Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Travel Tuesday; Crowne Plaza Hong Kong Kowloon East (Review)

Oh how I loved my time in Hong Kong. One of the things that made the trip fantastic is my (our) stay at the Crowne Plaza Hong Kong Kowloon East. I believe this was my first time staying at any Crowne Plaza Hotel and I must say that it certainly did not disappoint.

Crowne Plaza Hotel Kowloon East is located on Kowloon Island which is about 45 minutes from the airport and 20 minutes or so from Hong Kong Island. It is situated a few steps from the rail line which makes getting around easy. If public transport isn't quite your feel, you can take one of the many taxis or private cars.

Travel to Hong Kong from Abu Dhabi was about 9 hours total. Being that Hong Kong is 4 hours ahead of Hong Kong, we lost most of first day due to travel. We arrived at the hotel about 11:30 p.m. and that's when the royal treatment began.

A member of the concierge team greeted us immediately upon arrival. They handled getting our bags to us, check us in quickly, offered a free upgrade, and we were off to our room within a few minutes. The team handled everything from breakfast, comfort, to tours. If you did not want to lift a finger, you did not have too.

Additionally, many of the staff member spoke great English. This is something that many western travelers worry about, but rest assure that communication here was terrific.

For us, the size of the room was plenty. We had a space for our luggage, room to move about, a desk, and a large screen TV for Ash. The bathroom was modern and roomy which is one amenity that I look for while traveling. 

We also ordered room service a few nights while there because we were pooped beyond belief after our tours.

Though the service was swift and the people were nice, neither of us liked the service food. The first night we had spaghetti and a light sandwich (BLEH), and another night we had the above. It was OK, but for the price, I need delicious. There were other restaurants in the hotel which were great. Most importantly, we were situated between two malls, so we had access to other places to eat.

If you're looking for a relaxing place to spend time while traveling in Hong Kong, Crown Plaza Hong Kong Kowloon East is it. It is ideal for couples but probably not families because it is a bit away from Disney and the main drags of Hong Kong.

Where will you stay when visiting Hong Kong?

Tags: "Crowne Plaza Hong Kong Kowloon East", "travel" "travel Tuesday" "Hong Kong" "Disneyland Hong Kong" "Kowloon Island"

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Updates and Randoms

Somewhere along the lines, work and life had a great affect on posting and here I am a week later.

After returning from our vacation, I had such a cold and something a resembled bronchitis. I never made it to the doctor but I'm quite sure that is what is was (and lingering) according to Dr. Google.

Immediately following our vacation was (is) a heavy time at work; end of the year evaluations and activities. So coupled with jet lag, a cold, and work, I couldn't find an ounce of energy to pen a post or even respond to by favorite blogs. I'm sorry guys, I will make it up to you in the weeks to come.

However, in the midst of this organized chaos, I am still basking in the wonders of our vacation. We truly enjoyed ourselves. We spent about 10 days straight with one another and that was a first. Ooo my goodness, yeah; good times, my nerves, the food, the cuddles, my nerves, the shopping, the adventures, and yes again, my nerves. My dear sweet Ash is something else but

he's my "vacation boy" as I now call him. I must say that he did an awesome job with things that I do not like to do, like be organized. He kept the suites in order as well as our things. He picked out our clothes the night before and had everything ready for the next morning. Typically, I scramble the day of and usually forget something but my "vacation boy" saved a lot of days. I was in charge of planning excursions and meals. The excursions were easy but meals were a challenge. Ash is Muslim and can not eat certain things so I had to make sure the restaurants in which we ate were OK for him; it was challenging in Hong Kong because pork was everywhere. Bangkok has a sizeable Muslim community and cater to the many Muslim who vacation there which made eating a lot easier.

For the week, I guess I should take some meds, see a real Dr., and climb off of cloud 9. I miss blogging and being active online. During my week of MIA, I did happen upon this article that I found prudent for developing a blogging schedule. I certain want to thank Kita editor of Kokoa Magazine for reintroducing me to HootSuite. Now if I can just post regularly, then a can schedule posts. Right, right.

Tags: "travel" "Hong Kong" "Bangkok" "blogging" "advice" "Kokoa Magazine"

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Oh These Shoes...

One would think that living in a country that dubs itself the "shopping capital of the world" that I would have found outfits for these shoes by now.

Poor me, I'm faced with the dilemma and challenge of finding just the right outfit for my precious pair.

Featured at the top are the noted Zara heels that you've seen on fashion blogs across the net. Clockwise; standard black pair of Louboutin, bedStu chunky heeled sandals, a comfy pair of Aerosoles for work, and a snakeskin peep toe by Jessica Simpson.

The main issue is that I've become lazy and only wear flats. Last year this time you couldn't catch me in flats but the heat on top of fashion laziness have the heels on pause.

Friends, what can I do to jump start my heels again?

