Hotel Jen is located in Hong Kong Island’s fast-growing, ever-changing and increasingly trendy little hotspot, the Western District. The former Trader’s Hotel Hong Kong underwent a significant transformation, becoming part of the newest hotel brand in the Shangri-La Group just a couple of years ago. Although the four-star hotel houses 283 guestrooms, Hotel Jen cleverly encapsulates the essence of a relaxed, boutique-style hotel thanks to its cosy, modern home comforts along with impeccable personal service and warming hospitality.
ScrubySnacks’ initial interest in Hotel Jen stemmed from its close proximity to Hong Kong’s Island Line MTR, as well as having the progressively popular suburb of Kennedy Town right on its doorstep. Above all, we were keen to discover if Hotel Jen would and could live up to the high expectations already set due to its association with such a revered luxury chain of hotels.
Our seven day stay at Hotel Jen took place during the busy period leading up to Christmas. Although easily accessible from Hong Kong International Airport via the Airport Express train service to Hong Kong Station MTR, carrying four pieces of large luggage and feeling exhausted from a late night flight, we decided to grab a taxi directly to the hotel. Door to door, the relatively simple journey took just under 40 minutes.
As we pulled up outside the main entrance of Hotel Jen on the bustling Queens Road West, although the exterior of the hotel itself perhaps lacked the glamour of other Shangri-La properties, it did blend in effortlessly amongst its local surroundings. Thankfully, the hotel’s three elevators were located at street level, offering direct access for us and our suitcases to the main lobby on the 1st floor. With no queue at reception, we were quickly welcomed by a member of staff, and informed that as we were booked into a Club Harbour View Room, we could simply leave our luggage with the concierge and make our way to the Club Lounge where a colleague would assist with our check in.
We took the elevator up to the 28th floor where a smartly presented, rather youthful looking member of staff stood by. Due to our early arrival, our Club Harbour View Room was not yet ready, and so we were invited to enjoy a complimentary coffee in the Club Lounge whilst they organised our room. Exclusive access to Hotel Jen’s Club Lounge is just one of the perks of booking a Club category guestroom, offering a comfortable place to relax and recuperate, with tea, coffees and soft drinks served throughout the day.
Within moments, we had secured our position at a charming little table by the window, taking in the sundrenched, sprawling views of glistening Victoria Harbour and its surrounds. After our coffees, we decided to take the opportunity to explore the adjacent Western District to keep ourselves awake. A simple seven minute walk from the hotel took us to the water’s edge where we enjoyed a sublime stroll along the Western District Public Cargo Pier, a popular spot for joggers, fishermen and selfie-lovers, and on a clear day, it’s the perfect spot from which to watch Hong Kong’s magical sunset.
A Room with a View
Feeling somewhat refreshed after a slap of sea air, we returned to the hotel where we were handed our key cards providing access to our Club Harbour View Room on the 20th floor. The room itself was well positioned and sizeable, especially for Hong Kong standards, with ample space on the window sill to rest our large suitcases without hindering the fabulous views of the Harbour and surrounding buildings.
The bed was invitingly adorned in crisp white cotton sheets and the full blackout blinds provided a necessary aid to overcoming the dreaded jetlag. The unusual layout of the bathroom made good use of the room’s limited space, with a separate shower cubicle, toilet cubicle and an exposed but pristine sink area on the opposite side.
Club Lounge Cocktail Hour
After a short afternoon snooze and shower, it was time to check out Hotel Jen’s Club Lounge cocktail hour, which is available to all Club Room guests between 5.30pm and 7.30pm each evening. The 28th floor was abuzz with hotel residents of all nationalities enjoying a few glasses of their favourite tipple, accompanied by an extensive selection of delicious bites, ranging from freshly prepared finger sandwiches, warm Asian and Western dishes, a small cheese selection, and an array of cakes and desserts. It was during these busy cocktail hours that the hotel team’s upbeat approach and professionalism was well-noted. Not only did they ensure that all guests remained fed and watered, keeping the entire area fully stocked and perfectly presentable, but they also enthusiastically offered a wealth of advice regarding hotel facilities and also recommendations of services and sights to see all over Hong Kong.
Daily Breakfast Indulgence
Also available to Club Lounge guests, was a daily buffet breakfast, although our personal place of preference was the breakfast selection at Cafe Malacca on the 2nd floor. With something to satisfy all tastes and appetites, the restaurant offered a hearty, yet frill-free range of items including cold and hot cereals, traditional cooked breakfast items, freshly prepared omelettes from the egg station, and even a few Asian flavours such as wok-tossed noodles and lentil soup (dahl). Yet again, the wait staff couldn’t be more hospitable and even by our second day, they had remembered our hot drinks orders, preparing them in advance as we dived into the buffet.
A Home Away from Home
Our entire week at Hotel Jen was nothing but pleasurable and by the end of our stay we felt like we had found our second home in Hong Kong. We enjoyed the little extra touches like complimentary coffee and water facilities for guests at the main reception desk, and freshly cut fruit delivered to the room. Although a regular complimentary shuttle service to Central/Hong Kong Station was available, with HKU MTR just a few steps away, it was so easy to explore the rest of the city in our own time.
If we didn’t feel like venturing too far, a stroll to neighbouring Kennedy Town offered an array of lively bars and restaurants to discover along the sparkling harbour front. We loved our evening strolls to Belcher’s Bay Park, watching the locals take part in their daily rituals of power walking around the perimeter, group dance classes and practising Tai Chi. The Western District is a spectacular melting pot of East and West, traditional and contemporary, without the chaos and crowds of the city.
Hotel Jen offers an excellent base from which to explore the whole of Hong Kong, and thanks to its commendable staff and fantastic facilities, you can be safe in the knowledge that you will always have a comfortable, friendly and convenient place to relax and recharge at the end of each day.
When booking your stay at Hotel Jen, opting for a Club Mountain View, Club Harbour View or Club Suite is well worth it, as all guests can enjoy all the Club Lounge benefits, including exclusive check-in and check-out on the 28th floor, complimentary buffet breakfast, all day drinks and snacks, evening cocktail hour and more. The only thing is, you may never want to leave the hotel.
Also, make sure you book a table for lunch or dinner at Cafe Malacca. Having previously worked at Island Shangri-La in Hong Kong, Head Chef Sunny Tse has over 20 years of solid culinary experience and seriously knows how to replicate the delicious and authentic flavours of Malaysia and Singapore. We especially loved the warming Roti Canai curry dishes and simply had to finish the meal with the succulent coconut-filled Kuih Dadar.