For business travellers seeking a boutique-like hotel experience but with the backing and service of a global chain, Hotel Jen Hong Kong by Shangri-La fits the bill by doing things a little differently, while still offering all the amenities more 'traditional' guests have come to expect.
Among them, a Club Lounge, business centre, 24-hour gym and a swimming pool, joined by a Michelin-awarded restaurant in a great location for exploring, relaxing and also detouring to Macau, with the Ferry Terminal close by.
Australian Business Traveller puts Hotel Jen Hong Kong through its paces following a recent visit.
Location & Impressions
Situated in Hong Kong Island's Western District, Hotel Jen resides on Queen's Road West...
... with many of the rooms and suites afforded great views towards Hong Kong Harbour: particularly the hotel's Club Lounge, which offers floor-to-high-ceiling windows to take in the sight:
You can explore the neighbourhood more on foot, where a quick stroll takes you to a boulevard along the Harbour, for some more great water and city views:
Back at the hotel, I found my room clean, bright and airy...
... with a Shangri-La Golden Circle Diamond welcome of fresh fruit, lollies, water and a bottle of red wine:
Finally, the closest MTR station is HKU (take exit B2), which is across the road from the hotel. If you're regularly coming and going, also note this shortcut entrance to the side of the hotel:
While it's not marked, it saves you from walking around the block to reach the main hotel entrance, as stepping through here takes you directly to the guest-level elevators, whereas the main entrance door requires you to take an escalator up one level before stepping into the lift, so remember, the door under "fireman's lift"!
The hotel also provides a shuttle service to a range of local spots, including the Macau Ferry Terminal in Shueng Wan, which is only a short drive from the hotel (or two stops on the MTR).
Having stayed at this hotel previously in a Deluxe Harbour View Room, this time, I opted for a Club Harbour View Room instead, although there's no real difference between the two, except that the latter also includes access to the Hotel Jen Club Lounge – but more on that later.
Located on the higher floors of the hotel, the view was relatively unobstructed, and a sofa bench by the window is perfect for setting up casually with a laptop, or taking a phone call while you put your feet up and enjoy the scenery:
The king bed is as you'd expect...
... but while there's access to power on one side of that bed – handy for charging your smartphone while keeping it close by...
... power points are absent on the other side, which feels like an oversight:
Elsewhere around the room, there's a fixed shelf for your suitcase – always preferred over the flimsy collapsible luggage racks other hotels provide – which also tucks away a DVD player just below...
... and inside the cupboard, bath robes, a safe, an iron and ironing board, and so on:
When it comes to the bathroom, this hotel is a little unconventional in its space-saving endeavours, in that the door you see below isn't an internal door between your room and the bathroom, as such, it's the hotel room's main exterior door:
In that bathroom 'slash' walkway, there's the expected vanity, with a selection of amenities including shaving and make-up mirrors, toiletries, bottled water, a clock and a kettle...
... and to the side, a walk-in shower:
The bathroom can be separated from the main room by a sliding wooden door: but of course, with that door closed, you can't go into and out of the room from the outside:
I actually didn't mind this arrangement, particularly as I was travelling solo, but as goes without saying, open the room's exterior door with caution if staying with a partner, and only one of you has gone out!
Guest staying on the Club floors are also given complimentary pressing of one item per stay, and free local calls.
Beyond the window-side sofa, the room also provides a working desk with a lamp and easy access to power via several outlets, which the hotel had thoughtfully pre-filled with international travel adaptors that accepted Australian pins and a variety of others:
With access to the Club Lounge available too, there's a business centre in the corner with computers provided...
... although given the views available here, I much preferred setting up my laptop and working by the window with my morning coffee, but there's a general lack of power points in the lounge, so be sure to charge your devices beforehand:
WiFi is free, and speeds are adequate, with average downloads of 6.5Mbps and average uploads of 9.5Mbps measured during my stay: not overly fast, but still good enough for tasks like HD video streaming or Skype calls.
Continuing with the Club Lounge, breakfast is served daily from the buffet with the usual continental offerings and a couple of hot dishes that changed from day to day, although having spent three of the past four weeks abroad for work prior to my stay, I was quite content with a homely piece of toast!
In the evenings (5:30pm-7:30pm), a great range of sandwiches, snacks, meats, salads, cheeses, nibbles and desserts make an appearance...
... including a delicious cake of the day, that guests had already begun tucking into when I arrived close to the service time (and I can't really blame them!).
Alcohol is complimentary in the evenings with basic spirits, beer, and wine...
... which was pleasant to enjoy over by the windows as the sun was going down at the end of a long work day:
A range of non-alcoholic drinks are available here throughout the day including machine-made espresso coffee and soft drinks, joined by a variety of sweets and a little fruit:
Separately, the hotel's Cafe Malacca restaurant specialises in Singaporean and Malaysian hawker-style fare for lunch and dinner...
... while also serving an extensive buffet breakfast with a great range of Western and Asian options, plus an egg chef and a pancake/waffle station.
Breakfast at the restaurant is complimentary for all Shangri-La Golden Circle Jade and Diamond members: a generous benefit, considering the restaurant was awarded the Michelin Guide's Bib Gourmand award for two consecutive years.
(Unlike the better-known Michelin stars – where one star is "worth a stop", two stars is "worth a detour" and three stars is "worth a special journey", such as Heston Blumenthal's iconic and three-starred The Fat Duck – Bib Gourmand awards recognise "exceptionally good food at moderate prices".)
Head to the hotel's rooftop where you'll find a 24-hour fitness centre with more of those spectacular views, which is also about to be renovated: so if you're staying between Monday November 26 and Sunday December 9 2018, expect some temporary arrangements elsewhere at the hotel while those works take place:
Next door on the rooftop is the hotel's swimming pool, staffed by a lifeguard during opening hours, and again, with more of those Harbour views, which you can enjoy from the poolside...
... ditto the Club Lounge. I probably spent more time here than in the room...
... but with a spacious, relaxing atmosphere, it was time well spent – when not out enjoying the city, of course!
Overall, this is a very pleasant hotel that's conveniently-located for travellers doing business on Hong Kong Island, taking a detour to Macau or spending time in the city's night life districts, which are all close by.
The room rates here also tend to be very reasonable: on previous stays as a paying guest, I've nabbed lead-in rates online for less than A$200/night, which is great value for a well-located modern hotel, but especially so if you're a Golden Circle Jade or Diamond member which provides free breakfast, and Club Lounge access too for Diamond guests.
I also like that the property doesn't have that typical 'chain hotel' feel as can be the case with many other brands, so although Hotel Jen is part of Shangri-La, it has more of a 'boutique' vibe, yet with the level of service you'd expect of a major international hotel. I've stayed here before, and I'd certainly stay here again.
Chris Chamberlin was a guest of Hotel Jen Hong Kong by Shangri-La.