Hong Kong is similar to most world capitals concerning the diversity of lodging options as well as range of tariffs. Lodging choices range from rooming houses for temporary workers to the pinnacle of luxury suites coupled with legendary service rivaling most cities worldwide.
For many first-time visitors to Hong Kong, lodging in the Kowloon neighborhood is the most logical choice. Kowloon is home to many of the branded hotel chains from 5-star luxury to hostels to a YMCA which from experience is an absolute bargain with a premier location, rooms for singles, shares and families and many amenities on-site.
For tourists one of the attractions of Kowloon is its compactness. Truly a microcosm of Hong Kong, the vast cultural experiences of Hong Kong can usually be found within steps of your lodging. For shoppers, the Nathan Road shopping district also known as The Golden Mile is a luxury shoppers paradise with malls and outposts of the finest designer boutiques lining both sides of the thoroughfare. Within easy walking distance one can venture into Kowloon (I suggest Jordan Road) and immerse oneself into the culture of this most energetic and fascinating city including street food stalls, tea shops, open-air markets and specialty retail districts.
For access to neighboring Hong Kong Island, The Star Ferry travels from Tsim Sha Tsui and there is also subway access, just one stop via tunnels into Hong Kong Harbor.
For luxury lodging within walking distance of The Star Ferry and Nathan Road a few hotels I suggest include:
For those who desire the pinnacle of “high-style” there is a newer Ritz-Carlton in Kowloon which tops out at over 100 stories in height and offers an observation deck. While a beautiful hotel, the location, especially for tourists is not ideal as it is located in an area best accessible via subway or taxi.
I mentioned the YMCA prior. For clean and economical lodging with a premier location, The YMCA should not be overlooked. Within steps of the Star Ferry and Nathan Road, the pseudo international-style building operates as a full-service hotel catering to a diverse clientele from around the world. What intrigued me is their family-suites, a rare luxury of space and location in Hong Kong.
Across the Harbor is Hong Kong Island, the true center of finance and commerce and one of the most photographed skylines in the world. The vast majority of branded hotels will be in and around the neighborhood known as Central and to a lesser extent in the Wan Chai neighborhood, adjacent to the convention center.
Central is the heart of Hong Kong Island, a mix of commercial, hotel and residential towers. The area once dominated by office buildings from which workers cleared out after the work day has become a luxury shoppers paradise with many hotels and office buildings providing malls and shopping arcades within their lower floors. If conducting business on Hong Kong Island, Central would be an ideal place to reside.
Within Central are many hotels, most are quite expensive due to land values. The Landmark Mandarin Oriental is considered one of the grandest hotels in Central offering an enviable location just steps from the Star Ferry and within the heart of the central business district. Even if one does not stay within its rarefied rooms, British style afternoon tea is a luxury excursion one should consider as well as pursuing their shopping arcade. A few minutes walk is The Four Seasons, another exclusive lodging option.
As a repeat visitor to Hong Kong I am always looking for the hotels which may not be household names yet offer value and location. The following are a few which while not offering worldwide name recognition do offer value and location:
Holiday Inn Soho: Soho is becoming a hip neighborhood in Hong Kong attracting new boutiques and infusing excitement into the moderately priced dining scene.
Finally I would be remiss if I did not mention the Wan Chai district of Hong Kong. About 1 mile from Central this area is dominated by the Convention Center. While a trek to the Metro is a = 10 minutes via elevated walkways, there is a good selection of hotels in the area, usually value-oriented when the convention center is not busy. A good neighborhood for tourists as there is diversity concerning lodging, food establishments and east access to the Wan Chai dock of the Star Ferry as well as a hub for inner-city and regional busses. A few hotels in the area include:
The Renaissance Harbour View (see pictures). A true oasis within the city with an expansive open-space area including a pool, golf practice area and lighted tennis courts.
The Grand Hyatt
Beyond Central and Wan Chai are additional neighborhoods and areas including Causway Bay, Sheung Way and others which cater to travelers with business in the area. These areas may offer attractive rates due to their non-Central location. As Hong Kong is compact and offers both excellent mass transit and inexpensive taxi service, these outlying areas should be considered for lodging.
Next, dining in the city with the highest concentration of Michelin-starred restaurants outside of Paris and sightseeing.