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With more skyscrapers than any other city in the world, Hong Kong quite literally looms large. It’s a soaring metropolis with the fast-paced high-energy vibe to match, and it offers everything an urban traveler could desire: great food, fine art, amazing shopping and top-notch nightlife. Plus, if you look for them, you’ll find traditional buildings, temples and restaurants tucked away into the city’s nooks and crannies, giving it a distinct cultural flair that sets it apart from generic mega-cities elsewhere. All this charm and grandeur (not to mention geographically-limited real estate) means that Hong Kong hotel rooms tend to be above-average in price, but if you can swing it, the high-end properties here are world-class. And hey, if you can’t, there are some pretty great lower-cost options, too.
Best Overall: Hotel ICON
This gorgeous modern property is the training hotel for the adjacent Polytechnic University which, if you’re not familiar with management training hotels, might sound a bit scary, but quite the opposite is true — the service and attention to detail here at the Hotel ICON is above and beyond. After all, if you’re training the next generation of the world’s great hotel managers, you want to teach them how to do it right!
Rooms are stylish and sophisticated, with clean lines, rich natural wood and muted neutral fabric furnishings, and expansive views of the Singapore skyline and Victoria Harbour. A complimentary minibar with soft drinks and snacks is replenished daily, and there's also a Nespresso machine. Bathrooms are surprisingly large and many suites include a huge bathtub next to large windows where you can gaze at the skyline while you soak. The room includes a Handy Phone, a smartphone that allows you to make free international calls and which also works as a Wi-Fi hotspot. It’s a great contemporary solution to the sometimes-unreliable Wi-Fi that you find in large buildings with lots of users.
Amenities include a rooftop pool with a magnificent view, a state-of-the-art gym, and a full-service spa, as well as three on-site restaurants (one of which offers a large complimentary breakfast buffet to guests). The hotel’s location is in the Kowloon District, on the north side of Victoria Harbour, which does set it a bit away from the action, but it’s a short walk to a metro stop and a free shuttle bus will take you from the hotel to the ferry. The upside of being just a bit away from the hub of the action is that it’s quite a bit quieter than some hotels, and it’s also slightly less pricey, especially considering the luxury treatment that guests receive — it’s a whole lot of bang for your buck.
Best Budget: Garden View Hong Kong
This hotel offers simple, tidy rooms and thorough amenities in a gorgeous location right next to the Hong Kong Botanical Gardens, just a ten-minute walk downhill to Central, Hong Kong’s main business district. Rooms are basic and uncluttered, with minimalist furniture and huge windows that, when the blackout curtains are opened, fill the space with natural light. Bathrooms are small but efficient, with bath/shower combos. Rooms include a small bar fridge, coffee and tea maker, and a flat-screen television. Wi-Fi is complimentary. An indoor pool, fitness center and an on-site restaurant serving local cuisine round out the Garden View’s impressive offerings.
Best Boutique: The Upper House
Art and design lovers will swoon over this hotel, the brainchild of architect Andre Fu. The design is serene and organic, relying heavily on natural materials and playing with the interplay of light and shadow. Both public spaces and guestrooms feature striking pieces of contemporary art, many of which were created by artists from Hong Kong’s notable art scene. The pool area, restaurant, bar and even the fitness center are all true to the design aesthetic. The outdoor spaces are, as well, including the lawn, where complimentary yoga classes are held on weekend mornings.
Guestrooms are spacious and unfussy, and each is designed specifically to be a tranquil oasis away from the hubbub of the noisy streets below. The rooms are decorated in pale, neutral colors and include both wooden and ceramic elements to give them a natural feel. Uniquely-shaped windows give guests a panoramic view of the city and the mountains behind. Bathrooms include both a soaking tub and a walk-in rain shower. Suites and penthouses take it to another level, with fully-appointed sitting rooms and massive, spa-inspired bathrooms.
Best Business: Landmark Mandarin Oriental
If your plans in Hong Kong include hosting a meeting or offering a presentation of any kind, you won’t do better than the Landmark Mandarin Oriental’s Entertainment Suite, built for just this purpose. It features a state-of-the-art AV system, a 13 x 11.5-foot cinema screen wall, a wet bar, and a luxurious seating area where your guests can sit while you wow them, as well as a huge and comfortable bedroom with a king-sized bed where you can collapse when you’re finished.
Even if you’re not ready to pony up for the ultra-luxe suite, though, you’ll find this hotel perfectly suited for a business traveler. It’s located in the heart of Central, putting you in striking distance of all of the corporate giants who are headquartered in this neighborhood. Rooms are spacious and elegant, decorated with a contemporary Chinese aesthetic. Bathrooms include walk-in showers and huge circular bathtubs. The hotel offers a full-service spa (which includes a Turkish Hammam), an indoor pool, a top-of-the-line fitness center, a glamorous cocktail bar, a gourmet French restaurant, extensive meeting spaces and a well-trained event staff.
