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Hong Kong Hotels: Better to stay in Kowloon or Hong Kong Island(central); among these hotels which do you prefer?

Hong Kong Hotels: Better to stay in Kowloon or Hong Kong Island(central); among these hotels which do you prefer?

Aug 17th, 2004, 06:04 AM
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Hong Kong Hotels: Better to stay in Kowloon or Hong Kong Island(central); among these hotels which do you prefer?

Hi all, tripgirl again.

I am asking all sorts of questions now outside of my original post "need advice on planning 1st Asia Trip".

Now that we've selected our destinations, I'd like to ask seperate questions about each one.

For Hong Kong, I'd like to start with hotel selection.

First, which do you prefer, Kowloon or Hong Kong Island and why?

These are the properties I am interested in. Yes, I know they cost more than other hotels, but we want something nice. I will dig deep into every resource to find the best price. Let me know if you have resources that have good rates in addition to asia-hotels.com. I will do whatever it takes to get the very best price.

I am interested in:

Hotel Intercontinental Hong Kong
The Peninsula
Mandarin Oriental
The Ritz Carlton
Kowloon Shangri-La
Conrad International
Island shangri-La Hong Kong

I know you can take the Star Ferry back and forth between the two areas and the hotel need not be located exactly on top of the Star Ferry but as close. Even if the hotel has a shuttle that would be fine.

I seem to like the location of the Manadrin Oriental the best, but not sure totally about the hotel.

Being near Hong Kong Park and Pacific place as the Conrad and the Island Shangri-La are are, also appealing.

The views though from the Intercontinental on Kowloon also sound very appealing too.Salisbury Road seems like a good bet.

So, what may be your opinion, thoughts?
tripgirl is offline  
Aug 17th, 2004, 06:10 AM
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Personally, I prefer Kowloon. I like being close to the Star Ferry and to the promenade. I stayed at the Kowloon Shangri-La a number of years ago, but didn't stay there in April-May on my last trip due to construction in that area. Depending on when you are going, it would be a good choice. It's hard to beat the Pen for location, but the harbor view rooms are very pricey.
Kathie is offline  
Aug 17th, 2004, 06:20 AM
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Thanks Kathie!

Where did you stay while there was construction in that area last time?

What was the Kowloon Shangri-La like. Do you know if it as nice as the Island Shangri La? I heard that the Island is nicer, but you may know better.

Is Kowloon in general a better bet for reaching the ferry? what other aspects of Kowloon do you find attractive as opposed to the Central?

We'll want to do some of the main attractions such as the Peak, as I am gathering all the sights information now and will be posting to see all of your thoughts as well.

Thanks again!!!!
tripgirl is offline  
Aug 17th, 2004, 06:22 AM
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I just returned from HK. From the beginning of the trip planning I had my heart set on the Intercontinental because of the harbor view and I was not disapointed...its spectacular (we had a harbor view room). I cant speak for the other hotels but this was a 10 minute walk to the Star Ferry and I have no complaints whatsoever.
fromMA is offline  
Aug 17th, 2004, 06:26 AM
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All of those hotels are convenient for tourists. However, if you're on business and have important meetings to go in Central, then stay there and not Tsimshatsui. But again, if that's not a concertn, then based on reputation and view, I'd take the Inter-Continental.

While the Conrad and the Island Shangri-La are near HK Park, that fact really shouldn't really matter. It's just a small park that people basically walk through, when going to ride the Peak Tram. Nothing special about it. And the walk from the hotel itself to the MTR trains is quite long, though it's through the excellent Pacific Place Mall, and not outside.

The Ritz Carlton is very close to the Mandarin Oriental. I'd pick the Ritz as it's newer and the reviews of the M-O have been mixed in recent years. The only unique feature of the M-O that's not available in any other good hotel in HK is its balconies, but I wonder how much one really want to inhale the smog.
rkkwan is offline  
Aug 17th, 2004, 06:38 AM
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The reason why Tsimshatsui on the Kowloon side is better for tourists is that TST is much more lively in the evening, with shops open late and restaurants everywhere. It's a very short MTR, bus, or taxi ride up Nathan road to the night market of Temple Street and the Ladies' Market in Mongkok. In contrast, Central is totally dead in the evening, other than Lan Kwai Fong and the SoHo expat areas.

