- Planning the trip
- US Airways Shuttle to New York and the Sheraton JFK
- Cathay Pacific First Class, New York – Hong Kong
- The Pier Lounge and Cathay Pacific Business Class, Hong Kong – Bangkok
- Conrad Bangkok Deluxe Suite
- Bangkok Airways Business Class, Bangkok – Koh Samui
- Conrad Koh Samui, 2 Bedroom Ocean Pool Villa
- Conrad Koh Samui, Resort
- Bangkok Airways Business Class, Koh Samui – Bangkok
- Cathay Pacific Business Class, Bangkok – Hong Kong and Marriott SkyCity Hong Kong
- Cathay Pacific First Class Hong Kong – Chicago
- United Airlines Back Home
Having bid our complimentary Bangkok Flight Services escort (thanks, Bangkok Airways!) adieu at the transfer desk, we walked around the corner to the Cathay Pacific “First and Business Class lounge.”
We were originally supposed to be first class passengers on our flight to Hong Kong, but first the aircraft was downgauged and then the flight was later cancelled. We were moved up to an earlier flight, causing a fairly tight connection from our domestic segment on a separate ticket… a flight which itself was delayed. Still, the Bangkok airport is pretty easy and I’ve never seen much backup at transfer security. We had already cleared immigration at Koh Samui. So we’d have been more than fine on our own. The transfer across the tarmac was a nice touch, though!
Once inside the lounge we only had about 20 minutes to wait until boarding. I confirmed that our bags were re-tagged to Chicago the next day and that we wouldn’t have to collect them in Hong Kong. Then we had a seat.
The lounge itself is pretty basic, there are drinks and packaged snacks, some pad thai and dim sum which didn’t look especially appetizing (not bad, and I’d kill for it in a US domestic lounge, but nothing compared to what we’d been eating). And there’s no restroom inside the lounge. I couldn’t manage to connect to the internet, either. The lounge was serviceable but not a place I would want to spend several hours.
Fortunately we weren’t there long, and in no time we headed over to our gate where the flight was already boarding. We squeezed past hordes of folks over to the business class line which had no one waiting, and we had a seat in the regional business class configured cabin, recliner-style seats with decent enough though not terrific pitch.
Flight attendants were scurrying about offering pre-departure beverages, and I must say that for short-haul business class — and as a pre-departure offering, even — Billecart-Salmon is perfectly consumable champagne.
An on-time takeoff, menus were distributed.
Pomelo with jumbo prawns salad
Northern Thai chicken curry with steamed jasmine rice, kalian and carrots
Roasted barbecue pork neck with egg fried rice, pak choy, carrots and mushroom
Tea and coffee
My wife had the chicken:
And I had the pork:
By the way, this is why I don’t write trip reports on my of my travels. Short-haul is usually pretty uneventful, as this flight was. We landed on-time. Nothing especially interesting happened other than that we ate a small meal, the flight was short so I read a little bit and that was the end.
We disembarked and made the long walk towards immigration, line was relatively quick, and once in the arrivals hall we headed towards the hotel desks. It was after 8pm, we had an 11am flight the next day, so I had decided to stay at the Marriott SkyCity just off the airport grounds.
I’m not a Marriott regular, I have no status currently with the chain, I’ve had Gold on a couple of occasions through promos but I’ve never earned more than silver. Still, I do occasionally frequent the Renaissance Boca Raton since it’s the closest hotel to some family. And I always register for promos. Over the summer when I was in Boca, staying at the hotel, I wound up booking my in-laws into a SpringHill Suites while logged into my account. And oddly enough that stay credited to my account. Most importantly, it counted as my second stay in the MegaBonus two stays earns a free night up to category 4 promotion. And the SkyCity Marriott is category 4. So the stay would be free…
We presented ourselves at the Marriott hotel desk, they asked us which Marriott we were staying at, and asked us to have a seat while a car was secured. The Marriott offers a shuttle, but as the only passengers we were taken down to a waiting van which drove just the two of us to the hotel. We were there in a matter of minutes.
I was immediately struck that this must be the second nicest airport hotel I’ve ever been in. (I still believe the best is the Intercontinental O’Hare which I reviewed back in February.)
I was greeted immediately at the check-in desk, I handed over my passport and credit card (the Chase Sapphire Preferred, which I was using for its no foreign currency transaction fees although I didn’t plan to have any charges to the room, drew a gasp and a comment from the woman at the desk “this is a really nice card” — it may not get me dates as it apparently does for Ben, though my wife likely appreciates that!, but it’s not an uncommon reaction).
I was given a room down a very long corridor with a direct view of roadway but golf course and the airport off to one side and with a bit of fog obscuring the water.
The carpet was very blue but otherwise the room was nice — comfortable bed, complimentary internet and bottled water, Aromatherapy Associates bath amenities — oddly enough these were the same amenities that we had found in the spa at the Conrad Koh Samui!
Not having been online since leaving the Conrad nearly about 7.5 hours earlier, I caught up on a bit of work and then went to bed. In the morning after a quick shower it was time to head over to the airport, I figured I might as well have a bit of breakfast in the Wing rather than at the hotel (remember, I have no status with Marriott!).
First explored the hotel a bit, here are a few photos of the lobby.
And then we walked outside for the shuttle back to the airport. Only there was a long line. A VERY long line, way too many people for the minibus waiting by the curb. That first shuttle loaded up and a minute later they pulled around a bus. It took a bit of time to load everyone’s bags underneath, but we got onboard. And we waited. It seemed that in the time it took for the bus to come along and get loaded, people began to trickle down for the next shuttle (supposed to depart every 30 minutes) and those folks wanted to get onto our bus. So one would put their bags underneath and board, by which time another person had appeared hoping to do the same. This happened about four times. Fortunately I had plenty of time to catch my flight, though I had been thinking it would have been simpler to have just caught a cab over to the airport.
The ride itself took just a couple of minutes and we arrived at the terminal.