PB Travels… Hong Kong – Pt 1

The travels have begun (again 😁😁). I’m kicking off with Hong Kong 🇭🇰. The main reason for starting with HK is purely down to the fact that I could redeem my airmiles on Virgin Atlantic – my favourite airline. I’ve never had a bad experience with them, a few dodgy meals but that is it really!  Seats, service, people, and that clubhouse!  So for 120,000 airmiles and taxes, I managed to bag myself an upper class return.

I played it safe and got to the airport 4 hours before my flight. In your face, all you scaremongers! In their defence though, the roads are so busy during a holiday, this time, they were empty. Private check in, private security channel and straight into the clubhouse. PERFECT START. Loads of space, comfy seating and enough food and drink that you could possibly want.

First things first, off to the spa to book in some complimentary treatments. I booked myself in for back to back hair wash/massage/blow dry followed by a facial. Lovely and the girls were so professional and friendly!

Suitably refreshed, onto some stomach related treatments. I decided to have an early meal, basing it on the experience of vegan food in upper class last time – slightly sub par mains.

I went for a Bramble cocktail, with fresh blackberries and lemon. A tad to sweet and icy for me.

Lots and lots of options, with a few veggie/veganisable options too.

I wasn’t feeling the salad or soup, or even the small plates, so I went for the burger, sans Brie and mayo.  I had forgotten how GOOD the chips were. Hot, crispy on the outside, soft on the inside. Super tasty. The burger was nice, bread a bit too soft for me and I could have done with a few more mushrooms.  No desserts that I could have..

The flight itself was a night flight, so I was planning to sleep (supine 😬) for most of it. Why wouldn’t you when the seats are like this?

I wanted dinner not because I was hungry – But too see what the food was like. Starter – carrot and coriander soup, nicked from the clubhouse menu me thinks. Pleasant but not exciting. Mains? Exactly the same as I had in September last year!!!! Well, not exactly. This time it came with edamame (good), but the rest was the same. Ratatouille with acidic tomato sauce and aubergine. Yes. Aubergine. 🍆. NOT GOOD. Need to let Virgin Atlantic know that they need to jazz up their vegan options!!  I ate the spinach and edamame and left the rest. No dessert again – I think it was fruit but I was ready for bed.

3/4 of a movie later and I got my bed made and I literally slept for about 6 hours. I woke up, finished watching my movie and has breakfast. Green tea and a plate of veggies. Yummy.

I landed and got through immigration and baggage without a problem. I’ve always loved Hong Kong airport – it is gigantic but so well run and organised.  So my options to get into the city (I’m staying in Kowloon) were many – MTR, taxi (HKD 250) or the A21 bus (HKD 33). I opted for the bus, and would recommend it to anyone. Efficient, quick and cheap and everything is marked in English so you won’t get lost. You can get an octopus card at the station – another recommendation. It can be used on all forms of public transport and even in shops.  So convenient and that is exactly what I’ve been doing.  Loading it up and using the card in the MTR, buses, trams (HK’s public transport is excellent) and in shops like 7 eleven.. one on each corner!

Where am I staying?

Hong Kong can be as expensive or as cheap as you want. Yes yes, I know you can say that about most places, but I really feel it here.  I didn’t want to stay in some luxury hotel for £400 a night, nor did I want to stay in a dodgy hostel in Chungking mansions for £20. In the end I chose Lodgewood by L’hotel Mongkok (thanks Lil for pointing me in this direction! 😁).

Lovely bright lobby with complimentary tea, coffee and fruit. They even have macs to use. 

Reasonably priced, and the room, may be small, is perfect for me.  It is on the 20th floor, so the views are pretty nice.   Loads of storage space, a draw full of crockery and cutlery, a microwave, a safe, a kettle – everything I need. No iron, but hey, I’m on holiday, and I’m sure if I asked I’d get one.

One thing though, don’t book this room if you’re travelling with other halves, friends or family you’re not fully comfortable with. Check out the view from the loo! And yes. The shower curtain is OUTSIDE the shower. So no privacy and if you have any in the shower, you can’t control it. Haha.. I love it though!!!

