Hotel reviews and the opening of WWW10

I’ve tried life on both sides of Victoria Harbour now, and I think I should have stayed on Kowloon side. Last night, I moved to the Renaissance Harbourview, adjacent to the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, where WWW10 is being held. The Marco Polo HongKong, where I’d been for the past few nights, is a little bit on the old-fashioned side (they have metal keys, not keycards — can you imagine?), while the Renaissance Harbourview is tres modern and clean. But the Marco Polo HongKong works much better as a place to stay — or at least it does for me.

At the Marco Polo HongKong, one of my challenges was remembering where I’d stashed all my stuff — the room had a walk-in closet with the minibar, as well as a regular closet, and at least two dressers. At the Renaissance, I didn’t have enough drawers to store all my socks and underwear, and my suitcase is sitting in the middle of the room because there’s nowhere to hide it.

At the Marco Polo, there were electrical outlets everywhere and a hair dryer built-in to the bathroom; at the Renaissance, I can only find one outlet, and it’s not very handy, and of course the hair dryer isn’t built-in either.

At the Marco Polo, they had a switch by the door marked “please save energy” so that you could turn off all the lights when you left, but the air conditioning kept going to fight off the heat and humidity. At the Renaissance, there’s a slot well inside the room where you put your keycard, and that activates the lights and A/C — of course, you have to be able to find the slot in the dark to begin with! And the A/C is not very strong, so it takes a long time to cool down the room. But I’ve already beaten the system; it doesn’t check to see if it has a hotel key; anything the size of a credit card will work, and I have a large supply of such cards with me — the card that I bought to add value to my phone account was perfect, since it had no other use once I’d called Orange to update my account, and it has no information which could be used against me (like a credit card number or frequent flyer number).

My room at the Renaissance does have an enormous picture window, much larger than the one at the Marco Polo — but the view from Kowloon was better. And I liked the neighbourhood around the Marco Polo better than Wanchai — the area immediately adjacent to the Renaissance is sterile, but a few blocks away, you’re in the remains of the old Wanchai (see The World of Suzie Wong for more details).

The good news at the Renaissance, though, is that I get Marriot points for staying here, while nights at the Marco Polo were wasted.


893 opening

I’m typing this during the opening session of the WWW10 conference. A tradition in this conference series is to have an opening ceremony which partakes of the local culture, then a local politico officially opens the conference. I don’t remember what local color or politico they found for WWW6 in Santa Clara, but the conferences in Melbourne, Toronto, and Amsterdam had interesting ceremonies, and this conference continued.

We began by having the chair of the conference corporation (Nigel French) and the local politico (Carrie Yau, Secretary for Information Technology and Broadcasting for the Hong Kong SAR) “dot the eyes” of the lions, who then proceeded to get the conference off to a roaring start.

895 jumping lion:

Ms. Yau then gave a brief welcoming talk, and now Tim Berners-Lee is giving his view of the Web and its full potential. I’d already heard versions of Tim’s talk three times in the past week, so I have to admit I haven’t been paying rapt attention to it this time around, but it’s clear that practice adds polish.


Happy birthday, Dave.

Susan, you have my condolences and sympathy on the death of your grandfather. Thanks for sharing the good times like his 100th birthday celebration with us.

Jeff, sorry to hear you’ve been dot-bombed.

Falling Behind

Now that the conference has started, I don’t have connectivity during meetings, and so I have less time to read blogs (not to mention trying to keep up with e-mail from my daily job), so forgive me if I fall behind in keeping up with you for a few days. I’ll keep posting during odd moments — but I’m not betting on many good pictures until the weekend.

Amen, brother!

Joel says:

There is nothing that makes me close a web browser faster than going to a home page that plays stupid background music.

This seems almost too trivial too complain about. If your company home page plays stupid background music, stop it.

I couldn’t agree more. I still remember encountering the AT&T ad on the USA Today home page that made a stupid knocking sound and saying “let me in!” every time you went to the page (including returning from an article); that was the day USA Today fell off my list of online news sources to check periodically (and you’ll note I didn’t provide a link here, either!).