This article first appeared in the Nov/Dec 2014 issue of World Gaming magazine.
In 1985, Hong Kong had about 18,000 hotel rooms. Today, supply has ballooned to over 60,000, yet it still doesn’t seem to be enough to cater to the ever increasing business and tourist trade, particularly from mainland China.
During peak seasons or when a major convention is in town, it’s not unusual to find every single hotel room in Hong Kong sold out, so we regularly see new hotels coming online to add to the rich and varied options available. Accommodation choices can range from those not for the faint-hearted like Chungking Mansions to the newly opened super hip Hotel Indigo or the Fleming Hotel, complete with its ladies only floors and everything in between.
Despite the incredible variety available, I still prefer the old school options – places offering more than just a bland room and where the surprises are always pleasant ones. In recent years these establishments have gone all out to ensure they remain top of the pile and in this Eagle’s opinion are doing a fine job of re-inventing the standard.
1. Mandarin Oriental. To quote from their website, “For breath taking style, legendary service and an unbeatable reputation, it has to be the Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong“. These words truly encapsulate the experience guests of the Mandarin Oriental can expect from the moment they walk through the doors. Centrally located and having just undergone a refurbishment, it still holds its place amongst some very tough competition. Whether it is cocktails with a view from the 25th floor, Michelin Star dining at Pierre or a familiar Colonial Style dish from The Chinnery, the Mandarin Oriental doesn’t disappoint.
2. Four Seasons. Located within the International Finance Centre, this ultra-modern hotel has some of the best views of Victoria Harbour in all of Hong Kong. In keeping with the global brand’s reputation, luxury and service are the hallmarks of this property. Bars, an infinity pool and numerous dining options, both within the hotel and through-out the IFC complex, ensures guests leave well fed and well shopped. The concierge services offered deserve a special mention – be assured they can arrange almost anything!
3. Ritz-Carlton. Following the closure of the atmospheric and iconic Ritz-Carlton at Central in 2007, the brand re-emerged on the Kowloon Side of the island within the International Commerce Centre and can lay claim to being the highest hotel in the world. The hotel starts at the 103rd floor and as you would expect, all rooms and facilities have magnificent views. Of particular interest is the Ozone bar located on the 118th floor, which includes an outdoor deck for those brave enough to drink your signature cocktails in the clouds. The same floor houses the infinity swimming pool, which at 490m above sea level also happens to be the world’s highest swimming pool. With all the luxury and service to be expected from a Ritz- Carlton, those making the transition from the original property at Central will be impressed.
4. JW Marriott. With all the hip new luxury hotels with rooftop bars and infinity pools around, finding the JW on this list might come as a surprise. Its location at Pacific Place at Queensway is one of the many things going for this quietly luxurious yet unpretentious property. The rooms are plush, inviting and elegant with many amenities and a great selection of teas. It is definitely one to try if you want something slightly lower key and with a similarly lowered price tag.
5. The Peninsula. Ever since seeing my first Brewster Green Rolls Royce (possibly in a Bond Film), I have always been a fan of The Peninsula. It is truly one of the grand hotels of the Far East and the team ensure your experiences are equal to its reputation. Rivalling other Grande Dames such as Raffles in Singapore or the Eastern and Oriental in Penang for classical elegance, the Peninsula offers a perfect blend of Eastern and Western hospitality. Setting an early standard for gastronomic delights, the seven restaurants and many salons and bars ensure every taste is catered to in style. A great place to relax if business is not your primary purpose.