I was a little dazed when arriving in Hong Kong. When we first walked into the hotel, it was about 8:30 in the morning. We landed at 7:30 am, after I accidentally booked a 3 am flight from Phuket, thinking I booked a 3pm flight. Oops. I don’t do well after a night without sleep. I’m too old for that. All I wanted was comfort and familiarity, and a little dim sum. All were provided within hours, and provided well, at our luxury hotel in Kong Kong.
Arriving at Our Luxury Hotel in Hong Kong
This was our fourth trip to Hong Kong, since our first visit in 2009. It’s a city that we love.
During our first three visits to Hong Kong, we stayed on the Kowloon side of the Victoria Harbour. Although we’ve explored the Hong Kong side a bit, and we have a few favorite dim sum places, it’s not a side of the harbor we know well. And, when arriving after a night without sleep, I felt disoriented. I looked around the immediate vicinity of the hotel from our taxi on arrival, and wondered, where the heck am I?
We took the Airport Express train, which for 100 HKG ($13) a person, deposited us at Central Station in less than 35 minutes from the airport. A taxi ran an additional 40 HKG ($5), and whisked us to the hotel, near the convention center in minutes.
But, at first glance, it seemed we were in the middle of nowhere. On either side of the Hong Kong convention center was construction as far as the eye can see. This is pretty common in most areas along the Victoria Harbour in Hong Kong. The construction in no way affected our sleep or enjoyment of the hotel. In fact, Eric spent a lot of time in the chair against the window of our room watching the construction below. But, it made me wonder how far would we have to venture from the hotel to find the Hong Kong food I craved?
Live Life to Discover at Renaissance
The Renaissance Harbour View Hotel Hong Kong is set behind the convention center. Once upstairs, there are stunning views over the harbor (as the name suggests). We enjoyed the view from our 40th floor room, and from the club lounge, which stands on three floors, from the 40th up. Before even checking into our room, we sat down and enjoyed a coffee in the club lounge, mesmerized by the view.
The first thing I noticed after checking into our room, okay, after the amazing view, was the pair of binoculars on the windowsill, along with a map of the skyline to help point out interesting spots across the harbor. The binoculars had a tag encouraging guests to “Live Life to Discover.”
I started to notice this motto all around the hotel, a focus on encouraging discovery in every day life, part of their goal in being a lifestyle hotel. A pamphlet at check in offered “Navigator” suggestions for how to explore Hong Kong. It included recommendations for staff favorites for food and shopping. Many of the managers and staff wore name tags that only defined them as a “Navigator.” The Navigators are there to help guests explore both the hotel, and Hong Kong.
There was a reminder in the lobby that even in a busy day, it’s important to take time to discover. The coasters in the club lounge encouraged the same. I’ve never seen this kind of messaging from a lifestyle hotel before.
I took the hotel’s encouragement to discover to heart. I certainly felt on arrival that it would be necessary to discover good places to eat near the hotel, because at first it seemed to be in a somewhat desolate area, surrounded by construction. Part of this was solely due to my unfamiliarity with this part of Wan Chai. Once we started to explore, though, I realized how centrally we were located.
Discovering the Food in Wan Chai and Central
When we first arrived at the hotel, tired and discombobulated, we immediately set off for one of our favorite spots for dim sum in Hong Kong. Friends of ours from the US, who live in Kuala Lumpur, happened to be in Hong Kong the same weekend. We hopped in a taxi to take the minutes long ride to Maxim’s at City Hall.
Maxim’s is an institution for dim sum in Hong Kong, as exemplified by the long waits. Our friends managed to arrive just after they opened at 9am and scored a prime window side table. We actually walked back to the hotel from City Hall, which helped to orient me a little more on exactly where the Renaissance is.
That first night, though, we tried to use Google Maps to find a particular cooked food market, recommended by our friends over at Food, Fun, Travel. The GPS function on Google Maps was a mess the entire time we were in Hong Kong, perhaps due to the proximity to China. I’ve never felt such an epic fail from the App before. What should have been about a 15 minute walk to dinner, ended up being closer to 30 minutes because I kept getting us all turned around.
Over the next few days, we spent a good amount of time in the club lounge at the Renaissance. They offered a full breakfast, afternoon tea, and a cocktail hour. We made the most of it all. But, we were not there to explore the city solely from our luxury hotel in Hong Kong.
Once we managed to get over the Google Maps GPS debacle, we started to explore a little more old school – using maps, and our sense of smell. Ultimately, we realized how much amazing food was within walking distance of the Renaissance. It was truly a process of discovery.
We also realized we were just a few minutes walk to the MRT subway stop for Wan Chai, which enabled us to zoom over to Central, and the Soho neighborhood to meet friends. We made our way to Bowrington Cooked Food Center, Kam’s Goose, and plenty of other bbq pork and wanton mee shops.
Discovering Champagne at a Luxury Hotel in Hong Kong
Our first night in Hong Kong, prior to our GPS incident, we grabbed a complimentary cocktail from the club lounge happy hour. We started, of course, with a glass of sparkling wine. I purposely didn’t want to eat too many of the snacks on offer, because we were going to head out and explore some food in the area. But, sipping sparkling wine, while watching dusk settle into night from the club lounge was truly special.
We weren’t limited, though, to merely drinking sparkling wine in the club lounge. While staying at the Renaissance Harbour View, partners with the local Cru Magazine to host a grand champagne tasting. We had the opportunity to taste over 60 different kinds of champagne, in a lovely setting in the hotel lobby. Nothing says luxury hotel in Hong Kong, than tasting an endless supply of champagnes in one location.
We arrived a bit early to take some photos. Renaissance management escorted us around to make sure we tried more and more. I felt like I failed the hotel’s general manager, Hans, who was prodding us along to ensure we tried all 60. There was no way. I think, maybe, sadly I got through 25 or so. After three hours of drinking champagne, I was thoroughly done. I never expected that I would ever say no to champagne, but apparently, even I have a limit.
I left the Renaissance thoroughly please with our stay. When I thought we were staying in a remote corner of Wan Chai, I realized we were perfectly situated to discover Hong Kong.
Now that we are living in Bangkok, we are less than three hours away. I hope that means, we will be spending more time in Hong Kong.
Our stay at this luxury hotel in Hong Kong, along with our champagne tasting, was supported by Marriott. Rooms at the Renaissance Harbour View Hotel Hong Kong start around $245. Club level rooms with lounge access start around $400.
To book a room at the Renaissance Harbour View, we recommend using Hotels Combined!
Amber Hoffman, food and travel writer behind With Husband In Tow, is a recovering attorney and professional eater, with a passion for finding new food and drink destinations. She lives with her husband, Eric, in Girona, Catalonia, Spain. Together over the last 20 years, they have traveled to over 70 countries. Amber is the author of the Food Traveler’s Guide to Emilia Romagna.