Ratings will continue..

  • Grubbiness factor: non existent, the only problem is inconsistency with housekeeping 
  • Bed = 9/10, nice bed, nice pillows, the only problem was my jet lag!
  • Shower = 10/10. Perfect pressure, size, hot water – everything. 

What did I do?

I’ll be coming back to Hong Kong after my travels for some retail therapy and more touristy stuff, so for now I’ve been checking out my old haunts (I was a frequent visitor many years ago). Some things haven’t changed – my favourite shops, cafes are still there, Mongkok is as manic as ever, full on interesting stuff and excitement.  I also went on the Star Ferry – loved it. 

As for food, that is one thing that has changed for me, thankfully I am very pleased to say there are so so so many options for me. Whooo! Separate post for that. 


PB Travels… in style

So as I mentioned in my opening post, I’ve travelled quite a bit this year, both for work and pleasure.  I flew to the US a couple of weeks ago, courtesy of work, which meant that I got to fly with my favourite airline – Virgin Atlantic, and that too in style! So I wanted to share my experiences of the lounge and the flight.

Now for those who have experienced the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse at London Heathrow will know how lush it is… lots of nooks and crannies, lots of comfy sofas, lots of space, lots of food and lots of alcohol.  I got there pretty late, with less than a couple of hours to spare. The first thing I do is go to the spa and book in a complimentary treatment – usually the facial.

While waiting for my treatment, I ordered a G&T (oh! such a hard life) and ordered a few nibbles. I didn’t take pics of the menu (I should have… but wasn’t in blogger mode). To be honest there were a number of veggie options, but all with cheese – however I did spot a few I could eat – and they were delicious!  I ordered one, maybe two, alright! three portions of the hummus and veggies.

Loved the presentation, and the balance of veggies and hummus was just right – so you can see why I ordered three!  I also ordered this roasted green bean salad with extra avocado (terrible pic, I know).

This was a stunning combination of green beans, salad leaves, roasted tomatoes, avocado, sesame seeds and micro greens – so tasty, and a generous portion.  I had enough time to enjoy this, go for my facial and run to the plane..

I ordered a special meal for the flight.  I did get the Upper Class treatment and they did confirm that my ‘meal was on board’ whoo!  Saying that though, I always travel with a stash of food (nuts, seeds and bars), just in case of my VGML going AWOL.   I chose the red pepper bread. Yum!

First course was a butternut squash soup – very enjoyable, full of flavour and a beautiful sunshine yellow colour.
Mains was essentially a ratatouille, or rather an aubergine curry, which was quite horrible   I must have had a couple of bites, after which I had to stop.  Undercooked aubergine gloop and acidic tomato sauce – not a good combination.
As usual, the dessert expectation was fruit. Let’s be frank, I knew I would be getting fruit at some point on the flight, but thankfully it wasn’t after that horrible main course!  I was presented with this interesting looking jelly..

It turned out to be this intensely flavoured berry jelly.. soft and slippery in a good way, and before I knew it, the plate was clean.  A meal with ups  and downs, but I was full enough, so that was OK.  An hour or so before landing, a snack was served – which to be honest, I didn’t eat – well, I ate the fruit and drank my green tea.

The wrap itself was thick and doughy, and there was too much of it.  The filling was supposed to be roasted veggies I think, but in all honesty, there was a lot of the aubergine from lunch time in there (sans sauce).  Not nice.

Coming back from New York was a 6 hr night flight. To be honest I didn’t eat in the lounge. Reason why?  I had the BEST BURGER I’ve ever had – a buffalo cauliflower burger (will post about it soon).  I did look at the menu in the JFK clubhouse and there weren’t that many vegan options – none marked anyway.  They did have the hummus and veggies. There was a field mushroom burger, veggie curry and if all goes wrong, chips would always be there to save the day.

All in all, a most enjoyable experience – I’m not going to complain.. this is what I live for!!