And for daytime sightseeing, it really doesn't matter if you're staying in Tsimshatsui. It's a 4-minute one-stop MTR ride to Admiralty; or a short Star Ferry ride that's always enjoyable.
rkkwan is offline  
Aug 17th, 2004, 06:59 AM
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Ah, the perennial question of Kowloon side versus Hong Kong Island side. . .first of all, the hotels you mentioned are all excellent and you can't go wrong at any of them. Second, it really takes no time to cross to either side via the Star Ferry, and it is one of the best trips in the world, so taking it a few times a day is no hardship, IMO. Overall, you will get much better views from the Kowloon side, that is the side where all the postcard pictures are taken from, and it is nice to have that out your window when you wake up and as you go to sleep. Conversely, most of the places you want to go and see are on the Hong Kong Island side so in some respects, it makes sense to stay there. It is really a personal choice.

For my money and for your first trip to Hong Kong I would take either a harbour view room at the Intercontinental, or a harbour view room on a high floor in the Penn. Both are the most conveniently located in Kowloon, IMO, as you can get to the Star Ferry very quickly. The others are a bit further along the harbour. The Interconti is right on the water so there is nothing between you and that endless view. They also have a better spa, IMO, than the Penn, plus a better pool area which looks right over the harbour. The lobby is really stunning with 40 foot windows looking over the harbour. A room on a high floor in the Penn will get you away from street noise and over the Arts Centre in front of the hotel. The lobby is pure white marble and stunning in its own way, but no views. Their corner suites are fantastic.

The Mandarin and the Ritz are good choices, great locations. Make sure you get a harbour view room. A "mountain" or "city" view at either, as long as it looks towards the Peak would be an interesting view, but not as dramatic as a harbour view. (OK Peak/mountain view rooms would be on the Harcourt Road side of each hotel, rooms looking in other directions would not be good as there are tall buildings on either side of the hotels which would obscure the views. You might as well get what you are paying for. I have my doubts about Harcourt Road rooms at the Mandarin unless you are on a very high floor.) At either, get a room on a high floor to avoid street noise. No outdoor pool at the Mandarin, and I am not crazy about the pool at the Ritz. The lobby and public areas of the Ritz have no views and are rather unimpressive, IMO. The Mandarin lobby has no view, but has a lot of black marble and chandeliers and is pretty in a rather over the top way.

With regard to the Conrad and the Island Shangri-La, being near Hong Kong Park and Pacific Place shopping center is nice, but not why I would choose those hotels. The location there does make them quiet at night, they are also centrally located for getting around to things, you can walk to the Peak Tram, and go in the other direction to the interesting neighbourhoods of Wan Chai which has fish and poultry markets, etc, and a lively street life. However, the views are not nearly as good as from the Kowloon side, and many of the rooms have a "mountain" view, which means no real view at all. If you elect to stay there, get a habour view room, although I do think that even the harbour view rooms at the Conrad may be cut off a bit by other buildings (I used to work in the building in which the Island Shangri-La is located, so am fairly familiar with the buildings there.). The lobby of the Island Shangri La is very nice, no views but a high atrium, they have a small but nice pool area.. I am not such a fan of the Conrad, but others like it.

With regard to rrkwan's comment, there are shops and restaurants open late on the Hong Kong Island side as well, and the Lan Kwai Fong and Soho areas have a much better and more lively nightlife, IMO.
Cicerone is offline  
Aug 17th, 2004, 07:11 AM
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You guys are fantastic ( and so quick!)

It sounds like the intercontinental is the one.

We are not going until Aug 2005 and so I know published rates are not available.

We already have our hearts set on the Peninsula in Bangkok, so we don't need to stay at the one in Hong kong; although it looks fabulous but much more $ than either the one in Beijing or Bangkok.

Now, where would I go to get the very best rates for the Intercontinental?
Since it is aug, the prices should be lower?

