View from Lounge -  East Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China

East Hong Kong

As the second Swire hotel in Hong Kong (they also own Upper House and Cathay Pacific), East expands the line for business travelers seeking great value, service and convenience. Located in a sleek high-rise, the hotel sits near Hong Kong's Cityplaza and TaiKoo Place in Island East, close to the hundreds of local and international businesses that have moved here from the ultra-pricey Central district.

All of the 345 rooms feature a minimalist aesthetic. The glass-and-steel structure borrows design details from its more luxurious big sister hotel; the room and floor numbers are etched into bamboo panels and lit up from behind and calming natural touches include limestone and bamboo flooring.

There’s a happening rooftop bar called Sugar, with a long outdoor deck strewn with day beds and boasting views of the harbor, as well as a bustling canteen-style restaurant called Feast. The attractive outdoor pool at the fitness center too offers beautiful panoramas.

Who Should Stay

Corporate and independent-minded leisure travelers on a budget will appreciate the comforts, style and view. Guests should be prepared to deal with the 10- to 15-minute commute into Central.

bedroom at Four Seasons Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China

Four Seasons Hong Kong

With three-quarters of its 396 guestrooms boasting unobstructed views of Victoria Harbour (known in Chinese as the so-called “Fragrant Harbor”), this hotel commands a distinct location. At 484 square feet, standard rooms are among Hong Kong’s largest and certainly most thoughtful, finished with subtle Oriental touches, extra-wide plasma televisions and Four Seasons essentials like the sheepskin underlay bed.

The hotel’s uninspired exterior does little to distinguish it from the soaring glass office towers that cram the waterfront but inside, indulgence reigns. Foodies flock to the French restaurant Caprice and reservations here even after years are still among the most coveted in town. Cantonese restaurant, Lung King Heen is a regular on world’s best lists. More treasures reveal themselves in the spa, with its calming, blond-wood treatment rooms and aromatic scents. Take a mud plunge in the Rhassoul chamber, a whirl around the vitality pool then dry off in the calming crystal steam room, complimentary for hotel guests even without a spa appointment.

Shoppers, in particular, will delight in the hotel’s direct access to some of the city’s best shopping downstairs in IFC Mall, most notably Lane Crawford, where Barney's meets Neiman Marcus in Hong Kong’s most luxurious large retail space.

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Bedroom at Grand Hyatt Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China

Grand Hyatt Hong Kong

This harborfront hotel, while mainly aimed at corporate clients and those attending events at the adjacent Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, also caters to leisure travelers (and even business people with a few free hours like to spend them by the rooftop pool). Spa sybarites should head straight for Plateau and Chinese food lovers can fill up on the island’s best dim sum at the elegant One Harbour Road restaurant.

The Plateau floor, which houses the spa and minimalist rooms with Japanese-style futon beds and deep granite tubs, has proved to be hugely popular. Each of the prime Plateau deluxe rooms and suites have tiny balconies—a rarity in Hong Kong—and glorious views of the harbor. All of the rooms boast rainfall showerheads, LCD TVs and easy access to the stunning pool, which offer a harbor vista.

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Hotel Indigo

Insightfully written guides, available to guests of the Indigo in both hard and soft copy, lead the way to fascinating aspects of Wan Chai’s past. Don’t miss the 1872 Blue House (on nearby Stone Nullah Lane), Nam Koo Terrace that locals believe is haunted, the charming 1912 Wan Chai post office across the street and an outdoor market around the corner specializing in vintage toys. For a close look at these under-the-radar cultural experiences, Indigo offers Wan Chai architecture walks, Chinese cake-making classes with neighborhood pastry chefs, kung fu demonstrations and even tips of the best local tailors from Hong Kong fashionistas.

The hotel itself is no less beguiling: the exterior’s surrounding eco-screen resembles a golden dragon and those who head straight to the top story will find themselves at the 29th floor glass clad Skybar, where liquid enticements include a swim in an infinity pool cantilevered over the street below.

Rooms are no less stylish, thanks to more modern art and sleek finishes, even in the standard, 300-square-foot accommodations. Beds are as cloudlike as those found in Hong Kong’s more expensive hotel suites. Views, while urban in all directions, do offer glimpses of Old Hong Kong for those who look carefully. Do not miss breakfast, a generous spread of eastern and western flavors, as well as Hong Kong’s favorite insider caffeine jolt, Rabbithole Coffee.

Aerial View - InterContinental Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China

InterContinental Hong Kong

Designed around the principles of feng shui, the Kowloon InterContinental is best known for its unequaled views of the harbor. Primarily a business hotel the property boasts slick service and a range of excellent restaurants that cater to all tastes. Spoon and Nobu are its two flagship dining spots, each with grand vistas of the ever-busy harbor and down the winding staircase from the triple-height lobby the Steak House offers what must be Hong Kong’s largest salad bar, enormous American strip steaks and a stupendous chocolate tart. The highly rated Cantonese restaurant Yan Toh Heen is popular with locals.

