Review: OneWorld Extravaganza – Introduction

Introduction
W Taipei
CX 401 TPE – HKG 77W J
CX 251 HKG – LHR 77W W
Sofitel London Heathrow
BA 572 LHR – MXP 319 Y
Hotel Villa Franceschi Venice
The Style Florence
St. Regis Rome
Le Anfore Lounge Rome
CX 292 FCO – HKG 343 J

My friend Jason (a friend and fellow traveler, and pretty much more humble version of lulu) is rewarding himself with a trip to Europe. Jason runs the Hong Kong Travel Information site, but decided that he’d share this trip here (given my offer to him). Jason will actually report whenever he has WiFi given that he’s still less than halfway through the trip, but he’s having quite an interesting trip worth sharing. Admittedly he’s going to have less pictures than what I normally have, and I’ll be sending him a complete list of what he should have for his next hotels (my apologies I didn’t do that for the W). I’m writing the posts on behalf of him, which seems to work…sometimes.


Our school was arranging a trip to Kaohsiung, Taiwan, which seemed fun. I stayed at the Urban Hotel 33, which was nice, but I won’t review it here, sadly (lack of pictures).

After that, while everyone else headed home to Hong Kong, my family decided to continue on to Taipei for another three nights. I was visiting friends in London from the 12th to the 27th of July, and back home in Hong Kong I had some work to do between the 1st and the 10th of July (that’s why I scheduled to leave on the 11th in the first place), so it was up to me to plan from there. (I was with lulu in London from the 12th to the 27th and my family came on a different flight, but that flight won’t be reviewed, sorry).

In the end I decided to visit Northern Italy, and we hired a car to drive from Milan to Rome. We decided to visit London for five more days, and leave early on the sixth, then spend two weeks driving down to Rome from Venice (we drove directly from Milan to Venice), stopping in major cities/attractions along the way.

I’m loyal to Cathay Pacific (putting it in a less patriotic manner), and the fact that I only collect AsiaMiles drove my decision to fly Cathay Pacific on all Hong Kong-related flights (we were originally booked on Dragonair from Hong Kong to Kaohsiung…but that won’t be reviewed because it was the same vessel as this one and would cause a duplicate). We booked British Airways in Economy for the remaining flight, which cost HK$3125.

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British Airways Economy Booking

I can’t remember how much it all cost in the end, but it wasn’t as much as expected. 🙂 The routing looked as follows:

map

21358km in a month…pretty impressive

As far as it’s not the most aspirational product in the world, Cathay Pacific does have a Premium Economy product substantially nicer than Economy (especially the A340 product). While I know the Premium Economy product has already been reviewed here twice, I booked it anyway on the longhaul Cathay Pacific legs (which added to my comfort, which was as important as you guys, if not more). 😉

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Cathay Pacific Boeing 777-300ER Premium Economy

From Taipei to Hong Kong I decided to snag a Premium Economy seat, as the flight was scheduled to be on an A340 (which has the shell seats I can’t stand and herringbone seats which weren’t worth the miles given that it was high season and the prices were astronomical). However I got lucky and was upgraded to Business, and the flight was changed to a 777-300ER, so that’s total luck for me.

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Cathay Pacific Boeing 777-300ER Business Class

As said above we booked British Airways for the intra-Europe leg from London to Milan, where we drove to Venice. Alitalia seems to make a more interesting review, but they don’t fly the route, which is disappointing.

Seat-on-British-Airways,-Euro-Traveller,-London-Heathrow-Airport-(LHR)-to-Prague-Airport-(PRG)

British Airways Airbus A319 Economy Class

The itinerary looked something like this:

14/6 KA 432 HKG – KHH 09:00 – 10:25 333 Y
01/7 CX 401 TPE – HKG 19:20 – 21:05 77W J
12/7 CX 251 HKG – LHR 23:55 – 05:40 77W W
01/8 BA 572 LHR – MXP 07:50 – 10:45 321 Y
08/8 CX 292 FCO – HKG 12:30 – 06:35 343 J

When business class opened up on the day I was flying from Rome to Hong Kong, for the sake of not having too many Cathay Pacific Premium Economy reviews up here, I bumped myself up with miles (I forgot exactly how many).

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Cathay Pacific Airbus A340-300 Business Class

As far as the hotels go, under Alvin’s recommendation I booked the W Taipei, which is a SPG Category 6 property. A Fabulous Room cost HKD$4660, or 25000 Starpoints, and we went with the latter – in terms of value it was HK$10 cheaper. 😛

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W Taipei Fabulous Room

For the first two weeks in London I stayed with friends. For our last four nights in London we decided to stay close to the airport (as we had a flight attendant, lulu’s friend, staying with us and she was doing turnarounds to and from Berlin on BA on 29/7 and 31/7), and decided on the Sofitel London Heathrow, which is the best hotel in the area according to TripAdvisor and is an Accor property (as are all Sofitels).

london-sofitel-london-heathrow-203587

Sofitel London Heathrow Classic Room

In Venice we decided on the Villa Franceschi Venice. It just looked more like the “authentic Venetian experience”, and unlike Alvin I’d go out of my way anytime to stay at a more authentic, and not necessarily more expensive property than a generic chain property.

home1

Villa Franceschi Venice Family Room

In Florence we decided to stay at the Style Florence, which, while not any part of any loyalty program (like the Villa Franceschi), was a modern all-suite property that caught the eye.

classic-suite

The Style Florence Classic Suite

Finally in Rome we decided on the St. Regis Rome, which is a Starwood Category 7 property and would set us back 30,000 Starpoints. The revenue rate was HK$3555, so we booked with the revenue rate instead.

049-St-Regis-Rome-Italy-Deluxe-Room

St. Regis Rome Superior Room

This was certainly a fun travel month for me (yes, that includes the time I was with friends). I can’t post that frequently due to the fact that the trip ends August, but I hope you’re entertained!

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