal Airport Hotel Meeting and Conference Centre is the only hotel connected directly to the Hong Kong International Airport via an enclosed, air-conditioned link bridge which is fully wheelchair accessible, as is the rest of the hotel. Accordingly, one can be checked in and relaxing in one’s hotel room minutes after landing and with no expensive taxi ride either.
The hotel is 24 minutes away from Central HK via the Airport Express Line (AEL). The super-speed AEL will also deposit you at the AsiaWorld-Expo Convention Centre in one minute and the nearby Hong Kong Disney Land is also within easy access. The hotel also runs a free shuttle bus service to its sister hotel in the city centre which is a useful way of getting there for free!
We had great fun being driven round (at one point to a place called Sha Tin, which is home to HK’s second race track – the first being, of course, Happy Valley) & playing tourist: we visited the Science Museum & went back & forth across the harbour on the Star Ferries which have plied between Hong Kong Island & Kowloon since 1888. Indeed the portly, well-worn green & white ferries date from the 1950s & 1960s & the crew members sport old-fashioned sailor-style uniforms. Whilst crossing the harbour we saw the last remaining batwing sailing junk to be found in that part of China. Also dating from 1888 is the Peak Tram &, as we took this to the summit, we were pinned to our seats, being hauled up the sheer slope at the end of a single cable. On the day that we chose to do this particular trip, we were blessed with clear skies & sunshine so the views were spectacular. If you do decide to follow in our footsteps, do make sure that you choose a clear sunny day otherwise you are unlikely to see much, especially given the pollution. Watching all the container ships being loaded was fascinating but we were less impressed with the Temple Street Night Market which we found to be selling little more than tat.
One of the best experiences we enjoyed whilst in Hong Kong on this trip was having afternoon tea and cocktails at The Peninsula Hotel in Kowloon which was opened in 1928. Having tea there is an institution & if you wish to partake & are not a resident guest then you will need to start queuing at 1.30pm & be prepared for a long wait. We were fortunate & given priority treatment so we did not have to queue or wait & we were also seated away from the folks queuing, who have little to do whilst waiting other than watch those enjoying their repast which is rather off-putting for those having tea. I can particularly recommend the caramel tea: it was delicious. I felt a bit Princess Di-like, although with a less tragic outcome, when we were escorted through the service corridors as there is no public lift to the lower ground floor on which many shops are located – I guess few can say that they have seen the inner workings of this great hotel as we have!
Overall, the Regal Airport Hotel proved to be a very convenient base for us as we wanted to get our bearings in Hong Kong, do some sightseeing but, above all, relax and be massaged and pampered. The Spa Suites are ideal for this very purpose, surprisingly so, given the proximity to the airport but the triple-glazing cut out all noise.