This hotel has been a landmark in Central since 1963, which makes it ancient in this ever-changing city. It's a perfect blend of updated facilities with retro charm, evident in its timeless lobby, clubby Captain's Bar that looks the same as it did 50 years ago, and trademark restaurants like the venerable Mandarin Grill and Man Wah (a whopping 70 percent of restaurant diners are locals). Facilities seem endless, including a spa decorated in 1930s Shanghai style and an upscale shopping arcade (don't miss the Mandarin Cake Shop, with chocolate displays that are out of this world), though regrettably there's no outdoor pool. Rooms, decorated with either contemporary or taipan Oriental furnishings, face inland or toward the harbor and come with—I really like this—binoculars to take full advantage of those wonderful views. There are even cubby holes by the front door so guests can fetch the daily newspaper still dressed in their pajamas. With its convenient location and long-standing reputation for excellent service, this hotel is popular with business and leisure travelers alike.
- Beth Reiber