Catering equally to busy business travellers and higher-end leisure visitors, the 'Marco Polo Hongkong Hotel' gives you a taste of classical luxury on Hong Kong's Kowloon island, with harbour views to relax by and an impressive two lounges in which to work.
Its membership in the Global Hotel Alliance also gives great perks like room upgrades and late check-outs to Platinum and Black members of GHA's Discovery loyalty program, and basics like complimentary Internet access and bottled water to all members.
Location & Impressions
Directly adjacent to Harbour City in Tsim Sha Tsui, the Marco Polo Hongkong Hotel enjoys harbour-front views from selected rooms and city views from others. The nearby streets are packed with luxury outlets – hotel guests even receive discounts at some of them – while the lobby takes on a more modest approach: Having booked a Deluxe Harbour View King room, we were pleased to find that view in pristine condition when sitting in bed... ... with the alternate, less-desirable view only seen when standing by the window itself. Less-impressive were the hallways en route to the room which smelled very 'damp' – but which fortunately didn't carry into the room itself.
The style here is very much Old World, and that works quite nicely within the rooms through touches like artwork, traditional lamps, a bed end and timber furniture... ... in particular, a hanging rack and a decent-sized office desk with accessible power points and a fixed-height chair, which proved comfortable even after working for hours on end: We also like that there's a separate walk-in area just for your luggage, the mini bar and a Nespresso machine, and this 'Handy' mobile phone which the hotel loans to guests for free: You can use it to make free calls within Hong Kong to a number of countries (excluding Australia, unfortunately), but it also doubles as a WiFi modem to take with you when out and about.
But with the good comes the not-so-good – the bathroom offers only a shower tub, or 'shub', located within a small room... ... while the vanity area comes carpeted as part of the room proper: That's fine if you're on a business trip and have the room for yourself, but if you're travelling with a partner and happen to be working or watching TV while they're using a noisy hairdryer, there's no door to close to contain the sound.
Guests staying on the higher-tier Continental Club floors have free reign to visit the Continental Club Lounge on level 17, with plenty of tables for setting up a laptop and getting things done. It's open from 7am until midnight and comes with a separate boardroom guests can book for two hours per day at no extra charge.
But if your employer or personal budget only allows for a basic room, the hotel has a second lounge on level four that you can pay a nightly fee to utilise. Known as the Canton Lounge, access comes at a charge of HK$330/night (A$56.50) for solo travellers or HK$440/night (A$75.50) for couples, atop your regular room rate.
It's again great for laptop use with these working benches offering desk-level power points and a respectable view... ... while the inclusive food and beverage options help to justify the price: WiFi comes fast and free throughout the hotel, with download speeds ranging between 5.59Mbps and 21.04Mbps, uploads more stable between 5.16Mbps and 6.43Mbps and ping speeds of 3-5ms.
And don't forget – if the hotel's wireless network isn't up to speed for any reason, the free Handy device in your room serves as a great backup.
With access provided to the Continental Club lounge during our visit, we stopped by for breakfast to enjoy a range of bites spanning noodles, fried rice, fruits, yoghurts, cereals and sushi... ... through to more premium options like crab cakes and scrambled eggs with caviar, also available at the buffet: Aside that is a Nespresso machine which the staff offer to operate on your behalf, and an egg station from which we ordered a delightful omelette: Smoked salmon bagels, pancakes, waffles and French toast are also available, while later in the day a table of sweets and cheeses makes an appearance... ... with the lounge also serving hot drinks throughout the day plus afternoon tea, then alcoholic drinks and canapés in the evening.
We also stopped by Cucina: the hotel's Italian restaurant led by Chef de Cuisine Andrea Delzanno, which offers tables both inside and out: To start, a nicely-presented creamy burrata cheese with fresh tomatoes, basil salad and 24-month Prosciutto – a fresh and light way to begin our four-course meal... ... followed by linguine with Sicilian red prawns, a prawn sauce reduction made from prawn heads, coral and Sicilian cherry tomatoes with extra tomatoes on the side: a well-balanced dish that's sweet and somewhat creamy without overpowering the more savoury notes of the pasta: The main comes as a slow-cooked Wagyu beef cheek atop a pumpkin purée with porcini mushrooms, blue cauliflower and Barolo red wine sauce. We loved the succulence of the easy-cut beef, the overall flavour profile and the plating of this dish: For dessert, the chef's modern take on the traditional tiramisu was too good to pass up, with the chocolate shards and outer ring sturdy enough to be picked up and eaten on their own: although we opted to snap them and mix them together with the smooth and creamy goodness below: Expect to pay around A$220 for those four courses including the hotel's 10% service charge – certainly not a cost-effective option for staying within your per diem, but given the quality of the food and the location and surroundings of the restaurant, it's an understandable price.
For eligible guests, the Continental Club isn't just a place to eat and get work done – there are plenty of comfy chairs here where you can relax in the company of others or casually surf on your tablet ... ... while the gym stands available to all guests with a balanced mix of cardio, pulley and weight equipment... ... and a swimming pool for your morning laps or a cooling splash after work: While parts of the hotel could do with a revamp – in particular, the guest-level hallways and also the bathrooms – we were still able to accomplish everything we'd set out to achieve during our stay.
Whether that was a good night's sleep, hectic work tasks during the day in both our room and the Club lounge or a spot of relaxation in the evenings, that's ideally what you want from a good hotel – and what you'll certainly find here.
Also reviewed: Cathay Pacific's The Pier Business Class Lounge, HK
Chris Chamberlin was a guest of the Marco Polo Hongkong Hotel
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