Hotel VIC on the Harbour, Hong Kong
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.
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.
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.
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