Review: Yumesenkei Amahara Wa-Yo Room

Introduction: Feaster Easter in Japan
Hong Kong Airlines Club Bauhinia Lounge Hong Kong Airport
Hong Kong Airlines Club Autus Lounge Hong Kong Airport
Hong Kong Airlines A330 Business Class Hong Kong to Osaka
Hilton Osaka Executive Suite
Yumesenkei Amahara Sumoto Wa-Yo Room
Yumesenkei Amahara Sumoto Dining
Asuka Lounge Osaka Kansai Airport
Hong Kong Airlines A330 Regional Business Class Osaka to Hong Kong


While I’m starting to get the hang of travel between cities under good value, when it comes to more rural destinations, I’m clueless. I prefer being around the city, staying in awesome chain hotels and experiencing street food off local markets, so finding a ryokan outside of Osaka was something that was completely out of my element. Fortunately my dad offered to help, and he’s done a couple of “tatami runs” before (I had my first of these experiences shortly after I started blogging – wow, I’ve come a long way!).

The Yumesenkei Amahara hotel is located in Sumoto, a stunning town on Awaji Island. It’s quite lively, though the hotel is quite aways from any nearby attractions, so we drove to get around the area. Yumesenkei seems to be a bigger complex that encapsulates a few hotels, with Amahara being the more premium-seeming of the options.

The exterior of the hotel is rather understated, and blends in with the local buildings.

Yumesenkei Amahara Sumoto Exterior

Continue reading Review: Yumesenkei Amahara Wa-Yo Room”

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Review: British Airways A321 Economy Class Amsterdam to London

Introduction: Flying The Nordic Shortcut to Europe
Cathay Pacific 777 Business Class Hong Kong to Bangkok
Oriental Residence Bangkok
Finnair A350 Business Class Bangkok to Helsinki
Hilton Helsinki Airport
Finnair A321 Business Class Helsinki to Amsterdam
Hotel Des Indes The Hague
Hotel Le Royal Luxembourg
Sofitel Brussels Le Louise
Andaz Amsterdam Prinsengracht
British Airways Lounge Amsterdam
British Airways A321 Economy Class Amsterdam to London
My Bloomsbury London
Finnair A350 Business Class London to Helsinki
Finnair A350 Business Class Helsinki to Hong Kong


We started heading towards our gate as boarding was called in the lounge. Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport is notoriously poorly designed and difficult to navigate, and it took a good 15 minutes of navigating a series of walkways before we eventually made it to our gate just as pre-boarding was starting.

IMG_0818British Airways Amsterdam Airport Boarding Signage 

Continue reading Review: British Airways A321 Economy Class Amsterdam to London”

Review: British Airways Lounge Amsterdam

Introduction: Flying The Nordic Shortcut to Europe
Cathay Pacific 777 Business Class Hong Kong to Bangkok
Oriental Residence Bangkok
Finnair A350 Business Class Bangkok to Helsinki
Hilton Helsinki Airport
Finnair A321 Business Class Helsinki to Amsterdam
Hotel Des Indes The Hague
Hotel Le Royal Luxembourg
Sofitel Brussels Le Louise
Andaz Amsterdam Prinsengracht
British Airways Lounge Amsterdam
British Airways A321 Economy Class Amsterdam to London
My Bloomsbury London
Finnair A350 Business Class London to Helsinki
Finnair A350 Business Class Helsinki to Hong Kong


We arrived at Amsterdam Schiphol Airport around 3 hours before departure and made a beeline for the British Airways counters. Since we were at the airport so early, there was barely anyone in line. Thanks to my oneworld Ruby status, I was able to use the Club Europe check-in counters.

IMG_0805British Airways Amsterdam Airport Check-In 

We cleared immigration and security, which were both quick and efficient. We ended up in the terminal with around two hours to kill. We made a beeline for the British Airways lounge, which we had access to thanks to my mothers oneworld Sapphire status. However, to reach the lounge, we spent around 20 minutes wandering around trying to follow poor signage to the lounge.

