Ho­tel VIC on the Har­bour, Hong Kong

Business Traveller (Asia-Pacific) - - TRIED AND TESTED HONG KONG HOTEL -

BACK­GROUND

This five-star prop­erty is in a de­vel­op­ment by Sun Hung Kai Prop­er­ties, one of Hong Kong’s lead­ing real-es­tate de­vel­op­ers, which also con­tains a shop­ping mall and a large res­i­den­tial el­e­ment, as well as a water­front prom­e­nade.

WHERE IS IT?

In North Point, be­tween the MTR sta­tion (Is­land and Tse­ung Kwan O lines) and North Point Ferry pier. For first­time vis­i­tors this might seem a lit­tle out of the way, but it is a great place for trans­port con­nec­tions to other parts of Hong Kong, and you re­ally feel like you are in Hong Kong in this neigh­bour­hood, with its lo­cal restau­rants and shops. The ho­tel also has a free shut­tle bus to take you to Quarry Bay or Taikoo Place in the morn­ing and evenings.

WHAT’S IT LIKE?

The en­trance is very stylish, with a porte cochère with colour­ful lights hang­ing from the roof. On ar­rival, you take a lift up to the sec­ond floor lobby re­cep­tion, which can get very busy with over 600 rooms to deal with. Reg­u­lars might avoid this by check­ing in on­line be­fore ar­riv­ing via an email sent to you with your reser­va­tion, and sim­ply pick­ing up your key at one of the self-ser­vice kiosks us­ing ei­ther the QR code or reser­va­tion num­ber.

ROOMS

The 671 rooms and suites are in two tow­ers – east and west – and they all have har­bour views. The west tower has the restau­rants in it and the east tower has the out­door rooftop swim­ming pool and 24-hour fit­ness cen­tre at its top.

The rooms are in three main cat­e­gories: Ur­ban Har­bour View (31 sqm), Pre­mium Har­bour View (31 sqm) and Deluxe Har­bourfront (36 sqm). All rooms have a free mini­bar (on ar­rival) stocked with soft drinks – and one beer. The rooms have teaand cof­fee-mak­ing fa­cil­i­ties, and also very fast wifi – I know all ho­tels say this, but af­ter ex­ten­sive test­ing I am con­vinced this is fast in­deed… up­load­ing large files was very swift.

Most rooms have a desk, but not the Deluxe Har­bourfront rooms (they do have baths though, while other rooms have show­ers). Sound­proof­ing is fairly good, but you will hear noise from the Is­land East­ern Cor­ri­dor high­way which passes by the ho­tel.

Club rooms are in the west tower and are on floors 19 up­wards; these give you ac­cess to the Club lounge on floor 22. Other ben­e­fits in­clude early ar­rival and late check­out, 20 per cent dis­count at the restau­rants as well as on laun­dry and dry-clean­ing, com­pli­men­tary break­fast, soft drinks through­out the day and evening cock­tails from 6-8pm each evening. There is also a board­room which can be used for two hours – strangely this is the only meet­ing room in the ho­tel.

FOOD AND DRINK

The ho­tel has three restau­rants: first is The Farm­house, an all-day din­ing restau­rant on the lobby level. Break­fast here was good with plenty of choice, though cu­ri­ously the cold items for the buf­fet are in one lo­ca­tion, while the hot are at the other end of the restau­rant. There’s a choice of Western and Asian fare, and you can have freshly made noo­dle soup, omelettes or dim sum. Even here the ta­bles have USB charg­ing points. Close to this across the lobby is the 24-hour Farm­house Deli for pas­tries, cakes, cof­fee and tea.

On the top floor is Cruise. The views from the restau­rant of Vic­to­ria Har­bour are out­stand­ing. If you dine in the evening they dim the lights so you can watch the evening light display, though re­ally you’d have to be on the Kowloon side to get the full ef­fect. The food here is Western, with a choice of tapas and then a good choice of dishes, all ac­cessed us­ing iPad menus.

LEISURE

The ho­tel has a fit­ness room on the top floor of the east tower with sim­ply amaz­ing views. One morn­ing I was us­ing the row­ing ma­chine as dawn broke and it’s a last­ing me­mory of the ho­tel. There is also an out­door swim­ming pool (6.30am10pm), which was busy in the evenings with fam­i­lies but empty in the morn­ing.

The gym also has a new vir­tual re­al­ity fly­ing ma­chine by Icaros which “com­bines fit­ness and vir­tual re­al­ity to cre­ate ex­cit­ing and ef­fec­tive ex­er­cise ex­pe­ri­ences”. You have to make a book­ing to use it, but the peo­ple hav­ing a go seemed to en­joy it. Chang­ing rooms have a steam room and sauna.

VER­DICT

The fit­ness room on the top floor of the east tower has amaz­ing views – work­ing out as dawn broke was a last­ing me­mory

This is a great ad­di­tion to Hong Kong’s ho­tel scene, and very well con­nected in North Point. Rates are very com­pet­i­tive for such a high-stan­dard ho­tel, and when the neigh­bour­ing shop­ping cen­tre and apart­ments open, the ho­tel and sur­round­ing area will be­come bet­ter known. Tom Ot­ley

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