Hong Kong hotels

By Ed Peters, your Hong Kong expert

I write for AsiaSpa, Conde Nast Traveller, Gourmet Traveller, .... Read more
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Hong Kong’s got hotels like other cities have bus stops. There the analogy ends. Cast aside any thoughts of long waits on uncomfortable seating at the mercy of the elements. The city’s accommodation is rightly respected around the world for its devotion to hospitality, and startlingly good facilities and service; even at the lower end of the scale air-conditioning and multi-channelled TV are standard.

The bulk of Hong Kong’s hotels are located either side of Victoria Harbour, on Hong Kong Island or in Kowloon, while even those further afield are unlikely to be too far away from one of the superb mass transit railway system’s stations.

Boutiques continue to pop up, but the best exemplar of Hong Kong hotels is the five (or possibly more) star Peninsula which sits right next to the YMCA. As might be imagined, their rates are rather different, but guests are unlikely to recall as much when they’re asleep.

Things to consider before booking

  • Prices soar when major trade fairs or similar events are being held.
  • Many hotels are close to each other, so it's worth comparing rates.
  • Weekdays are generally more expensive than weekends.
  • Buffet breakfasts are often very well stocked – but cheap dim sum or similar will be available just around the corner.
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My rucksack and I just fitted into the cubby hole in the tiny hostel where I tossed fitfully when I first arrived in Hong Kong. I’ve since spent my honeymoon night (sans rucksack) in a suite at The Peninsula, the city's most venerable accommodation. In between times, I’ve performed a spectacular double-take on encountering a gnome at Philippe Patrick Starck’s boutique Jia, endured a night in a windowless room at a hotel in Tai Po whose name I shudder to recall, and still can’t make up my mind whether the harbour is better viewed from a bed in Kowloon looking toward the Island, or contrariwise.

No tally of Hong Kong hotels could miss out heroic caravanserai like the Mandarin Oriental, but I’ve tried to sidestep more pedestrian (albeit well-known) accommodation in favour of hotels with real character. It’s one thing to step out of the front door into an anonymous mall: quite another to find yourself Alice-Through-The-Looking-Glass’d into a tumultuous thoroughfare whose sights, sounds, aromas and remarkable brio could only belong to Hong Kong. A final note: The Ritz-Carlton re-opens in Hong Kong in March 2011; apart from anything else, it will be the highest hotel in the world. As they say - watch this space.

Simonseeks has given star ratings out of five for all accommodation recommendations. With hotels, these will tally with the hotel's official star rating where it exists. Where a hotel has no official star rating, and in the case of b & bs and hostels, the experts have made a judgment as to how many stars the accommodation deserves, in terms of comfort, level of facilities and so forth.

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