Our “Best” and “Worst” of 2014

In 2014, as said, we had an amazing year. I figured I’d follow for the team our “best” and “worst” travel of 2014. Since I haven’t finished most trip reports, I’m just going to link them here after I’ve finished them.

Best overall flight of 2014: Dragonair Business Class from Fukuoka to Hong Kong

While the hard product on the flight wasn’t amazing, the soft product was downright awesome. There were only a few other people in business class, and the service was amazing. When I had to go to the loo a few times, the flight attendant quickly address to make sure we were fine – the best flight of 2014 without a doubt!

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Dragonair Airbus A330-300 Business Class

(A close runner up was also a Dragonair flight that Jason had from Taipei to Hong Kong, which Jason keeps arguing as better than this flight. With only two others on the flight service was, apparently, super attentive, but the flight attendant looking like she was about to land the plane early for me when I visited the bathroom for the fifth time on the flight from Fukuoka to Hong Kong gave it the slight edge to Jason’s flight. Clearly top notch Dragonair service these days – I mean, of course, in business class only.)

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Dragonair Airbus A330-300 Business Class

Worst overall flight of 2014: British Airways Economy Class London to Milan

While we had quite a few economy flights this year (and a couple of bad ones as well), this flight, with literally no service, a mediocre seat and nearing rotten food, stood out as a clear worst for all our flights this year. It was nowhere near a bad flight, but it just wasn’t great enough.

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British Airways Airbus A319 Economy Class

Best business class airplane food of 2014: Dragonair Business Class Hong Kong to Fukuoka / Cathay Pacific Business Class Taipei to Nagoya

While we haven’t been flying business class that much last year (this year will be much better in terms of that), what I did have, the herbed chicken orzo pasta came across as a clear favourite for me. The chicken was cooked to a perfect medium rare and was very tender. Both the chicken and the pasta were perfectly seasoned, spiced, and I would have been happy with the dish at a restaurant.

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Dragonair Airbus A330-300 Business Class Main Course

Jason had similar comments with his halibut from Taipei to Nagoya, with perfectly tender halibut and soft, well cooked rice, nicely seasoned veggies and a brilliant miso glaze. Since we didn’t try each others’ best dishes, I proposed a tie.

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Cathay Pacific Boeing 777-300ER Business Class Main Course

Best premium economy/economy class airplane food of 2014: Dragonair Economy Class Hong Kong to Shanghai

I’ve had many amazing dishes onboard economy class, but I’d say even though the presentation was disastrous, this dish had a slight edge over everything else I’d had, including the pasta with tomato sauce (with and without cheese).

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Dragonair Airbus A330-300 Economy Class Meal

Worst airplane food of 2014: Dragonair Economy Class Hong Kong to Kaohsiung

Admittedly business class has a substantial edge over economy class, but I found many economy dishes I had on Cathay Pacific this year to be pretty amazing. Dragonair, sadly, did not hit the mark on its breakfast flight to Kaohsiung. As I said in my review, the food on my flight wasn’t too bad (apart from really thick xiaolongbao skin and crispy siu mai), but Jason’s flight food literally left a sour taste in his mouth when he flew on the route in June. Thumbs down!

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Dragonair Airbus A330-300 Economy Class Meal

Best flight service of Hong Kong: Dragonair Business Class Fukuoka to Hong Kong / Cathay Pacific Business Class Taipei to Nagoya

While business class admittedly gets the advantage for the best flights, including service, I do think my flight back from Fukuoka to Hong Kong really got the edge for the best service I had this year. Apart from making sure I was completely fine when I needed my fifth loo visit on the flight, the flight attendant kept my sister comfortable and that’s what I’m most impressed about, and what kept a sweet taste in my mouth.

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Dragonair Airbus A330-300 Business Class Snack Display

Jason also had “unbeatable” service on his flight to Nagoya, and I guess the flight attendants had good fun taking care of him. Since we couldn’t come to a consensus on which one was better, due to the fact that we didn’t take each others’ flights.

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Cathay Pacific Boeing 777-300ER Business Class Hot Towel

Worst flight service of 2014: Dragonair Economy Class Hong Kong to Shanghai

Of all mediocre flights of 2014 (not counting my really bad service I got to Beijing in mid-2013 that I didn’t review until March) I think skipping rows during meal service (and not being apologetic about it) takes the cake. Damn, especially given how good the meal was.

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Dragonair Airbus A330-300 Economy Class Gate

Best business class hard product of 2014: Cathay Pacific Business Class Taipei to Hong Kong / Hong Kong to Taipei / Taipei to Nagoya / Hong Kong to Mumbai / Delhi to Hong Kong

After Jason gave in his best business class hard product, we all agreed that the new reverse herringbone seat on Cathay Pacific is hands down the best seat we have sat in this year.

