One of the two Special Administrative Regions (SAR) of China, Hong Kong is a prominent tourist destination for the country’s ever-increasing affluent population and also for travelers all across the globe. An important hub In East Asia with close connections to several other significant cities in the world, Hong Kong is an interesting mixture of Cantonese Chinese ethnicity with that of British (since it was under British colonization for almost 150 years).
Among the most densely populated areas in the world, Hong Kong is home to the largest concentration of skyscrapers (double than New York) and more Rolls Royce’s per person than any other city in the world. Hong Kong is considered as one of the safest places in the world to travel to, no wonder it means “fragrance harbor” in Cantonese.
At this point, it is important to know that Hong Kong is divided into different districts – Hong Kong Island, Kowloon Peninsula, New Territories, Lantau Island, and the Outlying Islands.
Let us now explore some of the popular neighborhoods in the Special Administrative Region so you can choose where to stay in Hong Kong on your visit.
Central District, Hong Kong Island
Central District, commonly known as Central, is the business and entertainment center of Hong Kong. A skyline covered with some of the most impressive high-rise structures and skyscrapers, the neighborhood is home to some of the costliest, upscale shopping and entertainment venues in the SAR. Despite its cosmopolitan outlook, the district still preserves a lot of its Cantonese and Colonial history. Victoria Peak, the most prominent attraction in Hong Kong, offers unparalleled views of the SAR and the Harbor Bay. Hike to reach up to the summit or take the famous Peak Tram, either way, you are going to love it be it any time of the day or night. Love going out much? Lan Kwai Fong, an area located a few minutes from Central MTR station, is the hot-bed for any after-dark activity that you can possibly think of. Come around sunset for a pint and stay till the early hours to be drunk in the liveliness of the area. And, did you know Hong Kong has its own London Eye? Only that it is known as the Hong Kong Observation Wheel.
Good for: All kinds of travelers, especially the young.
Other Highlights: Hong Kong Maritime Museum, Star Ferry (to Kowloon), Hong Kong Zoo and Botanical Gardens, and Man Mo Temple.
- Butterfly on Wellington Boutique Hotel – Featuring authentic Oriental classiness with modern-day facilities and services, the boutique hotel offers spacious, well-decorated guestrooms within a 10 minutes’ drive from Airport Express Hong Kong Station. Most rooms provide a beautiful view of the city. Great for all kinds of travelers.
- Conrad Hong Kong – Offering a direct connection to the extremely elite and popular Pacific Place shopping and entertainment complex, Conrad Hong Kong is one of the most upscale properties in the area. Guests staying here can benefit from the hotel’s wide range of amenities, including award-winning wining and dining facilities, a 24-hour fitness center, an outdoor heated pool, and massage services. Perfect for all kinds of luxury travelers.
- JW Marriott Hotel Hong Kong – Perched direct atop the Pacific Place shopping complex and within a short walking distance from Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Center, this luxurious hotel offers an outdoor pool, a fully-equipped health center with a steam room, and multiple award-winning restaurants. The large windows fitted in the lavish guestrooms offer spectacular views of Victoria Harbor, the surrounding mountains, or the vibrant city. Great for all kinds of travelers.
Wan Chai, Hong Kong Island
One of the first districts to be inhabited by the British, Wan Chai is dotted with history and culture despite its slightly ‘rough-around-the-edges’ appeal. Though not as loud as the neighboring Central District, Wan Chai promises to offer you bustling market areas, some of the best Hong Kong hotels, and famed nightlife spots that date back to ‘The World of Suzie Wong’. Whether you are more interested in the architecture of the neighborhood or fascinated by its culture, one of the best ways to explore the area is by taking the free Wan Chai Heritage Trail that makes about 15 stops and takes approximately two hours. By the end of the walk, you would have seen some of the most iconic sights in the district, including the Blue House, the Old Wan Chai Post Office, and the Pak Tai temple. Another notable attraction in the area is the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Center – significant not only because of its interesting glass façade and arched roof but also as the host to some of the biggest exhibitions in the SAR, including the world’s largest jewelry fair.
Good for: All kinds of travelers.
Other Highlights: Hong Kong Arts Center, Tai Yuen Street Market, Wan Chai Market, and Hung Shing Temple.
- Burlington Hotel – A great choice for business travelers, this brand-new 4-star property in the heart of the neighborhood is a stone’s throw away from Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Center. The 24-hour front desk takes care of all your requirements, including laundry and dry-cleaning services. Suitable for all kinds of travelers.
- Hotel Indigo Hong Kong Island – Located within a 5 minutes’ walking distance of the Wan Chai MTR station, Hotel Indigo Hong Kong Island welcomes its guests to enjoy the finest luxuries of life, be it the spacious, opulent guestrooms or the rooftop infinity pool and the Sky Bar. Great for all kinds of travelers, especially couples.
