I arrived in Hong Kong around 7am after a 12 hour flight from Manchester. It was safe to say I was beyond exhausted and dreaming of a comfy bed. I navigated my way out of Hong Kong airport with more ease then expected given my immense tiredness and caught the transfer to the hotel.
Hong Kong is pretty much split into two main islands, Kowloon and Hong Kong Central, split by Victoria Harbour. I was based on Kowloon Island and spent the majority of my time exploring this side of the harbour.
I had opted to stay at the Harbour Grand Kowloon, mainly because of it’s swimming pool and spectacular views across Victoria Harbour, neither of which disappointed. I was staying in a club room which included access to the Club Lounge, breakfast, afternoon tea and evening cocktails. The club rooms were also located on the highest floors, offering even better views.
When I arrived at the hotel I was speedily checked in, although was disappointed to find my room was not ready. Although I expected this given that no-one in their right minds was going to have checked out by 8am out of choice, I was still hopefully for an early flight departure which may have gone my way, but alas, no such luck. I was however pointed to the Club Lounge and invited to enjoy the breakfast buffet and relax there until my room was ready.
Although I just wanted to crash on my bed, I found myself a seat in the window and began making the most of the breakfast buffet and free wifi. Two hours later and I was granted the news I had been waiting for – MY ROOM WAS READY!!!
My room was on the 19th floor with the most incredible view of Victoria Harbour. I found myself mesmerised as I looked out of the window and baffled as to why on earth there were curtains! Why would anyone ever want to shut out this view?!
The room was larger than expected and the bed was ginormous! To the point that you could wake up in the middle of the night disorientated in the vastness of the bed. As soon as my luggage was brought up I pressed the ‘do not disturb’ sign on the bedside console and slept.
Now, I know some people say you should stay up to get into the time zone BUT I was exhausted and there was no way I would make it to the afternoon if I didn’t have some sort of nap. So I slept for a few hours and woke at 1pm. Feeling refreshed, I decided to venture up to the rooftop pool.
Now, the pool was what had attracted me to this hotel, and although it looks spectacular in pictures, in real life, it was a lot smaller than expected but still pretty impressive! Luckily, it was never crowded when I was using it but I could tell that at peak times, this pool would probably be less than enjoyable. However, I did enjoy a leisurely afternoon here, looking at the view, swimming in the water and watching the amount of time and effort other guests were putting into their selfie taking (It turns out this was something that happened everywhere on this trip!).
To be honest, I have been a bit spoilt with roof top pools, the last one I swam in having been at the Marina Bay Sands. Therefore, this pool was at a disadvantage from the off. I would probably have been a bit more mesmerised by this pool had it not been for previous experiences.
I cannot really comment on the food at the hotel as we ate out, however, the breakfast selection was good. It covered all the bases, eggs, meats, cheese, breads, pastries, fruits and fresh coffee! It definitely set me up for the day ahead. I have had a better selection within each category at other hotels but as I said, it did the job.
Overall, the hotel was fantastic, in particular the rooms and value for money. I would happily stay here again but maybe in their sister hotel in Hong Kong Central, so I could experience that side of the harbour more.
I will start off with a warning here, I was a very bad traveller/tourist and did not get round to eating dim sum. Shocking, I know.
I did however have some amazing meals in Hong Kong and I have to say, if you like your food, you really can’t go wrong here. So long as you have the budget to actually be able to afford to eat here. It is by no means cheap!
For cheap(er) options, you want to head to Temple Street Night Market. Here you will find plastic tables and chairs out in the street, packed with people enjoying delicious local, freshly cooked food. The only downside; you will melt in the heat!
If you are willing to pay way too much for good food, then the ‘dine in the sky’ concept that a few places in Hong Kong have is right up your street. These are restaurants that have taken up the top floors of some popular buildings in the city, affording incredible views alongside pretty incredible food. However, you will pay alot for this!!
