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Cathay Pacific business class & NYC hotel boom

ON BOARD CATHAY PACIFIC – I slept like a rock on a flat bed. I had outstanding service. And I stuffed myself silly.

I had the chance to fly business class on Cathay Pacific on my recent flight home from Hong Kong to Toronto, for which I was hugely thankful.
It’s not something I get to do all the time. For the most part, I’m in coach or economy like everyone else. But the upgrades occur occasionally, which is a huge perk of this job.

There were the usual hot towels when we got on board, and I think they brought them over three other times during the flight. I also had a vast array of movies and TV shows to watch and settled in with the new Superman movie, which was pretty decent and had some great casting. They also had a couple spots to put your magazines and drinks and lots of room to stretch out and an electrical outlet to charge my laptop. Nice. They even had a couple purple and white orchids on display between my seat and the woman on the other side of me.

I always love getting those little pouches filled with amenities when I get to fly biz class. Cathay gave out the usual sleeping masks and socks and earplugs, as well as a toothbrush and toothpaste, lip balm, moisturizer (hey, a guy has to look good) and more.

I turned my seat into a flat bed about four hours into the flight and slept several hours. But when I woke up I couldn’t find my iPhone or my passport, both of which had been in my shirt pocket. I figured they had fallen out when I was sleeping but I couldn’t find them anywhere. The flight attendant came by and practically dismantled the seat, ultimately finding both items in a dark spot under the chair. Stupid me.

There was plenty of good wine (Spanish reds were the feature) and a glass of Scotch. But what was amazing to me was the quantity of food. It simply didn’t stop.
We hadn’t even taken off when the attendant handed me a small bowl of warm, roasted almonds. Pretty soon came an appetizer of prosciutto with boconcini cheese and bread and olives and a mixed salad. Then a dinner of chicken and rice with mushrooms. And then a cheese tray with four types and figs and crackers and an apple slice. And then cheesecake if you wanted it, which I didn’t. And more drinks.

If I’d wanted to I could’ve ordered a “snack” of a burger with Swiss cheese or braised pork with veggies in a rice vermicelli soup. A couple hours prior to landing here came some fruit and yogurt and cereal. Then an omelette with sausage and back bacon (nice touch) and potatoes and coffee and tea and juice.

The attendant looked at me like I was crazy when I said I couldn’t possibly finish it.

It’s never cheap to fly business class, but it certainly makes all the difference in creating an enjoyable flight. And this was one of the best I’ve taken.

NEW YORK CITY HOTELS ON THE MOVE

A story I read in the Wall Street Journal the other day said New York City is experiencing its biggest hotel boom in a generation.

The number of hotel rooms in Manhattan is expected to rise about 10 per cent to more than 90,000 by the end of 2014, the story said, quoting Jones Lang LaSalle Hotels, which tracks such things.

Hyatt is spending some $375 million for New York City’s first Park Hyatt hotel, their top of the line. It’s supposed to open in 2014 across from Carnegie Hall.
The Buckingham Hotel, which dates to 1929, has been given a makeover and is now a 208 room luxury hotel called the Quin.

The city also is getting a great deal of growth in the boroughs of Queens and Brooklyn, and in Manhattan they’re getting a lot more modestly priced, limited service places such as Marriott Courtyard properties and Hilton Garden Inn hotels, which is good news for folks on a budget.

New York attracted more than 52 million visitors last year, and they’re expecting that to jump to 55 million by 2015.

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