- Grand Hyatt Hong Kong – Boasting an expansive outdoor pool and spa, a 24-hour fitness studio, a well-equipped tour desk, and multiple food and beverage facilities, Grand Hyatt Hong Kong offers exquisite guestrooms with floor-to-ceiling windows, 42-inch cable/satellite TV, and marble-fitted ensuite bathrooms with individual bathtubs. Perfect for all kinds of luxury travelers.
Causeway Bay, Hong Kong Island
Distinguished as one of the greatest shopping destinations in the world, Causeway Bay was once an actual bay with water, until land reclamation overpowered the bay and filled it with soil decades ago. Now, it is a myriad of shopping malls, department stores, upscale boutiques, and bustling street markets. Speaking of shopping, Times Square is the largest mall in the SAR and is host to not just endless shops and attractions but also to regular exhibitions, special events, and live performances. By the way, have you listened to the Noel Coward song that goes like “but mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun?” Well! The lyrics were inspired by an 1860 event that involved shooting of the ‘Noonday Gun’ by employees of Jardine Matheson (former trading house; present finance giant) at noon every day. The 15-minute event and the daily celebrations are a major hit among visitors. If you prefer outdoors over shopping malls and a strange ‘gun’ story, head to Victoria Park. The largest green space in Hong Kong, Victoria Park is where you go for a leisurely jog or an authentic Tai Chi class.
Good for: All kinds of travelers, especially shopaholics.
Other Highlights: Jardine’s Crescent Street Market, Tin Hau Temple, Hong Kong Central Library, Ding Dong Tram Ride and Food Street.
- Metropark Hotel Causeway Bay Hong Kong – Offering massive windows that overlook the city and complimentary Wi-Fi, the remarkable property features a stunning rooftop pool with unprecedented views of the Victoria Harbor. Guestrooms here are decorated in classic light wood furnishings and are fitted with state-of-the-art amenities. Suitable for all kinds of travelers.
- The Excelsior, Hong Kong – Featuring a Michelin-starred restaurant, sweeping vistas of the Victoria Harbor, and beautifully-decorated guestrooms infused with a design inspired by the harbor itself, The Excelsior offers pleasant accommodation away from the hustle of the city. The on-site fitness center ensures a great workout regime after which guests can pamper themselves by enjoying a relaxing facial and massage. Great for all kinds of travelers.
- Holiday Inn Express Hong Kong Causeway Bay – Located adjacent to the Times Square, Holiday Inn Express Hong Kong Causeway Bay features well-appointed guestrooms with latest facilities such as a free smartphone, flat-screen satellite TV, a safety deposit box, and ergonomic chairs. A complimentary buffet breakfast is served daily. Suitable for solo travelers, couples, and small families.
The largest of all Hong Kong islands, Lantau is ideally less than 50 kilometers distance from Hong Kong Island but is culturally an entire world away. Far removed from the hustle and bustle of Hong Kong streets, Lantau is mostly rural and filled with natural attractions, including pristine beaches and dominating mountains. Lantau Peak, at 900 meters, is the island’s highest mountain, and much like the other mountains on the island, it provides amazing hiking and trekking opportunities for outdoor enthusiasts. But, amidst all the beautiful landscapes and rural charm, Lantau Island is also home to two of the most iconic Hong Kong attractions – the Hong Kong Disneyland and the Tian Tian Buddha Statue (also known as the Big Buddha). An extremely popular activity on the island is a ride on the Ngong Ping 360 cable car – the longest of its kind in the world that stretches 5.7 kilometers and takes approximately half hour to finish. If you like adventure, pay a little extra and hop on the crystal cabin with a transparent glass floor and enjoy the thrilling bird-eye view.
Good for: All kinds of travelers.
Other Highlights: Po Lin Monastery, Tai O Fishing Village, and Pink Dolphin spotting.
- Novotel Citygate Hong Kong – Offering a free shuttle service to Hong Kong International Airport, this 4-star property on Lantau Island features well-furnished guestrooms with a view of the sea or the on-site swimming pool. Other facilities at the hotel include a 24-hour fitness center, multiple dining facilities, well-manicured gardens, and a public bath. Suitable for solo travelers, couples, and small families.
- Hong Kong Disneyland Hotel – Sitting along the banks of the South China Sea, this vintage seaside resort offers accommodation in a Disney-inspired hotel. Guests can enjoy the on-site pool while the kids can have fun wandering around the Mickey Maze. Appropriately located within a 10 minutes’ walk of the famous attraction, the 400-room property features Victorian-style wooden furnishings, themed room decoration (at an additional cost), and live performances of Disney music. Perfect for all kinds of travelers, especially those with children.
