As in all Asian megalopolises, the hotel scene is dominated by the ubiquitous large North American groups (Four Seasons, Hilton, Starwood, Marriott, Hyatt) and local brands. However, Hong Kong is known worldwide for some of the most luxurious collections in the world (Mandarin Oriental, Shangri-La, or Peninsula). Their common point is that Immense establishments with several hundred extremely luxurious rooms and suites. The good news is that the services in these hotels are better than in most of the world. These include ultra-spacious rooms to incredible city views, from Rolls-Royce fleets to spas with astonishing decor. Accommodation in Hong Kong becomes an absolute pleasure when you can afford a luxury hotel.
The bad news is that charming hotels are minimal there, the boutique hotel concept is still a rarity, and the prices of charming hotels are difficult to afford for most travelers.
To help you see more clearly, we have selected the cream of Hong Kong hotels: the most beautiful palaces to offer an unforgettable stay and more accessible, original, or straightforward addresses. For example, in Kowloon, on Hong Kong Island, in the fishing villages of Lantau or neighborhoods off the beaten track to enjoy much more affordable rooms.
A single point common to all these addresses: the quality of the accommodation and services on which we are, as usual, uncompromising.
1. The Peninsula Hong Kong
Of all the grand luxury hotels in Hong Kong, The Peninsula is the most legendary.
Not content with offering a transfer in one of the 14 Rolls-Royce Phantoms recognizable by their Peninsula Green color, the hotel provides VIPs access to their suites from the airport in just a few minutes, thanks to a helicopter; that lands on the roof of the building! That sets the tone. And everything is in keeping with this legendary establishment, which can boast of defining the concept of luxury in hospitality since 1928.
Despite the fierce competition between the grand Hong Kong palaces, none has managed to dethrone the Peninsula in the hearts of the local elite and travelers nostalgic for the British concession. Because it is by cultivating this style of a grand dame (we affectionately call her Grand Old Lady), the Peninsula remains an absolute reference. Beyond the Rolls is the butler service, the luxuriously furnished rooms, the refined afternoon tea, or the sumptuous spa that seduce a clientele adept at a particular form of tradition found in London palaces.
A classic among classics.
2. Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong
Once upon a time, the Mandarin Oriental
The Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong Hotel opened its doors to the public in 1963 as The Mandarin, the first establishment in what would become one of the most respected luxury hotel chains in the world. Once criticized for its extravagance, it quickly became an icon of the city’s development and a popular place for the local elite and international celebrities visiting Hong Kong. Kate Moss, Tom Cruise, Princess Diana, and former US Presidents Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush have all stayed here at least once.
Also, the hotel is not lacking in assets. Beyond its central location, opulent rooms, luxurious amenities (silk kimonos, Hermès bath products, high-quality sound system), and impressive harbor views, the hotel is known for its legendary sense of service. Its unparalleled catering offer (seven restaurants, including Le Pierre, signed Pierre Gagnaire, two bars, and a pastry shop reputed to be one of the best in town) or its sumptuous holistic spa.
Again and again one of the best hotels in Asia.
3. Space Elastic B&B
Hong Kong Island and Kowloon are not the best spots one can imagine for finding boutique accommodations and bed and breakfasts. But leaving these overpopulated areas – 130,000 inhabitants per square kilometer in Kowloon, we can never repeat it enough – we find alternative accommodation allowing you to discover Hong Kong differently.
This is the case of this bed & breakfast opened by Veronica Chan in the village of Tai O on Lantau.
Don’t be fooled by the short distance separating this fishing village from the airport (about fifteen kilometers as the crow flies); Tai O is only accessible after a 45-minute drive from the international terminals or near 1h10 from Central. The price to taste the change of scenery of the simple life led by the villagers living here.
Getting up at dawn, walks and treks, tea in cha chain teng (traditional tea houses), and early dinner is on the program here. At Veronica Chan, we have all the modern comforts to enjoy the surroundings in peace: large beds, 32′ TV, a fully equipped bathroom, and balconies.
The hostess’s advice, in English, Cantonese, Portuguese, French, Finnish, or Spanish, is welcome to explore this little corner of Hong Kong.
4. The Mira Hong Kong
A member of Design Hotels, The Mira owes its interior design to South African Colin Cowie, lifestyle guru, party planner, and darling of Hollywood stars and American media. From the dazzling silver lobby to the elegant rooms in beige and cream tones, he is behind every detail of the decor of this chic and exclusive hotel.
The limited size of the rooms (20 square meters for the most modest) is compensated by the splendor of the materials, the attention to detail, and above all, the avalanche of equipment offered as standard: the classic 40′ HD TVs with VOD service included in the price of the room, Bose sound system, free Wi-Fi access, digital press kiosk allowing free and complete access to more than 2,000 newspapers in 56 languages or the “handy smartphone.” In addition, a nomadic clone of the landline phone in the room allows you to make phone calls or connect to 3G for free anywhere in town, a real luxury when you consider the usual roaming costs.
On Sundays, the Whisk attracts local socialites who love its festive brunch with DJ and unlimited champagne.
5. Hullet House
Ideally located in the heart of Tsim Sha Tsui, the Hullet House is the dream hotel for those wishing to escape the vast luxury establishments of the surrounding area. This stylish boutique hotel has taken up residence in a magnificent colonial building – one of the few so well preserved – built in 1881 to house the headquarters of the Hong Kong maritime police. A landmark from the colonial era, made from wood and stucco, it’s been listed as a historical monument since 1994.
Only ten suites (at least 80 square meters) each with a unique decoration: Art Deco, ancient Chinese, pastoral English, Grand Siècle –a large terrace overlooking the hotel gardens and all modern conveniences. The hotel’s five restaurants allow you to have a Cantonese, English, or French lunch or dinner to celebrate the afternoon around afternoon tea or drink rare whiskeys.
