We check in to check out the popular Marco Polo Hong Kong.
There are dog people and cat people, Coke people and Pepsi people, and when it comes to visiting Hong Kong there are Kowloon people and Island people. I’m a Kowloon person. Let me lose myself in the astonishing view and, when ready to take on that Treasure Island, bob across on the Star Ferry. It’s as Hong Kong as Hong Kong gets.
I still scratch my head at how THAT city clings to THAT rocky lump. The view is just one of perks of staying on the Kowloon side. It’s like having front row seats to the greatest show on earth. Particularly as the skyline pops and sparkles during the nightly Symphony of Lights. That never gets old.
Located by Victoria Harbour in Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon, Marco Polo Hongkong Hotel sits beside and atop Hong Kong’s largest shopping complex – Harbour City, and is flanked by the luxe retail wonders of Canton Road. Think Dior, Mont Blanc, Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Hermes, Piaget, Lane Crawford, Breguet, Cartier and Tiffany. As the calibre of its neighbours suggests, this hotel is absolutely A-list.
For convenience, there’s a pair of cheeky entrances directly into Harbour City. Simply take the hotel lift to Levels 2 or 3, slip along the corridor, around the corner and – presto! – retail paradise. Follow the steps or escalator down to the harbour foreshore and you’re just steps from the Star Ferry pier which is not only a super-convenient transport hub but a festival of street performers after dark. We joined the jovial crush each evening to see who was doing what, immersing ourselves in the life of a city with a real personality and pulse.
At the end of the day, location is everything. Close to transport. Close to shops and dining. Close to that to-die-for view. You know the list. On every count, Marco Polo Hongkong hotel is close to perfection.
ROOMS & SUITES
Marco Polo Hong Kong hotel has lots of them – 665 of them in a variety of categories, to be precise. There are Superiors, Deluxes, Premiers, and the Continental Club – designated guest floors with butler services, a posh club lounge and perks aplenty. Pleasingly, all rooms boast complimentary Wi-Fi.
In short, there’s a room to suit just about any budget and preference. The premium to upgrade to the Harbour Views available in most categories is worth every penny. Quite simply, the vistas of one of the world’s great skylines from Harbour View rooms and suites will knock your socks off.
Non-smoking rooms are available.
Hong Kong is a food city, and Marco Polo Hongkong Hotel is home to three renowned restaurants and bars. Cucina serves authentic Italian from an open kitchen; there’s all-day international dining at Cafe Marco, and the Rum Bar at Lobby Lounge – recognised by the Guinness World Records folk as having the largest selection of commercially available rums anywhere on the planet.
For guests not staying in Continental Club rooms, the Canton Lounge is a smart, affordable option for breakfast (a light buffet of continental and local selections), afternoon tea, evening drinks and canapes in a chic lounge space.
In October and November, Marco Polo celebrates 23 über-fun days of Bierfest. That’s a full seven days more than Munich’s Oktoberfest affair. Bierfest is undisputedly Marco Polo’s signature event and has been an annual highlight of entertainment calendars for residents and visitors for 25 years now. It is Hong Kong’s most authentic, popular and longest-running outdoor German beer festival. The proof is in the numbers. Last year, more than 55,800 litres of beer, 18,580 pretzels and 13,837 roast pork knuckles were served at Bierfest. Lecker!
Whilst not teeming with conspicuous kid-friendly facilities, families are made to feel pretty special at Marco Polo Hongkong. Our stay coincided with a mainland Golden Week holiday and there were plenty of them in-house. We had regularly friendly encounters at meals, around the pool and in the lifts as they lugged piles of Disneyland plush toys and keepsakes back to their rooms.
There are also some lovely touches like special gifts left for kids by the turndown team, kid-friendly cutlery and menus in the restaurants, and the excellent Piccolo Kids Club.
For kids, being front-and-centre for Hong Kong’s nightly Symphony of Lights in a Harbour View room or suite is an absolute treat. Especially if accompanied by lollies from the astonishing CitySuper next door in Harbour City.
The Handy: Every room comes with a complimentary smartphone called a Handy, an incredibly useful tool to take with you as you explore the city. We used ours to find the Yuen Po Bird Garden in Mong Kok, Kowloon Walled City Park, wet markets, and even to work out which way we were walking up Nathan Road after emerging from the MTR/subway. Your Handy offers unlimited 3G mobile internet and local calls, Wi-Fi hotspot and tethering, a dining and city guide and exclusive ticketing offers. Use it!
The Canton Lounge: Located on the 4th floor of the Hotel, the Canton Lounge enjoys a view of the adjacent 1881 Heritage gardens and serves a daily breakfast buffet, afternoon tea, all-day coffee, tea and refreshments, as well as evening drinks and canapes. Access to the Canton Lounge costs HK$400 (around AU$70) per night for two adults. A great value way to add posh to your stay for a little dosh.
The Pool: The hotel’s pool isn’t particularly long but at 2.7 metres deep (!) it’s perfect for a game of you-know-what. Just don’t even think about diving back in if you find yourself a fish out of water. Even a jump can land you in trouble with the life guards. They are STICKLERS for safety.
The Iced Tea Concoction: Marco Polo’s excellent summer drink – Earl Grape Iced Tea – is well worth a try. It’s a quirky adaptation of a traditional iced tea recipe that involves pouring cold Earl Grey tea over seedless green grapes and elderflower-infused ice cubes from a stunning decanter.
The hotel is part of Marco Polo Hotels. Other Marco Polo properties include Gateway Hotel and Prince Hotel in Hong Kong, as well as hotels in mainland China and the Philippines.
Marco Polo Hotels are part of the Global Hotel Alliance (GHA) that includes 34 premium hotel brands like Alila, Anantara, Kempinski, Pan Pacific, QT Hotels & Resorts, and the Australian Art Series Hotel Group. Based on the airline alliance model, GHA operates a multi-brand loyalty programme – DISCOVERY – which has over eight million members. GHA currently includes more than 550 upscale and luxury hotels with 110,000 rooms across 76 different countries.