Comfort at 8 Degrees

Harbour Plaza 8 Degrees lounge

It was in fact hovering around eight degrees Celsius when I checked into Harbour Plaza 8 Degrees in To Kwa Wan, Kowloon. Although that was a coincidence, the name of the hotel does hold significance. In addition to the number ‘8’ being a prosperous number in Chinese culture, the ‘8 degrees’ is a nod to the ‘tilting’ design of the lobby as you enter. The optical illusion is meant to make guests feel like they are entering the Leaning Tower of Pisa. It is also a nod to the notoriously challenging descent and ascent pilots faced when they flew in and out of the old Kai Tak Airport which was just a stone’s throw away from the hotel. 

Walking into the warm lobby was a much-needed reprieve from the bitter conditions outside. The check-in desk is immediately opposite the entrance, past a coffee shop to my left where guests are warming up with coffee and the hotel’s signature pastry, the Mango Napoleon. The 24-hour concierge to my right was buzzing with people coming and going. Check-in is as pleasant and efficient as you would expect from a well-regarded hotel group and within minutes concierge was directing me up to the One-bedroom Suite I had been allocated on the 17th floor. 

Harbour Plaza 8 Degrees suite

At 520 to 620 square feet, it is the biggest available space. The layout is functional and the fittings are modern. There are separate dining and lounge areas, a large TV and a kitchenette with a good-sized fridge and ample storage. In the bedroom, there is a queen-size bed, wardrobe, another large TV and a slim en-suite with a bath. 

As I familiarised myself with the suite, I realised my room looked out towards a neighbouring residential block with Kowloon Bay in the distance, but there are rooms with city-facing views. There are three other tiers of accommodation available: Studio Suite (350 square feet), Deluxe Room (350 square feet) and Superior Room (280 square feet). The Studio Suite and the Deluxe Room are the same size but the former includes a kitchenette, which is preferable for those wanting longer stays.

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Harbour Plaza 8 Degrees poolside

For a hotel that is a little tucked away, it is surprisingly easy to reach from the major shopping points and the airport. They have several shuttle buses servicing guests wanting to get to and from the airport, Kowloon Station, Prince Edward and Tsim Sha Tsui; it’s also close to Mega Box, Kowloon City, KITEC and Hung Hom. The staff at Harbour Plaza 8 Degrees were keen to point out that the development of the Sung Wong Toi MTR that will connect the area directly to Admiralty will be roughly 10-minutes’ walk from the hotel. 

Harbour Plaza 8 Degrees serves primarily as a hotel and has all the associated amenities you’d expect including a restaurant, a coffee shop, a pool bar, a garden terrace, a large outdoor swimming pool, convertible function rooms, a gym, and more. The hotel itself has a very relaxed, welcoming feel and while I’m told they of course cater for short-term stays for tourists and corporate guests, they also welcome longer stays, which is popular among Chinese expats returning from Canada to visit and Hong Kong families who need a short-term place to stay between selling and buying apartments, or while renovations are going on. Common stays are around the three-month, six-month and now the year-long mark, but they do have residents who have been with them for nine years.

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Harbour Plaza 8 Degrees garden terrace

Popular for being a hotel-serviced suite hybrid, long-staying guests don’t have to buy or replace amenities or appliances. All cooking utensils are provided, rooms are cleaned, sheets washed and towels replaced regularly, and even if a lightbulb blows, housekeeping will fix it for you. Life is a lot more comfortable knowing all of that is taken care of. 

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