Every now and then it’s good to get out of town for a bit of peace and quiet… but as we all know, it can be hard to sneak a minute away from hectic Hong Kong life! Luckily there are plenty of hidden corners of the ‘Kong to explore, and as I had shamefully never set foot in Hong Kong’s very own Gold Coast (despite having visited its Aussie namesake, which is much further afield!), I decided that it was time to set that straight with a staycation at the Gold Coast Hotel.
On arrival, I was immediately struck by the fact that – from the outside at least – it looks very much like a 1970s office block. Thankfully, that’s where the similarity ends, as the hotel itself is modern, well equipped and packed with great facilities. It’s a large place, with over 450 rooms, situated right on the waterfront of the Gold Coast development in Tuen Mun (near the new Harrow School). Nearby is a small ‘Piazza’ area, with the usual line-up of shops (Pacific Coffee, Watsons, Marketplace by Jasons), a few waterfront restaurants with lovely views across the marina, and a cute little arts and crafts market (the amusingly titled Montmartre) running at the weekend.
Our room was the standard Deluxe Balcony Seaview, but there was nothing standard about the size – this was huge! The room also featured a small lounge area, but best of all was the generously sized patio overlooking the hotel’s peaceful gardens and marina. This gave us somewhere to sit and enjoy the (glorious) weather while our son napped inside undisturbed. Although the décor was a little tired, it was as clean as it was spacious, and the large marble bathroom was a pleasant place to enjoy a relaxing soak in the tub.
Facilities-wise, there’s not much to find fault with. The hotel can arrange boat trips to Lantau’s Tai O and for spotting Hong Kong’s famous Pink Dolphins, whilst if you’re staying with the family, there’s a rotating weekend menu of organised kids’ activities including crafts and cookery workshops. You’re right on top of the narrow but sandy beach, with a side gate leading directly out from the hotel onto the promenade, plus there are two large open-air pools on-site as well. There’s also indoor and outdoor sports facilities (including rock climbing!), a gym and a spa; just make sure you check which are subject to extra charges, as not all are included in the price of your stay.
As well as the aforementioned restaurants on the Piazza, the hotel has a fair few in-house options. We opted for Yue, which promises traditional Chinese food with a modern twist. Although I was initially alarmed by the plush furnishings given that my little dining companion has a habit of hurling whatever is on his plate once finished, the staff could not have been more accommodating, rustling up high chairs, kids crockery (unbreakable – phew!), and watching with amusement as my boy happily chowed down on everything presented to him and still walked off with half the fruit platter clutched in his sticky little fists.
The food was delicious – light, beautifully presented, and with an emphasis on fresh seafood. My husband and I both agreed that we would make the trip back just for dinner (although if you wanted to check it out without the schlepp, there’s also a branch of Yue at the City Garden Hotel in North Point).
If you’re planning a staycation here, then I’d recommend a visit to the Crossroads Foundation, a five-minute walk from the hotel. Having only previously heard of Crossroads in the context of them collecting unwanted household items, it was a real eye-opener to take a wander around their site. As well as hosting a local farmer’s market every Saturday, there’s a cute little Fairtrade café selling scrummy cakes that are made by a Hong Kong community project, and the very impressive Global Handicrafts shop selling fairly-traded food, toys, gifts and craft items from around the world at very reasonable prices. Crossroads are also in the process of developing their site to include a new “Global Village”, designed to teach participants about some of the issues facing impoverished people today; check out their website for more details.
I’d definitely recommend a staycation at the Gold Coast Hotel for those of you who fancy a weekend break from your own four walls without getting on a plane. The combination of great facilities in the hotel and the wealth of interesting activities nearby make this a winner in my book!
Hong Kong Gold Coast Hotel, 1 Castle Peak Road, Gold Coast, Hong Kong, 2452 8833