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Topics include Dining Scene, China: For Foreign Visitors & more!
Choosing a hotel
Thanks to the very effective and efficient transportation system in Hong Kong, there aren’t many hotels in Hong Kong that is inconvenient. Busy businessmen might need the hotel be close to the airport, families with younger children would prefer the hotels at the theme parks, some people like the class and the quietness of Hong Kong Island, some like the magnificent view of the Harbour from TST, Kowloon, others might like the livelihood and the market scene of Mongkok, Kowloon. Each to their own, but it can hardly be said one is definitely worse than the other.
Searching for Hong Kong based hotels
TripAdvisor Hong Kong Hotels or any of the hotel search engines show a variety of hotels available based upon a researchers requirement/criteria (dates in Hong Kong, budget and location preference from the list described above). They also show maps of the city districts as well as hotel proximity to the MTR stations - an important feature for most visitors seeking hotel accomodations in Hong Kong.
Sometimes hotels do offer better rate with their own website (e.g. Starwoods / Accor) so do shop around before you make any decision
No Official Rating
Unlike a lot of big cities, hotels in Hong Kong do not have an official rating system. The rating advertised by the hotels / websites are just self-proclaim, or subjectively, general perceive.
The seasonality for hotels became blur these days. A lot of 3 – 4 stars hotel or even some lower tier 5 stars hotel runs an annual average occupancy of over 90% but still it can be generalized as follow
Mid March – 1st week of May:
The Rugby 7s HK also kicking off the high seasons with a lot of major trade shows in April such as the Electronic fair, House ware fair, Gifts fair in town as well as the 2 weeks long Spring fair in the neighboring city of Guangzhou in China. Following with the week-long holiday in China starts on 1 May.
Mid September – Mid November
The autumn edition of the fairs in April would be in full swing and even larger in those two months. Not suitable for leisure traveler as most hotels would not offer any discount at all…
May / June
Some hotels offer their rooms with a 50% discount or more from their publish rate
All other months are considered shoulder seasons with some months slightly more expensive than another depends on the type and class of the hotel
Why do they need credit cards?
Not only in Hong Kong but all over the world, it is not uncommon that hotels ask for cash or a credit card for deposit even your room payment is settled in full (or by someone else, like a travel agency). It’s just a guarantee in case of the guests not settling the bill (telephone, mini bar, pay movie… etc) or if any ‘Souvenir’ was being taken from the room. It is not a good idea for using debit / cash card for the hotel 'Deposit'. The whole 'Guarantee by Credit Card' idea is that the hotel is asking the bank to block the credit limit of the card holder ('Authorize' is the term they use) to guarantee that the card holder have enough credit limit / money to settle the bill at the end. The whole thing do not involve monetary transaction and the card hotel would not lose anything whether or not the final bill is settled by the same credit card. The credit limit block will be released automatically If the amount has not been used for some times (normally till your next credit card invoice date).
However, if one is using a Cash card / debit card, your account balance will immediately be deducted since there's no 'Credit Limit' on those cards. The hotel will not (cannot) do any refund on the card since they have simply asking the bank to guarantee the amount, not getting the money (yet) thus they don't get anything from the bank as well.
It's a credit card function that is unique to the Hotel / Logging industry worldwide so you can say it's a little bit like those credit card installment plan for retails.