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Marco Polo Hotels-Hong Kong 2017 highlights: Awards, big events, upgrades

From winning awards and hosting big events to undertaking upgrades, it has been a busy and memorable 2017 for the Marco Polo Hotels-Hong Kong, which include the iconic Kowloon landmark…

From winning awards and hosting big events to undertaking upgrades, it has been a busy and memorable 2017 for the Marco Polo Hotels-Hong Kong, which include the iconic Kowloon landmark Marco Polo Hongkong as well as newer facilities Gateway and Prince.

The three hotels were given the Merit Award at the 2017 HKMA Quality Award ceremony held on July 21, 2017, while the yearly event Marco Polo German Bierfest garnered the Gold Award for “Best Outdoor Events: Arts, Leisure and Entertainment” at the Marketing Events Awards 2017 organized by Marketing Magazine.

Marco Polo German Bierfest Award

ANOTHER AWARD. The Marco Polo German Bierfest was given the Gold Award for “Best Outdoor Events: Arts, Leisure and Entertainment” at the Marketing Events Awards 2017.

Samantha Poon, Director of Communications for Marco Polo Hotels – Hong Kong, said this demonstrates the commitment and dedication to quality at Marco Polo Hongkong Hotel, Gateway Hotel, and Prince Hotel. She provided updates during a dinner hosted by Marco Polo Hotels – Hong Kong for Cebu and Davao media and bloggers at the Blu Bar and Grill of Marco Polo Plaza Cebu.

The annual Quality Award by the Hong Kong Management Association (HKMA) recognizes organizations from various fields of industry and business that have achieved outstanding performance and quality standards.

Marco Polo Hong Kong

MERIT AWARD. Marco Polo Hongkong Hotel, Gateway Hotel, and Prince Hotel were given the Merit Award at the 2017 HKMA Quality Award ceremony last July 21, 2017.

Marco Polo Bierfest

Now on its 26th year, the award-winning Marco Polo Bierfest kicked off last October 20 and will run until November 11. Celebrated in the outdoor area of Marco Polo Hongkong, against the breathtaking backdrop of Victoria Harbour, the event features partygoers dressed in traditional lederhosen and dirndl while a German band plays folk and oompah tunes and hosts interactive and drinking games.

Marco Polo Bierfest

Marco Polo Bierfest

Guests get to enjoy authentic Bavarian dishes, including the best crispy pork knuckles in Hong Kong, and the finest German beers. Those who book a stay with any of the Marco Polo hotels via marcopolohotels.com within the Bierfest season get two complimentary tickets to the event through the Bed and Bierfest package.

To further extend the Bierfest spirit, hotel guests also receive in-room amenities Marco Polo German Bierfest 2017 special edition beer mugs (maximum two per room) and Erdinger beer (maximum two 500ml bottles per room).

Marco Polo Bierfest

BREATHTAKING VIEW. The Marco Polo Bierfest is celebrated in the outdoor area of Marco Polo Hongkong, against the breathtaking backdrop of Victoria Harbour.

 

Marco Polo Bierfest

Pretzel

 

Marco Polo Bierfest

MARCO POLO BIERFEST. Roast pork knuckle served with braised red cabbage and gratinated potato.

Hotel upgrades

As part of continued quality improvements, the Marco Polo Hongkong Hotel also recently completed an extensive upgrade to its building facade.

Gateway Hotel, meanwhile, is set to unveil an entirely new Continental Club floor in the uppermost level. It will feature 21 well appointed guestrooms and suites that offer stunning views of Hong Kong’s dramatic skyline.

Marco Polo Hongkong Hotel_Harbour View Room

Marco Polo Hongkong Hotel_Harbour View Room.

The new Continental Club rooms will continue to reflect a sophisticated, stylish design and layout, enhanced with the latest technology for today’s modern travellers.

Continental Club guests enjoy a host of exclusive privileges, from daily complimentary breakfast to all-day coffee to tea service.

