Hong Kong 3: For the LOVE of Avios! With Swiss and British Airways
Holiday Inn Express Soho, Hong Kong Island
- Memo to Self: Stop looking at Booking Engines Late at Night
- Leaving Birmingham, Servisair Lounge, To Zürich with Swiss and OLT Express on LX425
- Zürich Night Stop – “Zürich Dayrooms”, Senator Lounge
- LX1952 Barcelona to Zurich
- A Free Tour of Barcelona
- Back to El Prat, Lounge, BA0475 Barcelona – London
- British Airways T5 First Class Lounge
- BA027 London Heathrow – Hong Kong
- Holiday Inn Express Soho, Sheung Wan, Hong Kong Island (THIS SECTION)
- One Time Exception: Macau with TurboJet
- GhettoIFE Special: Images of a Fragrant Harbour
- Lounging Around Hong Kong Airport
- BA026 Hong Kong to London Heathrow
- British Airways T5 First Class Lounge, BA484 London Heathrow – Barcelona El Prat
- Barcelona Switch, Lounge, LX1955 Barcelona – Zürich Airport
- Run like the wind, LX424 Zürich – Birmingham Airport, Homeward bound
- Avios? Oh Yes, Oh Yes, OH YEAH!
From Hong Kong Airport to the Island and to a Hotel – Can a HIX be any good?
Exiting the plane, it was a matter of heading to the travelators and Hong Kong Immigration. I was cleared within 10 minutes (see USA – it can be done). Rather than head for the luggage belt, I headed for the E-Channel registration (this would come in useful later on the trip). After a bit of negotiation, my BA Gold was accepted as a valid document, and I was allowed to register for E-Channel.
This involves two index fingerprints, a sticker on the passport and a photo… and that’s it. That was another 10 minutes done (which would save a LOT of time later).
Heading for the luggage belt, it had only recently spluttered into life, and was spitting luggage every now and again. Eventually, my little rucksack appeared and I was off after a visit to the small room.
I cleared customs without an issue, and headed for the MTR counter to pick up my HK$300 Airport Express + 3 day travel pass, whilst quickly loading my mail and a confirmed map of where I needed to go once I hit Sheung Wan.
I also loaded an extra HK$50 up on the Octopus card for incidental travel – such as Buses, Star Ferry and the Ding Dings (trams)
All that in hand, it was off to Airport Express.
There was only a short wait for the train, and soon enough – I was whisked away from the airport and off to Hong Kong Island
After exiting the Hong Kong MTR arrivals station, I checked and couldn’t see the Holiday Inn Express on the local destination board (even though later I found out it was served!). Sighing to myself I knew that would mean dealing with the MTR at peak.
I followed the signs from Hong Kong Station to Central, and then through the rabbits warren that seems to be Central station. Thankfully, heading to Sheung Wan has an advantage at Central – most of the passengers are changing line or getting off at Central – thus when I caught an MTR, it was half empty for the short hop to the next station.
After following the signs and my nose to Exit A2 a bit of guesswork and map reading lead me directly to the Holiday Inn Express Soho.
See. I do have sense of direction at least…
Hotel: Holiday Inn Express Soho, Sheung Wan.
Price paid 45,000 Priority Club Points for 3 nights
Back to night time photography of hotels. Old Habits die hard….
After wandering into the entrance of this new hotel, it was amazing to see how much they crammed into a small space.
And how busy it was a tourists from Korea were passing through.
I was welcomed after a couple of minutes waiting, and my rate was confirmed. In addition I was welcomed as a PC Platinum, and informed a welcome amenity would be brought up to my room later.
Two keycards were issued, and I was on my way to the 30th Floor.
The lift is one of those “tap the keycard and push button to go up” style ones. After I was deposited on the 30th floor (yes, 30th… you’ll see why in a shake), I turned the corner and headed to my room. Room numbers are limited whilst the hotel is tall; the building itself is on a small parcel of land. Hence building upwards!
The property itself is a new build, only opening in September (hence the very cheap rate for the hotel room). However, there wasn’t much hunting on the 30th floor – it was down the corridor and on the left.
Waving the keycard opened the lock, and straight to the right upon the door entry was a slot for the keycard. Popping that in activated the lighting and opened the window blinds.
Lets look inside
Bed and the screened bathroom
Whilst basic, it did the job. If I wanted luxuries, I would had headed to the Crowne Plaza or the Intercontinentals. But for a place to rest, watch TV, update computer and sleep – this will do fine! The bed itself was comfortable without sinking in the middle of it, the aircon did the job well without freezing me, and the shower and bathroom whilst simple – again – did the job. Sometimes a hotel can mess up on these simple things, so seeing this hotel get it right is a good thing
The Hotel WiFi was reasonable – although it needed you to re-accept the T&C’s at regular intervals. Put it like this: I managed to get my new tablet up and running on the Hotel WiFi without an issue, whilst doing major online work with the laptop.
The views from the hotel room were quite good too – even though I was facing away from the harbour, I was facing towards the Peak
During the morning/day
Being a holiday Inn Express, breakfast is included in the deal. This was served in the restaurant on the 2nd floor.
Now the restaurant is independent from the HIX, who buys in the breakfast service only. And whilst the spread is nice (if the same each day), there exists a minor problem – and it relates to the size of the hotel that I talked about earlier. The restraint was just too small for the people that were going through it, resulting in shared tables (in fact 1 out of the 3 sittings I went to I had my own table, and on the Sunday morning it was a 15 minute wait to get a shared table!
The food spread was simple – a mix of Asian and Western
Dear Hong Kong. We need to have a chat about what you call sausages and what I call sausages. Those are Hot Dogs.
The hotel also has a common room – or a “Great Room” as they call it. Located on the 3rd floor, it has vending machines and other things. I used it on the final day to do a bit of re-packing of my bags.
The staff were friendly and accommodating – a nice crew really. Even the restaurant staff started warming to me on the final day.
Check out was at midday on the final day of the trip – I didn’t extend it, but did stow a bag whilst I did bits and bobs on Hong Kong Island that day.
Overall: A great little property. Whilst the restaurant may cause issues as there is so little seating space (for example: 09:00 on a Sunday), it didn’t impact overall. For a cheap hotel on Hong Kong Island that’s attached to a major brand – you can’t go far wrong with this property.