Have you ever had those vacations where you just felt like you were in a movie or something? Everything just seemed so perfect that it had to be scripted? Not to sound cheesy, but that is what our time in Hong Kong felt like. I felt like I was a member of posh society and I was treated with such attention and care, like no other experience before. This was a big year for us... year #5. I feel like once you have reached a number divisible by 5, you've made it pretty far. We were heading to South Africa to visit family and friends and Robert got us a layover in Hong Kong to celebrate.
First of all, there are various ways to travel. You have your backpackers who sleep in hotels and carry all their belongings with them, and probably see more of the place than anyone else simply because they are fluid in their travel style. You have your budget travelers who, like the backpackers, opt for a more hostel-esque experience in a cheap hotel and see as many sights and tourists spots as possible. the mantra for these travelers are DO ALL THE THINGS. Next you have your family travelers that book everything in advance, have put in copious amounts of time planning the trip and know exactly which tourist spots they will visit, which are kid friendly, and their hotel has a pool and a water slide (just in case the parks or sites aren't interesting enough for the kids). You have your business travelers, which I believe is pretty self explanatory, and then finally you have your luxury travelers. This bracket can encompass anyone from Joe down the street to Brad and Angelina (I used them as an example for a reason... stay tuned). Exquisite hotel, a limited amount of sightseeing, amazing food, and ample relaxation time.
For this specific trip, we were part of the latter. Robert made sure that for 4 days straight, my biggest concern was what time the pool opened and whether or not room service had macarons (which they did, so we were golden).
Let's go back a few hours... we're no stranger to travel but each trip takes on a new personality completely because with each journey, we are at a different stage in our lives. Our last trip was with a 4 month old baby who for the most part slept, ate, played with toys, and was a generally happy little traveler. Now we were embarking with a 10 month old who had developed a strong personality, a set of opinions and was now a much more busy version of himself. We weren't quite sure how it was all going to go down, but he did extremely well on the 3 hour bus ride to the airport (that alone felt like the longest part of the trip! :)...and he continued to do great in the airport and on our flight to Hong Kong.
Just a shout out to Korean Air.... I have never been taken care of so well as I have been on Korean Air flights. I cannot think of one bad experience with them. They are my favorite international airline. They are so attentive to the needs of mothers with babies and I never once felt like they were annoyed or frustrated with having babies on board. If you have never traveled with a baby, try and sometime and you'll see what I mean... flight attendants do not always welcome you with open arms and a warm cup of coffee.
Three and a half (pants turned inside out) outfits later, we arrived in the Hong Kong airport. At this point, the trip had not been that long per say, but it was exhausting to keep up with James. The hours were filled with play with phone- spoon- cup- drink juice- try an ipad game- pull out some toys- go back to the phone- drink some more juice- go to daddy- now wants mommy- crawl on the floor- pull the magazines out of the rack- try to put them back in- drink some more juice... you get the picture.
Our flight was delayed and it was raining pretty badly when we arrived. We got into an adorable red taxi (I can't even describe the taxis, they are just so cute) and headed for the hotel.
Upon arrival, we were shown to our room and offered an evening cup of tea to settle down after our trip. The room was an exquisite Harbourview Suite and they had taken so much care for all the details including a baby bed, baby bath products and a few diapers.
Coming from Korea and the lack of bath tubs, you better believe I spent a good share of time in that amazing bath tub! I didn't waste any time either. The tea arrived to the room and I settled into a relaxing bath while daddy and James played and unwound from the trip.
As part of the club membership, each morning we went to the club lounge and enjoyed a gorgeous breakfast buffet that also included a la cart menu items as well. The staff was so friendly and always greeted us by name as well as taking particular care of James. He truly was in his element. This kid loves attention and they certainly obliged. He was always given his own set of dishes and had his own chair set up for him each morning.
The view from our room was simply magical. The Hong Kong skyline is one of the most amazing sites and we got to wake up to it each morning and go to bed watching the fantastic lights that it is so famous for.
After a good night of sleep, we headed out for a day of street market shopping and visiting with friends from the Philippines who work in Hong Kong.
Trying out the HK subway system...
We returned to our hotel in time for hors d'eourvres in the club lounge.
The nighttime sky line is absolutely breathtaking.
With blowdryer in hand, Robert wasn't about to let a little bit of fog obstruct his view! :) (incidentally, we called about it and the very next morning they had our windows cleaned and took care of it immediately!)
Master James getting the royal treatment :)
It was on again-off again rain the whole time we were there but it was a bit like Florida rain: wait 5 minutes and it will be gone. The first time we tried to go to the pool, the staff advised us against it until the rain dissipated. Robert was in the gym (because he's strange and likes to work out on vacation~ yuck!) :) and so James and I just waited out the rain and then enjoyed the pool.
For our main sightseeing adventure, we chose Victoria's Peak. Just getting there was fun enough because we got to ride a ferry, take a bus, ride a trolley up a mountain, and then see one of the most fantastic views you'll ever see.
And there you have it.... Hong Kong harbour.
All the restaurants in the building have the premium views, and so to rid themselves of filthy tourists, such as us, they jack up their prices on drinks to keep you from using their establishments. We already knew this, but continued to ONLY order tea. We were charged far more than necessary and then they randomly tacked on another fee (I think it was just out of pure annoyance) because we sat in their *completely empty* restaurant in the middle of the afternoon to enjoy the view. Oh well. The Jasmine tea was very enjoyable, James got a nap, and the view was gorgeous. Charge all you want peeps!
After a day of sightseeing, we were given an incredible tour of the hotel. There are five restaurants housed within the hotel, two of which are michelin star restaurants. The hotel's own buffet is a site in and of itself. I have never seen so many decadent desserts and incredible displays of foods in my life. Our tour included the Presidential Suite with it's own harbourview balcony and pool.
Of the A-listers that haven chosen this suite are Brad and Angelina (2013). The bathroom in this suite has even won itself a few awards on several lists such as the best bathroom view :)
At any point throughout the day, the lobby is probably 75% filled with non-hotel guests because the food, tea, and drinks have such a good reputation.
Robert loved hitting the gym. Not only was it an awesome gym, but it included saunas, massage rooms, and gorgeous restrooms and amenities such as slippers, towels, lotion, and ginger tea so strong it about took your breath away. James and I just headed back to the pool to relax and wait for daddy to join after his workout. Robert and I have very different definitions for the terms "relax" and "vacation"~ mine go nowhere near the word "gym".
The incredible infinity pool
Relaxing is tough on a little guy...
For our last day in Hong Kong, we had an extremely leisurely morning by the pool and then ordered lunch. We had an extended checkout time because we didn't fly out until the evening.
That rock left with us, only to be left in South Africa at our next stop :)
After getting ready and all packed up to head out, we had our last afternoon tea time in the lounge. Desserts and snacks out the wazoo and any kind of tea you wanted. To say we were spoiled is a gross understatement.
And there you have it. The way we experienced Hong Kong. What an incredible anniversary celebration. I think one of the things I love the most about life is how it changes and you get to experience things in a new way. Our last anniversary was spent in anticipation of our little boy's arrival and the focus was on capturing moments of "us" for the last time before he came along. Of course the "us" is still very important, but now we were able to share the fun memories with James. He won't remember this trip, but I hope when he sees the pictures one day he will realize just how much fun we had as a family and how his daddy loved his mommy and loved him.