A grand name in the Hong Kong hotel scene, The Excelsior is an institution among the business crowd, many of whom have been making the most of the property’s warm service, throwback style and eclectic bars and restaurants for years. But while the Excelsior is predominantly a business hotel, the impressive waterside location in Causeway Bay makes it ideal for shopping with the chain stores of Times Square and designer boutiques of Fashion Walk just a short walk away.
YOU SHOULD KNOW Although the hotel is operated by the Mandarin Oriental Group, it doesn’t fall under ‘the Fan’, so don’t expect quite the level of luxe you’ll find at the group’s other Hong Kong properties.
Rooms may look like they were decorated at a time when the interior designer was going through a particularly 90’s phase, but we like them all the same. The swirling carpet patterns and lobby art on the walls somehow set you at ease. Views from the rooms are incredible, with many looking over the harbour and across the Kowloon skyline.
Handy phones allow you to connect to the internet while out and about, which helps when you’re trying to locate the nearby A.P.C. store.
While the rooms wear their nostalgia well, the bathrooms could do with a little refresh to spruce them up. Most come with combined bath and shower to make the most of the compact space.
The grand lobby is continuously busy throughout the day but not uncomfortably so. There’s somehow a sense of nostalgia about The Excelsior, summed up by the classic, stereotypical lobby sights of airline staff swaggering through in full uniform, executives lingering in their sharp suits and tourists in overt leisure outfits of sunglasses and short shorts.
The hotel spa provides a basic range of treatments from massage to facials.
The fourth-floor fitness centre is packed with cardio machines and gym staff to spot you with one-on-one programs.
At The Excelsior you can go from Michelin-starred Cantonese Cuisine at Yee Tung Heen to egg tarts at the in-house coffee bar, Expresso. The offerings are eclectic and there’s a restaurant to suit all tastes, including mega buffets, Italian fine dining and a chic rooftop spot for brunch.
The Excelsior’s drinking options couldn’t be further apart if they tried – in more ways than one. First, there’s Tott’s, the rooftop bar for cocktails, views and Hong Kong romance. Second, you have to go all the way to basement to find Dicken’s Bar, a late-night English-themed bar that treats jetlag with craft ale and live sports.
The hotel is located opposite the harbour front and a rear exit leads directly into Causeway Bay where a variety of malls and outdoor shopping opportunities can be found. For a traditional way to travel, jump on the tram if time is of no concern, or take the MTR from Causeway Bay station.
Order the spicy crab at Spicy Crab Under the Bridge (9-minute walk) and enjoy the delicacy in one of the most atmospheric Hong Kong restaurants you’ll find. When making your way there, check out the women under the flyover at Canal Road and Russell Street where you’ll find them engaged in the practice of ‘Villain Hitting’, essentially a ritual that chases away bad luck and bad figures in your life—the perfect entrée! If you’re already free of bad vibes, take a different direction and head to Din Tai Fung (9-minute walk) for excellent Taiwanese food.
Drink whisky in the refined confines of b.a.r. Executive Bar (11-minute walk), an intimate spot within the Bartlock Centre. For further romantic overtones, go for cocktails at Shelter Italian Bar and Restaurant (11-minute walk).
WHY WE LIKE IT
Some guests will certainly find elements of The Excelsior that feel a little tired but the atmosphere, warm service and prime location make it a solid, dependable choice for guests who appreciate a hotel that strives to deliver more than its reasonable prices suggest.