Saturday, 19 June 2010

By The Way - The Suite Life and Service Apartment Living in Hong Kong

I live in a serviced apartment in Hong Kong. In fact, in all my 3 plus years of living here, I have never lived in any other accommodation other than a serviced apartment and I have to say its a suite life for someone who has no maid, no car and almost could not cook till recently. And thats why when I received this press release from Ovolo, one of the largest operators of serviced apartments here in Hong Kong, I decided to share with you what service apartment living in Hong Kong looks and feels like, what you can expect and how much one costs, just in case you and the family find yourself relocating to the fragrant harbour anytime soon.

I have only ever lived on the Kowloon end where serviced apartments are slightly larger and cheaper as compared with those on Hong Kong island. Having said that they still cost an arm and a leg for space that would amount to a tiny one bed room flat in Singapore. The three serviced apartments that I have actually stayed in (in Kowloon) and would highly recommend would be The Pinnacle serviced apartments in Minden Avenue, The Gateway Apartments at Harbour City in Tsim Sha Tsui and the very luxurious Harbourview Place located on top of the swanky W Hotel in Kowloon station. Its a private joke with the husband that we move each year to a different serviced apartment everytime the rentals increase (which they do often, at fast and vast rates) just to fully experience the different aspects of city living here in Hong Kong.     

And that is why I looked with interest at the press release that we got was from the Ovolo or Home2Home Group who has 5 locations on Hong Kong island all inspired by state-of-the-art boutique hotels in London and New York. With a total of 174 small sized apartments located all over Hong Kong Island, their latest launch is the Ovolo at 111 High Street, Sai Ying Pun in the Western district. A stylish 750 sq ft apartment here occupies an entire floor and has  rentals ranging from HK$31,000 to HK$38,000 a month (multiply by approximately 5 to get the SG dollar equivalent). Note that in Hong Kong, square foot space includes public and common areas so the living space is often much less than 750 sq feet.

However the architects here in Hong Kong have proven to be masters of space and I find that they some how creatively manage to add hidden closets, corners and such where you can store virtually everything and anything. Failing which there is always a reasonably priced common storage area that you can rent by the month to store your luggage and bulky essentials.  

Here is another of Ovolo's recent launches, at the hip and happening Hollywood road area, right next to Lan Kwai Fong and all the restaurants and pubs.  222 Hollywood Road is actually in Sheung Wan, rather than Central and a 650 sq ft one bedroom apartments range from HK31,000 to HK$36,000 per month. 

What would a larger space cost? Apartments at Ovolo's, 2 Arbuthnot Road range from HK$48,000 to HK$60,000 per month. The hefty price tag brings you not only the luxurious decor and the comforts of a hotel style lifestyle but also state-of-the-art technology in communications from the latest 42-inch plasma TVs and surround-sound home theatre systems to “smart lighting”, i-Pod docks and wi-fi internet. Smart operators like Ovolo also go the extra mile to provide a resident’s only ‘Indulge’ card which offers discounts at some of Hong Kong’s hippest bars, restaurants, nightclubs, spas, beauty salons and fitness centres, including complimentary membership at fashionable California Fitness Gym. Details at: Tel: +852 2165 1000; Fax: +852 2790 5490. 

Naturally not all serviced apartments offer the same perks. Perks and price share a intimate relationship here in Hong Kong especially where city living is concerned. Going the serviced apartment way for us simply meant giving up the ample space that we were so used to in Singapore for the convenience of a well located apartment in the heart of the city thus saving on transport, enjoying easier access to convenience shopping for food and necessities. The tiny home that I now live in, sees the 3 of us sharing one bedroom with one toilet, a small kitchen and a sofa bed for any visitors (heaven forbid) in our living room which is also our dining room. 

My apartment is actually no larger than a one-bedroom hotel suite, totaling almost 900 square feet (which I have been told is generous by Hong Kong standards) and it is half the space I could have got if I had rented a regular apartment. However in exchange for space come perks like an everyday housekeeping service and my linens changed and laundered so that I do not need a domestic helper, decent furniture that means I don't have to be a DIY Ikea groupie, lights bulbs and aircons that get automatically serviced and changed when I pick up the phone, cable TV, an instant internet connection, a concierge desk to book taxis and write me travel directions helpful (especially since I can't speak Cantonese) and even laundry if I want to use the service. 

My home has a washer and dryer, a stove, microwave and all the amenities that a regular hotel suite does not. It took some initial getting used to when tiny and tight (unlike my waistline and hips) are just not what you are accustomed to. But surprisingly in this tiny space, I have found that I make a huge effort to buy less especially as storage is limited. I have learnt to use the space I have more efficiently and most importantly we as a family,  find ourselves more involved in a positive way with each other's lives since the other person is actually in your face most of the time. And for that, I am grateful for this suite life .. sharing air space and a tiny place that we now have made HOME. 

- Elaine  


Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Simply Fabulicious Copyright © 2009 Cosmetic Girl Designed by Ipietoon | In Collaboration with FIFA
Girl Illustration Copyrighted to Dapino Colada