For HK, consider Sha Tin (suburb)

This item appears on page 16 of the June 2011 issue.

First-time visitors to Hong Kong usually stay on Hong Kong Island or just across the harbor in Tsim Sha Tsui, on the tip of the Kowloon Peninsula, and that’s as it should be. But for repeat visitors on a budget or those planning a long stay, Sha Tin, just 20 minutes by train from Kowloon, might be a location to consider. My wife, Maria, and I stayed there in January 2011 to be near friends who live in Tai Po, the next suburb over.

Sha Tin is, by Chinese standards, a small suburb, and it has a number of fine hotels. We opted for the five-star Regal Riverside Hotel (phone 852 2649 7878), just across from the Shing Mun River, which provided a lovely view as well as a bicycle and walking path located directly across the avenue from the hotel. (Single and tandem bikes are available for hourly or daily rental.)

Just two blocks away is a collection of stores, and a 10-minute taxi ride will get you to the Star Seafood Floating Restaurant, which provides some of the best dim sum in the area.

Best of all, the hotel provides regular free shuttle service to and from the airport, Tsim Sha Tsui and the upscale New Town Plaza mall, which is loaded with shops and eateries of every kind. Or you can take the five-minute walk to the Sha Tin Wai MTR train station, which offers transportation to Kowloon or north into mainland China.

The Regal Riverside Hotel features eight food outlets, including Vi, a Thai-Vietnamese buffet restaurant that was our favorite, and the more formal Dragon Inn, which featured a wide range of Chinese specialties, as well as Italian and Japanese restaurants and a 24-hour coffee shop.

There’s an excellent fitness center and spa, a sundeck and a huge pool that is open July through September.

All this is available for just over $100 per room per night, depending upon season — a good 35% less than similar accommodations in Tsim Sha Tsui or the tourist section of Hong Kong Island.

Riverside, CT