First and only international hotel in New Territories

hyatt hotel in shatinI introduce this hotel because it is the first and only international hotel in New Territories. As a result of its location, the room rate is comparatively cheap. A hotel room of same international brand name in the city centre can charge HK$2600 (about $335) per night, while it charges about HK$900 (about $116) only.

And the environment is very good, as the hotel faces Tolo Harbour, with rooms having either mountain or sea view.

I am talking about Hyatt Regency Hotel in Shatin.

The hotel is located adjacent to The Chinese University of Hong Kong, at the University Station along the East Rail line of MTR, close to Lowu. Transportation would be convenient, though going to Central or Wanchai may take a bit longer.

Obviously the hotel has close relationship with the University. Right, the hotel actually is kind of teaching hotel for the University’s School of Hotel and Tourism Management. The School and the hotel group Hyatt Hotel & Resort celebrated the hotel’s soft opening in February 2009. The hotel facilities are brand new.

The hotel is special in that it has 133 long-stay suites to cater for extended stay. Given the nice environment in the Chinese University, which has Hong Kong’s most beautiful campus, and the surrounding natural scenery, the facilities for long-stay is no surprise.

Btw, if you stay in this hotel, don’t forget to visit the Pavilion of Harmony in the Chinese University’s New Asia College.

One Reply to “First and only international hotel in New Territories”

  1. Here is a review I wrote about our year long stay at Harbourview Horizon extended stay hotel/apartment in Hung Hom, Kowloon.

