Hyatt Regency Hong Kong Sha Tin was our first Hyatt hotel and started a passion for the city and the hotel chain. But there are new reasons to visit an old favorite when visiting HK.
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Sha Tin is Always a Retreat
Hong Kong is clearly one of my favorite cities in the world. There is so much to love there, it’s Chinese, it’s British, it’s something completely unique and all it’s own – it’s Hong Kong. There are a thousand other reasons I find myself in HK often and when I do, I am usually there for a purpose in the city. Sha Tin is 20 minutes outside of the city proper and offers a quiet side to Hong Kong, it’s a retreat, an escape from the madness and lights that is Hong Kong. My daughter doesn’t mind the ride out though.
This was our fourth stay at the property and previously we have had the harbour view king twice, the mountain view upgraded king, and now this perfect family setup. My brother and mother were able to join us for this trip (one of the many benefits of having ample miles and points) so some extra space was helpful. I had also applied one of my 2013 Diamond suite upgrades and the property certainly delivered.
The entrance opened up to a dining room and kitchenette with a guest half bath and a large living room. The harbour view is stunning, and there is a large and bay window that is designed for sitting on. And you should do that immediately. It’s a lovely view from anywhere in the room, but up close it’s amazing and one of my favorite features of the property.
This particular suite was a two bedroom with one king in the first bedroom and then a pair of queens in the second bedroom. Both of the bedrooms were as a regular guest room would be in the hotel. There are walk-in rain showers separate from the massive soaking tub and toilet. There are a vanity and a powder station, closet, robes for two, sizable desk and the same massive bay window and a beautiful view of the harbour.
The room was perfect for our situation. My brother and mother were splitting a room of their own anyway, but the second room was wasteful not to have them stay there. They were able to cancel their room with a one-night penalty and stay with us the rest of the time which was perfect for a family traveling with a baby. There was plenty of separation (more separation than if you had just secured adjoining rooms for hotels that still have them) and a nice buffer zone for everyone. If I were to book it over again and was traveling with other family members or friends, this is the way to go.
Our room in the suite
Asian luxury brand hotels are known for their high levels of service. It makes the rest of the world often disappointing especially when you consider value for money. The Hyatt Regency Hong Kong Sha Tin runs in the $120-200/night and for comparable levels of service in the US, you would expect to pay $400/night in a major city or on a resort. Doors are opened, bell staff are attentive, check in and out is swift, there is multiple concierges all the time – there are multiples of everything. There is even a person for whom I cannot explain their position, just a young lady standing in the lobby making sure whatever you need is handled adequately.
Service is the real star. The rooms are really good, but they aren’t amazing, but it’s a Hyatt Regency, not a Park. Yet, the service levels are on par with a five-star hotel. There is nothing wrong with the rooms at all, they are well appointed and very nice, but it’s not as if the floors are all marble and hardwood. The service is better, far better than many of the other hotels for which we have stayed.
Calls to the front desk of any kind were answered immediately, help with our bags was prompt, courteous and correct. If we called down for a taxi (there were many available) it was waiting when we got downstairs and had already been briefed about where we were to go.
Check-in for Diamond members is in the lounge on the 25th floor – a really nice feature. Due to security restrictions key card access, however, you still need to stop at the front desk and then have a staff member take you up.
Once in the lounge, you get a preview of the view in your room. Floor to ceiling windows with a view of the harbor greets you and you are seated while the details of your stay are confirmed. The check-in was nice but we were distracted. The lounge has people in it no matter what time you visit and there seemed to be plenty of food all the time.
The lounge is perfect for a variety of reasons. Some hotels use their lounges as a glorified breakfast room, filled with tables and chairs in some corner of the hotel, unstaffed during non-meal hours and a fridge with some cans of coke sitting there. This lounge is not that. It was always staffed by a variety of employees, there was always some sort of food available though breakfast and evening cocktails were substantially more. Newspapers were current and available, and it was clean and maintained all the time – my daughter selected the International Times.
Not surprisingly, the lounge was always filled with people. If you are there for business it makes for the perfect place outside of your room to get work done. I saw clusters of people collaborating, others doing reports, and some just reading the paper.
The other key advantage is that the lounge is indoor/outdoor. Of course, the view is amazing from that height, but in the afternoon the wind breezes through and it’s the perfect place to spend an afternoon. Some also like that you can smoke outside as well which of course keeps smokers away from the rest of the food, but not forced down to the lobby every time they want a cigarette.
Afternoon Buffet Hour
It’s officially called the cocktail hour, but it’s really the buffet hour (two actually) with an open liquor cabinet. They make a pretty substantial effort on the self-service side of things with a full salad bar, vegetables, hummus, cheeses, you get the idea.
There is also a menu with two hot items rotated daily to select from. One day was chicken wings and vegetable rolls for example, and the food is really good. It’s not enough to pass on dinner, but it is enough to stave off a meal from about 5 pm until you get dressed and back into the city for a world-class meal.
Breakfast in the Restaurant
For Diamond members, breakfast in the lounge is, of course, complimentary and has the typical Hyatt selections (smoked salmon, cereals, breads, cheese, and charcuterie cutting boards). We have passed the restaurant downstairs just off the lobby many times but never chose to spend the money on breakfast. Breakfast has always been included for us in the club, it’s very good and there’s not really a reason to look elsewhere.
One day we strolled through to have a look around. We were stunned. There were noodles, dumplings, and stations with chefs making tons of oriental food alongside fresh eggs or omelets, and crisping bacon. Congee was available with every possible combination and of course the same offerings as upstairs, however, everything was on a higher level. Doughnuts made in-house, a wider selection of fruits and vegetables, a waffle iron – even french toast if you would like.
It was good, and it was about $25 each. I don’t know that I could get my money out of it every day because upstairs is already so good in the lounge, but it was a nice change of pace.
In the evening though, the restaurant’s buffet is on a whole other level. The cost rises but still exceeds expectations even at $60/head. For dinner, there is a chef rolling fresh sushi to your request. Piles of lobsters, mussels, clams, shrimp tower higher than my head. If you get the chance, whether for breakfast or for dinner, it’s a worthwhile investment.
The property offers an area specialty, honey cake. It was quite costly, but came in a gift-worthy box (we thought about saving it) and is clearly more for giving than for consuming. It was delicious but was more or less a slightly honey version of pound cake. You might want to give it a try when you are there for personal reasons, you will certainly want to consider it as a gift if you are there on business.
Hyatt Regency Sha Tin
Since this stay, I have tried the Grand Hyatt Hong Kong and the Hyatt Regency Tsim Sha Tsui. Those hotels are lovely, but their accommodations were no better or worse, just different. While the Grand Hyatt is certainly well located for business meetings, and Sha Tin less convenient, if you are there on holiday or have some flexibility, I wouldn’t (and won’t) stay anywhere else in the city.
Have you stayed in the Hyatt Regency Hong Kong Sha Tin? How was your experience?
Can you describe how accessible the hotel was on MTR?
@ Scott – It really couldn’t be more accessible. The property shares grounds with China University of Hong Kong and the stop is aptly named “University”. From the exterior of the station it might be a 300-500 meter walk to the hotel.