A stopover worth every bite in vibrant Hong Kong

Mongok street food is a feast for the senses
Mongok street food is a feast for the senses

It’s hard to stay loyal to one airline these days with all the discounting and special offers that seem to be on every travel site and social media platform, but here is a tip from #thetravellingguy that works.

If you are loyal and fly frequently, you will reap the rewards. The good airlines love customer loyalty and you will be surprised at what may come back your way when you show the love.

When travelling overseas I have tried my best to always fly with Cathay Pacific, and here are a few reasons why.

They fly to over 200 destinations world-wide. To me they are a class above many others when it comes to service, and when you are on a long-haul flight, service is important. They are a premium brand that provide you with a friendly outlook from the moment you check in until the time you disembark. Long-haul stewards have it pretty tough sometimes, but I have to say in all my flights with Cathay I have never seen one of their staff looking like they were having a bad day, and if they were, well, they were damn fine actors!

Okay so the reason I tell you this little tip about airline loyalty is because when they see you are loyal and your flyer points start to accrue, the love comes back to you. I was feeling the love and the luck when flying from Sydney to Italy with a two-day Hong Kong pit stop.

My ride was was looking even better after an upgrade

My ride was was looking even better after an upgrade

Hearing my name paged at an airport doesn’t always excite me – in fact, it has me panicked most times, as it usually means I should be boarding. It’s like the feeling you get when a police car is following you and you suddenly drive slower and more careful, even though you are doing the speed limit and driving normally. Is that just me?

Anyway, as usual my slight paranoia was unwarranted and when I presented to the Cathay Pacific boarding gate and was handed an upgrade to Business class, I went from worried to wonderful in the blink of an eye!

Hong Kong, here we come.

I’m not going to rave on now about how awesome business class is because that’s not what my story is about, and I don’t want to rub it in, but just quickly, it really is WONDERFUL. It should be bucket list stuff for everyone. Champagne as you are seated, airline food that has you dining five star. Seats that turn into flat sky-beds and noise cancelling headphones, standard! Okay, I promise no more, I just couldn’t help myself.

Let’s talk about Hong Kong.

Dim Sum in Hong Kong was worth the trip alone

Dim Sum in Hong Kong was worth the trip alone

With such a big flight to Italy or any European city for that matter, if you can spare a couple of days either side I really suggest that dropping into Hong Kong will make the journey even more enjoyable and assist in a big way when it comes to jet lag.

I chose Causeway Bay on Hong Kong Island for my stopover on this adventure. It’s easy to get to from the airport via express train, it’s right on the water, it’s busy and vibrant, has terrific shopping and dining options and it has one of the best hotels in the area.

The Park Lane Hong Kong is my favourite hotel on the Island and I cannot help but return any chance I get. It’s a Pullman Hotel which of course is part of the Accor stable, so you can be guaranteed that the service will be top shelf. That’s a given.

For me though when I do choose to stay in this level of comfort I want to be able to have choices on many fronts, be it dining options, style of accommodation or even the opportunity to take things to the next level with inclusions like Executive Clubs. These are not always imperative to hotel choice but it just so happens that The Park Lane has them all.

The Deluxe Executive Room at Park Lane was futuristic

The Deluxe Executive Room at Park Lane was futuristic

Dining in-house is a breeze here with the ultimate all-day buffet being served at PLAYT where you could do the waistline some real damage! Hey, you’re on holiday, live a little.

This open kitchen delivers international delights including freshly shucked oysters, lobster and a vast array of dim sum. A carvery of succulent roasts and foie gras, Spanish suckling pig, Turkish pizza and Indian tandoori made fresh in a traditional stone oven, and that’s just a small sample of what’s on offer.

My favourite, without doubt has to be Skye on the 27th floor overlooking Victoria Harbour and Park. This dining experience should not be missed, even if you are not staying in the hotel. A truly sophisticated and lavish night out here will leave your eyeballs and your tastebuds astounded. Firstly, the space is just amazing and you will undoubtedly love the views. But it’s the contemporary French cuisine created by Chef Lee Adams and his team that will absolutely blow your mind.

Lobster mac 'n' cheese was a delicious spin on the classic dish

Lobster mac 'n' cheese was a delicious spin on the classic dish

It was one of the most delightful dining occasions I have had the pleasure of indulging in. The photos go close to doing the dishes justice, it’s just a shame you cannot scratch and taste!

After pampering your palate, you must head out to the Skye Roofbar for a whole other experience. It’s the perfect location to enjoy a digestif while relishing the views of the Hong Kong skyline and beyond, while also grooving to the tunes being delivered by the house DJ who is there every night setting the mood.

With nine choices of accommodation, three restaurants and bars, a fitness and business centre and a rooftop garden that is just made for that early morning stretch, you may never leave the hotel.

The Park Lane Hong Kong is without doubt one of the best on offer here and it will remain on the #travellingguy radar for a long time yet. So, make sure you check out their website for special deals that may entice you to enjoy a layover on your next big journey.

SKYE Bar offers an incredible view across the city skyline.

SKYE Bar offers an incredible view across the city skyline.

DON’T MISS

Take the Star ferry over to Tsim Sha Tsui and grab a taxi or wander up to Mongok. It’s a buzzing maze of narrow streets filled with street foods, markets and a little mayhem. I love it!

MUST TASTE

Make sure you chow down at one of the BBQ restaurants near the hotel, also you must try traditional Dim Sum, my favourite is Dim Dim Sum in Wanchai – www.dimdimsum.hk 

GETTING THERE

Cathay Pacific fly to Hong Kong multiple times daily see their website for the latest fly Asia deals – www.cathaypacific.com 

Scott McRae is the www.thetravellingguy.com and also the host of Channel Ten’s A Taste of Travel