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Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Summer Series 2013: HongKong with Kids

The last of my summer series is our unplanned trip to HK.  I consider this unplanned because when I do trips, I buy tickets months and months ahead of schedule (think at least 6 months ahead!).  MIL had a business trip in HK which required the presence of Mr. Ong and his sister (from Singapore).  Since SIL's kids will be on vacation then, she was thinking of bringing them to HK or dropping them off in the Philippines.  Because I wanted to have a last hurrah, I subtly suggested to Mr. Ong to have a last summer vacation/reunion for cousins.  
hello HongKong
Thanks to my credit cards, I got 3 award tickets from Philippine Airlines about 1 month before the trip.  Since SIL used to be based in HK, so she chose Marco Polo Prince based on its proximity to shopping and dining.  The hotel had an ongoing Stay and Summer Spectacular which included buffet breakfast and a guaranteed upgrade to the next room category.  The trip started on the wrong foot - with a really long line at immigration and almost 3 hours delay from PAL.  
We arrived at the hotel at almost 9pm.  Upon checking in, I was informed by the front desk manager that they were overbooked!  Breathe in and breathe out!  Since we had prepaid for 2 rooms, they couldn't refuse to check us in so I asked what he was offering.  He asked me if I would agree to being checked in to just one suite room for the first night and set-up 2 extra beds in the living room.  Then for our 2nd and 3rd nights, they would be giving us another suite room.  I agreed because it was just one night and it was already late - and that's how we got upgraded to suite rooms for our stay.  
For the 1st night, MIL and BIL stayed in one room with us.  They moved to their own suite room the next day.  N was pretty happy with the room because it was big and she could run around.  I usually don't mind small rooms because we spend most of the time outside the hotel.  However, for this trip, we maximized the room because N got sick with fever and E was still napping 2x a day.  
It was E's first time out of the country and I was pleasantly surprised at how it was easy to take care of him sans yaya.  Of course, breastfeeding and babywearing helped - A LOT!  For this trip, I used the Ergo Active/Sport which I reviewed here and brought breastfeeding clothes to make it convenient to nurse anywhere.  If you're looking for where to nurse or change a baby in HK, check this post.
Traveling with kids requires flexibility.  For this trip, I had wanted to try new restaurants.  However, because of crowds, we ended up at our old favorites - Din Tai Fung and Crystal Jade. No regrets here.  N loves xiao long pao while E shared his Ama's favorite - dragon beans.
For the kids, highlight of the trip was our stay in Disneyland.  N had been to Disneyland twice before but we never stayed in hotel.  For this trip, we decided to stay at the hotel so we will be closer to the resort and to give us more time to enjoy the place.  Since it was summer, there were a lot of deals and we snagged a package for a 2-day Park ticket with overnight stay at Disneyland Hotel.
Compared to the Marco Polo suite room, the room was smaller but had more personality.  I found it charming and homey and appreciated the touches of Disney - from the slippers, to the decorations, to the toiletries.  N was in Disney bliss!
The hotel was very child-friendly.  There was a stool to help kids reach the sink and hard plastic cups to use when brushing teeth.  There was a also a very nice children's play area where N learned to make animal towels and E learned how to be a pirate.

One of the reasons why we also opted for the hotel stay was the character breakfast at Enchanted Garden.  Food was so-so but I guess what you pay for is the chance of meeting the characters up close, without having to line up.  E was too young to enjoy but N didn't want breakfast to end!  There were 2-seating times and we signed up for the 730am slot.  Since there was another set of diners at 930am, we had to rush out by 9am.
Of course, N enjoyed Disneyland even more because she was there with her cousins. Because she was so excited, she didn't take her afternoon naps, slept late, woke up early and ended up with a fever on our 3rd day.  But that didn't stop her from enjoying and I think she would've done more activities if she was well.  
With young kids, I think our decision to purchase 2-day park passes was a good one.  We didn't have to rush through all the rides and attractions.  Because we stayed in the Disneyland Hotel, N was able to watch the fireworks.  Meanwhile, although E and I went back earlier, we were still able to catch the fireworks from our hotel room balcony!
We took the last flight back to Manila on our last day but had to check out of the hotel at 12nn.  Happily, Disneyland Hotel were ready for left bags and we were able to still go back to the Park on our last day.  
Looking forward to our next trip and this time, with my side of the family! ;)

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