Central makes a glamorous first impression with its gleaming offices and malls strung along the harbourfront. They share prime real estate on the north shore of Hong Kong Island with many of the city’s top grande-dame and boutique hotels. Staying here promises showstopping views, plus convenient public transit and many corporate HQs and attractions within walking distance.
Look beyond Central’s shiny veneer, and you’ll find it also encompasses heritage arts venues, lanes with old-time markets, the wine bars of Soho and nightclubs of Lan Kwai Fong. To its west is Sheung Wan, a gentrified hipster favourite, and to its east Admiralty and the urban oasis of Hong Kong Park.
We pounded the pavement and hit the pillows to find the best hotels in Central Hong Kong and neighbouring Admiralty too. Read our hotel reviews below to pick the best place for your next stay – or staycation.
Four Seasons Hotel Hong Kong
Michelin-starred dining and more top-notch amenities. $$$$
This is a seriously plush hotel tucked within the International Finance Centre by the MTR and ferry piers. We checked into a 41st-floor corner suite with extraordinary views of Victoria Harbour and delightful amenities such as a pillow menu (we loved the stone pillow). For food, we managed a six-Michelin-star day: lunch at the three-star Caprice and dinner at the three-star Lung King Heen. In the morning, a three-hour spa session in the harbourfront couples’ spa room ticked every box.
Detail You’ll Love: Binoculars in the room let you scope out the ferries as they flit across the water.
8 Finance Street, Central; +852 3196 8888
Suites combine retro glamour and colourful comforts. $$
An 11-metre-tall mural of Marilyn Monroe, Audrey Hepburn, Frank Sinatra and Charlie Chaplin was a sure sign we’d arrived at this boutique hotel. The Madera takes inspiration from Hollywood’s glam heyday, with vintage items on display, including Chaplin’s bowler hat and movie posters, and bright flourishes (a blue velvet sofa here, a magenta wall there). The 38 suites are generously spread two per floor, and the 24-hour gym is equipped with cardio and strength-building equipment. There are no on-site restaurants but countless neighbouring options along with galleries, boutiques and heritage shops.
Detail You’ll Love: The in-suite Nespresso machine and washing machine enhance the sense of being in a home away from home.
53 Hollywood Road, Central; +852 3913 2888
The Landmark Mandarin Oriental
The boutique-sized, contemporary sister to the original MO. $$$$
When Mandarin Oriental opened its second Hong Kong location in 2005, it unveiled a contemporary look within the city’s fanciest mall – a distinct contrast to the old-school opulence of its flagship, just a five-minute walk away. Local interior designer Joyce Wang enveloped the 111 guestrooms and suites in a calming metallic palette. The spa is arguably the city’s best, complete with a sunlit studio for yoga and Pilates, and restaurant Amber has racked up two Michelin stars. Another highlight is MO Bar, which serves lobster lunches by day and DJ sets by night.
Detail You’ll Love: Each suite comes with a two-metre-long circular limestone bath promising an instant, spa-inspired escape.
15 Queen’s Road Central, Central; +852 2132 0188
Mandarin Oriental, Hong Kong
Personalised service at Hong Kong’s oldest five-star hotel. $$$$
Gold-buttoned, red-suited doormen greeted us at the Mandarin Oriental, and the five-star treatment continued at the black-marble reception, with its gold carvings and a floral signature scent. It’s populated by well-dressed figures checking in or on their way to one of three Michelin-starred restaurants or a treatment at the Mandarin Spa. The gorgeous Asian-inspired décor extends up the 25 floors, through extravagant chandeliers, hand-crafted furniture and wood panelling. Inspection of our Superior Harbourview Room revealed a soft caramel leather armchair; a TV cabinet designed like an old travelling case; wardrobes hidden with artwork panels; and a live bamboo plant – not to mention the unobstructed skyline and water views.
Detail You’ll Love: Two types of dressing gowns, a standard white robe and a stunning purple silk number for swanning about in luxury.
5 Connaught Road, Central; +852 2522 0111
Urban heritage hotel remade by a starchitect. $$$
When the Murray Building opened in 1969, it was a landmark of its time. Nearly 50 years later, Norman Foster transformed the former government office block on the southern fringes of Central into a buzzed-about luxury hotel. The Murray’s 336 rooms, most measuring over 500 square feet, feature rare stones and textiles and nod to the ’60s spirit in the herringbone wood floors and sleek leather seating. There’s an equally eye-catching art collection. As for ways to indulge, we suggest the lap pool in the spa area – with a live green wall and lounge chairs – and the happening bar scene on the terrace of Popinjays.
Detail You’ll Love: The recessed square windows are ingeniously angled to maximise light while minimising the Hong Kong heat and any change in room temperature.
22 Cotton Tree Drive, Central; +852 3141 8888
A small hotel big on suite square footage. $$
In a city where space is the ultimate luxury, few hotels can offer as much square footage as One96 – 800 square feet, to be precise. Each of the 29 family-friendly suites extends across an entire floor, with a living and dining area, separate bedroom and bathroom, a kitchenette and a washer-dryer. Designer Norman Chan opted for a soothing palette of greys with slick marble and wall-to-wall, floor-to-ceiling windows that let in ample natural light. Book a suite on one of the higher floors to admire panoramic views of Sheung Wan and Victoria Harbour just behind it. Or, get yourself a bottle from one of the hotel’s recommended local wine shops, and head to the rooftop terrace for sundowners.
