Edition 11 | Singapore business class for 56,000 miles and a grown-up Moxy debuts in Manhattan.
Also: Hong Kong is now open...but should you go now?
I just returned from a few days in NYC—nothing beats the city during the holidays and this year, things are back in full swing. Something that’s new: Fifth Avenue is closed to cars every Sunday afternoon in December, so it’s the perfect time to soak in the season’s festivities.
IN THIS EDITION.
Hong Kong is now open … but should you still wait to travel there?
A grown-up Moxy debuts in the Lower East Side of Manhattan.
Fly Singapore Airlines nonstop to … Europe? The deal for January travel.
Travel PR and editorial folks, I’m always interested in connecting, especially coverage for my upcoming travel to Taiwan.
1. It’s now possible to travel to Hong Kong as a tourist. Here’s why you might still want to wait.
One of my fondest childhood memories is taking the Star Ferry between Kowloon and Hong Kong Island. I remember looking out over the shimmering lights of the city at night—feeling a proverbial current of electricity as the lights pulsed from its skyscrapers—something that happens at exactly 8:00 p.m. every night.
In the past couple of decades since I first visited, Hong Kong has changed a lot, to say the least. Between mainland China’s influence, pro-democracy protests, the stifling of freedoms, and COVID restrictions, Hong Kong will never be the same. But the lifting of quarantine and contact tracing requirements—effectively reopening the territory to tourism—gives me a sense of excitement (and trepidation) to relearn a place that feels like a second home.
While quarantine on arrival isn’t a thing anymore, there are still a host of restrictions to keep in mind:
Three tests are still required: A pre-arrival test, test on arrival, and a test on the third day. (If you test positive, you can self-isolate in a hotel.)
Mask wearing is still enforced.
Visitors to restaurants and other venues still have to show vaccine records.
As China relaxes its “zero-COVID” policy amidst an uproar from citizens and a shifting mindset, hopefully more of these restrictions will be lifted. Until then, keep in mind it’s not like visiting any other place in the world right now.
2. A closer look at the newly-opened Moxy Lower East Side.
The latest Moxy hotel is now open is at the intersection of some of my favorite NYC neighborhoods: Chinatown, SoHo, and the Lower East Side. The hotel hosted me for a few nights as part of a media stay.
This area already has one of my go-to properties in the city—Hotel 50 Bowery, a boutique-ish Hyatt that pays a proper homage to its neighborhood home. Now, there’s another hotel from one of the big brands (this time Marriott) right down the road.
The building that the Moxy Lower East Side occupies is a newly built 16-story tower at the corner of Bowery and Broome, with the interior decor that feels somehow both whimsical and upscale. In my experience, this Moxy has a way more “grown-up” feeling than others in the portfolio. Yes, rooms are still small but the common spaces are refined, the four food and beverage venues are run by TAO, and the lobby bar is a bar (not like other Moxys where it also annoyingly doubles as a check-in area).
Booking with points: Marriott Bonvoy points are dynamic, meaning there are no set redemption rates for a specific property. Expect to use somewhere in the range of 30,000-60,000 Marriott points per night at the Moxy Lower East Side.
If you have a Marriott free night certificate (from a Marriott credit card, for instance), remember that you can “top off” a certificate by up to 15,000 points.
3. One of the most unique (and best) ways to fly to Europe on miles is now on sale.
Looking to go to Europe this January? Here’s a great deal on miles while getting the chance to fly a world-class airline.
Singapore Airlines has a unique nonstop flight (called a fifth freedom flight) between New York (JFK) and Frankfurt, Germany (FRA). For the next few months, the route is serviced by the double-decker Airbus A380 so if you’re seated in first or business, it's one of the nicest ways to get across the Atlantic.
How much: 56,700 Singapore KrisFlyer miles each way (30% off)
Class of service: Business class
Route: Between New York (JFK) and Frankfurt (FRA)
When: Various dates in January
Don’t have Singapore miles? You can transfer them from all the major credit card points currencies: Amex Membership Rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards, Capital One miles.
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Have a great rest of the week and happy holidays, Modern Travelers!
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