All 503 guestrooms and 87 suites here are generously proportioned, well-equipped with modern technology and successfully confer a sense of place without feeling too kitschy. There are nine Superior Harbor View Rooms with patios on the 3rd floor, which offer guests the indulgence of a harbor-facing deck, with cushy loungers for resort-like respite amidst Hong Kong’s madness. Serious spenders should consider the Presidential Suite, a pleasure palace with a duplex living room with two-story windows overlooking Victoria Harbour. Outdoors, there is a wrap-around terrace with an infinity swimming pool and Jacuzzi. Guests of the suite also get a 24-hour personal butler service, round-trip airport limousine service in a Phantom VI Rolls Royce, Bentley or Mercedes limousine plus access to the hotel’s executive lounge.

One bonus for business travelers staying here is proximity to the train station, a five-minute walk away, which gives direct access to Shenzhen, at the China border. Another notable amenity is the Club InterContinental Executive Lounge — with all the freebies of a typical corporate level lounge, doesn’t require you to stay in a corporate level room. Those uninterested in access simply sign up and pay a fee for the privileges.

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lobby with crystal chandeliers and orange carpets

Mandarin Oriental, Hong Kong

The tallest building on Hong Kong island when it opened in 1963, this was the only place in town where wealthy tourists and foreign bankers and investors would consider staying for years (and many loyal guests still follow in this trend). They loved the location, with its view of the harbor in the heart of the financial district, and the Chinese antiques and paintings everywhere. Bumping into friends from around the world in the lobby or bar was a rite of passage. Even today, it is still said that if you sit in the double-height lobby for a few hours, you will see everyone there is to know in Hong Kong.

The 502 rooms are  in two styles: Verandah, which are white with modern accents, and Taipan, which have an elegant Asian décor with warm woods, leather details and subtle touches such as Chinese silk pillows and antiques statues. Rooms overlooking Victoria Harbour are well worth the indulgence for couples.

The Captain’s Bar and Clipper Lounge are local favorites, as is Man Wah, the Cantonese eatery. Pierre from renowned French chef Pierre Gagnaire on the 25th floor and the Mandarin Grill have each earned Michelin stars. Single bookings for up to 12 people are the only reservations taken at the very private Krug Room, where the nightly menu is hand-written on smooth slate walls in chalk. Also notable is the hotel spa with its expansive relaxation area and Asian influenced treatments as well as a regular roster of renowned visiting healers, so it is well worth asking whose healing hands are in the house.

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Exterior View - Peninsula Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China

Peninsula Hong Kong

Hotels have been trying to knock the Peninsula off its perch as one of the prime five-star for the best part of a century now—and have not quite succeeded. As others improve, the Peninsula, which opened its doors in 1928 in Kowloon, just gets better and better, ready and willing to embrace new technology and trends, as long as they don’t impinge on the dignity of the venerable property. In 2012 for example, Peninsula Hotel Group launched interactive multi-lingual tablets that enable maximum control over the entire guestroom, from room service and the Do Not Disturb sign to personalized streaming Internet television.

In 2013, makeovers were completed on all 300 guestrooms in both the new tower and original 1928 building. These sleek yet comfortable spaces are high-tech havens, but they maintain just enough chinoiserie to confer a sense of Old Hong Kong. Indeed, the whole property feels homey, hardly surprising given that the majority of staff are long-serving (when you are working at the top of the hotel trade, there is not much incentive to leave). Insist on a harbor room or, even better, a corner suite, where the bathtub has an unobstructed view of Victoria Harbour.

Certainly this iconic hotel boasts some of Hong Kong’s finest dining, including the Philippe Starck–designed Felix, the elegant Gaddi’s, Chesa Swiss and Spring Moon for Chinese fare. A great spot for cocktails is the hotel’s sultry lounge, Salon de Ning, filled with souvenirs from the far-flung travels of Madame Ning, an entirely imagined but nonetheless stylish adventuress. Regulars come here to swig Ning Slings made with Absolut mandarin, lychee liquor, and passionfruit purée.

Peninsula guests can explore beyond these colonial walls by climbing into one of the Pen’s famed Rolls Royce fleet of Phantoms and one vintage 1934 Phantom II, each customized for its needs. Another notable feature is access to the Peninsula Academy’s “Hong Kong Traditions Well Served” program, which introduces guests to the artisans of the city’s disappearing crafts, such as the creators of the bamboo-and-flower displays that adorn the outdoor Chinese Opera theater, shadow-play masters and lion dancers.

A dedicated elevator leads high-flying guests to The China Clipper lounge, lined with aviator collectibles and jaw-dropping views over Victoria Harbour to Hong Kong Island. The exit leads to the rooftop’s double helipad where the the hotel’s spiffy Aerospatiale twin engine Squirrel A S355N helicopter awaits to take guests on a 45-minute panoramic jaunt from Kowloon to the Hong Kong Global Geopark of China, a collection of eight distinct geographic areas across the Sai Kung Volcanic Rock Region and northeast New Territories. The excursion winds up aboard The Pen’s yacht for a Champagne lunch on the return cruise.

