From the glossy heights of Central to the streets and alleys winding through Kowloon, there are culinary, shopping and cultural delights to be found across the city. Whatever you're looking for, this guide will help you chose the best area to stay in Hong Kong.
An expert’s guide: the best area to stay in Hong Kong
Best for luxury: Central to Causeway Bay
Hong Kong is known as the vertical city, and as you make your way up the Mid-Levels escalators you can see why. Business blossomed in the 1900s and the influx of western banks, bars and boutiques line the streets on the north shore of the Island.
High-end shops and restaurants are here in abundance, and so are the most luxurious places to stay.
For oriental opulence: Mandarin Oriental. The Mandarin Oriental is often thought of as Hong Kong’s best hotel. The facilities and service are excellent, and you'll find draped Chinese tapestries and antiques in each room.
Grand rooms, grand prices: Renaissance Harbour View Hotel. As the name promises, the Renaissance offers incredible views over the water. It shares a pool and fitness centre with the Grand Hyatt but set just back is often slightly cheaper.
Best for atmosphere on a budget: Mong Kok
The streets of Mong Kok are a sensory overload: hundreds of neon signs hang above roads that bustle with shoppers – you can buy anything from cosmetics to mobile phones here – and street food stalls steaming with local specialties.
It’s a popular spot for budget travellers; Mong Kok is where the vast majority of hostels and cheaper accommodation are based.
Cash-strapped: Dragon Hostel. This seventh-floor guesthouse offers dorms, doubles and singles. Though it’s not the most glamorous (some rooms are windowless) staff are helpful, and the location is ideal.
A plush cultural experience: Royal Plaza. Located above the Mong Kok East MTR station and above the mania below, Royal Plaza is linked to the MOKO Shopping Centre, where beauty counters and designers shops can be found. You can pamper yourself in the sauna and spa and then dip back into the chaos just a few minutes away.
Best for old China: Yau Ma Tei
For a dose of old China head to the medicinal teashops, street food stalls and antiques markets of Yau Ma Tei.
The Jade Market (a covered bazaar selling varied qualities of jade) neighbours a gathering of the city's fortune-tellers and the Temple Street night market.
A 15-minute walk from the harbour, it’s the perfect place for rummaging through peculiar antiquities and mixing with the locals.
A great Location: Nathan Hotel. This new-build is located on the always-busy Nathan Road. The rooms are a lot larger than most in Hong Kong hotels and you’re in walking distance from the most visit-worthy places on Kowloon.
A place to rest your head: Booth Lodge. This Salvation Army hotel is a quiet alternative tucked off the main road next to the Jade and Temple Street markets. You can be sure to get a fairly basic but clean room.
Best for exploring: the Outlying Islands and New Territories
Glorious beaches, rugged scenery and beautiful mountainous walks are not the first thing you think of when planning a trip to Hong Kong. But if you have the time to venture out of the metropolis into the new territories, or board a boat from Central to one of the Outlying Islands, a different pace of life awaits.
Lamma has become a haven for expat artists, giving the island its ‘hippy’ label. There are no motor vehicles, so it has a sleepy seaside feel and is the perfect place to escape the city. Cheng Chau and Ma Wan are both home to small fishing villages and quaint beaches that are worth a visit.
The New Territories are sparsely populated in comparison to Kowloon and the Island. Much of the land has national park status, including the group of beautiful beaches on the Sai Kung peninsula.
For the budget wanderer: Kathmandu Guesthouse. Offering beds and doubles at the lowest rates on Lamma, this guesthouse is, in a word, simple. You’re here to chill out; finish your day of mooching with a fresh seafood dinner from one of the waterfront restaurants next door.
Luxury meets leisure: The Regal Riverside. Based in Sha Tin, it’s close enough to the lights of the city by MTR but in a perfect position to access the outdoor pursuits of scenic New Territories. It’s great value, even if a little grandiose.
Best for a laidback vibe: Sheung Wan and Sai Ying Pun
Just down from Soho along Queens Road West, Sai Ying Pun is fast becoming popular among locals and travellers alike. Here you’ll find minimalist cafés, hidden away jazz bars and techno-filled basements.
Follow Des Veoux Road West all the way to Kennedy Town for impressive views of Kowloon.
For the minimalist: The Jervois. At this ultra-modern, exquisitely-designed set of apartments in Sheung Wan, you can expect slick design and complete comfort. It’s self-catering but there’s an endless choice of dim sum and Asian fusion restaurants in the area.
For the city roamer: Eco Tree Hotel. Sitting right next to Sai Ying Pun MTR station, the rooms here are a little soulless but decent in size and the location is perfect for a walk through the Sun-Yat-Sen Memorial Park, or up into Soho.
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