Marco Polo Hotels – Hong Kong Cebu dinner for Cebu, Davao media

Marco Polo Hong Kong

CEBU, DAVAO journalists and bloggers during the dinner at the Blu Bar and Grill of Marco Polo Plaza Cebu.

 

Marco Polo Hongkong

COMMITMENT TO QUALITY. Samantha Poon, Director of Communications for Marco Polo Hotels – Hong Kong, said the recent awards demonstrate the commitment and dedication to quality at Marco Polo Hongkong Hotel, Gateway Hotel, and Prince Hotel.

 

Marco Polo Hong Kong

HOTEL UPDATES. Marco Polo Hongkong Hotel, Gateway Hotel, and Prince Hotel provided updates during a dinner hosted for Cebu and Davao media and bloggers at the Blu Bar and Grill of Marco Polo Plaza Cebu.

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Quiet corners and busy streets, cold mountain and hot tea: our Hong Kong of contradictions

There we were, frozen and shivering on a long line that snaked around a lonely bus stop in a cold mountain spot in Hong Kong, and there was no bus….

onthego-icon There we were, frozen and shivering on a long line that snaked around a lonely bus stop in a cold mountain spot in Hong Kong, and there was no bus. A digital sign gave a countdown of the 15-minute interval before the next one comes. It was an eternity of waiting.

A thick fog had descended on everything at the Po Lin Monastery in Lantau Island’s Ngong Ping Plateau. It had worsened to the point that you couldn’t make out anything beyond a few meters.

The trees and vegetation, monastery temples, cafes and tea house, Big Buddha, and just about everything else were shrouded in a heavy mist. I could hear people talking nearby but I couldn’t see them. It took us a good 10 minutes to look for the bus stop when it was only around a hundred or so meters away from where we exited Po Lin.

At the long line for the bus that extended way beyond the waiting shed, the rain had changed from a drizzle to a torrent. The wintry chill had numbed my gloved hands and feet encased in socks and boots, and my nose felt like a hard slab on my face. It was so bitterly cold, we could see our every breath.

Hong Kong Po Lin Monastery

PO LIN MONASTERY. It was blanketed in freezing mist during our visit.

Big Buddha Po Lin Monastery

268 STEPS to the Big Buddha or the Tian Tan Buddha in the Po Lin Monastery at Ngong Ping, Lantau Island. You could barely make out the giant statue in the mist.

Big Buddha Po Lin Monastery

TIAN TAN BUDDHA. The Big Buddha was built in 1993 and draws pilgrims and tourists from all over the world. We could barely make out the figure amidst the mist during our visit.

Chilly Ngong Ping

A German husband, with two kids in tow, was letting off steam at the bus stop. I didn’t understand his words but knew enough from his expression, side glances at his wife, and the reference to “Big Buddha” that he wasn’t pleased by the decision to go there. It was a painful trip even for people used to harsh winters.

Despite the agony of the numbing cold, I consider the Ngong Ping visit one of the highlights of our recent Hong Kong trip. The Po Lin Monastery is a common enough attraction in Hong Kong but the cold surge turned a humdrum experience into an extraordinary one.

Hong Kong Po Lin Monastery

PO LIN MONASTERY. In front one of the temples in the monastery.

Hong Kong Po Lin Monastery

MISTY MOUNTAIN. One of the statues at Po Lin Monastery.

As we went from temple to temple at Po Lin, stopped for hot tea and pastries and corn, checked out the shops at Ngong Ping village, climbed 268 steps to the Big Buddha, and stood at the long queue for the bus going down, with the harsh chill spreading on my skin and squeezing flesh and bone, there were times I feared my ability to withstand the cold.

But it is the experiences that bring us the greatest challenge that are also the most unforgettable. Still, the sight of the Citygate Outlets in Tung Chung, where we started the long trip by bus all the way up to Ngong Ping, provided me not just a little bit of relief.

Hong Kon Star Ferry

STAR FERRY TERMINAL. This is where you board the ferry that will take you to Hong Kong Central.

Hong Kong Star Ferry

HONG KONG ICON. The Star Ferry brings you to Hong Kong Central from the Tsim Sha Tsui district.

