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Where to Stay in Hong Kong: Best Areas & Hotels

Hong Kong is a surprisingly compact city, and the metro (MTR) makes getting around the city quick and easy. Deciding where to stay in the city usually comes down to preference and price. The two main areas where tourists and business people stay are Hong Kong Island and Kowloon. These are located directly across from each other, with Victoria Harbour in between. There are advantages to staying on each side, but they both have a full range of shopping options and various other things to do. Getting from one side to the other is easy on either the MTR or the ferry.

View over Hong Kong from the Peak
View over Hong Kong from the Peak | Photo Copyright: Lana Law
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If you are in Hong Kong for pleasure or just want to do some sightseeing while you're here, the best place to stay is on Hong Kong Island, preferably in the adjacent areas of Central or Admiralty, where most of the action is centered. Generally speaking, this will put you within walking distance of the Peak Tram, Hong Kong Park, excellent shopping, and a number of temples and other attractions. Also on this side is the trendy Lan Kwai Fong district, with all kinds of indoor and outdoor dining.

If you are interested in tackling some of the best hikes in Hong Kong, staying in Central or Admiralty will give you the easiest access to trails on Hong Kong Island and the Outer Islands, with ferries departing regularly from the Hong Kong Piers.

On the mainland side, just across the harbor from Hong Kong Island is Kowloon. This area is home to several of Hong Kong's best markets, including the famous Temple Street Market and the Ladies Market. It also offers plenty of high-end shopping, with many big names in fashion represented here. The best place to stay in Kowloon is the area known as Tsim Sha Tsui, or TST for short, which is close to the harbor front. The farther back you are from the waterfront, the less expensive the hotels. Major attractions in Kowloon, apart from the markets, are the waterfront Promenade, Garden of the Stars, and a beautiful view of the nightly light show on the harbor front. This area also offers the best connections to the airport and trains to mainland China.

Where to Stay for Top-End Luxury

Four Seasons Hotel on the waterfront
Four Seasons Hotel on the waterfront
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There is no shortage of high-end, luxury hotels in Hong Kong, and they can be found in Kowloon or Hong Kong Island. Topping the list of the best hotels on the Kowloon side are the elegant, colonial-style The Peninsula Hong Kong and The Ritz-Carlton, set a little out on its own but with outstanding views over Victoria Harbour and the Hong Kong skyline. These are very different properties. The Peninsula, built in the 1920s, exudes old-world charm and has an excellent location in TST. By contrast, the Ritz is located in a modern tower that dominates the Kowloon skyline. The lobby is on the 102nd floor, and guest rooms are on the floors above, up to the 118th floor. Both of these hotels offer world-class service and amenities.

On Hong Kong Island, the boutique hotel The Landmark Mandarin Oriental, the original Mandarin Oriental, and the Four Seasons Hotel are all standout options. The Four Seasons stands right on the waterfront, next to the piers, overlooking the harbor and Kowloon. Further back, in the heart of Hong Kong, is the small and chic The Landmark Mandarin Oriental and the nearby Mandarin Oriental, the first Mandarin hotel to open. Both of these are close to Hong Kong's best shopping.

Where to Stay for Mid-Range Luxury

Suite at the Langham, Hong Kong
Suite at the Langham, Hong Kong | Photo Copyright: Lana Law
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Mid-range luxury hotels in Hong Kong, with world-class service and top-end amenities, would be considered high-end luxury hotels in other cities. Many of these also have their own unique character. Be aware, hotel prices can vary greatly depending on the time of year and events happening in the city.

In Kowloon, it's hard to beat The Langham, Hong Kong. This five-star hotel, with a distinctly British charm, offers excellent, personalized service; a heated rooftop pool; and a variety of quality restaurants, from the Three Michelin Star Tang Court to the reasonably priced Main Street Delhi. The Langham is a relatively small property, with only 16 floors and less than 500 rooms, all of which are uniquely and tastefully decorated. From this hotel, it is only a five-minute walk to the harbor and the Star Ferry to Hong Kong.

View from the Conrad Hotel
View from the Conrad Hotel | Photo Copyright: Lana Law
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On the Hong Kong side, the Conrad Hong Kong, a Hilton property, is located in a modern tower with fantastic views out over the harbor or to the lush mountainside behind. Rooms start on the 40th floor, so almost all rooms have excellent views, while those with unobstructed harbor-views are on the 53rd floor and above. This hotel also has an outdoor heated swimming pool and offers impeccable service. In the same category, although not quite as high, is the JW Marriott Hotel Hong Kong. Both the Conrad and the Marriott are attached to Pacific Place, one of Hong Kong's premier shopping malls, where you can find all of the top names in fashion. If you are in Hong Kong for shopping, these hotels are extremely convenient. Also attached to Pacific Place is the Island Shangri-La Hong Kong, another great option, conveniently located directly across the street from Hong Kong Park.

Where to Stay for the Best Value

Lobby of the Eaton Hotel
Lobby of the Eaton Hotel | Photo Copyright: Lana Law
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If you are not quite ready for a budget hotel but not up for paying the prices associated with luxury mid-range, it's possible to find value hotels that are generally three- and four-star quality. The best value is usually found in Kowloon, but there are some options on Hong Kong.

Two popular Kowloon hotels where good deals can often be found are the Eaton, Hong Kong and the Nathan Hotel. These are in the same vicinity; just a quick subway ride from the harbor, and a short walk to the Temple Street Night Market. The Eaton offers small, modern rooms with full baths; good restaurants, including indoor and outdoor seating; a rooftop pool; and pleasant common areas. This hotel caters to families and business travelers, and almost all of the staff speak English. The Nathan has a fitness center but no pool. Rooms, which range from standard to full-size suites, are generally larger than those at the Eaton and offer more comfortable furnishings.

Other favorites in this area of Kowloon are the boutique Hotel Stage, with small, tasteful rooms, and the slightly more upscale and pricier Royal Plaza Hotel, with larger rooms and a pool.

On Hong Kong, the 99 Bonham All Suite Hotel is situated in the trendy Soho area, just west of Central. This is a good option for families or longer stays. Rooms are quite large, and the hotel is close to the MTR. It is also convenient for catching the ferry to Macau. Rooms feature large windows and plenty of natural light. In the same vicinity is the tasteful Ovolo Noho, with very small but fashionable rooms.

Where to Stay on a Budget

Flower Market in Kowloon, near budget hotels
Flower Market in Kowloon, near budget hotels | Photo Copyright: Lana Law
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Budget accommodation can be difficult to find on Hong Kong Island. Your best bet is to find a hotel in Kowloon. Along Nathan Road, which runs back from the waterfront to Mongkok, are a number of budget options. These have the advantage of being close to the main markets but will require some public transport or long walks to reach the harbor front. The metro (MTR) is very convenient and runs all the time to TST and Central on Hong Kong Island, which are only a couple of stops away.

If you have your heart set on staying on Hong Kong Island, the best option is the Mini Hotel Central Hong Kong. The name pretty well says it all. You can expect small, clean, comfortable rooms, and you can't beat the location. The hotel is close to everything, including the popular Lan Kwai Fong area, known for its restaurants and open-air dining. Another option on Hong Kong is the Bishop Lei International House, one of the rare budget hotels with a pool, and a nice one at that.

For better prices, head to Kowloon. A good option is the Maple Leaf Guest House in the heart of TST. For a little nicer hotel but less convenient location, head just north of TST to Mongkok and try the Pop Hotel or the Sunny Day Hotel. Expect tight quarters for both of these. The good news is that they are close to MTR stations and the popular markets of Kowloon.

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