H.K. is a fascinating city that eludes definitions. It can be described as fast paced, energetic, creative, hedonistic and one of a kind. It is also a great culinary destination that caters to any budget and offers infinite possibilities. This album covers some impressions of my short visit and I was just scratching the surface. I hope to be back for more.
View of HK skyline from Avenue of the Stars
Bruce Lee statue on the Av. of the Stars
Central at night
Whimsical building in Central
Night scene of H.K. taken from the Peak
Along Canton Road
Australia Dairy Co. - famous for its milk puddings (dun lai). Every morning there is a line at this place for breakfast. They make good scrambled eggs served with thick buttered toasts.
Lunch at Michelin rated Din Tai Fung known for its dumplings.
Wood ear fungus in vinegar dressing
Chicken soup with noodles
Truffle xia long bao
I had a chance to stay at the two Intercontinental hotels in Hong Kong. The IC Grand Stanford is smaller and with more character than its sister property the IC HK, it retains a certain old world charm and exclusivity that makes a stay here such a memorable treat. Its Club is elegant and refined, with a service level that is both personal and very attentive.
IC Grand Stanford
The IC HK is grandiose, starting with its magnificent lobby affording a breathtaking view of Victoria Harbour 24/7. The public areas have a contemporary feel and it houses a few renowned Michelin rated restaurants.
I was fortunate to stay at an executive suite which came with 2 bathrooms, a living room, dining and desk area. Drawing a comparison between a room here and the one that I stayed at the IC Grand would be unfair, since we will be comparing apples to oranges. I requested a bed to be stationed by the window of the living room so that I can wake up to a fantastic view of H.K. every morning. My floor also had an assigned butler available 24/7 at the ring of a button.
The views at night were just out of this world
Despite its fame and location, I personally preferred the other IC Grand because it felt more intimate and exclusive. Perhaps because it is not as big as the IC H.K., staff are able to focus more on guests and give an extra personal touch.
I took the Airport Bus to the airport at around 7P and it was practically empty. The ride took about 40 min. and once at T1, I went to the SQ J desk. There was an agent setting up the counter and she asked me where I was heading. I replied to SFO and she directed me to the long line next to it. I then asked if the line is even for J passengers and she told me that she will be helping me and asked for my documents. She printed my boarding pass and advised me about the location of the SQ lounge. I thanked her and went through security which was pretty quick.
Once inside the terminal, I decided to do some lounge hopping. I started with the TG lounge, located by gate 40 on the mezzanine level. I showed my SQ boarding pass to the TG agent and he consulted with a colleague. I was then invited to come in and requested to use the shower. I was told that another guest was requesting it but the female agent said that if I took a quick one she could give me the key right away. I promised her that I will be as quick as possible and went to the male WC. There is only one shower located at the end of the WC and it was very basic. Once inside, there was a clean towel, some packaged toiletries and a small space to change. If you have to use the toilet, you should use it before entering into the shower room.
Once I finished, I explored the lounge. Catering was very decent with salads, hot food, an ice creams. The space is rather limited and it was very crowded when I visited. I did not stay here for long and went to the UA Club.
The UA Club contains the UA Global First lounge and is located by gate 61 on the mezzanine level. Once inside I did not notice that the UA Global First section was segregated so I was able to walk into it. The lounge was much more spacious than the TG lounge and had food spreads all over the place. There were 2 showers available.
SQ Silver Kris Lounge is located by gate 15 and is the best of the three lounges that I visited. Right behind the reception desk there is a room with several computer terminals with a few stationery sets with pens.
Right after the computer room, there is a pantry on the left side with drinks, snacks, sandwiches and cheeses.
There are several seating areas in the lounge, and there is a section at the end of a hallway with plenty of food options like salads, hot foods, pastries, and dim sums.
When I was leaving the lounge, the agent stopped me and advised that boarding would be delayed and invited me to stay a little longer. A few minutes later she made an announcement to board the plane and most people got up and left. At the gate, there was a long line for Y passengers but since I was in J, I headed straight up to the premium line. There was a security check just before the bridge and everyone was searched. Thankfully this was done quickly and efficiently.
