Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Comfort Lodge, Hong Kong

This is the story of how hard it was (seriously!) to find our hotel upon arriving in Hong Kong, where we just spent a week enjoying the sights and sub-tropical weather.

It all began when I booked our accommodation online, securing a room at a place called the Comfort Lodge. It was relatively cheap by Hong Kong standards (where prices are way higher than on the mainland), and it was centrally located right in the heart of Kowloon, close to shopping, mass transit, and Victoria Harbor.

Armed with the street address and a general idea of the location, we set out from the bus station in Mong Kok, our arrival point in Hong Kong, rolling luggage behind us. A little while later, I knew, from my advance research, that we were right in the vicinity of the place, at this major intersection. But, I couldn't decide, should we turn to the left or to the right? We didn't see a neon Comfort Lodge sign in either direction.

So we turned right. And then we turned left. And then we turned left again. And then we turned left again, and we were right back where we started.

So then we tried the other direction. More left turns and right turns. Finally we reached a street that was called Tak Hsing. Now since the street name I had written down on my sheet of paper said Tak Hing (notice the one letter difference), it seemed like we were really closing in on it. But there we were, a few minutes later, having walking the entire length of Tak Hsing (not very far, by the way)...and still no sign of the elusive Comfort Lodge.

At that point, we decided the search would move more quickly if we parked all of our stuff in this nearby park and if I jetted off by myself at top speed. I quickly discovered a small street, not much more than an alleyway, with the name Tak Hing. But there I was, yet again, at the other end of the strip, and still no Comfort Lodge sighting. It wasn't until I walked up and down Tak Hing a few more times that I noticed an archway of sorts with the address I had pulled off the web. (By the way, that's a picture of Julie and Z, much later in the trip, walking through the archway.) But the archway looked liked it led into a residential complex, and there was still no sign announcing the Comfort Lodge.

My next move was to timidly walk in past the archway. Sure enough, it was indeed a residential complex, with people coming in and out of their apartments. There was one apartment I noticed that had a "ring the bell" sign outside its door. Now I was getting even more timid. I didn't want to look like a fool and buzz the front door of some private home. But I didn't know what else to do, so I took a deep breath and hit the button. Sure enough, when I asked the question, I got the answer that, yes, this is a hotel.

Actually, it turns out that two of the apartments have been converted from residences into a main office and a series of rooms. So when we finally got checked in, we had to first use our key to open the front door of the "apartment" and then swipe it again to get into our room. As for the room itself, it was small, but not all that bad. And, yes, it had its own bathroom! I myself was having some doubts for a few minutes there, but it all turned out to have a happy ending. Decent price, great location...A good launching pad for our Hong Kong adventures...

~Steve

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