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Elainee Sep 12th, 2006 05:11 PM

Cicerone HK help
We will be in HK right before Christmas and then again first week in January. The Marriott Renasissance is very cheap in comparison to other hotels. It seems like an ok business hotel. The location sounds very good to me. BUT..we will also be staying at the Four Seasons for part of the time. How far apart are the hotels? I would like to stay at 4S as little as possible since it is so expensive. It's a pain to change but I hate to spend the 4S price unless I must. Do you know anyway to get better price?? Thanks for your help. I have already printed out your shopping and touring guides.

Cicerone Sep 12th, 2006 07:10 PM

There are actually TWO Renaissance hotels in HK, on either side of the harbour, so I don't know which one you mean. One is called the Renaissance Harbour View and is on Hong Kong Island. The other is the Renaissance Kowloon and is on the waterfront in Kowloon, it is part of the complex with the Intercontinental hotel. Neither are close to the Four Seasons, which is on the Hong Kong Island side but further west from the Renaissance Harbour View. To give an idea of their relative location, using the Star Ferry Pier on the Hong Kong Island side is the center point, the Renaissance Harbour View would be east about 1.5 miles, the Four Seasons would be west about a 1/2 mile. The Renaissance Kowloon and the Four Seasons are across the harbour from one another, not exactly directly across the harbour, but for your purposes that doesn't matter really as you aren't walking across the water. You could take the Star Ferry between them, and could take the MTR although the stops to either are not very close so IMO the Star Ferry is better and of course much more scenic.

The Renaissance Harbour View has some very nice harbour view rooms (admittedly of the "wrong side" of the harbour but still nice and hey, the Four Seasons also has the "wrong" side views), it also shares a nice pool deck complex with the Grand Hyatt. The Renaissance Kowloon is a much older hotel and is not as nice and does not have views from any rooms that I am aware of. It is very close to the Esplanade for views, however and you can also go over to the Intercon as well.

I don't know anyway to get a discount at the Four Seasons, I don't think they generally discount at all. Is there some sort of mid-point hotel in terms of price you could choose like the Sheraton Towers in Kowloon or the JW Marriott which might be cheaper than the Four Seasons? Therea are also places like the Salisbury YMCA or the Bishop Lei which are much less expensive than the Marriotts or the Four Seasons and nice as well.

If you need to switch hotels during your stay, then switching between the Renaissance Harbour View and the Four Seasons it would not be a huge pain, as you would just take a taxi between the two, would cost maybe HK$25-30 (US$3-4). If you are switching to the Renaissance Kowloon, then you have t go across the harbour, so that is either a longer more expensive taxi ride (maybe HK$60-80, US$7-10 I am guessing as I don't normally take a taxi across the harbour tunnel it could be more plus the tunnel charge of HK$5), or an MTR ride with a change of lines and a longish walk, or the Star Ferry with a longish walk and dragging bags onto the ferry.

rhkkmk Sep 12th, 2006 07:13 PM

we stayed at the renaissance in kowloon and found it excellent...great location, attached to a mall and easy walk to the star ferry....they upgraded us to a suite and i was only silver status also, without asking...

Elainee Sep 13th, 2006 06:59 AM

Thanks for the info! It is the Harbour View. We do not need to stay at the 4s until our kids get there. We could also stay free (use points) at the Grand Hyatt. Now that is the best idea! For some reason we do not stay as often at Hyatts when we tourist travel so using our old points would be excellent. I get such good ideas from Cicerone, Bob, and all.

Cicerone Sep 13th, 2006 06:55 PM

Your kids are making you stay at the Four Seasons?!! Only kidding...The Grand Hyatt and the Renaissance Harbour View are in the same complex, so in terms of location they are the same so no preference for one over the other IMO. As I said, they share the same pool deck. I think I would pick the Grand Hyatt just because I think it is a better-maintained hotel. The rooms are much more plush and the bathrooms are quite something. The Grand Hyatt also has a tremendously excellent spa if that makes a difference to you (as does the Four Seasons, but the Grand Hyatt's is really over the top IMO, they even have rooms you can spend the night in while having treatments. The Spa is called the Plateau, look it up on their website). The pools at the hotels may be closed in December as it is "winter" here and many hotels close their pools for maintenance or to give lifeguards a holiday (even thought it is sunny and mid-70s so perfect weather as far as I am concerned), although the pool at the Four Seasons has heaters outside and may in fact stay open for the winter (this is their first winter being open so it is hard to say).