Budget can be stretched to $300 a night.

tripgirl is offline  
Aug 17th, 2004, 07:31 AM
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If you can afford it, I would recommend the Intercontinental in Kowloon. It is a georgeous hotel, and the harbor views from the lobby, bars and restaurant are the best in HK.
If you don't stay there, at least go by for a drink at night-the lights of the city are amazing.
I have been to HK twice, will be there again this October (haven't decided on a hotel yet, have stayed at the Hyatt and the Intercontinental previously). As a tourist I prefer to stay on the Kowloon side. I usually spend my day on the HK side or an outlying island, but spend the evenings on Kowloon side.
Hope this was helpful.
dperry is offline  
Aug 17th, 2004, 07:34 AM
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One more thing about the Intercontinental- it is in a very quiet location, but at the same time close to everything. HK is a noisy, bustling city, so the quietness of the hotel was appreciated. It's right beside the Promenade, which is a beautiful walk in the evening, and don't miss the museum that is right there-it's one of the best in the world, IMHO
dperry is offline  
Aug 17th, 2004, 07:37 AM
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tripgirl - I don't think you can get significant discounts for the IC from 3rd party sites/companies. The best rates are probably from IC's own web-only specials.

Yes, Lan Kwai Fong and SoHo are lively in the evening, and both in or close to Central. However, as I said in my earlier post, those are mostly expats and yuppy areas. If that's you're looking for, then great. But if want to mingle with the regular Hong Kong people, then go elsewhere. You don't have to cross the harbor to Kowloon side, though, as the Causeway Bay area on HK Island is just as good. Lots of shopping, tonnes of restaurants. Short taxi/bus/MTR/tram ride from Central.
rkkwan is offline  
Aug 17th, 2004, 08:17 AM
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Hi tripgirl --

I've stayed in all of the HK hotels you mentioned except the Ritz and MO. As others suggest, there's a great deal to be said for staying on either side (island or Kowloon); if I am staying for 6 days or more, I will inevitably stay 3 days in a Kowloon hotel, 3 days on the island.

If you do stay at the IC, do whatever it takes to get a harbourview room. The extra money it costs is well worth the price. The Kowloon Shangri-La has just been renovated (finished earlier this year), and its harbourview rooms have just as good a view as those at the IC. However, the IC is much closer to the subway and Star Ferry; that really can make a difference in August, when it's especially hot.

The Conrad is a good choice on HK island. It's in the same office-retail-apartment complex as the Island Shangri-La, adjacent to the wonderful HK park. Compared to the Shangri-La, the Conrad has the same size rooms and nearly-equivalent bathrooms (the Shang has a bidet, the Conrad a larger bathtub). The Shangri-La has excellent service and extraordinary public areas, the Conrad has easier access to rooms and to the shopping mall. The Shang has the better restaurants, but it's just as easy to get to them from the Conrad as from the Shang.

(I'd disagree completely with the comment that says HK park is "nothing special." It's a large oasis with lots of different areas, and a fantastic spot for people-watching. There's a kids' area, a Tai Ch'i area, a large pond that's always crowded with passers-by enjoying the turtles and fish, an extremely popular area for weddings, and lots and lots of paths to explore. Like Kowloon Park, HK Park is a fantastic spot to get away from the frenzy of the city.)
DonTopaz is offline  
Aug 17th, 2004, 08:59 AM
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I am not impressed by any of the "city parks" of Hong Kong. The reason is that the philosophy of the planners is to put the most stuff in a limited area. Hong Kong Park, which is very new, is a great example. It's only 8 hectares (about 20 acres), but has all the stuff that rizzuto mentioned, plus an aviary, an observation tower, and many more. Very little actual "green" areas".

It's the same thing with the other major parks. Kowloon Park used to have a lot of green areas, but they built all the pavilions, statues, lakes, etc there in the 80's. And Victoria Park is now mostly paved for concrete soccer fields.

If you are expecting something like Central Park in NYC or Hyde/Green/St. James in London, then you'll be pretty surprised at what you see. Those "parks" in Hong Kong are basically over-built gardens.

Instead, go up to the Peak and walk up Mount Austin Road to the Victoria Peak Garden (now that's more like a park to me). It has great views to the N, NW and SW; and they haven't built any new structure there since I was a kid living in HK in the 70's. It's also just as quiet as in the 70's, as neither the locals nor the tourists from mainland China care to hike up there these days.

That, as well as the many "country parks" in Hong Kong, are the actual oases of the city. Hong Kong Park is way over-built, in my opinion.
rkkwan is offline  
Aug 17th, 2004, 10:15 AM
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Hi, Tripgirl.
The comments about a harbor view room on the Kowloon side are right on. But...
save yourself some $$$, and get a top-floor (16th, I think) harbor view room at the Salisbury YMCA. It's right next door to the Penn, so the view will be the same (16 floors is high enough to see it all). The rooms are modern and comfortable, with all the amenities. What you'll give up is the Penn lobby (so walk next door and look at it), and a little bit of luxury. What you'll gain is a lot of $$$, and a concierge service second to none when it comes to HK info and directions. Also, I doubt that you can beat the breakfast at the Y, no matter where you stay.
Les is offline  
Aug 17th, 2004, 11:34 AM
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thanks all.

