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Old Dec 28, 03, 5:49 pm
  #74  
wideman
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: From and of Boston.
Posts: 4,973
10 Things to do while at the Hong Kong Conrad

Iíve been to the Conrad before and I like the place. It would be foolish and inappropriate to compare the Conrad to Hong Kongís luxury hotels (Peninsula, Mandarin, IC): they offer very different products at very different prices. (A harbor-view room at the IC is likely to cost about twice the price of a harbor-view room at the Conrad). The Conrad is not a luxury hotel, but it is a very good 1st-class hotel.

Recently back from a trip to HK, which I split between the Conrad and the InterContinental in Kowloon. Instead of another review, hereís a list of 10 Things To Do if youíre staying at the Conrad:
  1. Get a harbor-view room. No, itís not as spectacular as a harbor-view from the Kowloon side, but you do get a great sense of the constant motion: Star Ferries criss-crossing endlessly, the jetfoils racing off to Macau, the lumbering barges, the tiny water taxis looking like ants among elephants, the helicopters swooping down to Central or the Penís roof, the hawks constantly circling, autos and people and trams moving from one side of the island to the other. If youíve reserved a ďcity view,Ē do yourself a favor and ask upon checking in how much more a harbor view would cost. Then take it. You canít afford your kidsí tuition anyway, so you might as well enjoy your time in Hong Kong.

  2. Have an egg custard tart from the bakery in Seibu. You might have read about egg custard tarts elsewhere in this forum, and Iím sure the bakeries theyíve mentioned produce delicious ones. But this has the advantage of being both warm and delicious, and you donít have to leave the building to get it. Go down to the 1st floor of the mall on the Seibu side, take the escalation down to the Seibu food area (called grEAT), and head to the bakery. The tart is sweet, warm, and wonderful; enjoy it on the spot or take-away to your room.

  3. Enjoy Hong Kong Park. A perfect way to balance the frenzy of the city is to spend some time in Hong Kong Park, just a few steps away from the Conrad. Go out the front door and turn right, walk past the Shangri-La, and the park appears in front of you. Go early in the morning to watch (or do) Tai Chíi, go later in the morning to enjoy the gardens and the trails, go in the afternoon to see couple after couple getting married and having the wedding pictures taken, go in the evening to experience the day ending and the sun disappearing. This is a jewel of a place.

  4. Have an amazing buffet dinner at Cafť Too, on the mezzanine floor of the Shangri-La Hotel, part of the same complex as the Conrad. This is the most incredible buffet Iíve ever seen, with superbly-prepared foods of Cantonese, Thai, American, Indian, Japanese, and Italian cuisines, including a fantastic dessert table. The food is excellent and the dining casual; it is also an ideal place for a single diner (as long as s/heís hungry). You can get to the Shang either at street level (turn right after exiting the Conradís front door) or at the Lower Lobby level of the Conrad (go to the pool and keep following the corridor).

  5. Take a street tram. It doesnít really matter where, though the trip down Hennessey Road (for example, the Happy Valley tram) is a good choice. It costs HK$2 (pay as you leave), and, along with the Star Ferry, is just about the best travel bargain you can find. From the Conrad, go to the mall and head to the Queensway footbridge. Take the steps halfway across the footbridge, and youíre at the tram stop.

  6. Self-service Room Service. If you want to have a meal or snack in your room, thereís an excellent alternative to room service, the previously-mentioned grEAT area of Seibu, in the basement level of the mall. You can get all sorts of hot and cold foods to go (sandwiches, pizza, Korean dishes, sushi and other Japanese dishes, drinks, desserts, and on and on), and you never have to leave the building. Iíd have to say that the Conradís food is generally undistinguished by Hong Kong standards, and not in any way inexpensive, and Iíve found the Seibu take-away to be an excellent option when I donít want to sit in a restaurant.

  7. Take a walk through the streets and alleys of Wan Chai. The interesting parts of any good city are its neighborhoods where people actually live, the places that arenít part of the standard tourist route. Wan Chai is one of those neighborhoods, and itís just a short walk or tram ride (or 1 stop on the subway) from the Conrad. Explore the streets and try to keep your eyes in your head as you pass the food markets and stalls. Youíll see why food is fresh: at some of the markets, you can buy a chicken for dinner, and the chicken is still very much alive. Peek down the alley next to the market stall, and you can see the butcher slaughter and gut the chicken, if you donít want to do this yourself at home. No, this is not for the weak of stomach.

  8. Dan Ryanís to satisfy a burger and fries craving. The cuisines of Hong Kong are superb, but after a few days I start to hear a voice chanting ďburger and fries, burger and fries.Ē As is often the case, the answer is found without leaving the building: Dan Ryanís bar and restaurant, on level 1 of the mall just above the food court and entrance to the JW Marriott.

  9. Get an octopus card. This has been described elsewhere, but itís the key to easy transportation everywhere in the city. No more buying tickets for the subway, no more fishing for the right change for the ferry or the tram, just pull out your octopus and go.

  10. Rent, or better yet, buy, the Noble House video. This was a 6-hour TV miniseries made in the late 80s based on the James Clavell novel, and it was filmed entirely in Hong Kong and Macau. The story has become a bit obsolete (much of it based on political tensions between the British-controlled government of Hong Kong and the Chinese government), but the pictures of place after place in Hong Kong wil bring warm memories. Itís also amazing to see how the HK skyline and waterfront has changed in just 15 years: the Jardine House (the porthole building) was then one of the tallest buildings in HK.

Last edited by wideman; Jul 2, 06 at 5:33 am Reason: UBB code
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