Hong Kong has some of the best hotels in the world, and some of the most expensive. With Hong Kong’s premium on space being what it is, even budget hotels are expensive. Also, there aren’t always enough rooms to go around, especially around holidays and when convention season is in full swing in April and May. The increasing flow of Mainland tourists, many looking for a good deal, is increasing demand for budget but quality rooms, but also making it even more of a seller’s market. You’ll also find rooms smaller than you may be used to, unless you’re staying in a high-end place. If your company is putting you up in a hotel for a few days, they’ll probably have a good deal for a larger room in a decent place. Everybody agrees though, don’t pay the rack rate: book online or investigate websites like Tripfinder or Lastminute to get the real rates.
For most places, view rather than size is the key element. “Harbour views” are the magic words that add both dollars and charm to any room, but you should investigate exactly what a ‘partial’ or ‘side’ view means exactly. Ask to be on the highest floor available for your category of room. If you’re high-end, everything comes included, but even in good hotels with excellent facilities, don’t assume that things like broadband are included. Hong Kong hotels are famous for wringing every last dollar out of customers, mostly to encourage them to trade up to better rooms with more included, or to sign up for internal packages offering, for example, Internet plus spa and breakfast for a set daily fee.
Tsim Sha Tsui in Kowloon is the prime hotel area, but there are plenty of options in Central, Causeway Bay and other parts of Hong Kong Island as well, at various price points. If you’re paying yourself and cost is a concern, the New Territories offer better value, particularly in Shatin, and many expats like to stay in a serene Outlying Islands setting for a weekend away from the city, but on the basis that your hotel stay is probably part of a fact-finding or house-hunting trip, we’ve concentrated on Hong Kong Island and Kowloon below.
Hong Kong Island
Island Shangri-La Hong Kong
The epitome of luxury, this is Hong Kong’s tallest hotel and is extraordinarily plush – think chandeliers, forests of flowers, carpets you sink into and even what may be the largest landscape painting in the world in the 17-floor atrium. Guest rooms go for a tasteful Western-Asian look and there are no compromised views: your choice is the harbor or the Peak. There’s a health club and spa, seven restaurants, in-room business facilities and all entertainment options, plus concierge and babysitting. As one of the three hotels (see the Conrad and the Marriott below) above the Pacific Place shopping and entertainment complex, you’re right in the middle of the city.
Pacific Place, Supreme Court Road, Central
Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong
The best hotel in the world? The debate rages. You won’t be disappointed in any case, with a staff of hundreds all impeccably helpful and English-speaking, plush yet tasteful surroundings and rooms (the building’s renovation a few years ago has been greeted with much praise), all the modern facilities you can dream of and a knack for small details such as binoculars in rooms facing the harbor. It’s a place for movers and shakers and you can rub shoulders with them in the Mandarin Grill come dinner time. The Captain’s Bar and Chinnery are other fabled places to see and be seen. There’s a total of four restaurants and three bars, health club and pool and a great in-room entertainment suite, plus concierge and babysitting.
5 Connaught Road, Central
Conrad Hong Kong
Exclusive, high-end hotel above Pacific Place, and a superb hotel with an ambiance that manages to combine a classic hotel atmosphere with a modern layout and a sense of personality. Facilities are top-notch, with one of Hong Kong’s best Italian restaurants among the four dining options, a swimming pool, an excellent health club and spa, great views if you have a harbor view room and free Wi-Fi throughout the hotel. Plus there’s concierge service and babysitting available.
Pacific Place, 88 Queensway, Central
Grand Hyatt Hong Kong
Right next to the Convention Centre, they literally pushed out the boat in designing this hotel, which aims to match a classic ocean liner and boasts rather incredible art deco stylings and an impressive sense of grandeur. Plush rooms with all the media options, poolside restaurant, residential spa – you can live a life of distinct comfort here. The beautiful Chinese restaurant in the lobby is a definite plus, too. There are six restaurants and two bars, with a health club, a pool and even a running track to work off those meals. There’s also a kids’ pool and a playground, making it an excellent family option. Concierge service and babysitting also available.
1 Harbour Road, Wan Chai
JW Marriott Hotel Hong Kong
More high-end than the average Marriott, this is another of the Pacific Place-situated hotels, meaning it’s got all its shopping and dining resources right beneath. However, you may not want to leave the hotel itself, with a design cleverly put together to maximize views, a swimming pool with restaurant, a wine bar and even a high-end tea house. There are five restaurants in total, rooms have elaborate electronic suites including MP3 player and broadband, service is as excellent as you’d expect, and there’s concierge service and babysitting available.
