Review of HK’s Tai O Heritage Hotel

I’ve wanted to stay at Hong Kong’s Tai O Heritage Hotel for a long time.  I’ve still not made it but luckily Ralph paid it a visit with his wife Ginny and baby boy Nathan Francis (11 weeks) and reports back!

Tai O View

When did you go?

Over HK SAR long weekend at the beginning of July, stayed one night on Saturday

How was the weather?

Sunny, clear skies, but brutally hot – low to mid-30s (but felt like 40+!)

How did you book the hotel? What did the rate include?

We booked through the hotel directly.  Initially we tried to book via the hotel’s website but it said every weekend was sold out for the entire summer.  We also checked local HK travel agents (i.e., Travel Expert) and they did not book for this hotel.  Ultimately, we emailed the hotel directly and asked for any weekend availability for the months of June, July and August.  Lo and behold they have availability for several different dates!  (Not sure why their website told you otherwise…)

We booked a one-bedroom suite with living room area.  The rate was HK$2,800 per night including American breakfast (order from set menu).  (The price was likely inflated due to long weekend.) 

How did you get to the hotel?

To get to the hotel from HK, there are several alternatives but all requires a combination of a few modes of transportation (i.e., bus, MTR, taxi, ferry, walk).  We took the MTR + taxi + walk combination.   

On the inbound, we took what the hotel told us was the “easiest” option when traveling with an infant and a giant stroller. 

Part I:  We took the MTR from Central (Hong Kong Station) straight to the Tung Chung station (~30 mins). 

Part II:  At the Tung Chung MTR station, we waited for a (blue) taxi to take us to Tai O.  Unfortunately, what the hotel did not tell us was that Lantau only has 50 blue taxis (vs. 18,000+ HK).  Factoring in a few not in service and a few resting, you basically have the same 20 – 30 guys driving around Lantau.  Unfortunately we waited for almost an hour at the taxi stand!  (Although we were told that had we arrived earlier in the day, the wait would have been closer to two hours!)  Once in the (blue) taxi, the trip was a short 20 mins scenic drive and cost about HK$160. 

Part III:  After arriving at the Tai O bus terminal, we walked for another 20 mins through the village to the hotel (no cars allowed).  It was quite a hot trek, but overall it was not a terrible walk with a stroller.  There is also a speedboat that can take you straight from the Tai O bus terminal to the hotel in two mins but it did not look very stroller / baby friendly. 

On the return, we got a little smarter / lazier.  We called the same (blue) taxi driver who dropped us off originally to pick us up from the Tai O bus terminal.  He then dropped us off at the Tung Chung MTR station where we took a red taxi straight back to HK.  Much easier approach and I would highly recommend this to those traveling with little ones, especially in the heat of HK summers.  The (red) taxi trip back to Central cost about HK$300. 

Tai O Nathan

Did you request any baby things in advance?

In advance of arrive, we requested a cot for the little guy.  They set it up for us when we checked into the room, no issues at all. 

What did you think of the room?

The hotel was re-opened in 2010 after restoring what used to be a police station from 1902.  They did an excellent job.  Style was colonial, very well done.  They allegedly spent approximately HK$16 million over two years to build the hotel / restore the building.  The hotel only has nine rooms (four of which are suites I believe) so it’s often fully booked on the weekends, especially on Friday or Saturday nights.

Tai O Hotel Room

We stayed in one of the two 1-bedroom suites on the main floor.  Very quiet, very nicely furnished.  It was about 500sf or so, with two separate bathrooms, a comfortable king bed, and a sofa in the living area.  Also has two large LCD TVs and essentially all the key amenities that one would need (including board games for kids!).   Our room was also very quiet – from both outside noises and noises from the room above.  Non-hotel guests are not allowed to tour the hotel grounds after 6pm.

Tai O Bathroom

How were the facilities?

Other than a restaurant, the hotel did not have any other facilities you may typically find in other hotels (e.g., pool, gym, kids club, etc.)

What activities did you do?

The hotel offers three tours: (i) hotel tour (free), (ii) culture and experience tour of the village (HK$150 p/p), and (iii) sunset boat tour (HK$150 p/p). 

Tai O

How was the food?

We ate all our meals at the hotel (partly because we were too lazy to hike back to the village and partly because we didn’t see any decent sit-down dining options).  The breakfast (part of our suite package) was surprisingly not bad for American style breakfast – comparable to 4-star hotel restaurant breakfast in HK.  Lunch was not bad as well, quite a number of choices (relatively speaking) and prices were reasonable.  Dinner was just okay but a meal is a meal…

Was the staff friendly?

Staff was very friendly and baby-friendly.  They accommodated our request for a quieter location for our room so they placed us away from the main foot traffic area.  In addition, they made reservations for us at the restaurant and pre-reserved the booth seating so we can put our car seat on the bench. 

What stood out for you?

The hotel sits half way up on a hill, facing the water – much nicer hotel than we had expected (especially since it is in the middle of Tai O). 

Interesting “fact” – we were told that the hotel houses the room at the furthest most west point of HK.  On a clear day guests can see Macau and Zhuhai from the balcony. 

Any negatives?

No room service – it would’ve been nice and convenient if this was available. 

Would you recommend this hotel as family friendly?

Yes and no.  For families looking for a nice boutique hotel to primarily sleep and the activities being the local area cultural sightseeing, etc., then this would a good option.  However, for families looking for hotels with more standalone facilities (i.e., kids club, pool, etc.), then this would not be a good option.  With that said, however, Tai O Heritage may be the only viable option available in the area. 

Would you go back?

Yes, we had a wonderful short break from the city and the hotel was a very pleasant surprise. 

Top tips?

Since there are only nine rooms, book early and book via the hotel directly.  Also, weeknight stays are much cheaper and less crowded. 

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