The craving for exploring exotic locales has grown in the last decade as more and more of us abandon local haunts and venture into the unknown. So it was with this hunger that we eagerly accepted the invitation to cruise in China courtesy of Cathay Pacific Airlines and experience a #LifeWellTravelled!
Cathay Pacific is the national carrier of Hong Kong, which is the gateway to the amazing world of Asia.
On arrival at OR Tambo International Airport, we had the fortune of meeting up with Karlene Barkley, a Cathay Pacific representative who treated us like royalty. Check-in was seamless with the information and service handed out with pleasant smiles and efficiency; before we knew it we were heading to the lounge for a quick meal and drink before boarding.
Cathay Pacific is renowned for its airport lounges and we were fortunate enough to experience why. In Johannesburg we were able to relax over hot food and drinks in the Shongololo Lounge but the definite wow factor was in Hong Kong where there is a grand total of seven Cathay Pacific lounges! Yes, seven! There are two First Class lounges (The Wing First Class and The Pier First Class) and five Business Class lounges (the Wing Business Class, The Bridge, The Pier Business Class, The Cabin and The Arrival). In these you will find all you ever need to make your wait that much more pleasant, if not downright fun! Services on offer include shower rooms to freshen up, IT zones to catch up on some work, speciality coffee bars for that caffeine boost, a bistro and bakery and of course a Long Bar. With such amazing amenities, we were almost loathe to leave and contemplated staying there like Tom Hanks in The Terminal!
The “Long Bar” inside the Wing Lounge at Hong Kong International Lounge is 80 feet in length (over 24m). It can serve 348 cocktail drinks at a time side by side!
Having had some harrowing experiences with in-flight staff during the countless times we have travelled, and jaded by an ability to spot a fake smile, it was with an air of experience that we did not have much expectation when we boarded our Cathay Pacific flight. Truth be told, we were blown away: we did not find any of this on our flight. As we boarded the flight we were greeted by name and head stewardess Rina and her crew were like mother hens – catering to our every single need and going out of their way to ensure our flight was more than comfortable. So relaxed did we feel in their company there were hugs on the way out.
Aaron Caxton, manager of Catering Services at Cathay Pacific ensures that all the meals are tasty and varied, with a taste of Asia and the comforts of Mediterranean cuisine. Billecart-Salmon Brut Champagne is available on tap as well as a variety of wines, cocktails, cognacs and liqueurs. For those who might feel peckish later, snacks are available on request, throughout the flight, so you can settle in to your movie watching with a selection of dumplings, snack bars and some Häagen-Dazs ice cream.
Travelling with Family
A lot of Afropolitans travel with their families. On Cathay Pacific, you will not be disappointed by the attention to detail they give their younger fliers. From seasonal activity packs when they arrive, to keep them busy, to a wide variety of shows and movies to watch, your little ones will be completely content. The kiddie meal is above standard and comes packaged to please the junior eye and tummy. Throughout the trip there are lots of healthy snacks available for them to eat and a couple of naughty sweets too!
Cathay Pacific has been voted Best Airline in the World a total of four times in the Skytrax World Airline Awards!
Cruising in China
At Hong Kong International Airport a friendly and very informative tour guide who transported us to our hotel, the Regal Oriental in Kowloon, met us. After a day of shopping at the Mong Kok cooked food night market, a must if you are a bargain hunter, traipsing up to Victoria Peak for some spectacular views and taking a walk at Kowloon’s Walled City, the only place you will find some greenery; we were ready for dinner and bed.
The next morning we hopped on a ferry from Shun Tak (Macau Ferry Services) port to Zhu Hai. From Zhu Hai we boarded another ferry to the remote little fishing village of Dong’ao. This is where we spent the next four days at the glorious Club Med Dong’ao holiday resort!
Club Med Dong’ao Island
Located south-east of Zhuhai in the province of Guangdong, Dong’ao Island is the first Club Med Chinese coastal resort with magnificent views of the South China Sea.
Catering for both the four- and five Trident* customer, Club Med Dong’ao Island offers deluxe, suite and five-Trident luxury suite accommodation for families, couples and individuals
*Tridents are Club Med’s version of stars.
Not So Sleepy Fishing Village
Though located in the remote part of the Guangdong province, Club Med Dong’ao Island is anything but remote! There was so much to do, we felt in need of a holiday after the holiday!
Things we did:
One thing that Club Med knows how to do is to party! Every single night there is a theme and show that is put on for the guests staying at the resort and the party goes on well into the night. This is one of the reasons one would need to visit the Starfish (see below) for a bite to replenish energy levels. Our best night was the Beach Party, where the GO’s (Club Med staff) regaled us with their singing, choreography and pole dancing moves. What a party, what a night!
Once we had woken up and recovered from the night before, it was time to get our adrenaline levels up so we took to the Action Sport arena! Here, with the guidance of qualified GOs we made some amazing memories as we dared to trapeze and channeled our inner Mockingjay with fellow archers. Also available for guests are activities such as aquafitness, basketball, watersports and cookery school.
Eat and Drink
Each mealtime is a culinary adventure of dishes that range from traditional Mediterranean fare to the more creative Asian cuisine. All over the resort, there are a number of restaurants that will cater for all your culinary needs throughout the day.
The French Riviera
With three dining rooms and amazing sea views, the French Riviera is your place to eat breakfast, lunch and supper.
Le Café Méditerranée
Bursting with sweet French delights, Le Café has macaroons, gateaux and any other French delights you may wish to treat yourself to.
With the amazing entertainment offered every night at Club Med resorts, it is possible for you to find yourself in need of a midnight snack after a night of dancing. The Starfish is the place to be.
Bars and waiters are conveniently located all over the resort, so that you never have to face the day without a drink in your hand.
After a glorious four days in Dong’ao Island, we were ready to head back. As I looked back on the trip I had to take stock: In my life I have been afforded the opportunity to travel. And these travels have seen me do the samba to the beat of Zoomer by Les Jumo and chop my hands dancing to Alingo by P-Square on the sandy beaches of Dong'ao in China. I've browsed and haggled through the night markets of Mong Kok Hong Kong and sat by peaceful waters of the South China beach. With friends I have marvelled at the Hong Kong skyline from Victoria’s Peak and ridden under the magnificent Jiaozhou Bay Bridge on a ferry from Zhuhai. And as I sat with a glass of champagne in my hand reclining in my seat in the business class cabin of Cathay Pacific, I had to admit mine is #LifeWellTravelled
Hong Kong International Airport houses the largest IMAX screen in Hong Kong and believe it or not a nine-hole golf course!