Wednesday, October 09, 2013

Home Away from Home: Royal Plaza Hotel (and Lion Rock) in Kowloon

There was no doubt that in Hong Kong we will be staying in good old fascinating Kowloon. The peninsula is the heart and soul of Hong Kong and it bids a treasure trove of endless culture, culinary, shopping, relaxation, entertainment and history. The city is wired 24 x 7 with a flurry of commercial endeavours, exotic sights and lots of street action that doesn’t stop until midnight, and even with the inkling of dawn, the city continues to plod away, the hustle and bustle less piercing but nevertheless still entrancing, pleasing her people, the locals as well as the tourists, in her own enchanting oriental ways. That is Kowloon.

Royal Plaza Hotel – The Lobby
Website: Royal Plaza Hotel Hong Kong

After we had our lunch at a Chinese restaurant that cannot be named and discovering the sights and joys of Fa Yuen Street, we returned back to the hotel to hie away the remaining hour. My mom is gravely tired from the ambulatory exercise so she begged for some downtime. Because the hotel’s lobby was swarming with guests, not really the most appropriate place to unwind whilst waiting for our room to be available, I thought of a much better plan.

But before I divulge my plan, I want to show you the hotel’s lobby.

The Royal Plaza Hotel is a newly renovated 5-star hotel. Frankly speaking, I’m not very fond of 5-star and chain hotels. If not for their comfortable beds, well yes most always have comfy beds, I find them a bit too stiff and businessy. I prefer smaller hotels—charming boutique, themed and local hotels, but since I am travelling with family, I have to think outside of my idiosyncratic world.

Here are the REASONS WHY we booked this hotel:

1) LOCATION: The hotel is located in the heart of Kowloon, just a few minutes’ walk to all the outdoor markets. Moreover, the hotel shares the building with a large shopping mall—the ‘Grand Century Place’. So this is quite handy for any last minute or need to buy incidentals stuff.

2) ACCESSIBILITY: The hotel also shares the building with the ‘Mongkok East Line’ MTR. Accessibility is imperative when travelling with my mom. We need easy access to the metro and the cabs.

3) TWIN DOUBLE BEDS: This is one of the very few comfortable hotels that offers 2 double beds in 1 room. We did not want to book 2 rooms because we prefer that the four of us stay together. Hotels in Hong Kong are not cheap, especially 5-star hotels but with the 4 of us in 1 room, it helps lower down the cost ratio a bit.

4) COMFORT: We do not need all the bells and whistles but comfort is important for the family, especially for my parents. Like not taking the stairs for example. We however enjoyed the large bay window and the spectacular views.

5) SAFETY: Because of its location—the hotel sharing the massive building with a MTR and shopping mall, it is very safe. I am not fond of walking on uncertain streets, more so being exposed to dodgy people hanging outside certain hotels.

Lion Rock Bar and Café

And this is the plan! So we moved over to Lion Rock , the hotel’s bar and café for some coffee and tea, and afternoon chilling out.

This was the perfect place for us at the moment, especially with my mom being tired and all, we needed some place private. Coffee and tea. Comfortable, soft and big lounge sofa. Floor to ceiling glass windows offering a nice view to the railway and a secluded part of Kowloon. Quiet place with light music to relax. Such a contrast to the hectic and blaring lobby of the Hotel.

We are happy to escape here even for just for a little while. It was the best decision.

The golden hallway to Lion Rock.

 The railway view from the Lion Rock Bar Cafe at Royal Plaza Hotel.

I had a pot of tea all to myself =)

My mom had capuccino, my father normal coffee and sisterJ prefer something cold, a frappe with ice cubes.

The mother was so tired from the walking that she fell asleep! Those floor to ceiling glass panels are gorgeous. It was however busy when we arrived as people were finishing lunch, then we had the place almost to ourselves.

From Kowloon (Mong Kok East MTR which is annexed to Royal Plaza Hotel and Grand Century Place Mall) it is just under an hour to Shenzen, China, but you need an additional half an hour or more for immigration.

Royal Plaza Hotel Room

And finally we got our key to the room!

I cannot remember which floor we were at but I know we were quite high up the building, which we all really loved because of the smashing views.

Two big double beds! Yay! These beds were very comfy.

We have a bay window with the view of Kowloon.

Oooops, a see-through bathroom.... ?

Ah, not really =). Go away you two peeping toms!

We really loved waking up everyday to this view.

This is more of an annoyance for me really, perhaps a bit petty and I guess they have a valid reason for conducting this exercise. In the evening, a hotel staff guards the lifts to the hotel rooms and this staff always asks everyone who uses the lift their hotel room number. This was like every night so after the second evening I was a lil bit annoyed. But like I said, this could be a security precaution. Better safe than not right?

Over all, we loved our stay here and if you have the same concerns we have in booking a hotel in Hong Kong, particularly in Kowloon, then we highly recommend this hotel.

Travel Period: August 2013
Destination: Kowloon Peninsula, Hong Kong

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Happy Travels! Enjoy Life =)

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