Traveling to other countries is great but the planning of the trip can become troublesome. It took me a while to weigh in our options and find the most suitable accommodation at the cheapest price. However, that's not possible in Hong Kong. The cheap places have terrible reviews like having bed bugs, dirty room, and more. I ended up getting a little expensive accommodation for a decent stay and that's Panda Hotel.
Panda Hotel Experience
The Panda Hotel is not found in the center but its location still offers good access to nearby attractions like the Jockey Club Tah Wah Park, Tai Hung Fai (Tsuen Wan) Center, and the railway station is just a few minutes away from the hotel. The surrounding area has restaurants and also groups of small shopping areas. Panda Hotel always offers different discounts and almost all the time, I often find them offering really low rates cutting a huge percentage off their normal prices. I was lucky enough to get a 71% discount on their triple room.
Going around the block to explore a bit, the place is very modern surrounded by tons of places to eat. There's also a nearby 7/11 if you are quite picky and prefer to get yourself a more familiar meal or treats. But good cheap places to eat at are definitely within reach.
Obviously, everything has a panda everywhere. They have pandas in the lobby, and also panda pictures hanging throughout the halls. The Panda Hotel is easy to spot because it's a tall building with huge Panda images at the side of the building. You will also notice that the mall down below is painted with large pink flowers. It's really hard to miss.
Entering the Panda Hotel reminds me of the movies I've watched shot in Las Vegas. Since it's called the Panda Hotel, the colors are themed after a slightly dirty Panda—kidding! The colors are white, black and light brown to golden. The lobby is very wide with multiple front desk personnel ready to assist you. We got a breather when we realized that communication was not a problem. Although, grammar-wise, the personnel's English was lacking, but communication was nonetheless fluent.
As a mid-range hotel, the entrance looks really great, the seats in the lobby are also very comfortable and cute. I love that I don't have to line up in riding the elevator because they have a lane of lifts that brought us to our room.
Check-in and Check-out time
As usual, the check-in time is 2 pm while the check-out time is at noon. But when you are a tourist from far away, they let you go into your room earlier which is exactly at noon and not earlier. Check-in and check-out are a bit strict as I observed since they do let others wait for the actual check-in time to book them in. Anyway, I feel they are more understanding to tourists which is great for us.
The people working there are polite. They're not that friendly and some can be stone-faced but they are polite and respectful in any way. They give you what you need, respond to your questions with ease and also does well in serving your needs like as if it was an emergency. I would have preferred them to be a bit more friendly but they are very professional. And even if you do complain, they handle it really well.
Our room was somewhat spacious but the beds are a bit small. I booked us a Comfort Triple Room which is the cheapest one they offer for 3 adults and 1 child. I got it in Booking.com at a discounted price. I took the option without the free breakfast because it would mean that I would have to pay an extra PhP 1000 per person every single day of our stay. I just can't afford it. That's enough money to buy us food for breakfast, lunch, and dinner at cheaper areas.
The room was comfortable and has good airconditioning. There are 3 single beds in our room. The bed is super soft and comfy that my son is already jumping on it as we are fixing our luggage. The first impression is the cleanliness. The room smelled great when we entered—more like a fragrant smelling soap telling you that your room has just been cleaned. Or reminds me more of a good-smelling laundromat. Anyway, the room was very decent, there is a huge window right at the end of the room that allows natural light to peep through.
The carpet is very interesting. It's super colorful that it mostly takes my eyes away from everything else and a table with matching colors. I love the natural light but the lighting at night is fairly dull because it only uses lamps and no overhead lighting in our room. Our room came with bedside table, a bigger table for dining (or working in our case) and other stuff, a cabinet, a safety box, and an LED TV. They provide a percolator with three mugs and three bottles of water everyday.
The bathroom was very simple and compact. It has a shower and bathtub—as a two-in-one. Unlike most hotel rooms which provide small bottles of soap and shampoo, the Panda Hotel has big canisters of soap, shampoo, and conditioner that you cannot take home. They also provide indoor slippers, bathrobes and the basic toiletries.
Food and Dining
Alright! This is the first time I've been to a hotel that comes with its own shopping mall, and series of shops and restaurants. I entered Yinyue only to exit out because the prices of the food almost made me faint. That's because the restaurant is a Michelin star restaurant and food may be terrific but it really comes at an incredibly expensive price. So, we only tried eating at the street restaurants, 7-eleven microwavable food, McDonald's, KFC, and Teishoku 8 (one of our favorites). We also tried having a buffet breakfast at Panda Cafe since checked-in guests has discounts and breakfast is more affordable than lunch and dinner. It was still expensive though but extremely satisfying.
Outside Panda Hotel are tons of other restaurants that offer half the price and just the same quality. Food in Hong Kong is nothing but meager and low quality; it's like the Paris of France, where food is considered valuable and must always be of top quality and that's exactly what you get even at a side street restaurant where we spend most of our meals at.
The Panda Hotel has great amenities. It has a sauna house, a gym, a billiards hall, and a swimming pool area with inflatable play area beside it. My son really loves it so much. It's a fully equipped hotel on its own and at a considerably budget price too. But restrictions on the use of the amenities are limited to your room type so, there are more amenities that we have no access to.
The Panda Hotel lies on the border between a high class and budget hotel. Actually, it's a bit difficult to define which it leans more too but we do see it as a great hotel for a mid-range price. This is probably the most exclusive hotel you can get at a good deal. If you do want to just book a hotel for sleeping and resting, then this may not be the right choice for you as there are other cheaper options out there. It is a bit far from the main tourist spots in Hong Kong but it is near in every form of transportation you need to get to where you want. But, if we do want to go to Hong Kong again, maybe, I'd like to try other hotels nearer to Kowloon that's not really expensive. It's a great place for a staycation but not for overnight stays. I find it expensive if you're just there for the night and leave. Overall, we really loved our stay in Panda Hotel.