Les, very much appreciate your suggestion, but this trip is to be luxury hotels. you may think I am nuts to spend more, but that's what we want.

Checked around various sites including Intercontental's own. Hard to tell as the Aug 2005 rates are not published, but I am getting a good enough idea.

On the Intercontinental site there are various price differences in superior harbour rooms. Is there a significant difference between them? Would hate to be misled and get a less expensive one to save a little $ and come to find out it does not have a great view, less luxuriously furnished, much smaller, etc. Do you all know if the price difference is the based on floor level, size of room, decor, view ( frontal vs. side or partial, if there is such a thing.

I ignored the plaza views ones as we will only stay there for the harbour views. Can anyone advise if they can give me more information on how to choose among superior harbour views ( there is deluxe harbour view rooms too, not necessary for us though, unless someone says they make a big difference)

Thanks again!!!!!!!
tripgirl is offline  
Aug 17th, 2004, 11:41 AM
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FromMA: how did you book your recent stay at Intercontinental?

do you mind asking me what you paid( do not if it makes you feel unomfortable)

tripgirl is offline  
Aug 17th, 2004, 12:36 PM
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Kowloon Shangri La is excellent. The new Executive harbour view rooms are usually considerably cheaper than the equivalent at the Intercontinental, which apart from the wonderful view from the lobby I find a bit cold. (The Shangri La is more Glitzy whilst I think the IC goes for Cool)

The executive harbour view rooms have been completely remodelled and now have the giant walk in showers, Flat Screen TVs, DVDs etc. You can get breakfast thrown in by joining their loyalty club at the shangri la web page.

The Mandarin is nice - old fashioned - but I found the rooms small and, with the exception of one or 2 nice nick nacks in the room, a bit dated, - Resting on its laurels may be an apt description. To eat and drink just adequately in the Mandarin is very very expensive (Tuna roll £12!). It seems to cater largely for business people who presumably have large expense accounts.

Island Shangri La also very nice but tends to be pricier than the Kowloon Shangri la.

In May, I got 5 nights in an Executive harbour view room at the Kowloon Shangri La with breakfast for just under £500 with Kuoni. BARGAIN!
Walter_Walltotti is offline  
Aug 17th, 2004, 12:51 PM
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Hi Tripgirl;

Im glad to answer your questions....at least the ones I can. We were at the Intercontinental July 30 to Aug 4, 2004. I made the reservation on the hotel web page about 6 weeks earlier. We reserved a superior room (mainly cause that was the only choice and it was approx $260 (US) per nite. It had a huge bathroom, large room and a 180 degree view of the harbor (which was all I cared about. As I said, It was expensive but worth it. Theres so much harbor activity, youll never be bored. Also as someone mentioned, the hot tub felt like you were in the harbor and the health center was 1st class. If you want any more details, u can email me at [email protected]. Have a great trip
fromMA is offline  
Aug 17th, 2004, 01:45 PM
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I checked again both hotels websites and the current difference between the two was not much.

I compared a superior harbour at the Intercontinental with the Executive Harbour at the Shangri-La. They came to about the same, Shangri-la just a little less expensive. I looked at rates they have now for Aug ( just assuming they may not change all that much for next Aug)

Now this was of course me just checking the hotels own site and no other source.
And there are other rooms to choose from at the Shangri-La, that would be less expensive when compared to a superior harbour at Intercontinental but an Executive Harbour sounds yummy!!
Will only book harbour views anyway.

Walter: that was an incredible deal. I take it you are from a British country, so if I convert your deal into US$ that was $950 for 5 nites ( using about $1.90 as the exchange rate). that is a bargain! I assume your source was however a place in Britain. If not, is what you mentioned as your booking source, a website?

Many thanks!
tripgirl is offline  
Aug 17th, 2004, 01:53 PM
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I would check your hotels on www.asiahotels.com and www.precisionreservations.com. In my experience, these sites offer the best rates (one is often better than the other depending on the specific hotel), and both are very reliable.
SD3 is offline  

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