Ask any Filipino traveler who goes for “the finer things in life,” where he would want to fly to for a shopping spree. Chances are “Hong Kong” would be the ready answer.
Ever since I was in grade school, this former Crown Colony has been everybody’s ideal shopping destination. Not only do the-most-sought-after branded goods dazzle even the most jaded shopping “black belters,” but also the bargain items in Hong Kong’s Mong Kok district never fail to mesmerize “shopaholics.”
I remember that many decades ago, traveling was really easy, very convenient, and simply FUN TO DO. There were no cumbersome and repetitious security checks at airports. Since my airline affiliation gave me and my spouse free tickets anywhere we wanted to go, without having to pay for transportation taxes, we decided to go to Hong Kong on an early morning flight and came back to Manila on the last evening flight of that same day. Of course, shopping was the main reason for the trip, although we made sure that, for lunch, we would also feast on our favorite Chinese culinary specialties.
But shopping trips can be very exhausting because, most of the time, you have to walk or drive from one district to another, just to find the item you want, and compare various options, to be sure you get the best of what you are looking for. This energy-sapping aspect of shopping is what I don’t like.
At my present age, I have become lazy to “walk the mile” just for something new to wear or have. That’s why I do my shopping only in the US because my favorite mall in New Jersey has everything I need, all under one roof!
But, lo and behold, I just discovered that, now, I don’t have to fly to New Jersey to shop. Neighboring Hong Kong beckons, with its Harbour City, a large shopping mall tucked right in the middle of Tsim Sha Tsui district. It is actually a huge complex of office blocks, with three hotels in it, and is annexed to the Ocean Centre and Ocean Terminal.
Harbour City is the largest shopping complex in Hong Kong, and is home to more than 450 shops, spread over an area of 8.4 million square feet, and carrying a wide spectrum of goods, from the world’s leading luxury brands to the “common man’s favorites.” All these shopping options, housed in one large air-conditioned facility, make it very convenient for lazy shoppers like me to check on new things to buy.
And when you get hungry, Harbour City has approximately 100 restaurants to choose from, where you can rest your tired soles, to recharge, and gather up more energy for more shopping.
Making it even more convenient for Filipino shoppers is the presence of the three Marco Polo Hotels inside Harbour City—Hong Kong Hotel, Gateway Hotel, and Prince Hotel offering a total of 1,459 well-appointed and spacious guest rooms and suites, all equipped with Wi-Fi and deluxe facilities.
I have stayed at the Gateway Hotel and thoroughly enjoyed its elegant design, impeccable service, and modern comforts, plus the fact that I just had to walk outside the lobby of the hotel, and I was already inside the large shopping complex...no sweat, no wasted time!
And one most appreciated amenity that these three Marco Polo Hotels give its guests is the complimentary handy smartphone which the guest may use to call anybody for free, whether the called party is in Hong Kong, in the Philippines, or in the US. This made it very easy for me to check with my sons in Manila and my daughter in Seattle the specs of the items they wanted me to purchase, without having to pay for the calls.
I’m sure there will be many other excellent offerings these Marco Polo Hotels will have in the near future, now that they have appointed Dalip Singh as the new general manager for the three properties. A seasoned hotelier with more than two decades of experience, Singh has been the key driver in the three hotels’ improvement goals and initiatives, resulting in improved guest and associate engagement metrics.
But, here’s the best news for Filipino travelers from the South, who plan to do their shopping sprees in Hong Kong: Starting late this month, Cathay Dragon, the wholly owned subsidiary of Cathay Pacific, will operate non-stop flights between Davao and Hong Kong five times a week. In fact, to promote this most welcome link between our two countries, Chef Alex Destriza of Marco Polo Davao is now in Hong Kong, whipping up favorite Filipino culinary specialties for the nightly dinner buffet at Gateway Hotel’s Three on Canton.
With these new developments, “Asia’s World City” (Hong Kong’s tourism tagline) now offers Shopping Made Easy! Let’s go!
For feedback, I’m at [email protected]
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