Submitted on 21-03-2016
I really want to love this place. Keep that in mind as you read on. There are so many good and… not so good things here that I have mixed feelings about it and cannot give it the wholehearted approval that I wish I could. Instead I will list a few major categories and assess them individually which will give a better picture. Please bear in mind, this is not a standard hotel. It is a serviced apartment so things will be very different and the differences will keep coming up, so you need t...
I really want to love this place. Keep that in mind as you read on. There are so many good and… not so good things here that I have mixed feelings about it and cannot give it the wholehearted approval that I wish I could. Instead I will list a few major categories and assess them individually which will give a better picture. Please bear in mind, this is not a standard hotel. It is a serviced apartment so things will be very different and the differences will keep coming up, so you need to manage your expectations accordingly. They don’t have housekeeping on weekends or holidays. While they have rooms for rent on a daily basis, I believe their primary clientele rents by the month. Some people will find this the most amazing place for the price. Some people will cringe at the thought of staying here. I hope my detailed review will help you decide which one you are:
Space – At 90 square meters, this is the size of at least a junior suite in most true 5 star hotels, and a full suite in most true 4 star properties. You have lots of space, more than most local Hong Kong people who live in apartments half this size. Seriously. There is a nice sized sofa, a full sized desk, a large window seat, and a LOT of storage space. Enough storage space to truly “move in” for a long time. The kitchenette is really enough to prepare three meals a day, and I will discuss this a little more later. Every space is utilized for a drawer, cabinet, or closet. I think the best way to describe the overall style and design is to think “Ikea”.
Location – It seems terrible at first, but the location is actually fantastic. Just one MTR stop away from Sheung Wan (HK/Macau Ferry Terminal), or two stops from Central you are extremely well located. The hotel is an extremely convenient 2-4 minute walk from the Sai Ying Pun station. It seems terrible at first, because quite frankly the area is old and VERY “local” but can actually be a blessing in disguise. Shops and food are cheap and plentiful especially if you like seafood. Just around the corner from the hotel, we had a ridiculous dinner of a whole crab fried with chili and garlic, razor clams, a spicy squid and shrimp dish, golden fried tiger shrimp (king prawn), sweet and sour grouper, and a steamed fish (I think it was a red snapper). Plus 4 glasses of a fantastic lemon tea, and ovaltine, and a beer… for 863 HKD. Like I said, this is a local, residential area. You’re going to mom and pop shops and not paying tourist prices, but you’re also just a few minutes from those tourist areas, if you want to go.
View – As long as you’re not on one of the lowest floors, you have a beautiful view of the harbor and a clear shot of the ICC building. The outside of the window however, was filthy so the view was somewhat obscured. It was still nice however, and if you like watching the ferries go by, you’ll see them constantly going to and fro from Macau (just one MTR stop away from Sheung Wan, remember?).
Extras – FREE HANDY PHONE. Free calls and 3G internet all around HK. Free international calls to 5 countries (I believe they said China, Singapore, India, USA, and Canada?). Lots of other info to make it easier for you to be a tourist, or a temporary local. This can be incredibly convenient for a lot of people who need to be connected. Plus free wifi in the room. Kitchenette… You actually get two electric stoves, a large kitchen sink, a small empty refrigerator, a toaster, a Pacific Coffee capsule coffee machine (with capsules) as well as a standard drip coffee machine, an electric kettle, as well as a variety of pots, pans, dishes, cups, and utensils. Iron and board, hair dryer, pretty much everything you need to actually live here for a while. Remember, it’s a serviced apartment. They also have a DVD player, and you can apparently either borrow or rent DVDs from their management office. I didn’t try though.
Privacy – Both good and bad, but mostly good. Where it shines is the fact that there are only two units per floor, and each unit is serviced by a separate elevator. As some people have indicated, you essentially have a private lift. Your keycard gives your elevator access to only your own floor and the rooftop, and then you have a physical key for the apartment. When the door to the lift opens, you are in a semi-private alcove with just the fire escape and your apartment door. I assume you could get to the other apartment alcove through the fire escape, but I didn’t try. However, I do think the setup inside might be a little too open if you have guests visiting. While I didn’t have a problem with it, the bathroom door is glass. Frosted in the middle, but not the top and bottom, and looks straight at the shower if someone were to peek under (as my children did when mommy was inside). There also isn’t a separate door to the toilet, or anywhere else for that matter. The only door inside the apartment is the one to the bathroom. The sleeping area is not wholly separated from the living area. It’s most likely meant to be an open setup that allows for maximum natural light (hence the glass bathroom doors), but real privacy inside the apartment is non-existent.
The doors do not automatically lock. Serviced apartment not hotel, remember. Also, no separate security latch or deadbolt, just a household door lock. The lobby staff and essentially private elevator does provide a second layer of security, but it feels weird.
The lobby – It’s not a hotel lobby because it isn’t a hotel. It’s basically a check in counter, and it’s a bad first impression that might give you second thoughts. Apparently most actual operations are handled on the second floor from the Management Office.
Professionalism/Customer Service – While not terrible, they are obviously not well trained. These are not hospitality professionals. While they were friendly and tried to help, they don’t know much, and constantly refer to printed sheets with the information.
Extras – This time not the good kind of extras…. Extra fees. Anything extra costs money and quite a bit. For instance, just an extra blanket was 100 HKD. What?!? A crib would have been around 150? An extra bed was 440 HKD! In fact, I only inquired about the bed because I was being honest. The policy was that if you had a third adult, you needed to pay for an extra bed. But the staff told me to check the room first to see if it would fit our needs, and we could get a bed later if we still wanted to. I don’t know if they felt it was bothersome, or they were just trying to save me a couple of bucks but I didn’t mind that at all. There’s lots of space in the apartment, and the couch is absolutely long and wide enough to comfortably sleep an average sized adult, but you might as well just buy your own extra blanket if you need one.
The Ugly (or weird)
There is a second door inside the bathroom that leads into a pump room alcove and also to the fire escape. I guess it could be nice for safety, but it just seemed strange. There also isn’t an electric socket in the bathroom for some reason. You will have to dry your hair outside.
Cleanliness – Ah… this is just so important and it is simply not up to a “4 star hotel” standards. Because, it’s not a hotel, right? Perhaps we were simply unlucky, and it also depends on your personal standards, but to me the cleanliness was perhaps at the level of a 2-3 star hotel or a motel? The level is probably acceptable to many, but this is definitely the dealbreaker for those with high standards, and the only reason we probably won’t be back (this is the only reason I can’t say I LOVE this place, even though I want to). It wasn’t DIRTY, no obvious stains or marks it just didn’t feel entirely clean. The floors weren’t too bad, about what you expect from a hotel but… The sheets and blankets were white and stain free… but there were a lot of…. Black fuzzies. Nothing so disgusting as hair or anything, and personally, I thought it looked like dryer lint, but my wife felt that it was a coating of dust. Perhaps it was because it was a holiday weekend, and they had to use some blankets and sheets that had been in storage for a while. Perhaps it is simply a dirty ventilation system or bad dryers but the black fuzzies really killed the otherwise fantastic vibe. Since I did stay the night, I want to believe it was just dryer lint.
Your mileage may vary, maybe we had an unusual experience, but we probably won't be back.