Detail You’ll Love: With only one suite per floor and zero neighbours, noise isn’t an issue, and soft Frette linens also help ensure a good night’s sleep.
196 Queen’s Road Central, Central; +852 3519 6196
Urban-minded hotel with freebies and a sense of fun. $$
Music pumps from speakers across the lobby and the lifts; sweets are available across the property; and quirky labels on everything make a joke out of everything: this sums up the spirit of Ovolo Central. The brand has been one of the leaders in Hong Kong’s boutique hotel scene, and this outpost above Wyndham Street represents its most urban offering. The 41 rooms, while not huge, are comfortable and provide a free mini-bar and snacks aplenty. There are gaming systems on request and a free happy hour social in the lobby every evening. Veda, one of the city’s finest vegetarian restaurants, is also on site. Whether you’re travelling for business, leisure or both, it’s the ideal base for tapping into the energy of Hong Kong.
Detail You’ll Love: The free mini-bar and ‘Loot Bag’ full of candy and treats – plus the amazing sleep pillow.
2 Arbuthnot Road, Central; +852 3755 3000
The Pottinger Hong Kong
A boutique choice for elegance and heritage. $$
This boutique hotel on a narrow Central street occupies one of those fine 19th-century buildings no longer required by banks and government offices. But don’t be misled by the high ceilings and solid pillars – The Pottinger opened in 2014 as virtually a new build. Its 68 guestrooms have lovely heritage touches and amenities (Acca Kappa toiletries) to match any of the city’s grande dames. There are multiple on-site dining options, from Ta Vie’s Michelin-starred French-Japanese menu to Venchi for artisanal gelato, plus the bars and restaurants of Soho and the Tai Kwun heritage centre just beyond your doorstep.
Detail You’ll Love: Fan Ho’s nostalgic, framed photographs of a bygone Hong Kong.
74 Queen’s Road Central (entrance: 21 Stanley Street); +852 2308 3188
Conrad Hong Kong
A long-time fixture for reliably warm service. $$$
Opened in 1990 and renovated in 2007, the Conrad is among the hotels clustered at Pacific Place. It counts 512 rooms, beginning at a spacious 452 square feet, with expansive views of Victoria Harbour or the Peak. Décor is tasteful in tones of beige and gold, with large marble bathrooms and Nespresso machines to help fuel its primarily business crowd. Of the six restaurants and bars, Nicholini’s stands out for its northern Italian dishes and Golden Leaf for Cantonese cuisine. After hours, unwind at the sauna or rooftop pool or hit the 24-hour gym. We found the staff to be gracious and quick to offer help, such as sharing a local jogging map.
Detail You’ll Love: The cute Conrad teddy bear and a rubber duck, which you’re welcome to bring home.
88 Queensway Hong Kong, Admiralty; +852 2521 3838
A favourite hotel hangout for the well-heeled. $$$
A mature, old-money set has gravitated to the Island Shangri-La since its 1991 opening. After all, the design is the epitome of classic luxury: formal European furnishings with Asian accents are consistent throughout the public spaces and the 565 rooms and suites – all of which deliver panoramic views of Victoria Harbour and the Peak. If that sounds familiar, it’s because the Shangri-La is also a short walk from Pacific Place and Admiralty MTR station. One distinctive feature is the library with soaring jade marble columns, navy blue leather chairs and a multilingual selection of about 1,000 titles. Other perks include the outdoor pool and the Lobster Bar and Grill for live jazz.
Detail You’ll Love: The atrium features the world’s largest indoor silk mural, a 16-storey-tall classical Chinese landscape painting created by 40 Beijing artists over six months.
Supreme Court Road, Central; +852 2877 3838
A business-friendly choice in a prime location. $$$
In celebration of its 30th anniversary in 2019, JW Marriott gave its 581 rooms and 28 suites a refresh – adding sophisticated and high-tech touches that complement the original design and its use of fine woods. The location, however, needs no improvement; it’s right at Pacific Place mall, between the buzzy neighbourhoods of Central and Wan Chai. Beyond this ease of access, you also get to overlook the harbour, lush hillsides or both from your room. There are 16 event spaces – including a showstopping ballroom that can fit up to 1,000 guests – as well as meeting rooms with AV equipment and restaurants and bars for almost every taste.
Detail You’ll Love: Rooms have ergonomic workspaces yet don’t look stuffy thanks to the floral motif and plush armchairs.
88 Queensway, Admiralty; +852 2810 8366
The Upper House
Serene minimalism and a cool crowd to match. $$$$
Hongkonger André Fu nailed his first hotel commission: The Upper House atop the JW Marriott at Pacific Place. His understated design, relying on natural materials like limestone and bamboo, still feels sexy and modern over a decade after its debut. The 117 studios and suites also have size going for them. A minimum of 730 square feet means bathrooms have both rain showers and huge tubs from which we soaked up harbour views. On the 49th floor, Café Gray Deluxe serves up more panoramas along with European dishes showcasing what’s seasonal and organic. It does a brisk business – from brunch to afternoon tea through to nightcaps – and makes for fun people watching (fashionable Instagrammers; couples marking a milestone; T-shirted execs sealing the deal).
Detail You’ll Love: Complimentary bike rentals and yoga classes on the lawn
88 Queensway, Admiralty; +852 2918 1838
Hotel Pricing Guide
$ = nightly room rates up to HK$1,000
$$ = from HK$1,000+
$$$ = from HK$2,000+
$$$$ = from HK$3,000+