    Harbourview Horizon – Hung Hom, Kowloon: We pay $9900 HKD/month

    This is an extended stay hotel conveniently located close to a major hub of the Hong Kong Mass Transit Railway (MTR). Trains, Underground and Bus stations are only a ten-minute walk away. The Metropolis Mall has a small grocer, several restaurants (Japanese, Chinese and Continental (European)) as well as a Fast Food Court for inexpensive freshly prepared Asian style fare. Hung Hom has several colleges and technical schools very close by and busy streets for shopping for all sorts of necessities needed to set up or maintain a household. Whampoa is a suburb with all one would need to survive PLUS a big dash of color, personality and verve. Twenty or thirty minutes of walking can lead you to a Star Ferry (and First Ferry) Landing to transport you to North Point, Wanchai or Central. A modestly paced hour walk along the Harbor can take you to and from the Tsim Sha Tsui Clock Tower, Ocean Terminal and Nathan Road areas. A free shuttle bus runs frequently (each 15 mins most of the day) to and from the MTR station and Peninsula Hotel in Tsim Sha Tsui. Taxi service is excellent.
    My Cantonese-speaking wife and I are living here for ten months and we have another two months remaining. We have a modern, clean (but fairly sterile) apartment that overlooks much of the Harbor. We signed a twelve-month contract that required a monthly rent of $9,900 HKD. (VISA Cards are accepted.) One could find better views but we find ours to be super with the sun rising over Hong Kong Island and the daily flow of ships and boats provide us hours of fascination.
    The apartment is on the eleventh floor (twelfth as counted in America) in the second of three towers and is advertised to have 690 square feet – but I think they use the Hong Kong system that includes a prorated portion of hallways, foyers etc. Each tower has 28 floors. We have two bedrooms – one is especially tiny. The kitchenette has a two burner (Convection) stovetop, refrigerator with useable freezer, and barely adequate microwave. Bath has American style commode, single sink, great shower (lots of force and hot water). Bathtub is adequate. Each room is austerely (but pleasantly) furnished. Dining area has a four-place table. Master Bedroom is cozy; spare bedroom is good for a child no older than ten and serves us as a computer workspace. Storage area is limited but okay for two adults. Apartment has a combination washer/dryer but the dryer is useless. A clothes drying rack is provided as is a couch and a very basic LCD TV and DVD player. Cable TV is okay (price is included in rent) with an overseas version of FOX News and several English Language Channels. Of course, there are many Chinese programs.
    We had to obtain eating plates, utensils and cooking equipment (which struck us as odd). Apartment has three air conditioners mounted on the wall of each room. They work well in summer. One set of bed linen and bath towels are provided. Local telephone service is included in rent. Internet Connection is super, but costs extra. (WIFI is available free in the lobby.) There is a nice outdoor swimming pool and an adequate gym with too few workout stations. Co-located with the gym are a few computer workstations with Internet connections. However, there are no printers, scanner, copier or fax machines.
    One must pay for metered electricity but we found the charges to be reasonable, even when summertime heat required nighttime air-conditioning. (Summer: $600 – $800 HKD; Winter: $250 – $450 HKD).
    The hotel offers maid/housekeeping service that can be tailored to fit your requirements. We elected to clean on our own. There is a drycleaner and Laundry service that also includes minor tailor repairs or alterations. This service was convenient and fairly fast but the Metropolis Mall has a worthy and much less expensive competitor.
    We found the Harbour Crystal Restaurant adjacent to tower two especially handy, tasty and well priced for Cantonese food that my In Laws enjoyed as much as we did. They described the food as delicate tasting and unique. We dined there often for lunch as a couple and as a large dinner party. The restaurant as a ‘take away’ and delivery service too.
    Very nearby the tower two lobby is a mini mart complete with fresh sandwiches, noodles and other quick snacks. I found the prices here to be exorbitant and the food selections unappealing. Nonetheless, the store seems to be a thriving business.
    One December evening as we returned to our apartment we saw a huge Canadian Fir Christmas Tree being set up for decoration. It was tall, symmetrical and nicely decorated.
    Each tower has a uniformed guard present for most of the day. They looked sharp and, at first glance, very stern. However, I found them to be friendly of greeted with a cheery hello. I did notice that they would scrutinize those seeking access to the elevators and once I saw an interloper interdicted. Like all security guards, they are underappreciated until needed.
    These details properly reflect the satisfying features of this modern and well-located facility. There are drawbacks that portray a more balanced and accurate perspective.
    1. The desk staff are mostly young, uniformed and very numerous. They are also amazingly unhelpful and sometimes rudely so. Unsmiling and apparently ever busy with what seems to be “make work” they, literally, prefer to argue rather than explain or understand. They have mastered the English pronunciation of the word: “No!”
    2. Upon checking in one is provided an inventory of room equipment that includes doors as well as TV and soap dishes. Each item reflects an outrageous replacement cost. For example, should one need a new door key lock magnetic card it would cost $200 HKD. (Yes, I said key CARD!)
    3. It would be most helpful if, at check-in, a notebook of instructions were given to each apartment. I mean instructions as to how to operate the washing machine or clean the air conditioner filters or what community facilities were available.
    4. There is no information about the neighborhood. Finding the local post office branch, cinema, grocer etc was a self-help project because the desk staff feigned ignorance or language difficulty. An information rack of pamphlets, maps, advertisements or fact sheets would be useful.
    5. Many expats from many countries reside here and, one might assume, they are a friendly and curious group that would appreciate some level of socializing. Even the slightest attempt by management to facilitate communication among those residents inclined to meet would go a long way knit a community. No such attempt (Newsletter, old-fashioned bulletin board, weekly or monthly ‘coffee’ or teas) exist.
    6. When we experienced one maintenance issue that was dismissed by a lower level manager, I typed a courteous letter of complaint that invited the General Manager to personally inspect the problem. This elicited a professional and speedy response that solved our issue. Unfortunately, it also caused the lower level manager to ‘lose face’ with her superior – a situation of her own doing – but also one that I very much regretted.

    On balance: Harbourview Horizon proved very useful and suited our purposes (and budget) nicely. Having a spouse who speaks Cantonese proved invaluable. I do not recommend this as a good place for children under the age of ten. Should someone seek a place to stay more than six months, this is a good option, but only if you are prepared to be self-sufficient.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *