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About Hong Kong
Like fireworks against Victoria Bay's night sky, Hong Kong is a sensory explosion of dazzling contrasts. This is an international powerhouse of a city: smog-filled, crowded, cacophonous, rich with odours and rampantly consumerist. Street markets, shopping malls, designer brands, the latest gadgets, great culinary experiences – all are here in abundance, and many of the best places to stay in Hong Kong are well located to explore all of the above. For those who'd prefer a city apartment, these can also be found - though it's quite a hard task (we recommend the selection from our online partner, Booking.com).
Still rooted in tradition, old Hong Kong lives on beside new Hong Kong: ultra-modern developments are aligned with care according to the advice of feng-shui masters. Just steps away from traffic jams oases of peace can be found in neighbourhood temples. And historic trams rumble above one of the world's most advanced subway systems. Chinese culture mixes with the West: Have dim sum followed by afternoon tea to a soundtrack by this week's Cantopop sensation.
This may surprise you - considering Hong Kong's reputation as a bustling city of glass skyscrapers and traditional markets crammed full of treasures, and the fact that it's one of the most densely populated places on the planet - but over 70% of Hong Kong is mountains and country parks. So there's plenty here to appeal to the outdoor adventurer too.
Hong Kong 'city' is centred around the Kowloon peninsula and the strip opposite it on Hong Kong island. Tsim Sha Tsui, at the tip of the Kowloon peninsula, is the main tourist area, and is one of the best places to stay in Hong Kong if you're looking for reasonably priced accommodation. In basic brush strokes, the Kowloon side is less colonial, more Chinese, and you might find that prices are generally a little cheaper.
Hong Kong Island is where the colonial ties are strongest, so more English is spoken, and there's more old fashioned luxury. Some of the harbour side hotels have reputations for being the best places to stay in Hong Kong which span many, many decades.
Many people come to Hong Kong aiming to shop. Or explore the markets. Or see the rugby, or the races. But even if you have a plan, there are a few highlights you should't miss.
⁃ Wherever you stay, you should definitely try and see the harbour from the harbour. One of the best and cheapest, ways to do that is on the Star Ferry. It's also worth doing in the evening when Hong Kong is all lit up. Every night at 8pm they put on a colourful light show using Hong Kong's skyscrapers as the backdrop.
⁃ For another good view of the island, promenade the waterfront.
⁃ If you're interested in old Hong Kong, the Shek Kip Estate is worth a stroll through, and Shanghai Street is worth a stroll along. Sik Sik Yuen Wong Tai Sin, a Taoist Temple is also worth visiting. As is the Hong Kong Heritage Discovery Centre and the Hong Kong Museum of History.
⁃ If you want to see some of the local colour take a turn round Kowloon Park, where you may even spot an opportunity to try some Tai Chi.
Where to stay in Kowloon
Centrally located (shopping and attractions)
- The glossy, western style Langham Place hotel is in a very busy, very Chinese, part of town, Mongkok. And it's one of the best places to stay in Hong Kong if you're looking for local colour - the streets here are packed each evening with people flocking to the Night Market and the Ladies Market. Langham Place has an amazing rooftop pool and its Chuan spa is one of the best in town.
- If you want good value in amongst the shopping and tourist attractions, book the Butterfly on Prat. The name refers to the street, right in the thick of the Tsim Sha Tsui area. Simple, yet colourful, and modern, yet comfortable, this is one of the best places to stay in Hong Kong if you're watching your wallet - rooms start from around £110 per night.
- Right on the Golden Mile, Eaton is a good choice if you're looking for 'kind prices'. Outside are all the bright, colourful lights, but inside it's all simple and functional.
Modern Hong Kong
- The Mira, with its Michelin star, is ideal for foodies. It's also known for its underground spa and funky open-air lounge bar. Super modern in style, which is nothing new in this town, The Mira has some neat touches, like optical effect corridors...
- The Landmark Mandarin Oriental is sister to the Mandarin Oriental, but in a super central location. Making it one of the best places to stay in Hong Kong for people who want the Mandarin experience: a double Michelin starred restaurant, luxurious bedrooms and a superb spa. But with the added wonder: a skywalk to the local shopping malls. This is definitely our recommendation if you're after immaculate service in a modern environment.
