Friday, March 5, 2010

snore: island pacific hotel hong kong

starting this month, "snore" is going to be my title for accommodation reviews here on i gotta go! :)

hong kong is filled with many, many, many hotels, but my challenge in finding one has always been the budget. hong kong shopping and food may not cost much, but affordable accommodations in my favorite city have always been hard to come by. the budget hostels are not very desirable compared with singapore and thailand.

while hunting for a hotel for this year's hong kong birthday trip, i checked out agoda, asia travel, and booking.com. just my luck that my birthday falls on the week of the chinese new year celebrations, which meant hotel rates were jacked up.

i was intrigued when i found island pacific hotel on agoda. it offered a rate of USD 93 per night, much, much lower than the rates for the other hotels i've been eyeing. i flexed my google muscles, and searched for reviews of the hotel, and they were very encouraging. read on to find out how my experience was in this western district hotel on hong kong island.

booking
like i've mentioned in a previous post, i booked our rooms for island pacific hotel on booking.com, because the site offered easy cancellation terms and low rates.

of course, during my online search, i also checked out the official website of island pacific hotel, to get as much information as i can. i like it that they disclosed the size of the room on the website. hong kong hotel rooms are notorious for their "cuteness," and it helped that i knew that we were going to be billeted in a 20-square-meter room.

location
island pacific hotel is in the western district, occupying connaught road west, centre street, and des voeux road west. it's just a 35-minute bus ride from the airport: from the airport bus terminus, we got on bus a10, which cost us HKD 48 each, and got off at the fourth stop, on connaught road, in front of connaught garden. from there, it was just a short walk to the hotel.

the sheung wan MTR is quite a long walk away, but the good thing is, the tram to kennedy town stops in eastern street along des voeux road west, which is just a two-minute walk away from the hotel.

des voeux road west is also known as dried seafood street, where you can take home dried fish, dried mushroom, and even sharksfin (if you fancy that). a 7-11 is close by, as well as a cafe de coral, my favorite breakfast place when i'm in hong kong. dimsum and noodle restaurants are a dime a dozen on this street as well, but most don't speak english very well.

check-in
we entered island pacific hotel through centre street, and were warmly welcomed by the island pacific staff. the lower lobby has a set of narrow escalators that lead to the main lobby.

check-in was hassle-free, but the front desk could really use more people. i just presented the printout of our reservation via booking.com. even though our preferences were already stated in the reservation form, i had to repeat this to the hotel rep to make sure that we get double beds and one room with an extra bed. it was a nice surprise to have one of our rooms ready at 12noon, even though the official check-in time wasn't until 2pm.

i wasn't pleased, though, that nobody assisted us with our bags when we went up to the room.

room and amenities
i already knew the room was going to be small, but that didn't keep me from being surprised when we entered room 1104. i got a little bit worried that it wasn't going to be enough for the four people who'll be sharing it, but they managed to fit themselves in.

room size aside, everything else exceeded my expectations. the room was decent--clean and neat, with a view of victoria harbour, and it provided us everything we could need during the trip. i was actually pretty impressed at how they were able to fit everything in such a small room.

superior rooms at the island pacific hotel are furnished with either two twin beds or one double bed (take note, double, and not queen. this is hong kong!), individually-controlled air conditioning, a mini bar, tea- and coffee-making facilities, a desk, telephone, iron and ironing board, an olevia flat-screen TV, JVC audio system, and in-room safe. the bathroom includes basic toiletries, a telephone, bathtub, shower with hot and cold water, and a bath towel, hand towel, and face towel for each guest.

all the amenities were in perfect working order. we were particularly impressed with the air conditioning unit. since the weather in hong kong was at 8 degrees then, i chose to heat the room rather than cool it, and it worked perfectly. susie told me that even in the marco polo, the heater wouldn't work as well. plus points for island pacific hotel on this one!

the hotel also has an outdoor swimming pool and a gym, available for the use of the guests. but who wants to swim in chilly, 8-degree weather? :p

service
service was superb. no complaints on my part (save for them not helping us with our luggage :p). the staff was always very warm and friendly, and well-trained. i called the concierge a number of times to inquire about airport express rates, and to ask about their shuttle service schedule, and i would always be greeted warmly before having my query answered.

the elevators were small, but they were FAST. i never noticed elevator speeds before, but this one took us to the eleventh floor in less than 10 seconds.

