At TravelSkills, we love new hotels. They smell better, work better, feel better, and are usually bigger, brighter and hipper than others. But new can also have its downside: Construction noise, service issues, locations in sketchy or “upcoming” neighborhoods. In an ongoing feature, TravelSkills will report on the newest hotels in the world’s best business cities. We begin here with Hong Kong.
On my recent visit to Hong Kong, a city bustling with new construction, I toured five new and notable hotels that would especially appeal to business travelers. Here’s how I sized them up.
Courtyard by Marriott Sha Tin
Opened on March 18, 2013, the 539-room Courtyard by Marriott Sha Tin will feel very comfortable for North American business travelers. Its design reflects an upscale and very refreshing version of state-side Courtyards, with Asian touches. Its location in Sha Tin, in the New Territories, may be an asset or a deal breaker, depending on your needs. My guide and I took the Metro from the airport—with several transfers—plus a taxi, which took almost an hour. A taxi from the hotel to the Central district on Hong Kong Island will set you back about $20.00. However, if your meetings are in the New Territories, you’ll enjoy being in a more green and relaxing environment. The location also makes it relatively affordable, with very reasonable rates ($360 – $450 standard double). Rooms feel shiny-new and are designed for business travelers with a spacious desk and Wi-Fi. Many have pleasant views of the river. For dining, the MoMo café serves both Western and Asian cuisine and is appropriate for casual dining, plus two beautiful private dining rooms are perfect for business meals. On TripAdvisor, currently ranks just #51 out of 99 business class hotels– likely because it’s so new with only 108 reviews compared to thousands for other more established hotels.
Hotel Indigo Hong Kong Island
If you’ve stayed in a Hotel Indigo elsewhere, you have an idea of what to expect here. Great, funky design. 138 well appointed rooms. A small lobby but with a hip vibe. We had trouble finding the 29-story hotel (a full renovation completed in February 2013)—it’s tucked away but deceptively convenient to the Hong Kong Convention & Exhibition Centre and shopping, in the Central district. A Metro stop is a very short walk from the hotel. Internet is free for guests, and the hotel has a business center. The hotel restaurant, Café Post, looked pleasant enough for business dining, and the “library” is a pleasant lounge I know I’d enjoy sitting in to do some work. A rooftop bar is an appealing spot for cocktails. Nearby, I couldn’t help but be curious about the glass-bottom pool. Upon closer look, I could see that one end of it cantilevers over the sidewalk, many stories down, indeed with a glass bottom so swimmers can watch pedestrians stroll by (and vice versa I suppose). Rooms range from $206 to $464 in an IHG.com search for June stays. On TripAdvisor, Hotel Indigo Hong Kong Island currently ranks #16 out of 99 business class hotels.
Well located in the Wan Chai neighborhood of Hong Kong Island and with a stunning look, the Mira Moon hotel, which just opened in Q4 of 2013, is tiny and would be ideal for a business traveler looking for something different. The hotel’s design firm took an ancient Chinese legend about the moon, immortality and a rabbit, and carried it throughout in charming details. Colorful mosaics abound, as do the hotel’s signature red chairs. In a perfect world (with an unlimited budget), I would reserve one of these room long-term as a pied-à-terre. Each floor contains just four rooms ($220 – $323), for a total of 91. The metro station is three blocks away, and shopping is close. The Super Giant Tapas restaurant (Spanish-Chinese fusion small plates) is casual but very appropriate for business dining—its private room would be perfect for a larger dinner meeting. But the standout venue for me was the Secret Garden bar’s outdoor patio—a surprise on the third floor–its high walls planted thick with lush greenery. It’s an incredibly pleasant spot for a cocktail, to get to know a client, or to catch up on some work. On TripAdvisor, Mira Moon does not currently appear in the ranking of business class hotels.
Ritz-Carlton, Hong Kong
One of the most spectacular hotels in the world, the Ritz-Carlton, Hong Kong may not be the newest hotel in town (it opened in 2011), but it is many other –ests, including the highest hotel in the world. Subjectively, it could be said to be among the stunning-est. Located on floors 102 – 118 of the International Commerce Centre (ICC), its 312 rooms have quite amazing views, and of course are beautifully appointed. The hotel is well located on the Kowloon side of the city, adjacent to a luxury shopping mall. When your business colleagues ask you where you’re staying, you will be making a statement when you answer, “The Ritz-Carlton.” Dining is, unsurprisingly, exceptional. I had a beautiful business lunch in the Michelin-starred Tin Lung Heen—the most elegant dim sum I’ve ever been served, in an extremely refined setting. The Italian restaurant, Tosca, looked equally appropriate for a high-level working lunch or dinner. And the rooftop bar, Ozone, would make an enviable way to end an evening, looking out on the city’s light show. All this comes with a price: Standard rooms range from $955 to $1,225. On TripAdvisor, the Ritz Carlton, Hong Kong, currently ranks #4 out of 99 business class hotels.
Best Western Grand Hotel
What a contrast to visit the Best Western Grand after the Ritz Carlton. But I could quickly see the value to this modest, new 29-story hotel. For those busy all day with meetings and then entertaining in the evening, these accommodations offer all you need: a comfortable bed in pleasant surroundings. The 396 rooms are tiny. There’s no other way to say it. But they’re also efficient. In fact, the desk folds up from the wall, so don’t expect to work much in your room. (Note that most rooms have two twin beds.) The hotel, opened in December of 2012, is squeaky clean. To the positive, my guide told me he thought the location of this hotel in the TsimShaTsui district in Kowloon was exceptional, in a neighborhood filled with interesting restaurants and a lively bar scene. It’s also handy to the Metro. With standard room rates at $116 – $155 by season, with a $65 supplement for a slightly larger room, it’s a decent value for some business travelers. On TripAdvisor, Best Western Grand Hotel gets only mediocre marks, and does not currently appear in the ranking of business class hotels.
While the length of my trip limited me to touring these hotels, I was curious about which properties rank as very newest. According to the Hong Kong Tourism Board, the five newest business class hotels in the city (as of April 30, 2014) are: Ovolo 2AR, Courtyard by Marriott Sha Tin (see above), Hotel Elan, V hotels, and EAST Hong Kong.
Have you stayed at any of these hotels? What’s your favorite business hotel in Hong Kong?