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Hong Kong was a tough place to find decent deals on award nights. Either places were sold out, or they required too many points. Some HIlton properties were requiring obscene numbers of points over our dates for a premium room that would accommodate three people. I sorta feel like I “settled” for the Hilton Garden Inn Mongkok, but it turned out to be the best bargain I could find.
I booked our 3-night stay as an award with a nightly rate of 30,000 Honors points for a total of 90,000 points. Given the cash cost of the hotel, it was a fairly good value of over 0.7 cents per point. I’m glad I finally nailed our Hong Kong plans down when I did. The Hilton Garden Inn Hong Kong Mongkok also ended up sold out over our dates!
The Hilton Garden Inn Hong Kong Mongkok isn’t especially easy to access by either the metro or the airport express, which was one of the primary drawbacks that kept stalling my decision to book it. I thought about hailing a taxi to take us straight there from the Kowloon Airport Express station, but ended up sticking with my original plan of a free bus transfer plus a decent walk.
Arriving at the Hilton Garden Inn Mongkok
The airport express is probably the best way to get from Hong Kong Airport into Kowloon and Hong Kong itself. It is very fast and convenient, and there is even a free bus service at the end to take you directly to a number of hotels. Unfortunately, the Hilton Garden Inn Hong Kong Mongkok is not on that list. We took Shuttle #5 to the first stop, which was about as close as we were going to get to our hotel, and then hoofed it from there. If I could describe Mongkok in one word, it would be: alive.
The streets were bustling and crowded. We’d experienced some crowding in Beijing, but nothing like this. Hong Kong is worlds different. It became a bit difficult to navigate the bags, but soon we made our way off the main road and toward the hotel. I had a slight bit more apprehension here than I did in Beijing, but the more we experienced Mongkok, the more normal the area seemed.
The lobby of the Hilton Garden Inn Hong Kong Mongkok is small. There is a bit of space to hang out, and fellow PWaC contributor Jason Francisco and I met up here later that week during our stay.
We both ended up choosing this hotel, and our stays overlapped by two nights. Pretty cool, as the planning wasn’t even intentional! I did come down to the lobby for a bit the first night after getting the kids to bed, as the front desk had given me a welcome amenity of a free drink and appetizer.
Deluxe room at the Hilton Garden Inn Mongkok
While I’d hoped for a high-floor harbor view room, we ended up with a modest upgrade from our base room to a deluxe room. We were in room 620, a corner room at the end of the hall.
I knew the room would be small, and had warned the kids accordingly. It reminded me of the room at the Element in Midtown NYC that my wife and I had a few years ago.
The bed dominated the room. There are maybe 2-3 feet on each side before you hit each wall. Sure, it’d do for three nights, but man I love the times when we can have a reasonable amount of space. I’ve yet to consistently get suite upgrades with any chain that let’s me have a space where I can work or blog without fear of waking the kids after I put them to bed.
Against the window is a narrow sofa. The cushion on the bottom is removable, which ended up saving us, as my daughter slept on it each night on the floor. Housekeeping brought us an extra duvet. Simply one of the things you have to do when traveling with kids. I’m just glad that they let me book all three of us in a standard room on points.
There was a cloth runner on the sofa which I removed when I was about to move the cushion, unexpectedly revealing a massive burn. I’m gonna guess someone left their hair straightener on the sofa? Not sure, but poor form on the hotels part covering this up rather than fixing it. If it is brand new, I can understand not getting the sofa cushions swapped out yet.
There is a tiny desk in the corner, a TV in the wall, and that’s basically the extent of the room. Pretty tiny home for a few days, but it would do. We would be mostly out and about, anyway.
There is a place for a single, small luggage and a tray with water and tea.
The bathroom is likewise small, but standard.
There is only a shower. No tub. We were spoiled during our stay at the Renaissance Beijing Wangfujing where the bathroom had both (SEE: Renaissance Beijing Wangfujing Review).
The view from the room is of some other high-rises across a busy boulevard.
