Hong Kong is one of the most expensive cities in Asia for visitors like many other busy financial and business hubs in the region.
However Hong Kong’s tourism is also developed and diverse, meaning you have a plethora of choices ranging from luxury 5 star chain hotels from all the familiar international brands, to apartments and rooms on Airbnb, to plenty of hostels catering to all budgets and tastes.
Even in the hostel world, some great places can be found, provided you book them earlier in advance.
Last minute prices soar, and many of the good hostels sell out rather quickly.
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Wontonmeen Hostel caught my eye for a number of reasons, and you can book a bed in the mixed dorm through email or Airbnb.
Set up by an interior designer, Wontonmeen is immaculately decorated, and for those in search of an authentic Hong Kong experience.
Located in the neighbourhood of Sham Shui Po, one of Hong Kong’s older neighbourhoods and a 10 to 15 minute walk away from the Prince Edward MTR station, Wontonmeen is surrounded by local residents going about their daily life, as well as humble shop fronts and eateries.
Here, you’re a world away from the shiny new skyscrapers and fancy mega malls that dot Central on Hong Kong Island.
The hostel and living space itself is located above a beautiful and cosy cafe by the name of Urban Coffee Roasters, but push through the doors of the cafe and walk to the end, a big but discreet door welcomes you to the common area of the hostel, where you’ll proceed to do your check-in.
The cafe serves up good food and coffee too, and those staying in Wontonmeen can make use of the 20% discount in the cafe.
Urban Coffee Roasters was set up by two coffee lovers from Hong Kong, and they have a couple of outlets around the city, including one at Tsim Sha Tsui, and Urban Coffee Roasters was one of the best cafes around town.
The common area is a dream, and looks lifted straight out of the 80s, with knick-knacks, books, posters and vinyls lining the walls and shelves.
There’s even a full band of instruments.
Designed to be a space for all travellers to hang, it looks more like an eclectic living room in a crowded apartment, with a fridge and kitchen too, where cold drinks are available for purchase from the fridge.
With the amount of colour, stories and all sorts of memorabilia collected from over the years, including typewriters, bicycles, clocks, neon signs etc., oddly the common area doesn’t feel cluttered or chaotic, but perhaps that’s because it appealed to my liking of collectibles and vintage-like decor.
The cafe closes at 7pm, and after that, the common area is available to travellers staying in the hostel throughout the night via the office space between the second and first floor.
You’ll be shown to the dorm through the gate to the right of the cafe, accessed with a passcode on the ground floor and on the floor of the dorm.
Inside, you’ll find the theme of the decor continues to liven up the common area upstairs, where there are 2 toilets and 2 shower rooms available.
Towels can be rented for HKD20 for your entire stay, and you’ll find plenty of amenities including toilet roll, hairdryers, clips, hangers and everything you could possibly need to make yourself feel at home.
Take off your footwear to enter the clean and unique dorm with 10 beds.
The beds are designed to be cage beds, where you’ll be able to lock your suitcases and backpacks below the beds in the cage below, though you’ll need to have your own padlock.
The air-conditioning is strong, which is a great thing to have if you’re going to be in Hong Kong anywhere near the summer seasons, which are hot, sunny and humid.
The mattresses I found to be incredibly comfortable, and for privacy, you can grab any of the towels nearby and drape them in front of your mattress, clipping them to the cages to secure them.
For a late October 2018 stay, I paid HKD220 per night for a bed, and there is a triple occupancy private room available for rent as well on a different floor, and was quoted HKD350 for a single person, and HKD460 for two per night.
I never tried the private room though, but for a couple seeking privacy or a group of 3, the private room might be better suited to your needs.
The room was quiet, important considering Wontonmeen is located along a major road, and even at full occupancy, never felt like space was an issue or that I had to wait at all for the use of bathrooms.
Bicycles can be hired from the hostel, and via QR codes you can unlock local recommendations for food.
You can even book tours through the hostel.
All in all, I genuinely enjoyed my stay at Wontonmeen Hostel, and it was the perfect place to lay my head to rest after a busy day.
For those more into design and vintage collectibles, Wontonmeen will appeal to your aesthetic senses, while at the same time being comfortable and well-appointed, with your basic needs covered, including the cleanliness and quiet of the room (though for that, you’ll have to count on the other 9 travellers for).