What's it like? One of Hong Kong's older properties, the Marco Polo Hong Kong Hotel has changed names over the years and was once known as the Omni. The hotel has 664 rooms and suites, some with stunning views over Victoria Harbour. The hotel is part of the way through a refurbishment programme that, by the time of my visit, had seen the lobby area modernised.
Where is it? In Kowloon, just a short walk from the Star Ferry and three blocks from the MTR for swift transit to the Central district. It's great for getting about and, as it is part of Harbour City, there is no shortage of nearby shops and restaurants.
Room facilities On arriving at 8.15am I was pleased to find my room was available. My bags reached the room a couple of minutes or so after me, although unfortunately the first one they tried to deliver was not mine. There are two types of rooms: guest and harbour view. The size varies but the average room is 42sqm, fitted out with traditional furnishings. There are two types of suite: the standard at 55sqm and the harbour view at 140sqm. There are also rooms and suites in the hotel's two-floor Continental Club, and facilities here include access to the club lounge and meeting facilities, complimentary breakfast and beverages, and a round- the-clock butler service.
I was staying in a harbour view room. It felt as if the soft areas had been updated in the not-too-distant past, and there are some plans to upgrade the room stock. The room had a designated area for unpacking luggage and hanging clothes, which is also home to the minibar and tea and coffee-making facilities. The bedroom was fitted out with cream and beige wallpaper, and wooden furniture upholstered in blue and burgundy material. There were two single beds pushed together with comfortable feather-down pillows and duvets, a desk with chair, and two armchairs with a coffee table. Broadband connection cost HK$120 (£8.20) per day or HK$70 (£4.80) per hour.
The toiletries in my bathroom were a mixture of Bulgari and Marco Polo's own-brand, and there was a combined bath and shower. Dressing gowns, slippers and a safe were in the wardrobe.
Restaurants and bars A number of dining options are available within the hotel. These include Gripps American Bar and Restaurant, open at lunch and in the evening with great harbour views; the Lobby Lounge open from 7am to 1am for snacks or more substantial fare, with live entertainment in the evening; Cafe Marco, open from 6am until midnight, which supplies both buffet and à la carte dining; Yè Shanghai, where private rooms are available; Nishimura for Japanese food; or the Eastern Palace Chiu Chow Restaurant. And if that or room service can't meet your desires, there are over 50 restaurants in Harbour City.
I tried the buffet breakfast at Cafe Marco for HK$182 (£12.50). There was a good selection of hot and cold Chinese, English and Continental items. Quality was good, but expect some strange looks if, like me, you load up noodles, dim sum and bacon on the same plate.
While the restaurants were all functioning during the time of my visit, there are plans for refurbishment by the end of 2006 to include new dining options and create a dining area by the pool.
Business and meeting facilities There are eight meeting and function rooms capable of holding events ranging from small meetings to ones that accommodate up to 500 people. A business centre with full services is available 24 hours a day on the ground floor next to reception.
Leisure facilities There is a gym with cardiovascular machines and outdoor pool with sun deck on the six floor. In the next phase of refurbishment the gym is closing to make way for a spa and guests will get use of either the Fitness First at the Gateway Hong Kong or the Pacific Club, both just a few minutes' walk away.
Verdict A well-located hotel for both Kowloon and Central, and the convenient Star Ferry trip to Central's business district is a great way to start the day.
Prices Best flexible internet rate for a mid-week stay in early November was HK$2,755 (£189) for a harbour view room on a standard floor, and HK$1,800 (£124) for a superior room on a standard floor.
Contact The Marco Polo Hong Kong Hotel, Harbour City, Kowloon, Hong Kong; tel +852 2113 0088; marcopolohotels.com.