Estelle Sarney and Grant Bradley check in to a lavish Causeway Bay hotel
The 28-floor luxury hotel is now part of Accor's upmarket Pullman brand and nearing the end of a $55 million three-year transformation. Though still aiming at a broad market, it has ultra-chic styling, lavish rooms and a rooftop bar with one of the best views in town to Kowloon — and that's saying something.
The Park Lane is in the heart of Causeway Bay on Hong Kong Island.
Seamless. We were whisked to a club lounge on the 22nd floor where any troubles (and it was only a bit of travel weariness after a flight from Barcelona) were taken care of and we were in our room minutes after a snack, a delicious avocado salad.
On the club lounge floor, our deluxe executive room was spacious had just been remodelled with all new fittings, furniture and a huge TV with stacks of channels. It was a sanctuary in an extremely busy part of the world. The hotel has 832 rooms.
What's in the neighbourhood?
This is a prime spot with great clothes shopping all around, (including a tailor and a pipe shop in the hotel arcade) the lovely Victoria Park out the front door, metro and tram stops just metres away and great access to the more laidback beachside centres of Stanley and Aberdeen, a relatively short taxi (about $25) or bus ride away. You can also walk 15 minutes to the vibrant food and local (rather than fake) clothes markets in the Wan Chai area. In rush-hour traffic, a taxi from the airport to the Park Lane takes about 50 minutes and costs around $70. In clear traffic it's about 30 minutes. You can take a free hotel shuttle to Hong Kong Station and the airport express train from there which is cheaper, or if you feel like a splurge the hotel provides a limo for around $150.
Food and drink:
The club offers a great breakfast with a choice of meals cooked for you, all-day tea, coffee, beer and snacks and pre-dinner cocktails with hors d'oeuvres between 6pm and 8pm served by friendly staff who wanted guests to take full advantage of the opportunity. There is high-end dining at the Skye restaurant highlighting a contemporary French menu on the 27th floor and more casual dining and a bewildering range of drinks in the terrace bar. Cocktails there start at around $20 so it's a spot for a treat rather than a session. Another restaurant, Playt, serves an all-day buffet and a la carte menus and on the ground floor is Ebb & Flow, another ultra-cool spot which the hotel promotes as a round-the-clock hangout.
Apparently just a queen but it was massive, firm and the 300-thread count luxury linen was gorgeous.
The view: From our room we looked down on to the busy shopping streets of Causeway Bay. However the best views were from the club lounge and the Skye terrace bar, completely remodelled in the past year, which has become a local landmark for watching the sunset and the lights. It's a fantastic spot for ship-watching on Victoria Harbour, and a lively night spot.
Bathroom: A separate toilet then floor-to-ceiling glass between the basin and neighbouring shower and deep tub to give a fantastic sense of space. The rain head shower delivered a monsoon-like flow. Blinds are there if the transparency feels a bit odd.
Free for an unlimited number of devices.
Value for money:
The club deal started at around $500 a night in September. If you take into account the food and drink in the club and the absolute luxury, not a bad deal. You also get 20 per cent off on food and beverages in the hotel's restaurants as well as on laundry, dry cleaning and business centre services.
The fitness centre on the the fifth floor is stacked with running, cross training and cycling machines as well as weight machines and free weights and has a steam room for women and a sauna in the men's changing room. There is a pool to use a short distance from the hotel. The business centre on the same floor is quiet and has plenty of space.
What's so good about this place?
The location, the amenities — they really are indulgent — but most of all the staff. The small army of smiling folks in the reception level were all helpful and those in the club lounge especially so. They were all eager to replenish food and drink and very chatty about what we had seen in Hong Kong and quick to mark on maps new places to explore. They exuded pride in the hotel and the city. It's a luxury hotel but it had an iron and ironing board in rooms.
Would we return? Any day.
The Park Lane Hotel is at 310 Gloucester Road, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong. Phone: +852 2293 8888.