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YangLee Apr 24th, 2008 09:05 PM

Penninsula Hotel or Intercontinental Hong Kong?
My husband and I are planning a 3 day / 4 night trip to Kong Kong in early June 2008 (coinciding with his birthday) and need to decide on a hotel.

I've read great reviews on the Penninsula and IC, but still cannot decide. What interests us about the Penninsula is the rolls royce pickup, excellent service, indoor pool, and no queuing for hotel residents to enjoy their famous high tea. But the thought of unsurpassed views, modern rooms, 24hr gym at IC is also attractive.

Is it too warm to swim outdoors in June? Is the pool at IC large enough to do laps?

Is internet access covered in the cost of the hotel room fee or do we have to pay extra at these hotels?

Which hotel offers better spa treatments? Does the IC also offer transfers to / fro airport in luxury vehicles (anything but normal taxi)? In terms of location, we would like to be as close as possible to shops and transport.

We've been to HK for 3 days back in Dec 2007 but spent all our time in Kowloon along Nathan Rd. (We stayed at Eaton Hotel that time, and whilst the service was very good, we were disappointed with the tiny room and lack of view).

This time we hope to do more sightseeing, but also shopping for my husband's clothes. (His short stature makes it hard for us to find suitable clothes in Australia, where we reside).

Any suggestions on where we could shop to get a good choice of clothes? He likes a few designer pieces but is also content with brands like G2000 and Esprit. (He plans to have a new wardrobe by the end of our trip!).

As I am only new to these forums, please explain what IMO means?

DonTopaz Apr 25th, 2008 05:25 AM

You won't make a bad choice with either hotel.

I prefer the IC for exactly the reasons you stated, especially the perfect floor to ceiling views of the harbor, much closer than the Peninsula. The spa at the IC is fantastic, one of the best hotel spas I've been to. Each treatment room has its own hot tub and jacuzzi, and you can extend your time in the room to use the tub/jacuzzi for a small fee. I also much prefer the modern style of the IC to the more foo-foo Peninsula.

On the other hand, the Peninsula is more convenient to Nathan Road and the subway (no tunnels to go through).

Yes, the IC offers airport transfers, in a Mercedes if I recall.

For men's clothes, the best place for ready-to-wear clothes is in Central, on the Hong Kong side. Lots of places in the major shopping centers, and don't forget the smaller shops in the Prince's Building.

Cicerone Apr 25th, 2008 05:45 AM

IMO means ‘in my opinion”. Peninsula versus Intercon has been done a fair bit on this board, you might run searches. I don’t think you could go wrong with either, my personal preference is the Penn, love the lobby and I would go for a corner suite on a high floor, but the lobby of the IC has The View which the Penn’s does not (but you can get that from your room at the Penn too). You will find “modern rooms and unsurpassed views” at the Penn too, go with the high floor rooms in the tower. The Penn’s spa is very very good, I have not used the IC’s in probably 5 years or more so cannot really comment, they had nice facilities then. I don’t know whether the gym at the Penn open 24 hours, you would have to ask. IMO (hah!!) the rooms at the Penn are plusher and more luxurious than those of the IC. You would have to ask both hotels about whether internet is included in the room charge.

The two hotels are literally within yards of each other so location is quite similar, the Penn is closer to the Star Ferry, but you might call the difference marginal. IMO the shopping in the neighborhood is extremely average, tourist tat, Benetton’s, electronic shops, etc. If you are going all the way to Hong Kong to buy Esprit and G2000 (something I find odd I must say when there is so much more to see and do in Hong Kong), then that is the place to be. IMO the really interesting designer boutiques are on Hong Kong Island in the Peel Street area of SoHo and NoHO. (I mean unknown designers that will become famous someday and then you can say “I knew them when.” This is mostly women’s clothes I will say. There are some in the Causeway Bay area too.) Designer clothing is not any cheaper in Hong Kong, and in some cases you may find it more expensive than in your home (they are priced for PRC clients who will pay more for the brand); there is no sales tax of course which may be attractive to you.

However, I would not pick either hotel for location generally, as IMO all the vast majority of good restaurants and little boutiques are on the Hong Kong side, plus the majority of what you would want to see and do as a tourist (the Peak, markets of Wan Chai and Peel Street, Hollywood Road area, Aberdeen, Repulse Bay and Stanley and Deep Water Bay and Shek O if you want some good walking that is easily accessible and then a good meal afterwards. I would pick the Penn or the IC <i>solely</i> for their views. Otherwise, stay on the Hong Kong side at either the Mandarin or the Four Seasons, both excellent hotels in very good locations, and you will be able to get to things on foot easily. Both have excellent spas, the Four Seasons probably has the best pool (actually two) overall of Hong Kong hotels, IMO. The don’t have The View, of course, but do have somewhat interesting views, IMO a high floor at the Four Seasons would be quite interesting, you might even enjoy the mountain view room at the Four Seasons looking up at the Peak.