Tags: "Louboutin" "bedstu" "Aerosoles" "Jessica Simpson shoes" "Zara shoes" "fashion" "abu dhabi" "teaching in Abu Dhabi"

Friday, April 12, 2013

Lunch at Casa Luca - Paris

Without a doubt, one of my favorite things to do is try new restaurants and dine out. I probably dine out a few times a week if not more. So, there's no surprise that my travel friends and I stopped in the cutest restaurant called Casa Luca near Paris' Arc de Triomphe. I remember this restaurant fondly because it was so cold that day, we all needed to potty badly, and Casa Luca was our saving grace. After stopping in a few marts without public facilities, we spotted this little number across the street. It's a fortunate and unconventional way to select dining, but it worked.

If I remember correctly, we arrived around 4 p.m. so the lunch crowd had dispersed and we were the one of two small groups in the restaurant; suited me just fine because I wasn't in the mood to do a ton of waiting.

The place is really attractive, inviting, and quite cozy. The mood is sultry and perfect for a couples dinner. However, Ash didn't travel with me to Paris, so it was dining with the girls.

We opted for one of their 3-course specials because it was reasonably priced and available until 5 p.m. or so...according to Little Miss Rude Waitress. I didn't initially want to call her rude but after seeing the other remarks on Travel Advisor, yep, she's rude and ruining their business.... but that's on them.
Anyway, we had;

I also had a large plate of pasta but it didn't photograph well so I opted not to post. 

Overall, the food was good and the atmosphere was amazing. However, Little Miss Attitude turned into Little Miss Forgetful then Little Miss Liar regarding the course special. She lied and the disrespectful manager didn't compensate the bill like she should have. What started as a great relaxing late lunch turned into a heated "discussion" and disgust. With that, I'd probably never visit that location again but if there's another Casa Luca in Paris, I may try it out. Who knows?

How often do you dine out? What are your dining choices when you travel?

Tags: "Paris" "France" "travel" "Arc de triomphe" "Casa Luca"

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Hong Kong; Cityscapes

Hong Kong is everything. It is lush, gritty, enticing, mysterious, and amazing. We arrived in Hong Kong at night so we were able to see the skyline and its reflection over the water. Hong Kong has a skyline like no other. I thought New York City and Chicago had amazing skylines, but Hong Kong is certainly competition. Besides the grit and the skylines, Hong Kong is surrounded by lush greenery that greatly contrasts the hustle of the city. Because Hong Kong consists of the main island as well as densely populated supporting islands, it was impossible to see all the things that Hong Kong had to offer. We were able to do a city tour, visit Lautau Island, the Big Budda, and Nathan Street. The Hong Kong area is notorious for its street markets that offer everything that you can imagine; dried fish, fresh vegetables, meals, clothing, souvenirs, adult toys, and basic whatnots. We were able to pounce on Nathan Street. Ash found a new backpack because his trusty Adidas Bag ripped; I wonder why?

I snagged a few things including the cutest wedge sneakers. 

After our trip to Lautau Island, we spent a few days just getting lost in the city. I learned that my Ash is quite the photographer, so he captured a lot of amazing shots.

Hong Kong is a city that we will visit again. It's a busy crowded city that is not for the faint at heart or rookie traveler. My advice is to come with a plan and use guided tours to maximize your time in Hong Kong.

.. and as always more pics can be found here.

Tags: "Hong Kong" "Kowloon: "travel" "big Buddha" "Tian Tan Buddha" "Ladies Market" Nathan Street" 

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Wordless Wednesday; Hong Kong

Hong Kong 2013

Tags: "Hong Kong", "travel"

Monday, April 1, 2013

Hong Kong; The Real Magic City (Part 1)

We came and conquered Hong Kong.

I have to admit, Ash and I were a bit nervous about coming to Hong Kong. We both had trouble sleeping the night before therefore we chatted most of the night instead. We had a super early flight so that caused a challenge the next morning. However, once we got settled in the airport all was well. We flew out of Abu Dhabi International though more expensive than Dubai; Dubai is such a hassle.

We flew via Qatar Airways. I've flown Qatar twice and had a pleasant experience each time. They offer 5-star service at 37,000 feet. Check out their destinations to see where they fly; exceptional service and usually on time.

We flew from Abu Dhabi to Doha, Qatar for a plane change then 7 and a half hours to Hong Kong. The flight was uneventful but the food was delicious.

Once we arrived in rainy Hong Kong, all of our jitters went away immediately. We gazed at the rows and rows of tall buildings, lights, and marvelous zen. The taxi ride to our hotel was about 30 minutes as we stayed on Kowloon Island at the luxurious Crown Plaza Hong Kong Kowloon East. A separate post is needed about how well they treated us and how comfortable the accommodations were.


Needless to say, after an early start and long flights, we were hungry and tired. We ate, we looked, we slept then we were greeted with overcast skies and the most amazing backdrop.

I so thought I could talk about the entire experience in one post, but I don' think I can make it.

In the meanwhile, here are a few pics. 

After another tour today, we have a red-eye to Bangkok, Thailand.

Tags - "Hong Kong" "travel" "tourist" "Expedia" "Qatar Airlines" "teaching in Abu Dhabi" "teach away"

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