Tried & Tested

Hotel check: Intercontinental Hong Kong

27 Jun 2011 by Tom Otley

What’s it like? At 495 rooms, the Intercontinental is a large property, and although built in 1980, it first opened as the Regent before rebranding ten years ago. The hotel is bustling during the day, but the service isn’t impersonal, and a problem I had connecting to the internet was dealt with immediately. 

From the outside, the red granite cladding has dated slightly, but from the inside its position is unrivalled. Effectively, it is built into the marina on the Kowloon side of Victoria Harbour, with only the Avenue of Stars – a walkway on stilts along the waterfront – ahead of it. Some two-thirds of the hotel’s rooms and most of the public areas look out on to the water and Hong Kong Island beyond, so both by day and night guests enjoy fantastic views. 

The property rises to the 17th floor, and since 2001, there has been fairly constant renovation, with most of the rooms having been done in 2005-2006. One point to note is that over the summer the demolition of the adjacent building is causing some disruption, though work stops at night and does not take place on Sundays. 

Where is it? In Tsim Sha Tsui, a few minutes’ walk from the shopping of Nathan Road and easily accessible from MTR station East Tsim Sha Tsui (head for Exit F and then take Exit J2). 

Room facilities Try to get one of the 300-plus rooms with harbour views. The entry-level category is Superior Plaza View (33 sqm), followed by Superior Harbour, Deluxe Plaza, Deluxe Harbour, Deluxe Junior Harbour suite, Executive suite and Deluxe suite. (There are four smoking floors.) 

All rooms are cleverly designed – particularly the Harbour View ones with a mirror either side of the window opening up the vista even more. All feature 24-hour butler service, 37-inch flatscreen TVs, iPod docks and Bose sound systems. Wired/wifi internet costs HK$156 (£12) per 24 hours, although it is free in Club rooms and in the executive lounge. 

Any room can be upgraded to the Club category, either by upgrading to a corporate rate or by buying the package straight from the hotel’s website. Amenities are then switched from Elemis to L’Occitane, and guests get free water, fruit, wifi and access to the lounge. I was impressed with the minibar menu, which suggested all the cocktails that could be made using only the products provided. A very clever way to encourage consumption. 

Restaurants and bars There are some excellent dining choices including Spoon by Alain Ducasse, fine-dining Japanese restaurant Nobu, the Michelin-starred Yan Toh Heen, the Steak House, and Harbourside, for all-day dining in the lower lobby and a popular buffet breakfast and lunch. Nobu is as excellent as always, but the Steak House is something special, not least since it has a charcoal grill, something that would not now be allowed in new restaurants in Hong Kong.

Business and meeting facilities Next to the Club lounge on the second floor is a good-sized business centre. And as well as a 1,300-capacity ballroom, which is being renovated over the summer for a grand reopening in autumn, there are 11 function rooms for 36 to 320 delegates theatre-style. 

Leisure facilities There is a spacious 24-hour fitness club on the third floor, a spa (open 8am-10pm daily), and an outdoor pool (note that this is overlooked by the construction site). There are also free t’ai chi classes five times a week, as well as twice-weekly yoga sessions.

Verdict In terms of position and views, the Intercontinental Hong Kong is hard to beat, and the service is faultless. The interior design has held up well over the years, but it is time for a renovation now.

FACT FILE

HOW MANY ROOMS? There are 495 rooms, including 87 suites with views of Victoria Harbour.  

ROOM HIGHLIGHTS The innovative minibar menu and the views mean you can make your own entertainment.

PRICE Internet rates for a midweek stay in September started from HK$1,990 (£157) for a Superior Plaza View room.

CONTACT 18 Salisbury Road, Kowloon; tel +85 227 211 211; hongkong-ic.intercontinental.com

Tom Otley

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