Colin Nagy, head of strategy at Fred & Farid, a global advertising agency, writes this opinion column for Skift on hospitality, innovation, and business travel. “On Experience” dissects customer-centric experiences and innovation across hospitality, aviation, and beyond.
This is the first of several articles highlighting where to stay on business in some of the world’s most interesting cities. Sure, you can listen to your corporate travel department or Concur and stay where they tell you, but we propose what is likely some more-interesting options.
Below, some tried and true hotel options in Hong Kong, based on various scenarios for the discerning business traveler.
Best for: travelers who need polished service and a great business center but prefer traditional, old-school hospitality in a Hong Kong institution.
While the Landmark Mandarin is geared towards Mainland Chinese visitors looking to put the hurt on a credit card, the first Mandarin Oriental is a more subdued Hong Kong classic. Consider it a beautifully cut, Saville Row suit that has been broken in perfectly over time. The hotel serves as the first and flagship property for the global brand with recently refurbished rooms and discrete charm. Don’t miss the Chinnery lounge, an old school club lounge feel with dark wood, green leather banquettes and an air of intrigue from another time.
Perfect if: You want to stay in Central, close to everything, but don’t want to break the bank. You like the feel of a boutique hotel but not too much trendiness.
The Pottinger is a charming, British feeling hotel in the middle of Central. Rooms are crisp, elegant and at a mid-range price point. Space is a bit constrained in the common areas due to how very central the hotel is to everything, but location is prime as it is walkable to Soho, Lan Kwai Fong and the escalators to the Mid-Levels. An easy taxi will get you to any meeting in Central quickly.
Best if: You want to splash out and have a future-of-hospitality experience with an emerging HK brand.
My favorite hotel in the world, full stop. The Upper House is a bleeding edge, modern example of what a modern luxury hotel can be. They blend technology and old-school hospitality to incredible results. The location in Pacific Place is very close to most businesses in Hong Kong and if your time allows, it is near the design district and also one of my favorite places in Hong Kong, the museum at Asia Society, a short walk up the hill. Don’t miss.
Best for: those who want to spend some cash, get picked up in a Green Rolls, wear a linen suit, and get a taste of Hong Kong’s colonial past.
It’s impossible to write a list about Hong Kong hospitality and neglect the Peninsula. It is a timeless, stately institution that serves as the flagship for the brand. Service is impeccable, old-school, and polished with incredible lobby and common areas. Don’t miss the pool, which is arguably one of the most stunning in the world, with a perfect view of Hong Kong Harbor.
Ideal if: You want to channel Edward Snowden on the run in an affordable yet stylish setting in Kowloon.
Known for being the Snowden hideout in Hong Kong, the Mira is a well-priced, modern hotel on Nathan Road in Kowloon. It was recently added as a member of Marriott/SPG which is good news for business travel, and it plays at a reasonable, mid-range price point and is also relatively easy to book with points. The neighborhood is a bit chaotic, but very convenient to everyone in Hong Kong via a well-placed MTR stop.
Best for: fans of classic hotel experiences, a grand lobby, and buttoned-up service (but not a giant price tag).
I’m a huge fan of the Langham brand, particularly the London property. Their Hong Kong offering is very similar in terms of classic, polished service, with a fantastic lobby, rooftop pool and one of the best breakfast offerings in the city. The Kowloon location is a short walk from the Star Ferry and its an easy transfer from the Airport Express.
Good for: those who want a view into the future of hospitality leaders:
The Hotel Icon is a fantastic experience in Kowloon that is aligned with the School of Hotel and Tourism Management of The Hong Kong Polytechnic University. The best students serve as staff and service is consistently polished and attentive at the level of some of the hotel’s more well-known neighbors. The Icon gets details right, from a thoughtful mobile pre-arrival experience, to an incredible club floor and the Timeless lounge, which allows early arriving travelers a shower room, fitness, steam and sauna and a comfy chair while you wait for your room to be ready.