Hong Kong street markets

The rest of Hong Kong was tame by comparison. We didn’t follow a set itinerary but let the whim take us where it would.

Exploring Harbour City, Hong Kong’s largest mall, was a natural consequence of our stay at the Gateway Hotel of the Marco Polo chain of hotels in Hong Kong. From there, we stumbled upon the Clock Tower and Tsim Sha Tsui Promenade by accident.

We made the short ferry crossing between Tsim Sha Tsui and Hong Kong Island once or twice, got lost a few times until we were able to work out the mass transit railway (MTR) system, and sampled restaurant and street food along the way. Tried the Michelin-starred Tim Ho Wan and Mido Cafe in Yau Ma Tei because they came highly recommended but we stumbled upon other local establishments that served tastier fare.

Temple Street Market Hong Kong

TEMPLE STREET. This part of Hong Kong turns into a night market after dusk and offers a wide range of products for the intrepid shopper: from trinkets such as ref magnets to clothes, cellphones and accessories, various electronic products, chopsticks, among a myriad of products.

Temple Street Night Market

LEATHER NOTEBOOKS on sale on the Temple Street Night Market.

Hong Kong Apliu street flea market

ELECTRONICS and other gadgets are on sale on the Ap Liu Street Market. This is where we finally found what we have long been looking for: a boom microphone that you can attach to cell phones.

STREET FOOD. Old school noodles on the street that sells the latest gadgets.

STREET FOOD. Old school noodles on the street that sells the latest gadgets.

Transferring to Dorsett in Mongkok brought us nearer to the famous Temple Street Night Market, Ladies’ Market, and electronics bargains on Ap Liu Street.

We didn’t always follow the natural order of tours. So many people lining up for the tram to Victoria Peak? We used the bus and just tried the Peak Tram on our way down.

Place of contradictions

Taking out the rigid preparations from the equation made our trip much more flexible. Getting lost was not always a bad thing.

It was out on the streets, on foot, that we discovered Hong Kong, and it wasn’t always the spotlessly clean and modern Admiralty, Central, and Soho or the Canton Road littered with global brands like Hermes and Prada. It wasn’t just Causeway Bay with its ode to retail heaven.

Hong Kong Victoria Peak

VICTORIA PEAK. This is where you can have the best view of Hong Kong.

Victoria Peak Tram Hong Kong

PEAK TRAM. This Victorian-era tram offers a scenic and exciting experience as you head to or from Victoria Peak. Lines, however, can be long and a better option, which we took, was to head to the peak by bus and ride the tram, by then with fewer passengers, on the way down from the peak.

Hong Kong Zoological and Botanical Gardens

ZOOLOGICAL AND BOTANICAL GARDENS. This is one of the must-visit places when in Hong Kong. This is at the entrance.

Hong Kong Zoological and Botanical Gardens

NATURE PANORAMA. The Zoological and Botanical Gardens is surrounded by large, lush, and colorful trees.

Hong Kong Botanical Garden

GREENHOUSE. One of the many types of flowers in the greenhouse inside the botanical garden.

Hong Kong was also about streets in Kowloon lined with stalls where whole pigs and roasted ducks hung on hooks while wonton or noodle soup simmered in pots. It was an avalanche of people rushing along Nathan Road or the railway stations.

Sometimes, it was a quiet corner made up of two or three old people sharing a friendly moment or a back alley turned momentarily into a soup kitchen.

A place is also about the people you experience it with. Our Hong Kong, that is Max’s and mine, was a contradiction of sorts: immaculate and stained, prosperous and broken, but always a hotbed of vigor and purpose.

Snapshots of Hong Kong

Mong Kok street market

A street market in the Mong Kok district.

Citygate Outlets Hong Kong

CHINESE NEW YEAR SALE. The Citygate Outlets in Tung Chung offered huge discounts as part of the Chinese New Year sale.

Hong Kong Observation Wheel

HONG KONG OBSERVATION WHEEL. This Ferris Wheel dominates the view in this part of Central in Hong Kong.