Hong Kong Island
Once called Victoria, the main hub of Hong Kong business and administration, is now called 'Central'. Lan Kwai Fong, to the southwest of Central station is where you can find a lot of the restaurants, bars and clubs. Soho is the other entertainment district. Sheung Wan is probably the area where Hong Kong's colonial past is most evident, and Sai Ying Pun is probably the island's most traditionally Chinese neighbourhood.
⁃ The Peak Tram is an obvious first trip, taking you up to Victoria Peak, where Hong Kong's wealthiest citizens jostle for the best harbour views. Take some time to walk a bit higher than the tram stop and you'll see just how opulent some of these buildings are.
⁃ Man Mo Temple is Hong Kong's oldest, dating from the 1840s. It's also in amongst the antique shops of Hollywood road. So the whole area is worth a stroll. Careful though, many of the antiques for sale are clever forgeries.
⁃ It's also worth taking a spin on 'the escalator'. It's 800metres long, and the world's longest outdoor escalator. It runs downhill between 6AM and 10AM and then uphill between 10:30 and midnight.
Where to stay on Hong Kong Island
On the waterfront
- The Mandarin Oriental has appeared on lists of the best places to stay in Hong Kong for the last 50 years, becoming a Hong Kong icon, famous for everything from its barber shop to its rose petal jam. Refurbished in 2006, the hotel has kept the things it did wonderfully right and improved and updated where needed. So now the rooms are luxurious, chic and modern. Even if you don't stay here it's still worth paying a visit to the famous Captain's Bar or Clipper Lounge. Its 503 rooms start from just £137 per night, so it might be an option if you want to treat yourself to something really special without breaking the budget.
- For bygone era luxury, the Peninsula, with its spectacular views over Victoria Harbour, has got to be one of the best places to stay in Hong Kong. They have a fleet of Rolls Royces to do the airport pick-ups, people book months in advance for the legendary afternoon tea and the decor has all the elegance and gentility of the colonial era.
- For a wonderful design hotel experience, try The Upper House. The feeling is 'modern zen', with plenty of luxury and technology, but also plenty of clean lines in wood and stone. The wonderfully stylish peace makes it the perfect hotel if you need to be in amongst it, but also appreciate a haven of calm.
- If you want to be right on the water, you should check in to the Four Seasons. To add to the liquid pleasures there's an infinity pool (and lane pools) on the roof deck. And the views are spectacular. There's also a first class spa. The design is quite western but with lovely Chinese touches, like silk panelled walls. And considering two of its five restaurants have multiple Michelin stars, this is another of the best place to stay in Hong Kong for foodies.
Something a bit different: East Island
- If you're looking for a something different, East, in redeveloped Quarry Bay, might be worth considering. There are harbour views, but from a different angle, and it's a fifteen minute taxi ride to the centre of town. But those fifteen minutes will make your stay a lot cheaper but no less luxurious. East is kinda hipster, with its staff in uniforms of trainers and designer Ts, and its top floor nightclub 'Sugar'. But it's also a business hotel.
For a city apartment
- They're difficult to find, but our online partner, Booking.com, has a small range of apartments for rental.
Best Hotels in Hong Kong
Bishop Lei International House 227 rooms from $105Hong Kong (Mid - Levels)
A well placed hotel with unbeatable views at reasonable prices. The bedrooms boast fantastic harbour views from large windows. A generous outdoor pool gives an opportunity to relax in this buzzing city. Walking distance from the commercial downtown. An ideal city crash pad.Value chic - A contemporary hotel boasting impressive views of the city's skyline, rooftop pool and great central location.Sights nearby - A short walk from Lan Kwai Fong entertainment area.Views - Great views from hotelSwimming Pool - Indoor/outdoorRecommended by - Fodors, Frommers
Ovolo Southside 162 rooms from $113Hong Kong
Located in the former industrial area of Wong Chuk Hang, Ovolo Southside references the hotel's past in its warehouse design. The popular restaurant serving steakhouse cuisine is covered in graffiti art and lit with filament lights. Minimalist rooms with metal fixtures enjoy huge windows and views.Sailing - Hire a 'junk' as the locals call them for the day and head out to one of Hong Kong's beaches.Sights nearby - Family's will enjoy a trip to Disneyland Hong Kong.Lively - Hip and happening.House party feel - Be prepared to meet people.
