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classact Sep 28th, 2012 08:05 PM

Hong Kong Hotel - Possibly the W?
Planning on visiting Hong Kong for my Diamond Jubilee (60th birthday) in January with my wife and two adult kids. This is our first time in Hong Kong and we would like to stay someplace special and on the higher end of the scale. However, we need two rooms so the Peninsula, 4 Seasons, etc. are out of my price range. Since I have a bunch of Starwood points, my first reaction was to check out the W Hotel since it seems to get good reviews. The only thing that concerns me is the location. When I look at a map, it seems that the W is out of the way. Yes? No?

Another Starwood alternative would be the Sheraton, but it seems a little dated and just ordinary and nothing special.

Anyway, any help would be appreciated. I don't need to use the Starwood points if there's a hotel that's unique and special - one that would make the trip more memorable.


Hanuman Sep 28th, 2012 08:20 PM

I have stayed at the W and I like the rooms and the view of the harbour from there. The get to the room is bit of a hassle and if you are coming from the street level you will have to go up one set of elevators enter the lobby and then proceed to another set of elevators. Apart from that everything was good with regard to the hotel itself. The location is not really walkable to anywhere but it does have a mall and access to the underground and airport express train. Out of all the Starwood properties in Hong Kong this is probably the best IMO.

rkkwan Sep 28th, 2012 08:22 PM

Hong Kong is a small place, so "out of the way" is relative. The W is just one subway stop from the central business district on Hong Kong Island, for example. Or it is just a short and cheap taxi ride (10 minutes and US$3) to the older parts of Kowloon Peninsula, like Tsim Sha Tsui.

But to some, it is missing the convenience of say the Sheraton or other hotels in TST, where one can walk to hundreds of restaurants in 5 minutes; or hopping on any of the buses and get to the night markets in Mongkok; or stroll to the Star Ferry for a leisure trip across the harbor (vs taking the subway).

Only thing walkable from the W are the shops and restaurants in that huge complex that includes the W, Elements Mall and Ritz Carlton. Forget walking to the rest of Kowloon. And also forget taking the subway to the older parts of Kowloon - no or poor connection from the Tung Chung Line.

CICII Oct 9th, 2012 05:45 AM

I live in Hong Kong, and I would just like to comment on the W. (I have stayed there as well.) I am not sure it really is a good choice. First of all views may not be what you are expecting. Almost none have the true harbour view you may want or are expecting. They are not the postcard views (i.e., you can’t see the Peak). There may be one or two rooms which offer what is <i>almost</i> a full harbour view, but I can’t say for sure, and if a view is important to you, be sure to get one of these and ask lots of questions about them before hand. (i.e. can you see the Peak? Can you see the Bank of China building? Can you see Pacific Place? I don't think the answer is yes to any of these.) The rooms with the eastern views have interesting open views toward the eastern harbour, Lion Rock and the Arch building, but get a high floor to avoid being blocked by neighboring buildings. I like these views, but they are not what you see in the guidebooks. Views from the western side are good for sunset, but this side overlooks the container port and entrance to a tunnel, so again you have to go for a very high floor, 25 or above.

The second and equally important issue to me with this hotel is that it is in a <i>very</i> poor location , as you are hemmed in by highways on all sides and you literally can't walk to anything. You have to take the subway, Airport Express or taxi or bus to get anywhere.

On the plus side, the rooms are a good size and are nice (if you don't mind what I call industrial chic, concrete floors in the bathrooms), and the hotel does have a very interesting pool roof deck with great views (however the pool and gym are on the top floors of the building, but the guest rooms are not on these levels and do not offer these views. the Pool and gym are on 76 and 73, but the rooms only go up to the 38th floor). In January you won't get a lot of use out of any outdoor pool.

The ICC building which blocks their view contains the Ritz-Carlton which has <i>quite</i> the view. If you are looking for a memorable stay, that would be top of my list, it may not be in your budget (but if you have Marriott Reward points, take a look at it). The Peninsula would also be on that list. The Intercontinental would be on it as well. The Four Seasons and Mandarin hotel on the Hong Kong side would also be on that list. The W would be quite far down the list.

