Sunday, 29 March 2009

Ship Shape at the Sealand- Nearly

And it seems like we're on a roll as here's another review for tripadvisor on our current pad, Sealand House

We do long term stays and arrange private rates directly with the hotel. That is why we will not refer to price paid for a room in our reviews, but it is always well below advertised, on line or walk-in rack rates. We stayed nine nights on this occasion.

As ever, feel free to contact us directly for further questions or check out our Blog (www.ktelontour.blogspot.com) for more on the accommodation, including pictures and what we’ve done in the area or just to relieve the boredom in the office…maybe.

ARRIVAL/TRANSFER:

Landing at Hong Kong airport from Bangkok, find the local bus station and buy your tickets for a single trip on the A21 bus (direction Tsim Sha Tsui) at a price of HK$ 33 per person. It will take about 40-50 minutes depending on traffic but the bus stop is just a couple of minute's walk away from the guesthouse. The A21 will take you right the way along Nathan Road and you need you get off at Cameron Road, where the Majestic Mansion is located. The best land mark to aim for is the Mosque which is situated on Nathan Road directly opposite Cameron Road.

The building is very close to the top of the road, on the RHS next to a KFC "restaurant" and you will need to go through a small opening leading to a lobby with two lifts. The gates will be locked after midnight so make arrangements to be let in before you arrive. The security guard (more like a caretaker) is friendly and will give you a smile and a wave as you head for the 8th floor. Your lodgings are directly ahead of you as you exit the lift, past the stairs and on the RHS.

All prices are in Hong Kong Dollar (HK$) and at the time we were getting around HK$ ~11.00 to the British pound.

SURROUNDING AREA:

Thriving, with a full on assault of the senses only a major city and all its attractions can offer. Hong Kong truly rocks. Supermarkets/7-11s, banks, ATMs, Bureau de Change, hotels, guest houses, bars, diners, restaurants, pubs, shops, shops and more shops of all kinds. You won’t get bored and it's all open twenty fours a day.

FIRST IMPRESSIONS:

A little daunting and drab as you peer up at the tower block which almost reaches into the low clouds if it's a misty day. It ain't Majestic and it surely isn't a mansion, but you soon get used to it as most of the accommodation is exactly like this. The outsides hide the prettiest of jewels and books and covers spring to mind.

THE ROOM(S):

Tiny, minuscule, titchy, small, cramped- need I go on? But this Hong Kong where space is a premium and unless you're lashing out HD$ 500+/night you won't have too many options. We had a single bed and bunk beds in our "room" which made it feel even more claustrophobic but it's only used as a crash pad, so what's the problem?

It also contained a small desk at the foot of the bunks which was ideal for stashing the bags under and laying out a few bits and bobs.

Other features included a remote air conditioning unit, an extractor fan (the room was windowless) a kettle and a portable TV (14") which even had two English speaking channels. Bonus. We also received faultless wi-fi in the room and only experienced a lack of signal once, which was down to the ISP.

There was no en-suite bathroom. Instead we had exclusive and private use of a small toilet/shower at the end of the corridor which despite its size worked incredibly well. The shower was directly over the toilet and you knocked your elbow getting in and out of the cubicle, but you soon got used to it and it was always incredibly spotless. You could eat off the floor it was so clean.

UPS:

- Super internet connection.
- Use of a computer in Reception if you're travelling sans laptop.
- Twin beds with fresh linen and a comfortable duvet.
- Location is brilliant, right in the heart of things and a few minutes walk from Kowloon's harbour and the Avenue of Stars.
- The family are friendly and helpful and speak excellent English.
- Very good air con in the rooms.
- Electric kettle in room for tea/coffee.
- Didn't expect a TV, so surprised to see one and more so that we could watch the occasional film on Pearl or a-TV World.
- Use of shared fridge to store drinks in the Reception area.
- Exceptionally clean throughout.
- Secure and safe; no problems leaving personal items in your room.

DOWNS:

- Lack of space
- Narrow beds
- Noisy, as street sounds were piped into the room via the extractor fan. The room was also directly next to Reception and so late arrivals/early departures and telephones could be heard in peace shattering clarity.
- It seems "private and exclusive" means something different in Chinese as we ended up sharing "our" bathroom with the resident family. Not a problem as it was never engaged when we needed to use it, but not quite what we were led to believe.
- Having to switch the water heater and then waiting 15 + minutes before you can shower.

BREAKFAST:

Not included.

COMMENTS:

Being on a limited budget we decided to save cash for our spending by electing not to take the en-suite bathroom option. Despite saving HK$ 900 over our stay, I'm not sure we'd do that again. It was no problem using the external facilities, but if you get caught short at some awful hour in the morning, it's a pain to grab clothes and blunder along the hall.

FINAL IMPRESSIONS:

Loved the experience. The family are welcoming, friendly and helpful. The place though small is rather charming and well maintained. You're in the heart of Kowloon and minutes away from the harbour, where you can get a boat across to HK Central with Star Ferry running every seven minutes and costing just over two HK bucks one way.

The only pain are the street hawkers who are aggressive, unrelenting and miserable sods. They rarely take "no" for an answer as they try and flog you fake watches and hand bags, accommodation or food from their restaurants. The best way is to fight like for like by ignoring them and not even engaging in conversation. They are particularly rife along the lower end of Nathan Road and by the ferry port.

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