It is not &quot;too hot” to swim outdoors in June. You may find it quite pleasant, although it is of course, hot. The Penn’s pool is partially outdoors and partially indoors. The lap-swimming part is indoors. IMO, the IC’s pool is OK for laps, I have not attempted them in their pool so can’t really say.

YangLee Apr 25th, 2008 07:07 AM

Thanks for your valuable replies. It's so nice to know that people are willing to share their opinions.

Now staying on HK Island is something we should consider since it seems much of the &quot;action&quot; &amp; shopping is there.

However, if we do stay at IC or Penninsula, is it really worth eating at their restaurants? We really like trying local foods, so we have always eaten &quot;outside&quot;.

As I have only made hotel bookings via travel websites, are we to request over the phone for the room to be on higher floors before we arrive? (We have always just turned up and taken whatever was given upon check in.)

Thanks for advice on clothing too. It's not that we travel all the way for Esprit, but they stock different sizes and fashions back at home. Actually, my husband hates Esprit in Australia (can't ever find anything he likes), but was so thrilled when he found 8 items from Esprit in HK.

Kathie Apr 25th, 2008 07:27 AM

It sounds like you plan to make these hotel reservations directly with the hotel via phone or email. If so, do express your preferences (high floor, view, bed type, etc). Even once you get there, if you are given a room not to your liking, do ask for what you want (and perhaps mention your husband's birthday).

DonTopaz Apr 25th, 2008 07:40 AM

If you choose the InterContinental, I would recommend any harbour-view room that is toward the center of the hotel -- room numbers ending in 08 and 07 are very good. It does not matter whether or not you have a high floor, as there is nothing between you and the harbour. (I actually prefer a lower floor at the IC.) I would recommend against one of the junior suite harbour views at the IC (rooms ending in 01 one on end -- not sure about the other end). Although the rooms are very spacious, the view of the harbour is not as nice as the center rooms (which are by no means small).

Cicerone Apr 25th, 2008 09:15 AM

Ha, I have to laugh about eating “inside” at the IC, because their in-house restaurants now include a Nobu and a Spoon (Alain Ducasse), which I call “chain restaurants’ because they are everywhere…and because I regret that the wonderful and unique Chinese seafood restaurant Yu was closed to make way for Nobu. There is also a Swiss restaurant in the Penn which just cracks me up, who can eat fondue in 85 F heat? The <i>Swiss&lt;i/&gt; only eat it in the winter…That being said, I think that the Cantonese restaurant in the Penn is very good, as is Gaddis, their formal French restaurant, and Felix on top of the Penn has a fantastic view and good food and is quite an experience. The Harbourside restaurant at the Intercon is their 24 hour coffee shop-type place and is great for breakfast or lunch as you have The View, so that is worth something if you want to stop there.

However, there are so, so many good restaurants in Hong Kong that you really should not limit yourself to the restaurants right in your hotel. (Let me be honest, most of these are on the Hong Kong side.) I have posted a restaurant list previously, you might search for it. I do have some updates which I will get around to posting at some point.

The Cantonese restaurant in the Renaissance hotel next door to the Intercon is quite good and might be worth eating at if you stay nearby (the hotel is closing sometime in the next 12-18 months, so just watch that.) I guess I should mention that this may be one reason not to stay at the IC, as they will be tearing down the entire mall and hotel to which the IC is attached sometime in the near future, and this could be somewhat noisy, dusty, etc. If you decide on the IC, do ask about the proposed construction schedule. I believe June 2008 should still be OK.

Don't get me wrong, I think a good view is important (I'll pay for it myself and am writing this from a river view room at the Oriental in Bangkok). As you are willing to pay for the two hotels wihch have The Hong Kong view in spades, it would be a tough choice for me whether to go with Hong Kong or Kowloon side. But if you are one of those people who don't think the view is that important, but really want convenience (and a good pool), then the Hong Kong side has more advantages, IMO.

If I did not mention it, the Mandarin has no pool, other than a very small indoor one. Otherwise and excellent hotel. Rooms can be on the small side, so go with the largest you can. Four Seasons rooms are huge, they are the largest of the luxury rooms I believe.</i>

specialty Apr 25th, 2008 02:51 PM

no one mentioned the buffet brunch at the IC....WOW!!!! so many choices, such good food. not cheap, but amazing and worth it. i like the IC, my parents loved it. I stayed inexpensively next door to the Penn at the SAlisbury YMCA. not a typical YmCA and had gotten the reco from this forum...

ekscrunchy Apr 25th, 2008 03:42 PM

Glad to see I am not the only one here who cares about having a lap pool!

There may be some information in this thread that will be of use to you:;tid=35110265

Smeagol Apr 25th, 2008 10:28 PM

I would add we had the rolls royce pick up in january and it is SO worth it. EXCELLENT service and a nice start to our stay at the Pen. We had a Deluxe harbour view room and the view was fabulous.
However i have stayed on both Kowloon and HK island and next time i would stay on the HK island side.
Staying on Kowloon does afford you the ride on the star ferry everyday... lovely

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