Thursday, January 24, 2013

It's Fun to Stay at the Y-M-C-A

As long as it's the YMCA/Hong Kong.

The YMCA/Salisbury Hotel is no bare-bones-bathroom-down-the-hall kind of place that normally comes to mind when you think about using the Y for travel accommodation. Now, maybe things have changed over the years and all YMCA accommodation facilities are as lovely as the Salisbury. But I have to tell you that I was a little dismayed when I learned that we would be staying at the Hong Kong Y. Whaaaaaa?

Before you get snippy, thinking I've gone all elitist, you must know that one gets used to staying in Spartan accommodations when traveling on the church's dime. Rightly so. (Yeah, I don't want my annual pledge dollars going toward 4-star digs for the employees, either.) We often stay at bare-bones retreat centers that lack even the simple amenities of a 1-star motel. But, well, Hong Kong. Even church employees get tired of padding down hallways to community showers.

Fortunately, one of the many beauties of the internet is being able to search out information like, say, if I stay in the Hong Kong Y do I have to share my bathroom with strangers? Or worse, colleagues?

Well, no.

First off, it meets my top two essentials for any hotel worthy of praise: a comfortable bed and pillows, and my own bathroom. Bonus: big, deep bathtub. Score! My number three essential has also been met: no tea/water decanted from a pot that has ever held coffee. (Don't think I can't taste the coffee that once lived in that carafe, mister.)

The restaurants have tasty, reasonably-priced food. The concierge is knowledgeable. Wifi (costs extra, but it's not outrageously expensive), flat-screen TV, phones everywhere. The location couldn't be better; just across the street from the waterfront, Hong Kong Culture Centre, and loads of Fifth Avenue-type shopping and street markets. In short, it's as fine, if not finer, than any Marriott, Sheraton, or W. OK, not as fine as the world-famous Peninsula with its fleet of Rolls Royces next door, but truly fine.

So all is very well in Hong Kong. And now, to work!

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