My favourite restaurant from this concept was Wooloomooloo Prime. There are a few branches of this restaurant but I opted for the restaurant located in The One building, which is essentially a large shopping mall. You enter off the main road and go up a few escalators, past many shops, before getting into a designated lift depending on where you are dining that evening.
Wooloomooloo Prime is on the 21st Floor and it is quite impressive. The restaurant is dark but in an intimate way rather than seedy, there is a smell of good food and a general buzz about the place. And it was packed. I booked about 2 or 3 months in advance. It paid off though as I had an incredible table right in the window. I was probably rubbish company as I spent the entire time staring out at the view.
The service was impeccable, you never had to wait for anything, and the waiting staff always seemed to know what you wanted before you even realised yourself. My wine glass was never less than a 3rd empty as they constantly topped it up. The food was just, wow, incredible. I had the most amazing, succulent steak that was cooked to perfection. I over ordered on the sides though, they are massive and given the cost, you really don’t want to be wasting anything! I would suggest you share sides, they are not made for one person. One of the best bits though; the sauce selection. You get mini saucepans of all the sauces and, should you fancy, the steak is plenty large enough to try them all!
If I ever want back to Hong Kong I would definitely eat here again. I cannot recommend it enough, if you like steak that is. If you don’t, I’d probably avoid!
My first night in Hong Kong was somewhat unsuccessful on this front, I seemed to walk round and round in circles and struggled to find anywhere which seemed to be just a bar. Everywhere was just full of people eating! I ended up retreating back to my hotel and digging out the trusty guidebook and trip adviser to see where in Hong Kong you could just sit and drink!
After some research, the next night was much more successful. I opted to head for Salisbury Road. There were a few bars and restaurants along here, all out in the open and looking out across the road to the harbour. There was quite a mixture here from a tapas bar to a german bar to a few shisha bars, so there was something for everyone. I settled on the german bar and after a slight mistranslation, ended up with a beer considerably bigger than my head!
One of my favourite places to drink was Ozone bar. This is located at the top of the building hosting the Ritz Carlton Hotel. Very Fancy and very, very tall. It takes 2 separate lifts to get to the bar. My ears popped numerous times as the lift shot to the top in no time at all. There is an indoor bar area and a semi outdoors area. I opted for the outdoors area (despite the fact it was drizzling) as this is where the view is. Even in the rain, the view was pretty incredible, and this view was definitely reflected in the price of the drinks. £20 for a cocktail!!
The price was worth it though for the view and the experience. After all, I can now say I drank a dragontini in the highest bar in the world. FACT.
P.s. The toilets are made almost 100% out of marble. Be prepared to use your muscles to open the doors to avoid any embarrassing fails!
Temple Street Night Market
This is pretty much a must do when you visit Hong Kong. Don’t bother getting there before the sun goes down though, I arrived at around 8pm and even then it wasn’t in full swing until at least 9pm.
The stalls literally sell everything. And I mean everything. No stall seemed to have a theme, they all sold an eclectic mix of gadgets, toys, pictures, tourist tats and clothes. There were lucky cats waving their paws, toy wind up babies crawling around and music blaring from all angles. It really is quite an experience and a good place to practice your haggling skills.
If you head up towards the area thats split by the temple, you will find the streets here lined on one side with fortune tellers and the other side lined with some very bad music acts. I decided to have my palm read and struggled to hear what was being said due to the mixture of sounds coming from over the road. The singers and acts were probably quite good if they were one at time, but all together, doing different songs, it was just a very bad noise!
Word of warning here, if you opt for a fortune teller. Firstly, not all speak English. They all know how to shout you over in English, but it pretty much stops there. Look out of the ones who have English on their signs as well, as this is a good indication you will be able to understand each other. Also, agree the price first, and beware that if you ask any questions, you will be charged extra for those. Even if the answers given are pretty vague! I fell victim to this and it ended up costing me an extra 100HKD! Epic tourist fail right there. If you explore long enough, you may even find the fortune tellers who have trained birds to tell your fortune. How accurate this is, who knows.