SQ uses a separate line to board F and J passengers, and I was greeted by a smiling FA at the entrance of the plane. As I walked down, a FA inquired about my seat and I was escorted there. She showed me the seat and opened the overhead bin for me. The cabin was not full and FA's offered pre-departure drinks consisting of orange juice, champagne and one of their non-alcoholic cocktails. One of the FA's saw me taking pictures and immediately asked me if I wanted her to take one of me on my seat. I accepted her offer and she took about 3 pics making sure that I came out fine. A very nice touch!
Once the door closed, FA's passed around with hot towels and they were really thick and hot, newspapers and reading materials. After take off, they distributed socks and eye shades from a tray. I already had these in the compartment, so probably they were left from the previous SIN-HKG leg.
The seats were the widest for a J product and felt nicely cushioned. If you want to sleep, you had to ask the FA to flip it and turn it into a bed. A pillow and packed blanket were already in the back of the seat.
I have ordered the chicken rice from Book the Cook but wanted to try the Indian lamb. I asked the FA if I could change the order and she told me with a smile that there was no problem. She even suggested to have the chicken rice for the breakfast service if I wanted. I appreciated her suggestion and thanked her profusely. I might add that she was a Malay attendant who was a joy to deal with and spoke perfect Mandarin with the passenger across from me. I saw her make the bed for the passenger and she even placed the blanket and fastened the seat belt for him. Great service all the way. As a matter of fact, she and another Chinese FA assigned to my row were wonderful. They represented the true professionalism and charm that the SQ girl is known for around the world.
I had a Tropical Fizz accompanied by warm nuts. I was offered seconds but declined wanting to save some room for the supper.
The duck foie gras with mirabelle plum and Dacquoise coconut, fresh fig and balsamic reduction was ok. It did not have a discerning taste of foie gras but I appreciated the addition of coconut and fresh fig to come up with a creative way to present it.
Of course, this was served with warm breads from a basket.
Then came the main dish - Indian style lamb rogan josh with jaifereize vegetables, dal curry and saffron rice. The dish was nicely spiced, but I did not think that the paper container with the dal made for a good presentation. It was accompanied by a nice raita side dish to cool things off.
The passion fruit mousse cake tasted fine, but did not impress. It looked like something bought from a regular Chinese bakery.
I had some cheese and grapes after the dessert which was served from a cart.
To end the meal, I finished with a cup of Paris-Singapore tea.
Before going to bed, I visited the WC which was spacious and well stocked.
I then dozed off for about 4 hrs. There were periods of intense turbulence that interrupted my sleep from time to time. When I woke up, I decided to have a snack and visited the galley. The FA showed me a sandwich and Mediterranean wrap and I chose the croissant chicken salad. He asked me if I wanted it cold or warm. I had it cold and when he brought the tray, he followed with the snack basket.
Snack basket in the galley
Picture of cabin and seat with compartments.
Soon it was time for the second service and we started with a selection of juices, fresh fruit and yogurt.
This was followed by my chicken rice which was served with ground ginger, sweet and thick soya and chili sauce. The chicken was tender and the rice fragrant. I can't think of a better breakfast on SQ.
Immigrations and customs formed were passed and we arrived in SFO about 16 minutes late and my fabulous Malay FA shook my hand and thanked me for flying with SQ. When we disembarked, the curtains separating J from Y were still in place and a FA positioned herself at the end of the cabin. Just as with embarkation, J and F passengers disembarked through another jetbridge.
Singapore Airlines Silverkris Lounge - Business
Hong Kong - HKG
San Francisco - SFO
It was a pleasure to finally experience SQ and this flight met my expectations. Without a doubt SQ has some very special crew members and they performed their job fantastcially. I still think SQ should provide an amenity kit in J and be at the same level with its competitors in that aspect.
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