And here is the view from our room during the day, where you can see the International Commerce Center near the harbor.
Hilton Garden Inn Hong Kong Mongkok Breakfast
The HGI Mongkok offers a very nice breakfast buffet. I’ve only stayed at a few hotels within the brand, but it is probably the best I’ve experienced. I had to laugh, as there was a guy complaining loudly during breakfast about Hilton hotels in Asia and how they aren’t up to the standards of Hilton hotels in Europe. Although this was my first experience in Asia, I found that hard to believe.
There is an egg station where you can request made-to-order eggs or omelets. I struggle sometimes to get my kids to eat protein for breakfast, but somehow this fun factor helped a lot.
There is a large array of hot dishes, including sausage, baked beans, noodles, vegetables, steamed buns, and dumplings. I could eat dumplings morning, noon and night.
Another counter contains all the cold offerings, including pastries, toast, fruit, yogurt, and a salad area.
On the whole it is an excellent spread, and the nicest of any Hilton Garden Inn I’ve visited. I would still rate our breakfast at the full-service Hilton Beijing as better (SEE: Hilton Beijing Review).
The breakfast area is on the second floor, so no amazing view. But I had to keep my eye on these two goofs anyway.
The pool at the Hilton Garden Inn Hong Kong Mongkok is only open from May through October. We visited just after it had closed, to the kids’ chagrin. We’d forgotten their bathing suits anyway, so the issue was actually moot.
The view to the interior along the hallway was actually the best, in my opinion. Hong Kong is a very vertical city, and it was very cool to be amid the concrete forest of skyscrapers in Mongkok.
The whole neighborhood is eclectic. It is a mix of name brand retail shopping, restaurants and vibrancy along the main road. If you wander down the side streets, though, there are tiny mom-and-pop stores of every type under the sun, selling everything from vacuums, to ladders, to sheet metal. With the skyscraper residential towers above, the population density here has to be staggeringly high.
I’d worried the Hilton Garden Inn Hong Kong Mongkok wouldn’t be a great option due to its location, but it turned out fine. It took some walking to get to the subway and then some more to get to the ferry at Tsim Sha Tsui where we often launched for the day. Really, once you make it to the subway, it’s not that difficult to get around, and the closest station is about 5-10 minutes from the hotel.
The length of the walk to the subway and the stop where he and his wife caught the airport bus is one thing that Jason Francisco noted as well. But he, like myself, considers the Hilton Garden Inn Hong Kong Mongkok to be a good value for the area, considering the price of other hotels and the ease of access to local shopping and restaurants.
We did opt for a late check out, and the Hilton Garden Inn Hong Kong Mongkok was willing to let us stay in our room until 4:00. This gave us plenty of time out during the day (although we did have one issue that cut into our plans) before we returned to the hotel, checked out bags with the front desk, and then headed back out for our last couple hours. My only comment on the hotel holding bags is that they seem cramped for space. The bags stayed at the end of the front desk, right out in the open.
We departed the hotel about 6:00 p.m. after taking one last ride back and forth across the harbor. It was sad to have to say goodbye to this amazing city, but did have a business class flight to look forward to. And the kids were eager to get home. The hotel recommended taking bus 203E to Kowloon station, which you can catch from a stop a couple blocks away on Shanghai Street. This took us right to the station and the Hong Kong Express. Wish I would have know about this when we arrived, as it would have been much easier than the walking we had to do.
The Hilton Garden Inn Hong Kong Mongkok is a solid choice for a stay in HK. There are certainly hotels that are much more centrally located, but the combination of amenities offered, ability to book three people into a standard room, reasonable award rate, and benefits as a Hilton elite made it exactly what I’d hoped for during our visit to Hong Kong. I’d happily book again. The only real “issue” we had was the cover up of the burns on the sofa. But this is more like them cutting corners rather than an actual service failure. I hope they replaced that sofa cushion promptly. By the end of our stay, I completely forgot to mention it at the front desk.
Have you visited Hong Kong? What hotel would you recommend?