- Auberge Discovery Bay Hong Kong – A short walk from the beach, Auberge Discovery Bay Hong Kong provides spacious, well-equipped guestrooms within an outstanding property. Guests here can enjoy swimming in the outdoor pool that overlooks the neighboring ocean, or they can choose to unwind themselves at the on-site, full-service spa and wellness center. Great for all kinds of travelers.
Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon
Separated from Hong Kong Island by the panoramic Victoria Harbor, Kowloon is the darker and undeniably the more culturally intriguing side of Hong Kong that is best known in the history for the ‘Battle of Kowloon’ fought between British and Chinese vessels in 1839. A lot has changed ever since, and Tsim Sha Tsui, a bustling neighborhood on the peninsula is a living and breathing example of that. Home to fascinating museums, intimate communities, and plenty of old-worldly heritage, Tsim Sha Tsui houses many upmarket restaurants and prominent attractions. To experience the neighborhood’s true splendor, take a Symphony of Light evening cruise and experience the world’s largest permanent light and sound show. For something more peaceful and outdoorsy, venture on a rejuvenating walk through the well-manicured paths of Kowloon Park or take your family out for a day of swimming, football, and birdwatching.
Good for: All kinds of travelers.
Other Highlights: The Avenue of Stars, Hong Kong Cultural Center, Harbor City Shopping Mall, and Kimberley Road (aka Korean Street/Little Korea).
- Hotel ICON – Individually decorated by prominent local architects, the chic hotel offers classic guestrooms with warm lightings and a free minibar. The property houses an outdoor pool with a poolside bar, a 24-hour health club, and a highly-recommended spa and wellness center. Guests can pre-book their transportation in 100% electric-operated BMW i3 or Tesla S85 limos. Great for solo travelers, couples, and small families.
- The Royal Garden – Located within a few minutes’ walking distance from famous locations such as the Clock Tower and the Avenue of Stars, this ritzy property boasts a rooftop Mediterranean-style Sky Club with a hot tub and pool, 8 dine and wine facilities, and a 110-foot atrium. Guests on a ‘relax mode’ can order room service 24-hours of the day. Great for all kinds of travelers.
- The Langham Hong Kong – Every room at the Langham Hong Kong is decorated to make guests feel comfortable and at the same time, special. They come with features such as flat-screen TV, a gourmet minibar, free Wi-Fi, and iHome docking station (in selected rooms). Additional facilities at the hotel include a 24-hour fitness center, a well-equipped business center, and an amazing on-site restaurant with a private champagne room. Perfect for all kinds of luxury travelers.
A packed residential and shopping district, Mong Kok is home to some of the most historic neon-lit streets of Hong Kong. Among the most vibrant district in the SAR, Mong Kok is extremely diverse to the shopping streets of Causeway Bay in a way that the neighborhood is more about unique, inexpensive items and souvenirs that you or may not find anywhere else in Hong Kong. Sneakers Street, officially Fa Yuen Street is named after the countless shoe stores that are lined up against each other throughout the area. Expect to find the rarest (even limited editions) and the hottest collections of sneakers here. Ladies Market, on the other hand, comprises over 100 makeshift stalls that sell anything from clothes and accessories to souvenirs and other exclusive items mainly for women (hence, the name). And, then there is the Gold Fish market where locals buy Gold Fish (you can buy any type of fish you like, or even snakes, spiders, frogs, and anything else that customs may allow you to carry back home), since, in popular Hong Kong belief, it is known to bring good luck.
Good for: All kinds of travelers.
Other Highlights: Langham Place Shopping Mall, Sai Yeung Choi Street, Flower Market, and MOKO Shopping Mall.
- Cordis, Hong Kong – The proud owner of Kowloon’s highest ballroom, the Star Room, Cordis Hong Kong is an epitome of luxury that towers high above the neighborhood’s busy skyline. Fitness lovers will especially love that this property has not one but two fitness studios and one fully-equipped fitness center. The world-class and wellness center offers over 60 unique massage and beauty treatments. Perfect for all kinds of travelers.
- Royal Plaza Hotel – Perched atop the Mong Kok East MTR Station, Royal Plaza Hotel offers a free shuttle service to the buzzing Tsim Sha Tsui neighborhood and a spacious outdoor pool. While gym-addicts can flex their muscles at the on-site fitness center, shopping-addicts can nurture their interests at the adjacent shopping mall that is home to over 200 shops. Great for all kinds of travelers.
- Metropark Hotel Mongkok – A recently renovated property, Metropark Hotel Mongkok provides freshly re-decorated guestrooms fitted with a minibar, satellite TV, and an ensuite bathroom. Guests can select from the international buffet or the à-la-carte menu available at the on-site restaurant. Suitable for all kinds of travelers.