Continue reading Review: British Airways Lounge Amsterdam”

Review: Hilton Osaka Executive Suite

Introduction: Feaster Easter in Japan
Hong Kong Airlines Club Bauhinia Lounge Hong Kong Airport
Hong Kong Airlines Club Autus Lounge Hong Kong Airport
Hong Kong Airlines A330 Business Class Hong Kong to Osaka
Hilton Osaka Executive Suite
Yumesenkei Amahara Sumoto Wa-Yo Room
Yumesenkei Amahara Sumoto Dining
Asuka Lounge Osaka Kansai Airport
Hong Kong Airlines A330 Regional Business Class Osaka to Hong Kong


For our time in Japan we spent four nights in Osaka. While the InterContinental Osaka was probably one of the best hotels I’ve stayed at, prices for a room were exorbitant, so we had to look at other options. I had a look at the St. Regis Osaka, the Conrad Osaka and the Marriott Miyako Osaka, which were also offering rooms at prices that we weren’t ready to pay for.

There was one hotel that had intrigued me during our booking process, which was the Hilton Osaka. While many of our mid-tier options seemed rather run down (the Westin Osaka looks straight out of the ’90s), the Hilton seemed to have recently gone through a renovation, and looked like a property that I’d like. We eventually decided to go for an Executive Suite instead of staying in two separate rooms, as it was just marginally more expensive.

The Hilton Osaka looks rather bland from the outside, though a big benefit is its direct connection to the Hilton Plaza, a big shopping complex that brings you straight to the West-Umeda subway station. It’s right across from Osaka Station (the JR station that operates trains between cities), and connected to a bunch of shopping malls, which most shopping fanatics and frequent subway users will appreciate.

Hilton Osaka Exterior

Continue reading Review: Hilton Osaka Executive Suite”

Photos: Cathay Pacific Underdelivers (Again) On New 10-Abreast Economy Class

Last year we learned that Cathay Pacific is switching to a 3-4-3 configuration on their 777s. For those unfamiliar with configurations, Boeing created the 777 to fit 9 seats across per row in economy class, though the industry standard, in an effort to maximise profit, soon shifted to 10 seats across per row. This means that seat width was brought down from 18.5 inches to 17 inches. I personally haven’t flown a 777 in a high-density economy configuration, but writer Ethan has, and he’s reported back.

While that’s disappointing, Cathay Pacific was bleeding money faster than Lucy Westenra, so this shift was a move that they’d have to make sooner or later. This would allow Cathay Pacific to add 19-40 more seats across a range of different 777 aircraft across a lot of routes, hopefully bringing the airline out of the financial mess that they were in.

Cathay Pacific Boeing 777 Economy Class

In response to the shift Cathay Pacific promised a comfort focus for their new economy class seats, saying that they were “looking into customer feedback” based on their current economy class seat, and that they’d be “maximising every millimeter” of their new one.

Continue reading “Photos: Cathay Pacific Underdelivers (Again) On New 10-Abreast Economy Class”

Hong Kong Airlines Introduces Yet Another Business Class Product

Wow, I’m learning something new about this airline every day. Last week I flew from Hong Kong to Osaka roundtrip on Hong Kong Airlines, and just yesterday I posted my review of the outbound experience. Both my flights on Hong Kong Airlines were great, and in many ways the airline measures up to Cathay Pacific.

Hong Kong Airlines Airbus A330

There’s an issue with hard product consistency at this airline, though. While their soft product is consistent as ever (the same excellent bedding is featured on shorthaul and longhaul flights, the same good headphones are offered, the meal service seems similar, etc.), I can’t get over how many types of hard product this airline has in business class.

Continue reading “Hong Kong Airlines Introduces Yet Another Business Class Product”

Review: Andaz Amsterdam Prinsengracht

Introduction: Flying The Nordic Shortcut to Europe
Cathay Pacific 777 Business Class Hong Kong to Bangkok
Oriental Residence Bangkok
Finnair A350 Business Class Bangkok to Helsinki
Hilton Helsinki Airport
Finnair A321 Business Class Helsinki to Amsterdam
Hotel Des Indes The Hague
Hotel Le Royal Luxembourg
Sofitel Brussels Le Louise
Andaz Amsterdam Prinsengracht
British Airways Lounge Amsterdam
British Airways A321 Economy Class Amsterdam to London
My Bloomsbury London
Finnair A350 Business Class London to Helsinki
Finnair A350 Business Class Helsinki to Hong Kong


It took a bit of time to find the Andaz once we arrived in Amsterdam because of some construction that blocked the most direct path to the hotel. The hotel was easily distinguishable by the large Andaz flag outside of it. The hotel is located right next to the Prinsengracht Canal, hence the name.