The Grand Hyatt/Renaissance Habour View is in Wan Chai and if you read my post a while back about the markets in Wan Chai you will find that you can walk quite easily to that area, if you just walk up Fleming Road (at the corner of the Harbour View and the water) for 5-6 blocks until it intersects with Johnston Road (the road with the tram running down it), you will be basically where the market begins at Wan Chai Road which also intersects here with Johnston Road (in fact Fleming Road basically runs into and becomes Wan Chain Road at that point so you really can't miss it). There are also some good restaurants in this area like:

Chili Club
1/F, 88 Lockhart Road
Wanchai, Hong Kong
Tel: 2527 2872

Cheap and cheerful Thai food. Very casual. This is about a 3 minute walk from the Grand Hyatt.

Flying Pan (esp for breakfast)
3rd Floor
81-85 Lockhart Road (Wan Chai)
Tel: 2528-9997

Open 24 hours, serves the "all day" breakfast. Eggs, French toast, good bagels. Also good for lunch. Good prices.

Pasar Singaporean Flavor
197 Johnston Road
Wan Chai
tel: 3168-2057

If you like Singaporean/Malay food, this is the place. Excellent pepper crab and char kway teow, hot spicy laksa. Very casual, basically picnic tables, but great food. Crab can be expensive, other things are more medium priced.

Fook Lam Moon (Cantonese)
35-45 Johnston Road
Wan Chai
Tel: 852-2866-0663

Well-known and very popular in Hong Kong. Good for dim sum lunch as well as dinner, they offer set menu and a la carte Cantonese dishes, as well as for dinner. Excellent egg tarts and other deserts.

Quarterdeck Club Seafood Restaurant and Grill
Fleet Arcade
Fenwick Pier
1 Lung King Street
Tel 2827 8882

This is the only place with outdoor seating right on the waterfront Hong Kong Island. It is literally on the water and views are excellent, definitely ask for an outdoor table. This is walkable in under 5 minutes from the Grand Hyatt. Good seafood plus steaks, pasta, pizza and burgers. Great deserts like Chocolate pie and Mars pie. Big portions. Mid price to expensive, but food and views are worth it.

The Four Seasons is walkable via a pedestrian overpass walkway to the escalator up to the Hollywood Road and Soho area which are chock-a-block with good restaurants and little boutique shops, so you don't need a taxi and the escalator is a fun way to see a bit of the city. You can also walk to the Central Star Ferry/Pedder Street area via a pedestrian walkway. Basically you won't walk on any streets near the hotel for many blocks, you will walk through the IFC Mall or on elevated walkways outside above the streets until you get to the Star Ferry or Central areas. A good map is helpful, try to get one from the hotels or the Hong Kong Tourist association offices.

As you will be here on Christmas Eve, if you can, try to go over to the Kowloon side and take a walk along the Esplanade, it is quite an event on Christmas Eve as thousands of people go out that night. It is very festive in a calm way. As it is not a religious holiday for most of the people here, it is a night off as the 25th and 26th are public holidays but no one has family visiting obligations or major cooking responsibilities like they do for Chinese New Year, so everyone is relaxed and out taking in the view. The ferry can get a little crowded, but otherwise it is fun. You can go have a drink at the Intercon and take in that view, or arrange to have dinner in one of the restaurants with a view on the Kowloon side (a lot of places have set dinners that night, kind of expensive but still a fun experience). If you want some reccos, let me know.

There is a ferry pier right in front of the Grand Hyatt/Harbour View that will take you over to the Kowloon side, so you don't have to walk to the ferry piers in Central. This pier is called the Wan Chai pier.

Elainee Sep 14th, 2006 05:57 AM

Cicerone, You are the best!! I really appreciate all the time you have spent giving me all this advice. I hope lots of other Fodorites are printing it out for their trip to HK. I LOVE Singapore crab so Pasar will be a must for us. Quarterdeck sounds perfect for our kids. Unfortunately we leave for Vietnam the afternoon of the 24th so will miss Christmas Eve. We have been to HK three times but each trip has been so different. Like any big city, a few days visit just gives you a snapshot. A return often becomes a totally different experience. We will return to HK for two days after our time in Vietnam. Our family's flight back to London leaves at midnight. I think an afternoon in HK Disney might be good for the grandaughters (ages 7 and 10) the last day. Then they should certainly sleep on the flight. We get to HK a day before the family and leave two days after. I have now booked the Marriott for the first day and the Hyatt for the last two days.
Spending $500 a day at the 4s (not in a resort) is just unnecessary. With your extensive travel...have you been to Vietnam?

Cicerone Sep 18th, 2006 07:42 PM

I have been to Vietnam, but only twice and in 1990 and 1997, so I think it has changed very much in that time and I don't feel qualified to advise on it beyond telling people to avoid the rainy season and that Hue is quite interesting. I imagine that Ho Chi Minh is changed almost beyond recognition (it was going that way between 1990 and 1997), but hope that Saigon still has the wide boulevards and European feel. I think it is definitely a place that is worth a trip.

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