I would still say to look at the Sheraton, in particular the Tower rooms, and get club floor harbour view rooms. These are not "dated" in any way. (I don't think the public areas of this hotel are dated either to be honest.) The location is very good, (even it if is Kowloon) and the view is good. You can walk to many things, and get to the Star Ferry very easily. I think it will make for a memorable stay. If you aren't wedded to using points, if you can give us an idea of budget, we can make better reccos for other hotels. That being said, IMO using points in Hong Kong is a great idea, as you can then use the money saved for restaurants and other things like hiring a boat for an afternoon (that makes for a memorable trip, I can provide some reccos). Or hire a helicopter to fly over Hong Kong. (I can find many good uses for wasting your money….) Or use a combo a points and upgrade to something like a 2 bedroom suite in the Sheraton.

classact Oct 10th, 2012 07:21 PM

Thanks CICII. I was somewhat concerned with the location of the W and, to be honest, I've never been a big fan of Ws in the States. That being said, I'll take a look at the Sheraton. In addition, I've been reading good things about the Langham Place and the ICON. If you, or anyone, have any thoughts on those two hotels, I would appreciate it.

tansmets Oct 10th, 2012 08:42 PM

Langham Place is a nice hotel, but the location is not ideal. There are two Langhams, one in TST (The Langham Hotel), which has a good location right behind the Sheraton and Peninsula. Langham Place is in Mong kok, a very busy shopping area in Kowloon. There is a lot of stuff to buy and eat, but I would recommend staying in Hong Kong Island or TST. The Icon has a better location near TST and Hung Hom.

On the flipside, TST is rather touristy, while Mong Kok is much more local, and it won't take you that much longer to get to tourist sites from Mong Kok. It depends what you are looking for. Beware that on weekends, Mong Kok is quite crowded. Cities in Asia take crowds to a whole new level I never encountered in the West outside of a parade or special event.

CICII Oct 10th, 2012 11:49 PM

I don’t like the location of Langham Place at all, too far from anything. While local in a way, it is in a massively popular shopping mall and also near the dreaded Night Market, so the mall and streets are chock full of tourists (which you may not notice, as many are PRC tourists). You also will spend a lot of time on the subway getting to more interesting places. It's 2 miles to the waterfront so not walkable. The Langham Hotel itself I don't think would be in your budget. (Langham Place is cheaper because of its secondary location.) Neither have harbour views, which you are giving up for with a (free) stay at the Sheraton.

The ICON does not thrill me to be honest. It is just on the outside edge of TST to make it a bit of a pain as far as location, in my opinion. You can't walk to much. (The excellent main branch of the Museum of History is nearby, but the waterfront and Star Ferry are at least 20 minutes by foot.) The hotel actually fronts a very busy and often congested highway leading to the Cross Harbour Tunnel, although on upper floors you probably don't notice noise. But it does hem it in somewhat. The hotel gets a lot of fanfare because of its design and its restaurants, but I believe they are trying to make up for their location.

At the end of the day, Hong Kong is very small, so it does not matter a lot where you stay. But I am still stuck on the fact that you can stay for free in a quite nice hotel with views in an excellent location in a town which is pretty expensive for hotels. And then have money to spend elsewhere for a memorable location. That is a no-brainer to me. Hire a Rolls-Royce to and from the airport…hire the private dining room in Ozone on the 118th floor at the Ritz-Carlton….sit at the chef's table at the Krug Room or Caprice or Nobu….hire a Merc and driver and go out to the New Territories for the day including lunch at One Thirty One and some visits to villages (best combined with ferry trips IMO but the car can meet you)….treat eveyone to spa treatments at the Peninsula and use their indoor pool with view….. The list of things you could do with money <i>not</i> spent on a hotel is pretty endless here.

Hanuman Oct 11th, 2012 05:55 AM

View from our room at the W:

Password = "Fodors"

I've stayed at most of the hotels in Hong Kong and Kowloon and I must say that our room at the W did have one of the best harbour view.

Hanuman Oct 11th, 2012 05:57 AM

Better link:

CICII Oct 11th, 2012 06:24 AM

Yes, as I said the western sunsset views are pretty. I just don't think that they make up for the location. Or a free harbour view room at the Sheraton.

classact Oct 12th, 2012 05:21 PM

Thanks everyone. Great responses. Currently looking at the Sheraton - Towers section. Kind of like the idea of spending some money on special excursions or restaurants.

fishskis Nov 4th, 2012 08:16 PM

I would like to agree with everything that CICII said. If you have a lot of points, the Sheraton Towers is a great choice. Its location is comparable to the Intercontinental or The Pen; and the hotel is very good (please note I have not stayed there, but I am familiar with the property, as well as The W). Top hotels in Hong Kong are now around $500/ night; staying free at the Sheraton makes sense. If you have not been to Hong Kong, you need to understand the standard for service and hotels is far superior to the States or Europe, or most of the rest of the world.

I don't know how long you are going to be there, but I sometimes like to split up my stay to experience different hotels or neighborhoods, or to take advantage of using points at a specific hotel. Maybe you can stay at The Sheraton for the majority of your trip, and then a spend a night or two at The Peninsula or The Mandarin or The Four Seasons (both on the Hong Kong side, which would give you a different perspective).

