The Backpacking Freelancer - Part VII

27 June 2011
kitten looking outYesterday's blog post directed the limelight on Trip Advisor recommended accommodations in Hong Kong. Should you trust the positive feedback ratings and shining reviews?

The final decision is entirely up to you, but it is wise to sift through the pile of testimonials and weigh all positive and negative aspects carefully. 

How do you make sense of them? You might want to put yourself in the shoes of the persons writing the review. In addition, you must also consider the posting guidelines set by Trip Advisor. The ideal review sums up the guest's overall experience in the hotel, hostel or guesthouse. The rating is based on factors such as level of service, cleanliness, location, sleep quality, room and pricing.

I tend to read the average and negative points first to see how tolerable they are. I have jotted down a few notes below. See if yours match mine:

  • Hello Inn - 44 reviews, 100 percent positive feedback

    Clean and artsy rooms (all with a private bathroom), and a nice owner seem to be the place's main selling proposition. All reviewers said they would recommend Hello Inn in a heart beat and "definitely return." The only detail that will probably merit some second thoughts is that Hello Inn is located in Mirador Mansion, which is just slightly better than the seedy Chungking Mansion. Additionally, some backpackers may not like the deposit and refund policy.

    Rate/night: 350-380 HKD (single), 400-450 HKD (double)
    Deposit: full amount for stays of less than 3 days
    Refunds: 10 percent withheld as service charge, 7 days' notice required


    - E-mail for room availability.
    - Send the deposit via PayPal.
    - Receive a confirmed booking number from the staff.

  • Yiufai Guesthouse - 45 reviews, 91 percent positive feedback

    Yiufai Guesthouse rooms are said to be priced at least 100 HKD cheaper than similar lodging places in the area. Bathrooms in the 6th floor are shared and in the 10th floor ensuite. Yiufai Guesthouse received a few average ratings for reliability. There were cases when the place was overbooked or the staff forgot to prepare the room and had to transfer the confirmed guests to a "sister" hostel. (This complaint is reminiscent of Taisan Guesthouse reviews.) Your best bet would be to remind the staff of your reservation a day or two before your arrival date.    

    Rate/night: 250-300 HKD (single/double, shared bath), 350 HKD (double/twin, ensuite)
    Deposit: not specified
    Refunds: not specified


    - E-mail for room availability.
    - Wait for additional instructions from the staff.

  • Golden Crown Guesthouse - 45 reviews, 88 percent positive feedback

    Golden Crown Guesthouse is popular for its triple and quad rooms (all ensuite). It is also by far the only guesthouse that has a user-friendly online reservations page where customers can check their order status. Walk-ins are in for some disappointment though. Chances are all rooms are booked, you might need to transfer rooms or you will be billeted in the old wing which is not as well maintained as the rooms in the 6th floor. The guesthouse ups its rates by 100 HKD during expos.

    Room/night: 280-300 HKD (single), 350-400 HKD (double), 500 HKD (triple), 600 HKD (quad)
    Deposit: 100 HKD for every room reserved
    Refunds: advance notice required, deposit forfeited for no shows


    - Complete the inquiry/"Book Now" form at
    - E-mail to follow up on your inquiry.
    - Pay the reservation deposit within 24 hours after receiving a reply from the staff.
    - Receive and print out the confirmation e-mail.

  • Star Guest House - 20 reviews, 84 percent positive feedback

    This specialty lodging may have only 18 rooms (ensuite and with shared bathroom) for guests, but it offers what usual hostels and guesthouses do not: an early check-in period from 9 o'clock to 12 noon, and an optional reservation deposit policy. According to reviewers, far more offputting than the tiny legroom is the fact that the guesthouse could overbook itself and management might cancel your room reservation in such short notice. No shows without a valid reason may be included in the blacklist. 

    Room/night: 350-450 HKD (single), 380-500 HKD (double), 600 HKD (twin), 650 HKD (triple)
    Deposit: optional but guests are encouraged to pay for a night's rent in advance
    Refunds: 3 days' advance notice required, deposit forfeited for late cancellations and no shows


    - E-mail or use the form at
    - Receive an acknowledgement and confirmation e-mail within 24 to 48 hours.
    - Send a bank draft (optional).

  • Booth Lodge - 23 reviews, 81 percent positive feedback

    Compared to the rest of the accommodations listed here, the Salvation Army Booth Lodge has a lobby, a gift shop and a service center that can arrange tours and airline bookings. The price comes with complimentary breakfast. Judging from the room rates though, you could just opt to check in a standard hotel of a similar, if not better, price range via Asia Travel. The level of service exhibited by the staff (down to the bellboy) leaves much to be desired, commented reviewers. Ironically, published rates have yet to include the 10 percent service charge add-on.

    Rate/night: 620-780 HKD (standard, double), 840-1500 HKD (deluxe, triple)
    Deposit: not specified
    Refunds: not specified


    - E-mail for pre-booking inquiries.
    - Use the form at

    - Wait for additional instructions from the staff.

I ended up reserving rooms in Golden Crown Guesthouse, and I have not had any regrets. Although I was very drawn to Hello Inn's 100 percent feedback, I was more scared of the thought of jostling with other guests at the Mirador Mansion. 

Trivia: Golden Crown is housed on the same building as Yiufai. Did you find it weird that I opted for number 3 instead of number 2?*
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