After staying the maximum four nights of a six night Hong Kong holiday at the Courtyard Hong Kong at a discounted travel consultant room rate rather than pay the much higher regular rate I opted to move for my last two nights to another hotel that proved a pleasant surprised in several ways, the Holiday Inn Express Soho.

This 264 room hotel is in a 38 storey building in Sheung Wan on Hong Kong Island and contrary to its name is not in the trendy and hip neighborhood of SoHo (South of Hollywood Road) though it is a short walk away as are other areas for commerce and nightlife including Central and LKF (Lan Kwai Fong). My taxi driver was unfamiliar with the hotel though luckily a bellman at the Courtyard helped interpret the location once I’d provided a street address and we were pulling up on the small side street in front of the hotel a short time later. It’s not a bad idea to have the street address handy when hopping in a Hong Kong taxi especially if it’s written in both English and Cantonese.

What had attracted me when planning this Chinese New Year escape was the value of redeeming some banked IHG Rewards Club points and USD$70 per room per night which considering the peak season of my stay was a tremendous value. Upon check-in I was assigned a Standard Double room 2506 which offered a good view looking toward Victoria Harbour and Kowloon though sadly it was shrouded much of the stay in low clouds, fog or haze. The comfy chair next to the window makes for a relaxing spot to soak in the view. Hong Kong February 2015 288

The room had a definite utilitarian rather than luxury feel but everything was well laid out and worked well so happily traded form for function. The door had a sensor so waiving your room key in front of it was enough to access your room which could come in handy if your hands were full. The card is inserted into a slot to activate the room lights and temp. controls but also drapes that automatically close to keep the room cooler saving on cooling costs though they can be worked manually also. The bed had a choice of soft or firm pillows and was quite comfortable.
Hong Kong February 2015 289The bathroom while on the smaller side functioned well enough for one person having just enough vanity space and a spot to hang my toiletries bag from the towel rack. The shower stall is quite large and has an adjustable shower head that if set up high enough can be made to seem like a fancy rainfall shower head like those found at more expensive hotels. Good water pressure and fairly quick time to get hot water.

A little mini-fridge was found behind a door under the luggage rack next to the closet though double check if using it as mine wasn’t turned on likely as another energy saving strategy. The safe is big enough for a laptop or iPad and is far enough below the clothes hangars so you don’t have to move clothes aside to open or close it.

Hong Kong February 2015 287A decent selection of TV channels in several languages was available on the wall-mounted flat screen TV and helped make for a nice room with good user-friendly features.

There is what’s called a “great room” with internet access and PC’s available on the third floor and I liked that with my room key I could access this space to check out weather forecasts or send a quick email home.

The hotel loyalty program award stay included breakfast and I took advantage of this inclusions one morning but it was fairly standard buffet breakfast fare of sausages, scrambled eggs, toast and some fruits with juice and coffee so had a quick bite before heading out for a days sightseeing. The restaurant was fairly crowded with what seemed like mainland Chinese visitors so finding a seat wasn’t easily I managed to jump on an empty spot and hold it despite the interest of a few other diners.

If there was one curious encounter it was when I returned from my first full day of sightseeing late in the afternoon, around 5PM, to find my room hadn’t been done yet which wasn’t too surprising as I passed the housekeeping staff in the hallway. I opted to hang the ‘Do Not Disturb’ sign on the door and left after about an hour. I was asked by staff who were still on the floor if I wanted my room made up but as I was checking out the next day told them not to bother as it was okay with me for one more night. In my travels however 6 PM is kinda late to have housekeeping still making up rooms but not sure if this is common or a one-time thing this particular day.

Overall however this little hiccup was not something that seriously impacted my stay at the Holiday Inn Express Hong Kong SoHo and would return here again if in Hong Kong as the hotel is a good value and in a convenient, central location within a 5 minute walk to a major thoroughfare and MTR station hotel offers good location and decent value, though were I not staying on points might not pay to stay at the regular room rate which while I know is comparable to other hotels in Hong Kong seems on the high side for a moderate Holiday Inn Express.