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Exterior view - Ritz-Carlton Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China

Ritz-Carlton Hong Kong

Initially designed to pierce the sky at 1,883 feet, the Kowloon side (ICC- International Commerce Center) was specifically intended by owners Sun Hung Kai Properties to overtake its own IFC, towering over Hong Kong from directly across Victoria Harbour at 1,361 feet. The heigh at 1,607 feet was limited due to government regulations forbidding buildings to rise higher than the surrounding mountains.)

Enter the hotel on the 9th floor and a mere 52 seconds, the perpetually packed elevator arrives at the 103rd floor. This is where Hong Kong’s elite regularly meets for char-grilled Iberian pork and steamed crab claws in rice wine sauce at Tin Lung Heen, the Michelin-starred Chinese restaurant. Stylish local ladies skip lunch for the chocolate-filled afternoon tea, with heavenly marble cheesecake and raspberry tart, washed down with liquid white chocolate shots.

Upstairs, 312 Oriental-accented guestrooms occupy floors 106 to 118, all with strategically placed and padded windowsills. The panoramic views across Kowloon and over Victoria Harbour to Hong Kong Island are utterly unobstructed except for the occasional helicopter passing just barely above eye level. Views are equally enthralling from the pillow-topped bed, under the goose down duvet, beneath sumptuous silk paneled walls and hand-stitched leather headboard. Telescopes in the 50 suites enhance these views of the South China Sea and skyscrapers.

Soothing essential oils waft into the hallways along the 116th floor (the Club Lounge level) from The Ritz-Carlton Spa by ESPA. The spa has nine deluxe treatment rooms and two couples’ suites, all with captivating vistas. Night treatments are available Book after dark when Hong Kong illuminates its skyline.

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Rosewood Hong Kong and Victoria Harbour

Rosewood Hong Kong

Rosewood Hong Kong is a destination hotel, with a clutch of restaurants and bars, gorgeous views, and some of the largest hotel rooms in the city.

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Shangri-La Island

The soaring, marble-clad lobby of the Shangri-La Island demands respect, and the property continues to impress as a visitor or guest moves throughout the property. With an enviable location overlooking Victoria Harbour and with easy access to Central and Admiralty’s dining and shopping options, this property is an excellent choice for those who appreciate traditional, old-world glamour.

The 565 guest rooms and suites are spacious and most offer stunning views of the Peak, the city or Victoria Harbour. Spacious and comfortable, accommodations are done in a traditional décor featuring a mix of European and Asian aesthetics (think thick carpeting, silk upholstered furniture, extra large and very comfortable beds) and—most importantly—huge picture windows.

Guests staying on the Horizon Club floor have access to the lounge, which serves snacks and beverages throughout the day and a hosts a Champagne reception each night. The fabulous breakfast offered in the grand Petrus restaurant shouldn’t be missed—especially the dim sum.

The hotel offers an outdoor swimming pool, spa with sauna, steam room, Jacuzzi, massage rooms and hair salon. Ideal for jet-lagged travelers, the gym is open 24-hours.

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Facade - Landmark Mandarin Oriental, Hong Kong, China

The Landmark Mandarin Oriental, Hong Kong

This is the stylish, boutique alternative to the hotel’s classic sibling, the Mandarin Oriental around the corner. One hundred and thirteen rooms and suites all boast sleek lines and sexy curves so it’s no wonder that categories sound like luxury car models. From the L450 to L900 (a reference to square footage), the rooms on average clock in at around 540 square-feet, making for some of the island’s roomiest accommodations. All are equally generous and well equipped. Limestone baths make dramatic focal points in the ultra-modern bathrooms. (Indagare Tip: Draw the curtains, unless you want an audience, given this hotel’s prime location in the center of Hong Kong’s business district.)

Staff provides excellent service on par with Hong Kong's most established five-stars properties. The duplex, 21,000-square-foot Oriental Spa deserves its stellar reputation as the island’s most restorative urban escape, especially with the vitality pool’s powerful massage jets to pummel away tension. Ashtanga yoga classes taught here have developed a cult following, as has the Bastien Gonzalez Pedi:Mani:Cure Studio for perhaps the world’s finest hand and feet pampering.

The street-facing MO Bar draws power brokers at breakfast, ladies who lunch (known locally as tai-tai) and, at cocktail hour, a bevy of bespoke-suited bankers. Upstairs at Amber, the hotel’s ebony-wood-paneled dining room, the chef has earned his two Michelin stars with a contemporary French menu featuring ingredients flown in daily from the Tokyo fish market, Tasmania, Brittany, and beyond.

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lounge with fireplace and lounge seating with floor-to-ceiling windows in back

The Upper House

The elegant Upper House delivers two details that are rare—and hugely appreciated—in the buzzing metropolis that is Hong Kong: space and serenity.

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