A hotel that is reminiscent of a miniature version of the legendary Raffles in Singapore.
6. Hotel LKF by Rhombus
In the heart of the Hong Kong night
Lan Kwai Fong on the heights of Central and a stone’s throw from Soho is the favorite district of night owls who come as much to drink beers in English pubs as to skim the opulent Chinese nightclubs.
It is here that this elegant boutique hotel was elected, which in many respects competes with the large luxury hotels of Central or Admiralty, minus the opulence and the spa. Its rooms are at least 50 square meters big and are among the most spacious in the city. The equipment is at the cutting edge of technology (Illy espresso machine, 42′ TV, DVD player, surround sound, Aeron ergonomic chair for working comfortably); as for the concierge service, it is available 24 hours a day.
Although there is no spa, this does not prevent the LKF from having a restaurant bar on the 29th floor, the Azure, renowned throughout Hong Kong for its views of the surrounding skyscrapers. With the immense advantage of having your drink outside on the wooden deck of the unmissable rooftop terrace.
With prices starting at $2,000 HK, the value for money is one of the best in Hong Kong.
7. Hyatt Regency Sha Tin
Weekend in the countryside
If you don’t mind going out of town to lower the hotel bill, the luxury resort Hyatt has opened in the New Territories near Sha Tin is an alternative to consider.
With rates starting at $1,200 HK per night, two to three times less than a hotel with equivalent comfort in the center, this hotel, acclaimed by its customers, offers beautiful spacious and minimalist rooms as Hyatt knows how to imagine them. Beyond the rooms, all the facilities of a semi-urban resort are available to customers: a 25-meter heated swimming pool, jacuzzi, tennis courts, huge spa, yoga sessions, and activities for children.
Tsim Sha Tshui and Central are about 25 minutes by car and 50 minutes by MRT, quickly accessible thanks to the MRT University station, unless you prefer to concentrate on a trip in the area such as the fortified village of Tsang Tai Uk or the monastery of the Ten Thousand Buddhas.
8. Tal O Heritage Hotel
On Lantau Island, the village of Tai O is the ideal place to discover another facet of Hong Kong: traditional fishing villages and a certain serenity that has long since disappeared in Kowloon and on Hong Kong Island.
The Tai O Heritage Hotel is the perfect place to enjoy this unique atmosphere in style. Housed in a pretty colonial building that emerged from the ground in 1902 to house the local police station, the authorities classified it as a historical monument in 2012. The building, whose original guns and turrets have been restored, now houses a comfortable hotel with nine rooms and suites, redecorated in a successful contemporary style and all with a balcony and a view of the sea.
The Tai O Lookout, with its glass roof, is the ideal spot to enjoy seafood while contemplating the China Sea.
9. The Luxe Manor
Behind a somewhat high-sounding name hides a boutique hotel with a delirious decoration and a dreamlike atmosphere. By entering this mansion inspired by European residences, one enters a unique universe in Hong Kong, far from the conventions to which the traveler is accustomed in the city’s palaces.
Lobby under acid, thematic suites – Nordic, Mirage, or Safari – optical illusion fireplaces, or rococo decor elements are all good for immersing the visitor in a parallel world halfway between the artificial paradises of Las Vegas Parano and Dalí’s surrealism.
A confusing setting that does not prevent the Luxe Manor from meeting the needs of a demanding clientele. A member of Small Luxury Hotels of the World, it offers all the comfort and service of a traditional luxury hotel. Even a very successful Nordic gourmet restaurant, Finds by Jaako Sorsa, serves fish and seafood menus washed down with molecular cocktails.
10. East Hong Kong
As its name suggests, the EAST has taken up residence in the east of the island near Tai Koo station, about twenty minutes by MRT from Central (12 minutes by taxi when traffic is fluid ). This is the price to enjoy a luxurious contemporary hotel without having to pay the high cost of residing around Central, Admiralty, or Tsim Sha Tsui.
Because without a doubt, the EAST can compete with the large luxury hotels in the center. Impeccable design, spacious rooms (minimum 30 square meters and 2.9 meters high ceiling), state-of-the-art equipment (free Wi-Fi, espresso machine, Apple TV, iPod Touch on loan, and large swimming pool exterior make it one of the best hotels in town. The Sugar bar, with its huge deck, is one of the most beautiful terraces to enjoy the views of the bay during the summer.
A word of advice: avoid rooms facing the neighboring Tai Koo Shing residence (Urban View) and prefer their Harbor View rooms with unforgettable bay views. More expensive, yes, but well worth it.
11. Ovolo Hotels and Services Apartments
Made in Hong Kong
Established in 2002 by Girish Jhunjhnuwala, Ovolo has become the leading operator of independent hotels and serviced apartments in Hong Kong, offering solutions for all needs: short or long stay.
Ovolo has enjoyed continuous success for more than ten years, offering a real alternative to traditional groups’ hotels, multiplying openings, and even expanding internationally to Singapore and Australia. The principle is simple: to provide travelers with a design environment with all the contemporary comforts to which travelers are accustomed. These include Free Wi-Fi, Apple TV, Nespresso machine, DVD player, kitchenette area, free snacks, soft drinks, and generally access to a fitness center for work-out.
By giving up on the spectacular facilities (spa, restaurant with a view), Ovolo offers its customers excellent value for money: less glamorous than the large luxury hotels of the archipelago but also much less expensive.
One piece of advice: avoid the establishment at 286 Queens’s Road Central with its tiny rooms and prefer 2 Arbuthnot Road (Central), 256 Tung Chau Street (West Kowloon), or the serviced apartment on Hollywood Road, in the heart of the district and galleries.