The W is isolated; I would not recommend staying there on a leisure trip for my first trip to Hong Kong. I would highly second the recommendation to go to Ozone and The Ritz Carlton. In fact, I would also strongly recommend the Chinese restaurant at The Ritz Carlton for a special dim sum lunch or dinner.

julia1 Nov 5th, 2012 12:00 AM

Can I 'piggy-back' here, please, and ask a related question? It appears all the hotels mentioned here are on Kowloon side. Please tell me if you recommend Kowloon over Hong Kong side because of views, cost, accessability, other reasons...

My sister and I are spending a few days in HK in February. First visit for each of us. Looking at JW Marriott but open to other suggestions. Our priorities are convenience and 'walkability' as well as views.

rkkwan Nov 5th, 2012 03:53 AM

julia1 - How about exact dates and budget. So many hotels, with widely varying cost over time.

tansmets Nov 5th, 2012 04:57 AM

Julia - if you are looking for views, stay on the Kowloon side. Hotels in HK are a fortune right now, and if you are coming mid February you will encounter Chinese New Year, which will drive up rates.
I prefer HK island for a variety of personal reasons, but my family just stayed at the Sheraton in TST and really enjoyed it. Should be much cheaper than the JW Marriott.

julia1 Nov 5th, 2012 10:10 AM

Dates are Feb 8-11. Budget is somewhat open.

While in Bangkok we are staying very inexpensively in a small hotel near where my son and family live on Sukhumvit soi 1, near the hospital. My son's father-in-law is a physician with a clinic nearby and they get special low rates for patients (and for me) at this lovely little hotel.

Then we will be guests of my daughter-in-law's family in Chiang Mai, at their family compound, Baan Doi.

So we feel we can splurge a bit in Hong Kong. I'm thinking maybe $350-500 USD per night?

In Hong Kong we plan to try and see and do as much as we can during the short time we will be there. However, I'm still dealing with some monor health issues left after a stroke a couple of years ago. Doing well but get tired if I try to walk too fast or too far for too long. So convenience and good location are pretty important for me.

rkkwan Nov 5th, 2012 05:45 PM

julia - With that budget, you have a good choice of great hotels. Chinese New Year is NOT high season for hotels, as there's no business travelers, and few tourists coming from mainland China.

The exception is for a harborview room for the NIGHT of Feb 11, which is the 2nd night of the new year, where there is major fireworks over the harbor. If you're checking-out on 2/11, then you don't get hit by that.

For example, looking at Expedia, the Sheraton is under $300 for harborview rooms (Tower rooms that are nicer will cost more). All prices below are from Expedia for 2/8-2/11.

But with a $350-$500 budget, you can look for even better hotels, like the Kowloon Shangri-La. Even harborview rooms is about $350. InterCon is within reach, but not for a harborview room (and that kind of beats the purpose). Also look into Marco Polo Hong Kong Hotel ($412 for harborview), Hyatt Regency (~$350 for harborview). As well as the Langham and Langham Place hotels, in Tsimshatsui and Mongkok respectively.

All of the above are convenient with good locations, and comparable to both cost and amenities to the JWMarriott. The reason why you see more mentioning of hotels on Kowloon side is simply because at this budget, there are simply more of them there. Nothing wrong with those on the Island, if you can find them in your budget and yet better than the JWMarriott. The only hotels I can think of that are better than or equal to the JWMarriott on the Island in terms of both property and location (for those with small health issue) are the Four Season, Mandarin Oriental, MO Landmark, Island Shangri-La, Conrad and Upper House. Most are above $550, but Conrad seem to have room for under $400 on your dates.

julia1 Nov 5th, 2012 09:04 PM

Thank you so much! That's very helpful information!

fishskis Nov 5th, 2012 09:57 PM

I much prefer staying on Hong Kong Island, but it is a matter of choice. I just stayed at The Conrad, and it is very nice, with high floors having great views, and a convenient central location. The Conrad is preferable to the JWMarriott, which is in the exact same location. The Conrad is a notch below the FS, the MO and the Pen, but the standards are so high in HK that it is hard to go wrong at this level. If you could stretch to $500, you might be able to stay at The Mandarin, which is really in the heart of Central, and is a pretty special place with a soul.

tansmets Nov 6th, 2012 05:07 AM

With your budget, whatever you choose, you will enjoy. One thing to note is that harbour views are generally better (clearer) over the summer. Hong Kong's pollution and harbor visibility often depends on the way the winds blow, and in the summer there tends to be more clean air from the south, while the winter is generally hazier. For all you know we might have some crystal clear days in February, but it may not be worth it to spend *too* much extra for a harbor room view.

Although, personally, I think Hong Kong's skyline is the most beautiful in the world, and a little haze and pollution never keeps me from enjoying a ride on the Star Ferry or walk along Victoria Harbor.

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