China - Hong Kong
Horizon Club Harbour
- Fantastic views of Victoria Harbour
- Not one, but two Horizon Club lounges
- Spacious rooms
- In-room music dock, laptop connectors are behind the times
- The carpet tells you the day of the week!
Featuring 688 guestrooms, seven bars and restaurants – including one that's Michelin-starred – plus an impressive two executive lounges for Horizon Club guests, the Kowloon Shangri-La, Hong Kong hotel has something for every traveller whether visiting on business or taking a well-earned holiday.
Join Australian Business Traveller as we put one of Hong Kong's top five-star hotels under the microscope.
Location & Impressions
Situated on Mody Road in Tsim Sha Tsui East, you'll find the property directly across from the MTR station of the same name – but when you arrive at the hotel, there's no shortage of Lamborghinis and Ferraris to admire (or valet park next to). Heck, a regular taxi even looks out of place.
Step inside and you're greeted by an elaborate lobby area with original floor-to-ceiling artwork, sculptures, chandeliers and water features (pictured above), before one of the helpful staff assist you across to the check-in desks.
Then comes the elevator, and in a move weary jetsetters are sure to appreciate, the carpet inside informs the day of the week, with the staff recarpeting the lifts every single night as the clock strikes midnight.
Settle into your room and you'll find scented orchids joining a fruit plate and freshly-made tea, kept warm within a wicker basket, with an offer also to have one suit pressed at no charge.
As far as welcomes and first impressions go, the Kowloon Shangri-La really knows how to knock it out of the park.
Enter our Horizon Club Harbour View Room – the highest room category you can book without splurging on a full-blown suite.
Spanning 45 square metres, you'll find basics like a king bed and bedside lighting at the ready...
... and if you see something you like, pick up the nearby binoculars for a closer look:
The curtains are motorised too and are controlled via the bedside, so you can enjoy privacy with the curtains closed when turning in for the evening, while opening everything up to enjoy the view the next morning before taking the day's first steps.
Like a freshly-brewed coffee to kick start your day? Just ask for one when arranging your wake-up call the night before and it'll be delivered to your room at no charge...
... or for something with more crema, use the room's Nespresso machine with multiple pod types to choose from for that perfect sip:
Also tucked away is a printer and fax machine which you can connect to your own devices, plus a handy stash of stationery that sure beats the typical hotel pen and paper:
That's nearby a roomy office desk with a comfortable chair, which also boasts a USB power port and AC power outlets for UK/HK, USA, Japanese and European gadgets – and if you need to connect an Australian plug there's a universal adaptor nearby.
The bathroom comes stocked with L'Occitane amenities and other helpful items like toothbrushes and combs, but more importantly, there's a separate bath and shower – no shower tubs or 'shubs' to be found here.
The bath itself also has a movable shower head that's useful when washing your hair, and there's a lighted shaving mirror for the gents, too.
But despite all this, the room itself could use with a few improvements.
For starters, the bedside music dock uses an old 30-pin connector – ditched by Apple in 2012 – rather than the Lightning plug found on the iPhone 5, 5s, 6, 6 Plus, 6s and 6s Plus models, rendering it useless with today's gadgets unless you hunt down the right adaptor.
The working desk also features and older-type VGA connector rather than a newer HDMI plug for displaying your tablet or laptop on the TV, and unless your laptop has seen better days, chances are it'll only have the latter and you again won't be able to connect it without an adaptor.
As for the TV itself, channels are pumped through the hotel's analogue in-house system rather than delivered as a crystal-clear digital picture, which not only deteriorates the image quality but also finds several channels shaped in a way that doesn't properly fit the screen.
For example, flick on CNBC and you'll miss the bottom row of scrolling stock market updates.
On the plus side, there's a DVD player with 5.1 channel surround sound at hand, but when it eventually comes time to refurbish these rooms we'd love to see that swapped out for a Blu-ray player instead.
With free wireless Internet clocking download speeds of 16.64Mbps and uploads almost twice that at 29.14Mbps you could easily get work done from your room, but for guests on the Horizon Club floors, the Horizon Club lounges await.
You'll find the best working set-up at the lounge on level 21 with tables nearby the windows to plant your laptop and take in the views...
... but meander on down to the other lounge on level 20 for a quieter and more relaxed vibe, albeit without dedicated window-side tables:
That's also where you'll find meeting rooms – yours to use free for up to two hours each day – plus iMac computers if you haven't packed your own tech:
Guests staying in other room types can find a business centre down on the ground floor with similar amenities:
Also on the menu for Horizon Club guests, complimentary continental breakfast in the Horizon Club lounge on level 21 (6:30-10:30am)...
... but for more variety and an earlier start, we preferred the options down at Cafe Kool (6am-10:30am), where there's everything from dumplings and noodles through to your regular cereals and toasts with barista-made coffee delivered to your table:
For lunch, we stopped by the hotel's Italian fine dining restaurant Angelini and took advantage of a promotional four-course set menu available during our stay.
To begin, Mediterranean-style buffalo ricotta cream, cereals and vanilla flavoured tomatoes for a nice balance of textures and flavours, followed by cappelletti pasta filled with ragù Bolognese, vegetables, aged Parmesan cheese cream and crumbles which was truly delicious:
Following that, a Mugnaia-style Italian octopus with mashed potatoes and artichokes which was fresh and perfectly cooked, completed by the chef's tiramisu with a quenelle of ice cream to garnish:
Later in the day, Horizon Club guests can return to the lounge on level 21 for cocktails and a variety of self-serve evening snacks...
... and of course, that excellent view once more:
It's a great option to keep up your sleeve if your room doesn't offer harbour views, as you can still enjoy them from the lounge.
The hotel also features a two Michelin-starred Cantonese restaurant in Shang Palace, a Japanese restaurant in Nadaman, 'Deli Kool' offering pastries and desserts plus the Lobby Lounge and Tapas Bar.
Hit the gym after a busy day at the office with a variety of cardio and weight equipment...
... enjoy a spa treatment, or take a dip in the hotel's indoor pool:
Horizon floor guests can also relax in the Horizon Club lounges between 6:30am and 10:30pm daily on level 21...
... and between 6am and midnight on level 20.
Overall, the Kowloon Shangri-La holds itself as one of the best business and luxury hotels in Hong Kong, and with those few minor flaws corrected in the guestrooms, would otherwise receive a perfect score.
More on Shangri-La hotels:
- Review: Jing An Shangri-La, West Shanghai hotel
- Shangri-La's Golden Circle loyalty program: the unofficial guide
- Inside Shangri-La Sydney's revamped Horizon Club rooms, lounge
- Make the impossible, possible: look for the Golden Key concierge
- Pudong Shangri-La, East Shanghai hotel review
- Shangri-La Jade, Diamond status for AMEX Platinum, Centurion
- Eating out on Shanghai business trips: a hotel concierge guide
Chris Chamberlin was a guest of the Kowloon Shangri-La hotel.