sojourneys


The Westin O’Hare Hotel
June 14, 2013, 11:10 pm
Filed under: airports, Chicago, hotels, reviews, Westin | Tags: , , ,

One flight delay leads to another and a 30-hour delay in Hong Kong led to missing a connection in Chicago O’Hare.  That however provided an opportunity to sample the Westin O’Hare Hotel, ten minutes away by shuttle from the second busiest airport in the world in terms of aircraft movements.

Image

Image

Image

While O’Hare has regularly won the crown of “Best Airport in America” as voted by readers of the U.S. edition of Business Traveler Magazine and Global Traveler Magazine, the Westin property that bears its namesake cannot be said to boast such accolades.  Don’t get me wrong, the Westin beds are comfortable, the rooms are spacious, and the Westin White Tea Aloe collection provides a soothing, harmonizing effect perfect for post-flight respite.  The decor of the hotel, from the lobby to the corridors to the guestrooms while contemporary, is soullessly undifferentiated and mass-produced, and is the reason why a growing group of travelers are turning away from large corporate hotels in favor of more intimate, bespoke boutique properties.

Image

Image

Image

Image  

The facilities from the lobby to the adequately equipped fitness room are laudably spacious for an airport hotel.  Guests would not feel claustrophobic despite the crowd, and a real strength of the hotel is the hassle-free access to O’Hare International Airport that is so vital for business travelers.

Advertisements


Regal Airport Hotel Hong Kong

I am generally not one who likes to stay at an airport hotel, but a layover at the Regal Airport Hotel Hong Kong recently–thanks to a 30-hour flight delay by United Airlines–proved surprising in some ways.

Image

The atrium lobby is expansive, offering guests a panoramic view of some of the property’s six restaurants and bars.

Image

Image

Image

Image

For an airport hotel, the hotel offers a wide variety of recreational facilities.  There are two good sized pools–one indoor and the other outdoor.  The gym is also surprisingly spacious and well-appointed, with ample cardio machines, weight resistance equipment, and free weights.

Image

Image

Image

The guestroom, while functional, was small and bordering on spartan.  The wing I was assigned to was directly adjacent to the landing strip of the Hong Kong International Airport, but fortunately, the room was well insulated with no perceptible noise from planes making their landing at one of the world’s busiest hubs.

For layover passengers, the Regal Airport Hotel Hong Kong, directly connected to the passenger terminal via an air-conditioned link bridge, offers a pleasant stay.  As a bonus, the property runs a regular shuttle to the Citygate outlet mall, which in addition to the bevvy of international brands at a discount, boasts a variety of restaurants and a grocery store.



The Hong Kong International Airport – A Gleaming Gateway to a Metropolis
October 19, 2008, 5:12 pm
Filed under: airports | Tags: , , , , , ,

Having been to numerous airports in Asia–Singapore, Tokyo, Bangkok, Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur, Taipei, etc–I’ve to say the Hong Kong International Airport ranks high for design, aesthetics, amenities, and retail.

The Hong Kong International Airport (IATA: HKG), popularly known as Chek Lap kok Airport replaced Kai Tak Airport as the gateway to one of the most dynamic, cosmopolitan economies in Asia.  Costing some US$20 billion and six years to build, HKG was not without controversy.  Environmentalists feared the deleterious effects the reclamation of Chek Lap kok and Lam Chau would have on marine life in the surrounding bay.

Ten years on, HKG serves the world’s major airlines as a key aviation hub of Asia, winning multiple awards including Skytrax’s World Best Airport Award in 2007-2008.



Changi Airport Terminal 3 – A Preview
November 23, 2007, 4:39 pm
Filed under: airports, Changi, Changi Airport, Singapore, T3, Terminal 3

Pursuing my interest in airport design, I attended Changi Airport‘s public preview of its newly minted Terminal 3, fondly referred to as T3.  Here are some pictures I took, interspersed with interesting factoids.

T3 will officially open on Jan 9, 2008, offering a total floor area of 380,000 square meter.  T3 is a 7-storey structure with four above-ground levels and three basements.

A state-of-the-art roof incorporating some 900 skylights with butterfly-shaped reflector panels designed to adjust the amount of natural light let into the terminal creates a soothing, natural ambience while reducing energy usage.  A butterfly garden is one of the attractions that await passengers.

Glass is used extensively to create a sense of openness and space.  There will be some world firsts with its retail selection: the first official FIFA store, and the first Sony and Apple travel outlets for example.

Ten skytrains will connect T3 to T2 and T1 on a 6.5 kilometer elevated track.  T3 will also be connected to a Crown Plaza Hotel, which will be 9-storey tall with up to 350 guest rooms.

T3 will be dotted with close to 100 retail shops, 40 F&B outlets, 20 service outlets, and free Internet access kiosks.

An interesting highlight of T3 is a 5-storey high vertical garden dubbed Green Wall.  Spanning 300 meters, it spans the departure and arrival halls, and is adorned with creeper plants.

Overall, T3 was built at a cost of US$1.75 billion, and will add a capacity of 22 million passengers per year, boosting the total capacity of Changi Airport to a total of 70 million passengers.



Johnny Baron as Elvis @ Changi Airport Singapore – YouTube Clips

Here are some video clips I took of Elvis impersonator Johnny Baron belting out some Elvis hits. The third clip features excerpts of Neil Diamond’s Sweet Caroline, sung with great gusto. Enjoy!



Elvis Impersonator Johnny Baron at Changi Airport, Singapore

I flew in and out of Changi Airport over the weekend for a short jaunt to Bangkok, and my trip coincided with a nifty Elvis impersonation contest at the transit area.

 

 The event created a fantastic, lively atmosphere, as tourists and travelers gathered around to join in the conviviality.

 

Some took off their shoes, sat on the floor, cheered and swayed to the music, while I also spotted a couple dancing to a number of the slow ballads.

 

The event featured Johnny Baron, an Elvis impersonator from the U.S., belting out some well-known Elvis standards, as well as hits from Elvis’ contemporaries, such as Neil Diamond.

I’ll share some video clips I took in my next post.  Kudos, Changi Airport, for the untiring effort to keep the airport alive and abuzz!



Holiday Inn Kansas City International Airport Hotel
June 19, 2007, 11:03 pm
Filed under: airports, holiday, Holiday Inn, hotels, Kansas City, KCI, Missouri, reviews, USA, vacation

The Holiday Inn Kansas City International Airport Hotel is a relatively new property, located about a mile from the Kansas City International Airport (KCI).  It features a contemporary interior, with design and features that will please most business and leisure travelers.  Service is adequate, and best of all, there is free wireless Internet, as with most Holiday Inn properties.  Here are some pictures.

kci_holiday_inn_airport_building.jpg

Hotel exterior is contemporary and clean

kci_holiday_inn_airport_lobby.jpg

A functional, non-pretentious lobby

kci_holiday_inn_airport_room.jpg

Room was clean and bed was comfortable

kci_holiday_inn_airport_gym.jpg

Exercise room was small, consisting of 4 cardio machines

kci_holiday_inn_airport_pool.jpg

An adequately-warmed indoor pool completes its recreational amenities