a favorite offering of island pacific hotel is the complimentary shuttle service to central. on mornings when we'd be in a hurry, we would take the shuttle to IFC, which was just a mere 5 to 7-minute ride. we were fine with following the shuttle schedule, but the staff never made us wait longer than 5 minutes for the ride. the shuttle service starts at 730am and ends at 7pm, and leaves every 30 minutes.

on one occasion, my sisters' room had to be made up for the day (their room was an utter disaster--there were clothes flung everywhere!), the cleaning staff accidentally picked up my sister's personal bath towel together with the hotel's (it was white, too, with faint gray stripes, so it was easy to mistake it for a hotel towel).

when we got back to our rooms, my sister told me that her towel was missing, and i told her to call up the concierge. it didn't take long before the hotel sent someone up to clarify the problem. my sister described what her towel looked like, and the staff searched for it in the laundry room. they then went back up to her room, showed her the towel, and told her that they will have it washed and sent to her the next day. my sister came back home with a nice-smelling towel. :p i think the situation was handled very well.

value
our rooms cost a total of HKD 2,452 each for a three-night stay, which would come out to about HKD 800++ per night. the extra bed, however, cost HKD 300/night, which was quite steep, considering it really was just a mattress. room rates don't include breakfast (it's quite rare for hong kong hotels to include breakfast anyway).

for the quality of the rooms and the high service standards, i would say we got our money's worth. the shuttle service was also a great plus. it made shuttling around pretty easy when we got tired of taking the tram.

conclusion
would i go back to this hotel? definitely. i do think, though, that island pacific hotel is better suited for those who've been to hong kong before, and would like to explore a different side of hong kong island. first-timers would find the slow tram ride a hassle, since it will take longer for them to get to the more touristy spots.

for my style of traveling, though, this hotel is just perfect: in a quiet, less touristy neighborhood, surprising gems found in every corner, authentic chinese restos every few steps. the amenities were more than adequate, and the staff was a champ. they'll be seeing more of me in the years to come.

see more photos of island pacific hotel hong kong.

hotel information
island pacific hotel hong kong
address: 152 connaught road west, western district, hong kong
phone number: +852 2131 1188
email address: info@islandpacifichotel.com.hk
rates vary. consult online booking engines, or call the hotel

7 comments:

Boracay hotel said...

Not bad for a on a budget hotel accommodation, you really did your research very well, thanks for the information.

Boracay beach resort said...

The hotel is amazing it looks classy but not expensive, I definitely recommend this hotel to all business men who travel, and this is definitely the right place to stay in.

Francesca Ivy said...

hullo!

I saw your blog link at the PExlibot yahoogrp when I inquired about HK.

Since I'm a certified procrastinator, ngayon pa lang ako nagmamadali gumawa ng itinerary. To think, we're leaving this Friday na.

Sayang. I only saw this post. This hotel looks good.

i gotta go! said...

hey francesca ivy! :)

where did you end up booking your stay? just found out about a cute hostel at tsim sha tsui: hop inn hong kong

what else do you plan to do? :) maybe i can help you out! i'll be in HK from june 14-17.

Dear ME said...

hay naku, sa isang guesthouse kami somewhere in Nathan Rd. Kakahintay ko sa feedback ng Hotel Benito, ayun, mega-late na. They even jacked up the price. It's my rule kasi that as long as my accommodation is decent, clean and comfortable, I don't mind if it's not a luxury hotel. Pang-shopping ko na lang yun.

Hop Inn? Carlos Celdran sort of "recommended" the place, too. He was in HK a week ago yata for the ArtFair.

I would really appreciate if you can help me with the itinerary. My mom (60+ already but not iika-ika but she's mejo mabagal na maglakad...hehehe), my 2 yr old and my sister (not originally joining us - her airfare cost me P11k+) will be coming with me.

I'm pressured to make an itinerary kasi I cannot just drag them anywhere I want (unlike nung single pa ko). Thrill kaya yung walang reservations. Hehehe.

This Friday na flight namin & will be arriving around 10am. Flying back home naman ng Tuesday ng evening. Mukhang magkikita tayo dun. Sinong kasama mo naman this time?

Any suggestions? Gusto ko din mag-Macau. Day trip lang.

i gotta go! said...

i got the info from carlos, too, actually. :)

what kind of stuff would they enjoy? if you're on nathan road already, shopping will be easy, marami nang stores dyan.

you can take the star ferry from tsim sha tsui to central, then take them to the peak. :) i know the bus that goes to the peak tram terminal stops close to the star ferry pier.

Hong Kong Inn said...

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