The Kowloon Hotel is a nice quality hotel with good service. We were able to get an upgrade to the club level floor, which includes breakfast, access to a lounge on the top floor, and some other services. While everything is nice, when we arrived in the room I was shocked by how small it is.
The bed (the largest one they have, according to the front desk) is just a double. There is one foot of space on one side, two feet at the foot of the bed, and a very small space with an angled desk and a side chair between the bed and window. The picture to the above is taken with my back against the front door.
I telephoned the front desk: “I thought we were upgraded? This is a tiny room!” They assured me that because of the floor plan, all rooms are the same size. The added services and amenities were the “point” behind the upgrade.
While we don’t spend a lot of time in the room, still it is nice to have a little space to move around in since we’re a party of two. And a double bed? When’s the last time we slept in so small a space? Aie-yo.
After the dim sum Friday afternoon, Tawn and I were stuffed and still quite tired from our short night of sleep Thursday. He wanted to walk around and do some shopping and knowing that I would just be a damper on his enthusiasm, I went back to the hotel room to take a nap.
In the evening we took a walk along the Tsim Sha Tsui waterfront, where an “Avenue of the Stars” walkway has been built, honoring the legends of the substantial Hong Kong film industry. The walkway is right along the water starting by the Hong Kong Art Museum and continuing around to Tsim Sha Tsui East and provides some of the best views of Hong Kong Harbour.
Below: I spent a good half hour playing around with different exposure settings, trying to get the two of us exposed while still allowing the skyline enough time for exposure. I ended up using an ISO of 100, 1.5 seconds at f2.9 with a delayed flash.
We then took the MTR to the new Langham Place mall in Mongkok, meeting Michael at the Pure Yoga studio where he teaches. The transition of this area over the past decade is amazing. Mongkok used to be short-hand for gambling dens, houses of ill repute, and Triad violence. It wasn’t necessarily a dangerous place for tourists to pass through but it wasn’t a very good place, either. Many Hong Kong cop movies were set there (Raymond Yip’s 1998 Portland Street Blues, for example) because its reputation was so enshrined.
With the opening of the very large Langham Place mall, which includes a hotel and office tower, the area has cleaned up, is lit like Times Square New York at night, and is now bustling will all sorts of legitimate business day and night. Michael says that the prostitution is still around, although it has pushed a few blocks away. Sooner than later, he suspects, it will be pushed out of this area entirely because the money to be had from high-end commercial developments is greater than the money to be had from a red light district.
Dinner was at Wang Jia Sha, a Shanghainese restaurant on Shantung Street. Shanghainese cuisine is one of my favourites, especially all the different types of steamed dumplings. Before we knew it, midnight had arrived and it was time to head back to the hotel. Maybe Saturday night we’ll go out to find some nightlife.
One more shot of one of my favourite skylines.
We had a full day today, Saturday, which I’ll blog about when we return.