Ti Ho Wan HongKong

TIM HO WAN. This renowned restaurant started out as a hole-in-the-wall eatery that grew into a food outlet featured in the Michelin guide.

Jardine House Hong Kong

WE LOVED the food (and its huge servings) in Deli and Wine in Jardine House in Central.

FRIED BUNS. These fried buns served by a newly opened small shop across the street from Gateway Hotel were yummy.

FRIED BUNS. These fried buns served by a newly opened small shop across the street from Gateway Hotel were yummy.

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Gateway Continental Club brings extra level of service to hotel guests

Travel to another country can be intimidating but our recent trip to Hong Kong was smooth all throughout, thanks in large part to a complimentary two-night stay at Gateway of the Marco Polo chain of hotels in Hong Kong.

onthego-icon Travel to another country can be intimidating but our recent trip to Hong Kong was smooth all throughout, thanks in large part to a complimentary two-night stay at Gateway of the Marco Polo chain of hotels in Hong Kong.

We took an early morning flight from Cebu and Gateway Hotel checked us in because our room was ready even if it was still 10 a.m.

Though we were willing to wait for the 2 p.m. check-in time, having access to your room early when you’re tired from waking up early to catch your flight and navigating the streets of a foreign country to get to your hotel is a big bonus.

Samantha Poon, Marco Polo Hotels-Hong Kong director of communications, told us beforehand in an email that we were being upgraded to a deluxe room at the Continental Club but we didn’t really know what that meant until we arrived.

Gateway exceptional service

The Continental Club of Gateway offers exceptional service and an extra level of convenience, with a host of benefits and privileges thrown in for good measure.

Our remarkable time in Hong Kong begins with a welcome fruit basket and complimentary drinks that we hardly had to time to finish when these were again replenished.

Gateway Continental Club Marco Polo Hong Kong

CONTINENTAL CLUB LOUNGE offers guests of Gateway Hotel of the Marco Polo chain complimentary breakfast, afternoon tea, evening cocktail, and all-day snacks and drinks.

 

Continental Club rooms and suites are located on the 14th to 16th floors of the hotel and have exclusive access to the Continental Club Lounge where there is complimentary breakfast, afternoon tea, evening cocktail, and all-day snacks and drinks.

For someone who is not very adventurous when it comes to food, I appreciated the mix of Western and local cuisine that we had access to at the lounge. When we were tired from all the walking and touring that we did, there was always the hotel food to perk us up.

Gateway Continental Club Marco Polo Hong Kong

Continental Club Lounge.

Gateway Continental Club

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Gateway Continental Club Lounge perks

Since our trip came at a time when we had to coordinate coverage of a big event back home, Gateway’s Continental Club Lounge was a life saver. Getting in touch with the team in Cebu from Hong Kong’s Gateway Hotel was easy with free and fast connectivity. The lounge was an ideal workspace, with plush furniture and unlimited drinks and coffee.

Even out in the streets of Hong Kong, we were really never out of touch. Gateway provides in each of its room a handy, a mobile phone that you can bring with you when you go exploring. It comes with free unlimited 3G mobile internet and you can turn into into a Wi-Fi hotspot. The phone also offers free unlimited calls to five countries including the Philippines, a city guide, and exclusive deals on tickets to attractions.

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Taking into account that this was Hong Kong, our deluxe room was surprisingly spacious and comfortable. Our window had a view of the harbor and other high-rise buildings in the vicinity of Tsim Sha Tsui in Kowloon, Hong Kong.

Gateway is part of Harbour City, Hong Kong’s largest shopping complex, so you get easy access to such top global brands as Prada, Hermes, Louis Vuitton, Lacoste, Givenchy, Armani, Balenciaga, Chanel, Bvlgari, Tissot and the like.

If I have to pick what I really missed about our trip, I would have to say Gateway Hotel because it was the closest thing to home in that Chinese city that is Hong Kong.

Gateway Continental Club

WORKPLACE ON A VACATION. With fast connectivity, comfortable furniture and unlimited drinks and coffee, Gateway’s Continental Club Lounge is the best option for business travelers.

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