There are three Hyatt hotels in Hong Kong – the Grand Hyatt and Hyatt Regency are on Hong Kong Island and Kowloon, and the Hyatt Sha Tin in the New Territories. While the Hyatt Sha Tin is not centrally located for touring the sights of Hong Kong Island, as space and facilities were top of my agenda for this visit with my family, it fit the bill perfectly.
I’ve spent my last few stays in Hong Kong looking for a hotel that would award points / stay credits when booking through my travel agent (a necessity for work) and the Hyatt came up trumps here too.
As a result, I earnt a ton of Hyatt Gold Passport points from this stay – a touch over 15,000 in fact. This is why I love points and miles – I’ve already leveraged these on a stay at the Grand Hyatt in Melbourne for Grand Prix weekend, where the room rates otherwise would have been $600+.
The hotel is situated around 45 minutes from Hong Kong’s Central Station via the MTR and this more remote location in the New Territories, north of Kowloon and Hong Kong Island allows visitors more space than a central hotel. The trade off for us was worth it; it was a much more relaxed stay as a result of the extra space.
Research & Booking
I spent a long time researching family-friendly hotels in Hong Kong for this four night stay. Given we were travelling with our 3-month and 3-year-old daughters, space was paramount, as were some on-site activity options. I looked on Hong Kong Island and in Kowloon for hotels and serviced apartment options and didn’t turn up anything appealing in my price range – but I then remembered the Hyatt.
Rates for the two bedroom suite had to be enquired about directly with the hotel, and came in around $465/night when booking through a travel agent. For this, we’d get a master bedroom, a second twin bedroom, separate lounge, dining and kitchenette area – all for the price of two small interconnecting rooms in a central Hong Kong hotel. I was sold.
Transfer & Arrival
We were travelling with a LOT of stuff. Think 6 large bags, plus a few backpacks – hell, we were going to Hong Kong, the UK and France skiing and decided to bring our own ski boots and helmets, so this wasn’t going to be minimal.
Lugging all that onto the Hong Kong Airport train then changing onto the other MTR lines required to reach Sha Tin was not an option with 2 little ones in tow so I booked a car transfer to and from the airport (booked via the hotel at a cost of approx. $100 AUD – I believe three Hyatts in Hong Kong all use the same car transfer service). We also requested an infant and a child seat in the car, which I have found to be THE ULTIMATE TEST of a car transfer company.
On wandering out to the arrival hall, very slowly with all our stuff, we easily found the Hyatt rep waiting for us with a sign. He was very helpful, wheeling trollies, waiting for me to buy a local SIM card, waiting for our 3 year old to make a pitstop and then taking us down to the dedicated limo transfer area to our car.
There are a few critical things that hotel car services need to get right when travelling with kids –
- Having child car seats
- Having the correct car seats for the age of children specified
- Knowledge of how to fit the car seats, or
- Having the car seats fitted and ready to use when we rock up to the car
Honestly, in several overseas trips with kids, I have NEVER had a hotel get all of these right, and Hyatt only passed the first (but most important) two. Struggling to fit car seats after an 8 hour flight with tired kids waiting is never fun, but after 3 car service reps and myself had the car seat puzzle figured out, we were on our way.
After some odd detours where I think the driver vagued out while listening to his ‘best of early 2000’s pop’ mix, we arrived. The place was busy, but this was where using the in-house car service shone – the car was leapt upon by two staff to unpack our bags and get us inside. The main thing they could have done better would be to offer to handle the check-in in private or in the room – as it was, I waited in line inside while my two daughters yelled the car down from being overtired.
As I’d hoped, the room was possibly the largest room I’d ever had the pleasure of staying in. The decor wasn’t ostentatious, just modern and comfortable and the knee-height to ceiling windows framed a great view out to the suburbs of Ma on Shan, Heng On and to Tolo Harbour.
On a clear day, we could see Tolo Channel and the coast around, so the hotel has a stunning view out to the water, and I’d be disappointed if I got a pool view room, facing the other way. Our older daughter enjoyed watching the busy view, with boats, cyclists on the Tolo Harbour track, and buses and taxis at the University interchange below.