Eaton 434 rooms from $135Hong Kong (Kowloon)
Situated in Hong Kong's famous "Golden Mile" shopping and commercial district. This hotel offeres convenient, comfortable fun at a reasonable price. Modern decoration, fantastic restaurants, as well as business, fitness, and wedding facilities.City Style - Classic suites with dark wood furnishings, panormaic views of Kowloon City and chic rooftop pool.Less £Sights nearby - Less than a ten minute walk to the famed Victoria Harbour, sit and watch the ships roll in!Local markets - Just a few minutes walk from Temple Street with its famed night flea market.Recommended by - Frommers
Cordis Hong Kong at Langham Place 665 rooms from $170Hong Kong (Kowloon)
Glossy Langham Place in an earthy, authentic Chinese neighbourhood. Contemporary but supremely elegant in style - rich wooden furniture, neutral tones, white linens. Fantastic spa, roof top pool, and even a Chinese art collection.Foodies - Among the hotels many restaurants is the famed Cantonese restaurant with 2 Michelin stars, Ming Court.City Style - A stylish and elegant hotel right in the centre of the trendy Mong Kok district.Great walks - Wander the streets of the trendy Mong Kok district, getting lost is all part of the fun!Local markets - Nearby markets include Ladies Market, Temple Street Night Market and Flower Market.Recommended by - Tablet
Mira 492 rooms from $182Hong Kong (Kowlon)
An exceptionally modern hotel with fantastic facilities - Michelin-starred restaurant, electrifying open-air lounge bar, and underground spa. A hotel master-planned for rest and relaxation, all in the utmost style.Foodies - There is something to suit every palate including a Michelin Starred Cantonese, a chocolate-themed café and French fusion.City Style - Vibrant and bold designer rooms with underground spa, in the leafy luxorious Tsim Sha Tsui.Great walks - Situated just across from Kowloon Park, a rare splash of green in this city of skyscrapers.Sights nearby - Kowloon Mosque and Islamic Centre is just a five minute walk down the road.Recommended by - Tablet, Kiwi Collection
Butterfly on Prat 158 rooms from $184Hong Kong (Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowlon)
Colourful, stylish decoration and thoughtful details are highlights at this upbeat hotel. Glossy rooms and suites in oranges and greens. A great place to stay in the heart of the Tsim Sha Tsui area close to all the shopping and tourist attractions.Value chic - A reasonably priced stylish hotel in a central location, with access to some of Hong Kongs best shopping and restaurants.Great walks - Walk along the along the Victoria Harbour waterfront in Tsim Sha Tsui to view the 'Avenue of Stars'.Sights nearby - Visit the stunning Man Mo Temple, well worth checking out.
Madera Hollywood 38 rooms from $227Hong Kong (Central District)
Hotel Madera Hollywood brings colourful character to all the usual luxuries of a boutique hotel. Its central location is unbeatable, as are its spacious one-bedroom suites with skyline views.Sailing - Organise a sailing trip from Hong Kong harbour around the island.Local markets - Explore the frenzy of Temple Street Night Market.Sights nearby - Five minutes walk from Man Mo Temple.Restrictions on children - Adult only.
East 345 rooms from $249Hong Kong (Island East)
Stylish, comfortable, well-designed business hotel in the redeveloped Quarry Bay. Equipped with every mod con. A 24 hour gym and swimming pool provide rejuvenation at all hours. Ideally situated to move around the city. An award winning restaurant. The ultimate base while on business.City Style - A stylish choice- the sleek rooms feature full wall windows facing over the harbour, all mod cons and indulgent extras.Designer - Uniquely designed interiors.Views - Great views from hotelSwimming Pool - Indoor/outdoorRecommended by - Kiwi Collection
The Langham Hong Kong 498 rooms from $257Hong Kong (Tsim Sha Tsui)
A luxury downtown hotel with a rooftop pool in the heart of Tsim Sha Tsui. Bedrooms and suites have floor to ceiling windows with magnificent views of Victoria Harbour. The hotel has a number of restaurants including a three Michelin-Starred Cantonese restaurant. Modern urban splendour.Total relaxation - Rely on the phenomanal service, luxurious massages, spectacular food, and incredibly comfortable beds to ease all your worries.Foodies - Foodies flock to this hotel for the 3 Michelin-star T'ang Court, serving Cantonese specialities.Great walks - Kowloon Park is perfect for an afternoon stroll and a breath of fresh air.Local markets - Near to the local night market, a must see for all visitors to Hong Kong.