I think that with only angled flat seats next year, this will remain the best business class seat of 2015 when I take it overseas to London in 2015.

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Cathay Pacific Boeing 777-300ER Business Class

Best economy class hard product: Dragonair Economy Class Hong Kong to Shanghai / Shanghai to Hong Kong

While I got stuck in a middle seat for the inbound, I believe that the padding, seat width and various small details make this seat hands down the best of all this year.

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Dragonair Airbus A330-300 Economy Class

Most interesting flight: Dragonair Economy Class Kaohsiung to Hong Kong

From the closed window shades at every seat to the blocked back rows (for some unknown reason) to the shell seats in Dragonair economy class (which I later realised does exist on two Dragonair planes as they were directly transferred after Cathay Pacific refurbished their planes) to the playful, almost unprofessional service we had (which is a good, but weird thing), I do think that this flight takes the cake as the most interesting flight I had in 2014. Definitely not the worst, but I wouldn’t call it the best by any means either.

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Dragonair Airbus A330-300 Economy Class

Of course, I can’t in good conscience not include my best and worst hotel stays either…

Best hotel stay of 2014: Hoteiya Yufu City

An all rounded hotel with amazing rooms, amazing food, and amazing service, the only thing this ryokan lacked was free WiFi in the rooms, but since we had a portable WiFi router and this is, after all, a ryokan, I think that the lack of WiFi doesn’t take the hotel away from the best on the list.

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Hoteiya Yufu City Naokawa Room Tatamis

Worst hotel stay of 2014: The Style Florence

Even though the room was minimalist, modern and pretty nice in itself, the service was despicable. Our room number was growled at, and after that this hotel could just as well have been a self-service hotel given how lacking service was.

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The Style Florence Classic Studio Suite Bedroom

Best hotel food of 2014: Hoteiya Yufu City

While it isn’t in my greatest interest to repeat hotels, the fugu meal we had at this hotel made it by far the food hotel of the year. All the fish they cooked was fresh, flaky and melt-in-your-mouth, and the food on the first night was also delicious and fresh.

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Hoteiya Yufu City Naokawa Room Dinner Appetizer

Worst hotel food: Toong Mao Kao Shang Ching Hotel Kenting

While I loved this hotel in general (given the huge rooms and good service that made this hotel a really pleasant surprise), the food in the hotel was horrendous. Nothing wasn’t either completely soggy or totally bland. On one hand I get that, given how cheap the hotel is, but you won’t see me wandering into the hotel restaurant for breakfast anymore…

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Toong Mao Kao Shang Ching Hotel Kenting

Best chain (Starwood, Hyatt, IHG, Hilton, Marriott or Accor) hotel stay of 2014: The Ritz-Carlton Millenia Singapore (Marriott)

From the amazing rooms to the great service, I think that the Ritz-Carlton Millenia Singapore is basically a destination hotel in and of itself (especially the bathroom, which either looks over rural-ish Singapore or Marina Bay). The only hiccup that stops it from being my best overall hotel stay is the food, which, while very good, is pretty limited, but overall this stays my top choice for hotels in Singapore, even if I try a new one on my next visit due to variety.

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The Ritz-Carlton Millenia Singapore One Bedroom Suite Bedroom

Worst chain hotel of 2014: Hyatt on the Bund Shanghai (Hyatt)

While the hotel itself is gorgeous, the lack of service and the lack of acceptable paid WiFi speed (which was a total waste of my HK$150) completely brought down my thoughts of the hotel. While the hotel left me intrigued about the Hyatt brand and I’m ready to try more in the future if possible (looks like it’s all Starwood and IHG for me now next year), I wouldn’t return here unless everything else in Shanghai was booked out.

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Hyatt on the Bund Shanghai Twin Room

Best airline lounge of 2014: Cathay Pacific The Bridge Lounge Hong Kong

Being minimalistic, homey and aesthetically gorgeous, The Bridge is now Jason’s, and soon to be my go-to lounge in Hong Kong Airport. It’s stunning, modern, big, spacious and the colours are amazing.

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Cathay Pacific The Bridge Lounge Hong Kong Seating

Worst airline lounge of 2014: Ulaanbaatar Airport Premium Lounge

This lounge was Air China’s contract lounge, and it was so small, I summed it up in two pictures. Let me spoil the whole trip report and share the two pictures.

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Ulaanbaatar Airport Premium Lounge

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Ulaanbaatar Airport Premium Lounge

Overall, this year was kind of mostly OneWorld and Cathay Pacific Group based, so I hope to bring a more elaborate post next year!

What was your “best” and”worst” of 2014?

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