WHAT’S IT LIKE? Hongkong’s homegrown chain – the Harbour Plaza – is right at the edge of the harbour in Kowloon.As you enter the lobby of floor-to-ceiling windows that let in rays of natural sunlight, the magnificent Victoria Harbour is the first thing to catch your eye.
According to feng shui principles, water represents wealth, and with the waves flowing inward to where the property stands, is supposed to lead to greater prosperity, as well as fortune and health to all staying in the guestrooms.
WHERE IS IT? There’s more than one Harbour Plaza in Hongkong, so make sure the cabbie knows it’s the one in Whampoa Garden,Hunghom in Kowloon, or you may end up on the Hongkong Island side. Other ways to get there: via the 15-minute ferry from Star Ferry in Central and shuttle bus service from the KCR Hunghom Station and Tsimshatsui.
HOW MANY ROOMS? 498 guestrooms and suites, including 84 club floor rooms.
ROOM FACILITIES: Most guestrooms come with bathrobes, but how many come with this humourous plea: “The other day, our bathrobes told us that some of them were being kidnapped and taken to far away places. So we adopted some new ones and now everyone is happy again. You would not want to break up a new family, would you?” There’s broadband for a fee: US$10.95 for the first 30 minutes and US$19 for a full day. (Contact the operator for the access code.) Your statement of expenses can be called up on the TV monitor.
BUSINESS FACILITIES: The business centre on the third floor offers typing in English or Chinese, photocopying and laser printing and has workstations and three boardrooms.
RESTAURANTS: Breakfast in the lobby at The Promenade, which looks out onto the water, makes for a refreshing start to the day. There’s no lack for places to entertain business colleagues with Hoi Yat Heen serving popular Cantonese dim sum, Harbour Grill for Italian, Robatayaki for sashimi and sushi, while the Whampoa Lounge provides an ideal environment for a small meetings as well as the snacks to spice them up.At the Corner Café, find pastries, sandwiches and mocha blends, and even a cigar lounge.
BAR: The former Pit Stop has metamorphosed into the sleek Waterfront Bar & Terrace whose Happy Hour promotions and live band keep the place on fire.
FITNESS CENTRE: A site on the highest floor allows workouts with a view. The outdoor lap pool and whirlpool also face the harbour. Facials and massage therapies make use of Jurlique products.
VERDICT: The best part of my stay was interacting with the staff – they were genuinely friendly people, who displayed a great sense of humour.
PRICE: From US$360 for a Harbour Club Courtview Room and from US$412 for a Harbourview Room.