The room has two large en suite bedrooms of roughly similar size, with the second twin bedroom slightly larger than the master and featuring a full bathroom with glass panel wall allowing you to look from the bath into the bedroom and beyond to the view of the harbour.
You enter the suite into the the kitchenette/dining area/lounge with the twin bedroom to the right and the master bedroom to the left. There was also a small third toilet next to the kitchenette.
The entry hallway had a load of storage, a lot of space to act as a general dumping ground. The kitchenette had two induction hotplates, kettle, microwave, rice cooker, cutlery, crockery, sink, and a large (but quiet) fridge/freezer placed somewhat in the lounge area.
The master bedroom also had a bathroom with a large shower, but no bath, and was a bit smaller than the twin room – but still pretty damn spacious.
This suite was just massive, and perfect for what we needed – with us all on different sleeping agendas, we had enough beds, rooms and living areas to go around. Our eldest daughter loved playing around the windows, and enjoyed the huge bathtub and window next to it. I feel bad for the cleaner that had to remove the bubble scum, but there’s no helping 3 year olds.
When we had some free time at the weekend we went to explore the pool and I was really pleasantly surprised – the pool (and all the grounds) were well maintained and clean, and the children’s part of the pool was fun for a paddle and away from where other adults were enjoying the main pool, spa and bar.
The grounds of the hotel weren’t extensive but were very green. In the gardens, a small Camp Hyatt building is the location for various kids art and craft workshops (for kids 4 and above), but anyone can use the playground outside without issue.
Near the pool was the outdoor seating area of the main restaurant. They also set up a poolside barbecue on the Friday night of our stay.
The Hotel bar was quite different to the rest of the hotel – pretty dark and nearly like a nightclub. I guess this style caters for the weddings and events they have here. During our stay there were a couple of conferences and on the Saturday we saw about seven wedding parties in action in the Hotel and on our floor. They didn’t impact us though, the suite was isolated from the rest of the floor at the end of the corridor.
In the lobby there was also an in-house patisserie, selling cakes, snacks, coffee and the hotel’s signature Apple Pie.
We ordered room service. A lot. I mean, every, single day of our four day stay, for breakfast and dinner. I was pretty familiar with the menu by the time I left, as was the menu with me. We found it reasonable value but all the food was of excellent quality, and delivered professionally each time.
So no complaints from the room service, other than the fact that it was good enough to buy more and more of and the slightly horrific bill when we checked out. Hell, it was easy, tasty, delivered to our table and we were on holiday.
We only breakfasted at the hotel buffet once as this wasn’t included in our room rate, and it was pretty good – tasty, loads of variety, even some friendly and attentive service.
All other interactions with the hotel employees were friendly and we didn’t lack for bottled water top ups for the 4 days we were there.
Location and logistics
The main downside to the Hyatt Sha Tin Hong Kong is the distance to the city. I worked for a couple of days of the time I was there and it took me 45+ minutes to get to Hong Kong Island, with several changes on the MTR. The hotel is a short, well-signed walk from University MTR station which is predictably buzzing with students.
It was also a similar amount of time in the transfer from Hong Kong airport to the hotel as to an Island or Kowloon Hotel, possibly 5-10 minutes less in fact, so there was nothing really gained or lost by staying further out from the city for the trip back.
For my other half, juggling baby and toddler on the MTR on her own was a challenge but not impossible and Sha Tin Central (2 stops away from University station on the MTR) has some great facilities for children – including Snoopy’s World outdoor playground at the Sha Tin Central mega shopping mall and riverside gardens and playgrounds to explore.
To sum up, we knew this stay in Hong Kong wouldn’t be cheap. Needing enough space for four people for several days would always result in needing 2 or more rooms of space, but I felt the trade-offs of the Hyatt Sha Tin’s location were easily worth the large, kid-friendly pool, the more relaxed feel about the place, and the acres of extra space we had at a much, much cheaper rate than I could find anywhere else more central.
This stay all worked as I had planned, and I don’t really have too much of a bad word to stay about the place. If our needs were the same, we’d go back without issue, and the haul of points earn from the stay were the icing on the cake.
The only thing I’d say is that if you want to do a lot of sightseeing and think you won’t be spending much time at your hotel, don’t bother – just stay somewhere more central. But if you want somewhere with facilities and space, but can’t afford or find a large, more central room, go for it.