W Hong Kong 197 rooms from $413Hong Kong (Kowloon Station)
Hip hotel in the trendy the West Kowloon Cultural District. The stylish rooms are opulent and original with wonderful views of the harbour. Panoramic views of the city from the spectacular rooftop infinity pool, fantastic gourmet cuisine, and unrivalled spa and fitness facilities.Foodies - A range of restaurants from Sing Yin Cantonese Dining to international buffet spreads at Kitchen.City Style - Hip bars, rooftop pools and spectacular viewsSights nearby - A 4-minute walk from sky100 Hong Kong Observation Deck and located in the The West Kowloon Cultural District.Swimming Pool - Rooftop pool with astonishing views.Recommended by - Fodors, Frommers, Kiwi Collection
Four Seasons Hong Kong 399 rooms from $437Hong Kong
Fantastically modern hotel on the waterfront. Rooms with state-of-the-art technology vary between sleek Western style, with silk-panelled walls and marble-floored entry foyers, and contemporary Chinese style. It caters for business, weddings, and leisure.City Style - Dripping in glitz and glamour, from underwater music in the roofotp infinity pool, to panormaic views from achingly chic suites.Foodies - Minutes from some of Hong Kongs hippest eateries and with two of their own Michelin restaurants to choose from.Local markets - Tai O is famous for its seafood market, which remains one of the locals' favourite places to buy their fresh and dried seafood.Great walks - Just a ten minute walk from the hotel is the urban oasis of Sun Yat Sen Memorial Park.Recommended by - Frommers, Kiwi Collection
Landmark Mandarin Oriental 113 rooms from $502Hong Kong (The Landmark, Central)
The smaller, trendier and more exclusive little sister to Mandarin Oriental, in a knock-out location for hitting the shops. Stunning modernist decoration, with sleek artistic touches. The double Michelin-starred French restaurant and mammoth two story luxury spa are not to be missed.City Style - One of Hong Kong's hippest hotels, achingly cool and an instant hit with the young fashionista crowd.Restaurant - Michelin-starred.Great walks - Hong Kong's zoo and gardens are just a short stroll away, the perfect way to pass a lazy afternoon.Spa - One of Asia's premier urban spa's.Recommended by - Tablet, Frommers, Kiwi Collection, Fodors, Mr & Mrs Smith
Peninsula 300 rooms from $535Hong Kong (Kowlon)
A legendary hotel with all the colonial elegance and allure of a bygone era. Harbour views from glamorous rooms, afternoon tea, and a fantastic selection of world-wide cuisine. The ultimate city break steeped in old world nostalgia.City Style - This 'Grand Dame of the East' is the original luxury hotel in Hong Kong, sleek stylish and utterly spoiling.Great walks - The hotel Al Fresco Gastro Tours of Hong Kongs green spaces.Cooking classes - The hotel holds a gourmet class in refined eating.Lively - Hip and happening.Recommended by - Tablet, Fodors, Frommers, Kiwi Collection
Mandarin Oriental 503 rooms from $591Hong Kong
This Hong Kong icon, famous for its impeccable service, has been given a super revamp. Its classic traditionalism now has contemporary comforts to match. State of the art bedrooms and bathrooms parallel the spectacle from the roof top bar and delight of the restaurants.Foodies - Ten high end restaurants with two Michelin StarsCity Style - This iconic hotel epitomises Hong Kong style.Sights nearby - Overlooking Victoria Harbour.Swimming Pool - Indoor poolRecommended by - Tablet, Frommers, Kiwi Collection, Mr & Mrs Smith, Fodors
The Upper House 117 rooms from $696Hong Kong (Pacific Place)
A uniquely, and superbly, designed, Andre Fu, hotel that combines the best of boutique with typically giant Asian luxury. Huge stylish bedrooms and bathrooms with ceiling to floor windows and all the mod cons craved for by technology junkies. A refreshing city stay.City Style - Slick rooms with wonderful views of Victoria Harbour, elegant bars and trendy restaurants.Great walks - Escape into tropical Hong Kong Park, just five minutes' walk from the hotel, 20 acres of green ideal for walking.Lively - Hip and happening.Designer - Uniquely designed interiors.Recommended by - Mr & Mrs Smith, Tablet, Fodors, Frommers, Kiwi Collection