This is Hong Kong's legendary grand dame, built in 1928 to accommodate overland train passengers traveling through China and disembarking at nearby Kowloon Station (long-since demolished). Hong Kong's oldest hotel, it's still a venerable relic of the past, with a gilded lobby famous for afternoon tea, white-gloved doormen, and one of the world's largest fleets of Rolls-Royces (Gatsby wannabes can arrive in style by ordering pickup service—complete with free Wi-Fi—from the airport). Yet the hotel is also stunningly up to date, with room renovations completed in 2013 that make it one of the most high-tech accommodations in the world, including Wi-Fi that's probably the fastest imaginable in a hotel. In-room smart tablets, which with the push of a button can be set to one of 11 languages that instantly changes all in-room communication to that language, control everything from light switches to TVs in the room and bathroom with their 90-plus channels and free HD movie selections, and also provide access to hotel menus, concierge service, flight information, free VOiP international calls, and a guide to the city. For the best views, spring for a room in the tower, added in 1994, facing the harbor. And if you can tear yourself away from your room, you might enjoy afternoon tea in its famous lobby, the luxurious spa with harbor views from its sauna and some treatment rooms, or the hotel's Academy programs offering cooking classes, feng shui consultations, expert-led tours of the local art scene, helicopter rides directly from the rooftop to the New Territories followed by lunch on a yacht, and more (all of which, of course, come with a price).
- Beth Reiber