Pacific Place, 88 Queensway, Central
J Plus Hotel
Claiming to be Asia’s first boutique hotel, this achingly hip Philippe Starck-designed destination is all about design, from staff uniforms to chairs. They aim to cater to a discerning clientele, and as part of this hotel guests get to be temporary members of Kee, a self-styled private members’ club that’s extremely pleasant though not particularly exclusive, and get special treatment in trendy bars, depending on what’s flavor of the month. Rooms are small but beautiful, and there’s a lounge and restaurant, plus free use of a nearby health club. Broadband included, and try the sundeck on a quiet afternoon.
Lan Kwai Fong Hotel
The name is deceptive – it’s not particularly near Hong Kong’s famous F&B strip – but it’s worth considering this smaller, trendy but comfortable and friendly place. Don’t expect to be swinging any cats in the rooms (it’s worth upgrading to Deluxe for better space and views) but they’re all interesting, with quirky details and real thought put into the design, and you’re in a slightly more local area within walking distance of Mid-Levels, making it a great base for getting to know this part of the city. Rooms have straightforward facilities and Internet costs extra; there’s a lounge and restaurant plus babysitting services.
3 Kau U Fong, Central
Lanson Place Hotel
This small but tasteful and friendly place puts you down the road from the Causeway Bay shopping Mecca and offers rooms with a little more space than usual. Stocked kitchenettes and a free DVD library means you can make it more homey than most hotels, and if you’re lucky they even offer free use of a cell phone during your stay. There’s a bar and a small gym, but really you’re staying here for the pleasant atmosphere and good location.
133 Leighton Road, Causeway Bay
Rosedale on the Park
A more workaday option than many of the hotels above, and you’re back to the typical Hong Kong tiny room, but you’ll spend far less money and still get a well-run and friendly place with free broadband and a convenient Causeway Bay location. Small but pleasant bar with great views over Victoria Park. There’s a suite option with kitchen facilities for longer stays, plus a restaurant, small fitness room and babysitting services.
8 Shelter Street, Causeway Bay
Another option for people watching their budget, but still looking for something nice. Small rooms with basic facilities (you’ll pay extra for Internet) are offset by friendly, personalized service and a fun location not far from both the Wan Chai nightlife and the Convention Centre. Their main claim to fame is their nifty women’s floor with yoga mats, flowers and generally pleasant-smelling atmosphere, but men will enjoy their stay here, too. There’s a restaurant and guests can use a nearby health club for free.
41 Fleming Road, Wan Chai
The Peninsula Hong Kong
The city’s most celebrated hotel, not least for its daily afternoon tea. The rooms (with amazing views) belie Hong Kong’s cramped spaces, the service is unparalleled and the whole place exudes elegance and history. It boasts six excellent restaurants, a health club and spa, the latest in-room entertainment, a music room with a grand piano, as well as concierge services and babysitting. It also has a helipad for high rollers.
Salisbury Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon
InterContinental Hong Kong
Across the road from the Peninsula and its main competitor for the Kowloon crown, this classy place is actually on the waterfront and boasts harbor views, five first-rate restaurants, fitness and spa facilities (including free tai chi and yoga) and all the shopping you could ask for in the heart of Tsim Sha Tsui. Concierge and babysitting services, too.
18 Salisbury Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon
A huge hotel (over 700 rooms) with great harbor views through giant windows, this is a big place for business travellers and offers the usual Shangri-La recipe of opulent surroundings and careful attention to customer care – as well as great food. Four restaurants and a tapas bar, plus exercise room, pool, DVD library and high-tech in-room facilities ensure you’ll feel well-treated. A special feature is their “technology butler.” They also offer concierge service and babysitting.
64 Mody Road, Tsim Sha Tsui East, Kowloon
The Mira Hong Kong
Another hotel compensating for small room size by featuring innovative design, the Mira is innovative and bold in both outlook and color scheme, making the environment extremely pleasant, and designer chairs and free mobile phones add to the appeal. There’s free Internet plus three restaurants and a bar, as well as a health club and pool. Kowloon Park is across the road.
118-130 Nathan Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon
Another in the city’s burgeoning range of boutique hotels, the rooms are willfully unusual, particularly the suites, and certainly a far cry from bland. Design is big on trompe l’oeil (3D) features, but the small rooms are still comfortable and (for most people) fun. They have free Wi-Fi, plus a restaurant, a bar and a health club.
39 Kimberly Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon
A great option for people who don’t want to spend big (at least by Hong Kong standards), but still want a classy place. The hotel has a pool, a well-regarded Cantonese restaurant and two other eateries, with small but well-appointed rooms (note there’s an extra fee for Internet). For the environmentally conscious, they’re also big on sustainability. Free tours of local markets add to the charm.