Best for Families: Grand Hyatt Hong Kong
Your kids will go wild for the huge rooftop playground and swimming pool at this centrally-located hotel (and parents know that the more they climb and swim, the better they sleep). They’ll be well provided for in the room, as well — staff stocks family rooms with activity kits and kid-sized slippers and toothbrushes, and will gladly help you make arrangements to visit local kid-friendly sights (Disney Hong Kong, perhaps). An enormous breakfast buffet and multiple on-site dining options keep everyone fed all day long.
Parents will love the sleek, elegant décor in the rooms, with its clean lines and warm, natural touches. They’ll also love the in-room Nespresso machine, the complimentary Handy Smartphone (it can be used as an in-room hotspot or to make free international calls), and the full-service spa and fitness centers.
Best Romance: Four Seasons Hotel Hong Kong
Walk into the Four Seasons Hong Kong lobby and you’ll know you’re in a romantic paradise. Modernist fresh flower arrangements are everywhere you look, the lighting is mellow, and the mood is peaceful and welcoming. And it only gets better from there. The Four Seasons brand has really perfected the art of the romantic (but functional) hotel room, and the Hong Kong property epitomizes it. Rooms are delicately appointed with modern furniture and traditional touches, such as red brocade pillows on the otherwise crisp white bedding. The décor doesn’t overpower, though, and leaves the gorgeous mountain and harbor views seen through the giant windows to stand as the centerpiece.
During your stay, book a couples’ massage at the in-house spa or take a dip together in the rooftop pool. Enjoy a romantic candlelit dinner at Italian restaurant Caprice or dig into dim sum or traditional Cantonese seafood dishes at Lung King Heen, the world’s first Chinese restaurant to earn three Michelin stars. A personalized tour and chef’s table with Chef Chan Yan Tak is available at the latter, as well — a great experience for couples who are also foodies. And do get out and see the city’s sights. The Four Seasons’ convenient location at the harbor’s edge of the Central neighborhood makes everything in the city easily accessible, including the ferry to Kowloon.
Best Nightlife: Park Lane Hong Kong, A Pullman Hotel
Trendy, younger travelers will love everything about the Park Lane Hong Kong, but it’s the Skye Rooftop Bar that really puts it over the top. Sip craft cocktails to the soundtrack of a DJ while enjoying one of the city’s best views and a fabulous crowd of guests and locals. Should you want to explore more nightlife, you’ll find lots in the immediate area surrounding the hotel, or jump in a cab and zip over to the dance clubs in Lan Kwai Fong or the upscale lounges in SoHo.
Rooms themselves provide a nice place to recover from a night on the town. Beds are luxe with high-quality sheets and ample pillows, and the neutral, clean color scheme won’t hurt your hungover eyes. In-house dining includes both an all-day buffet at Playt and playful small-plate cuisine at Ebb and Flow. Room service is available if you’re not yet ready to face the world (or if you just want to nosh while you get ready for another great night on the town).
Best Luxury: The Peninsula Hong Kong
Located at the very tip of the Kowloon Peninsula (hence the name), this hotel is the flagship of the international Peninsula luxury hotel brand. Opened in 1928 at the farthest possible stop on the Trans-Siberian railroad route from Europe to Asia, this magnificent building has seen 90 years of Hong Kong’s history firsthand. This includes up-close-and-personal moments, such as the British surrender after the 1941 Battle of Hong Kong; the British Governor surrendered in person at the Japanese Headquarters, which were located on the third story of the hotel. The hotel has also been featured in television shows and movies, including the James Bond classic The Man With the Golden Gun and the Batman film The Dark Knight.
The lobby and multiple on-site restaurants are still outfitted in their opulent 1920s glory, but the hotel has expanded a bit since then, with the center tower being constructed in 1992. Atop the tower is one of the city’s only private helipads, from which the hotel transfers VIP guests to the airport. (Regular Joes must make do with a ride in one of the hotel’s fleet of dark green extended-base Rolls-Royce Phantoms.) Guestrooms are designed with a sleek, modern take on a Pan-Asian aesthetic, with clean lines, pale colors, and small warm touches of rich golds, reds, and oranges. The rooms and bathrooms are all controlled via an electronic tablet, from which you can choose a variety of lighting, room temperature, music or television, and more. A spa, designer shopping arcade, indoor pool, fitness center and perhaps the best concierge service in the world don’t even complete the list of the Peninsula’s extensive offerings.
Best View: Ritz-Carlton Hong Kong
Towering over Victoria Harbour, the Ritz-Carlton Hong Kong is home to the world’s tallest bar: The Ozone, on the 103rd floor of this skyscraper, which also houses corporate offices on lower floors. The view from that height is simply breathtaking, and because the hotel is located on the Kowloon side of the water, it encompasses the entire gorgeous skyline with the mountain peak behind it. If you can’t get enough of the view from the Ozone, many of the hotel’s rooms also face this direction and even offer a telescope through which you can get a closer peek at the action across the water.
Rooms are gorgeous, with a thoughtful and understated decorative style that oozes luxury and class. Separate showers and deep bathtubs are furnished with Asprey amenities and plush terry robes are provided. 24-hour in-room dining, three restaurants (plus a caviar bar), a full-service spa and an indoor infinity pool on the top floor make this fantastic hotel more than just a pretty view.