IMG_0804Andaz Amsterdam Prinsengracht Entrance 

The hotel is decently located. While it’s a little out of the way and not smack dab in the middle of the Centrum area, Amsterdam is an extremely walkable city and it took us 20 minutes by foot to reach most major tourist attractions from the hotel. The local area also has quite a few excellent restaurants and shops.

Continue reading Review: Andaz Amsterdam Prinsengracht”

Review: Hong Kong Airlines A330 Business Class Hong Kong to Osaka

Introduction: Feaster Easter in Japan
Hong Kong Airlines Club Bauhinia Lounge Hong Kong Airport
Hong Kong Airlines Club Autus Lounge Hong Kong Airport
Hong Kong Airlines A330 Business Class Hong Kong to Osaka
Hilton Osaka Executive Suite
Yumesenkei Amahara Sumoto Wa-Yo Room
Yumesenkei Amahara Sumoto Dining
Asuka Lounge Osaka Kansai Airport
Hong Kong Airlines A330 Regional Business Class Osaka to Hong Kong


Hong Kong Airlines operates three types of business class seats on their A330s. Their regional A330-200s are outfitted with their regional business class seat, their regional A330-300s are ex-Singapore Airlines and carry a business class seat identical to Singapore Airlines’ (old) regional business class seat, and their longhaul A330s feature their staggered business class product, which I was seated in on this flight.

While booking, Hong Kong Airlines’ longhaul A330-200s and A330-300s carry the codes 33V and 333, so attempt to book yourself on a flight operated by one of these equipment codes (or, of course, the A350) whenever you’re flying Hong Kong Airlines and seated in business class.

Hong Kong Airlines Airbus A330 Hong Kong Airport

I think it’s worth noting that Hong Kong Airlines’ “Manage Your Booking” system (or lack thereof) is terrible. There’s technically an area where you can select your seat as a “value-added service”, though all the seats are blocked off on the system. This was especially a nuisance since our equipment was swapped a total of three times, so I had to select seats four times.

Continue reading Review: Hong Kong Airlines A330 Business Class Hong Kong to Osaka”

Review: Sofitel Brussels Le Louise

Introduction: Flying The Nordic Shortcut to Europe
Cathay Pacific 777 Business Class Hong Kong to Bangkok
Oriental Residence Bangkok
Finnair A350 Business Class Bangkok to Helsinki
Hilton Helsinki Airport
Finnair A321 Business Class Helsinki to Amsterdam
Hotel Des Indes The Hague
Hotel Le Royal Luxembourg
Sofitel Brussels Le Louise
Andaz Amsterdam Prinsengracht
British Airways Lounge Amsterdam
British Airways A321 Economy Class Amsterdam to London
My Bloomsbury London
Finnair A350 Business Class London to Helsinki
Finnair A350 Business Class Helsinki to Hong Kong


We arrived at the Sofitel after a long drive from Luxembourg. The Sofitel is located just off of Avenue Louise, which is basically the Brussels shopping district.

IMG_0423Sofitel Brussels Le Louise Entrance 

Continue reading Review: Sofitel Brussels Le Louise”

Review: Hong Kong Airlines Club Autus Lounge Hong Kong

Introduction: Feaster Easter in Japan
Hong Kong Airlines Club Bauhinia Lounge Hong Kong Airport
Hong Kong Airlines Club Autus Lounge Hong Kong Airport
Hong Kong Airlines A330 Business Class Hong Kong to Osaka
Hilton Osaka Executive Suite
Yumesenkei Amahara Sumoto Wa-Yo Room
Yumesenkei Amahara Sumoto Dining
Asuka Lounge Osaka Kansai Airport
Hong Kong Airlines A330 Regional Business Class Osaka to Hong Kong


Hong Kong Airlines opened Club Autus in September 2017 as their new flagship lounge to accommodate premium passengers on the airline’s flights, a majority of which were now departing out of the Midfield Concourse. I was under the impression that an autus was some sort of flower, though the closest thing I could find to the word shaping any sort of meaning was in an alternate form of the Latin word auctus, which is the perfect passive participle of the word augeō, which means “to augment” or “to expand”.

Regardless, Club Autus is located one floor above the departures hall of the Midfield Concourse, with an escalator leading up to it in the duty-free area of the departures hall.

Hong Kong Airlines Club Autus Lounge Hong Kong Exterior

Continue reading Review: Hong Kong Airlines Club Autus Lounge Hong Kong”