Hong Kong. One of the great glittering jewels of the far east. Our first exploratory foray in to this fragmented city was some two years ago, at a time when China was still new to us. And it was, in short, a fiasco. Owing to our rushed timescale (made all the worse by flight delays totalling over 15 hours), the bureaucratic nightmare of obtaining a Chinese work visa, and, most of all, the ‘budget’ accommodation organised by our prospective employer. An establishment where room sizes ought be quoted in square inches rather than the customary square metres, where adjoining rooms were often rented by the hour (and all that implies), and located in a district of the city so ‘characterful’ that even the rottweilers walk around in pairs.
So, when a return visit to the city became necessary, a decision was made. If I may paraphrase the good Dr Gonzo; this trip was to be different.
Priority number one was organising some quality hotels, and in the interests of covering all bases we booked ourselves a few nights in a number of mid-priced establishments (we decided that ‘mid-priced’ in Hong Kong equates to $100 – $250 USD per night for a double room), a single night in a high-end one (just over $500 USD, for the one we selected), and, just for old times sake, a night in another shoebox-with-an-ensuite, at $40 USD .
A write-up of each is on the way, but my task today is documenting our favourite. Not necessarily I should point out, the best. But, when the not inconsequential matter of cost is considered, certainly the best value for money.
Located on Hong Kong Island itself, in the Wan Chai district, it’s easily accessible by metro and is within a short walking distance of some of the cities best restaurants and nightlife. It’s also easy to find, look for a tall building with large glass double doors flanked by the sort of impeccable white-gloved attendants that are normally the preserve of places with a significantly higher price tag.
In fact, this was a pretty continual theme for the duration of our stay, more than once I conferred with my (soon-to-be, at this point) wife; “It’s HOW much a night?”. “Are you sure?”. “No, I mean REALLY sure, though?, they haven’t perhaps missed out a zero or something?”.
The OZO is a modestly priced hotel, but there is never any feeling that you, or they, are motivated by austerity. The rooms are sleek and modern, the breakfast choices extensive, and the location convenient.
First, the rooms.
OZO is a hotel chain that can be found in a few other Asian countries and has the motto ‘Sleep tight, Wake bright’. To this end, every effort is made to ensure that guests get a good night’s sleep. Some technical witchcraft has been employed to soundproof the building and the results are impressive, so much so that despite the bustling metropolis immediately outside of our windows, it was quieter than the average evening in our rural little Sichuan town. Actually, come to think of it, that’s not much of a compliment, because some other things that are quieter than our home town include; a Saturn V rocket, a burning zoo, a thunder storm at a heavy metal concert, and an explosion in a fireworks factory. But you get my point – rooms at OZO are well insulated and quiet.
Then there is the bed itself, which is exceedingly comfortable. That doesn’t really do it justice though, so let me qualify that by saying that I’ve been travelling now for in excess of six years, a good 75% of which has been spent in hotels, and in all that time I can think of only one or two beds that meet this standard. If we hadn’t had a city to explore and a wedding to organise, I’d have been happily tucked up for 18 hours a day.
There are numerous other touches that hold to this theme of ‘a good night’s sleep’, from the mundane but welcome blackout blinds (remote controlled from the bed, of course), to the decidedly curious facility of letting the television literally (yes, literally) count sheep for you. In short, if you can’t sleep at OZO, you can’t sleep anywhere.
The rest of the room as you’ll see from the photos, was spacious, stylish and included a seating area, an ample closet, and a computer desk. It also featured large windows covering two of the walls and part of a third, offering some good views over the city. The bathroom was spotless and the shower powerful. WiFi signal was strong throughout, and free (unlike certain other, much more expensive hotels I could name, and in fact will name, in a future instalment).
Breakfast at OZO is a buffet affair, with a good selection of fruits, yogurts and cereals for the health conscious type, and mountains of bacon, sausage, eggs and toast for people more like me. There’s also a good assortment of Chinese dishes on offer if you’d prefer a taste of the mainland.
The hotel has a large and very swish lobby (all decorated for Chinese New Year, when we visited) with seating, free computers for guest use, and multitudes of information to help you plan your visit. Check in and check out were lightning fast, and staff were helpful and friendly at all hours. We also love that OZO Wesley apparently put a lot of effort in to working with the local
communities, even to the extent that the honey served at breakfast comes from a local small-scale producer, rather than a recognised brand. Little things like this count for a lot, I think.
Ok, that’s the good. How about the bad?
Well, like I said, this was our favourite hotel, and we’ll certainly be using them again the next time we visit Hong Kong, but they say (whoever ‘they’ are) that reviews must always be balanced. That no matter how much you like something, you should still highlight possible areas of improvement. With that in mind, permit me to don my Victor Meldrew hat for a moment while I scrounge desperately for something to complain about.
Oh, power adaptors?. Hong Kong uses a pretty unique type of plug, shared only I think, with the UK. So anyone visiting from the mainland or elsewhere in the world will find that their appliances won’t fit. Yeah, I know, you’re expected to bring your own, we just kind of assumed that the regular Chinese type of socket would be available. Anyway, there was a single adaptor in the room but this was fixed in place beside the bed so meant trailing wires around the room to use a laptop at the computer desk or seating area. Since the majority of people staying in a Hong Kong hotel aren’t going to be from Hong Kong, it’d make sense to scatter a couple more adaptors around the room, since outlets were not in short supply. I know, tiny thing, but you wanted the negatives and I’m doing my best.
Overall then, we were very happy with OZO Wesley, Hong Kong. Great price, great location, awesome room. And if you think we’re just being nice for the sake of politeness, wait a couple of weeks for our write ups of some other places around the city that we were less impressed with.
Where is the OZO Wesley, Hong Kong?
On Hennessy Road, the OZO is in between the metro stations of Admiralty and Wan Chai. You’ll find plenty of good food nearby and even a Marks and Spencer!
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We would like to thank OZO Wesley, Hong Kong for providing us a complimentary stay at their hotel. Please note that, as always, all opinions expressed in this review are our own and have not been influenced in any way.