oftentimes, people visit hong kong (friends or family) and I always act as a guide for them. starting with the places to stay in hong kong, whether short term or long term, there are countless possibilities. I would do wrong if I didn’t mention the unrivaled, the famous and the only one; the peninsula hotel hong kong. with a prime spot and premium service, it is generally considered to be one of the best hotels in the world. if you’re looking for something of a higher caliber, the ritz-carlton will tickle your fancy wits its location between 102nd and 118th floors. due to great demand, most bookings must be made a year in advance. I realize that for most tourists these two are unaffordable/unnecessary luxuries, but they had to be mentioned.
image source unknown.
for those that live with their feet on the ground, there are many other options to consider. my personal favorites include the royal garden and shangrila hotel in tsim sha tsui. both within walking distance to major public transportations, star avenue and an incredible skyline view: the victoria harbor. three to four star hong kong hotels are common and wallet-friendly. other choices include park hotel in tsim sha tsui, novotel hotel in jordan, langham place in mong kok. all three located on kowloon side; convenient for those that are interested in experiencing hong kong from a local point of view. neighborhoods on kowloon side are popular for the street food, red lanterns, bustling streets, fruit, veggie and fish markets; the ever-lasting scent of durian and limes is always present. just the chaos of mid-afternoon mong kok will be close enough for one to get a true feel of what hong kong is like. staying in one of the aforementioned hotels would ensure that you are within a comfortable proximity of all this fun.
if hotels are out of your budget or you intend to stay for only a night or two; there is absolutely nothing wrong with the great number of hostels and motels in hong kong. the most famous (or infamous) would be chungking mansions with rooms available for most of the week. a quick walk around mong kok, prince edward and sham shui po will reveal that there are hostels and rooms available in almost every street. starting from as little as $250 for a night, you can enjoy your own room and a bathroom. most of these places tend to be well kept and clean. price negotiation is a must.
moving on across the harbor to hong kong island; to be completely honest, it’s a whole different story there. think the noble house, think james bond. historically, hong kong island is where it all started; financially, that’s where the city is at now. mandarin oriental graces with its presence close the charter garden in central, landmark hotel is next door. they are sort of a duo of hong kong’s downtown. grand hyatt is another favorite for most business-related visits. as well as the renaissance harbor view hotel in wan chai. whatever your choices is amongst these, you’ll not be disappointed.
image by sara tomovic.
if you’re looking for something less demanding on the wallet, yet you still wish to experience the life on the concrete island, ibis and ramada hotel are safe choices for short and longer visits. located in sheung wan, the western part of hong kong island, you will find yourself in one of the most interesting districts of the city. similarly to hostels on kowloon side, cheaper options may be found in wan chai, causeway bay and north point located on the eastern edge of hong kong island. (I would add, avoid the red-light district when looking for a bed, but each to their own.)
hong kong has it all. from the highest bar, to the cheapest street food in the world. everyone will and can find something here of their own liking. you just need to know where to look.
July 2, 2013