Bishop Lei International House is a less-heard-of 4 star accommodation owned and operated by the Catholic Diocese of Hong Kong. Though not very well known, Bishop Lei International House deserves a mention especially since it services quite a number of businessmen and frequent travellers and offers affordable rates. Its mission as listed on the official website is to “offer superior hospitality service at competitive rates”. With reference to this line, I feel that Bishop Lei International House has been successful in achieving its goals.
Date of stay: April 2014
4 Robinson Road
Mid levels, Hong Kong
The most prominent mode of transportation in Hong Kong would be the MTR system and Bishop Lei International House is located at the Central area, with the hotel being a 15 minutes walk away from Central Station. Central station is an interchange station, so guests have the luxury of choices of four different MTR lines. Hong Kong station (being one of the lines) take you directly to the airport in just 24 minutes, allowing you to save on taxi fares. Also, guests can do a “city check in” at the Hong Kong station, thus eliminating the trouble of having to carry heavy luggages on the Airport Express. Although this might seem to be quite a long walk for many (and I would not recommend it for those with mobility issues), the walk can be quite fruitful as it takes you down the nearby Mosque street, Wellington street and Gage street.
These streets are filled with life and activities and you can find numerous eateries and cafes along them, ranging from modern bistros to traditional tea-houses. Should you wish to try out some of the local fresh fruits, Gage street market would be a good place to visit, as you can get a chance to haggle for food products at low prices just like how the locals would do it in the past. Also, as the hotel is located on top of a hill, the walk to the MTR station is mainly downhill – much easier than going uphill – and thankfully, the uphill journey is made easy by numerous long escalators. That being said, the escalators are considered as attractions of that area, so it would be great to give them a try at least once. For those who dread the long walk, the hotel also provides a free shuttle service to popular spots, such as Hong Kong MTR station and Admiralty MTR station, making it a breeze to travel around. However, the time interval of each service is spread quite far apart on weekends and tourists might find themselves rushing or trying hard to fit their schedules to coincide with the shuttle bus timings.
There is also a bus stop right outside the main entrance of the hotel, with buses that can take you to numerous attractions such as the peak tram.
Bishop Lei International House is also a stone’s throw away from numerous attractions. First of, the hotel is only a short 5 to 10 minutes walk away from the zoo and botanical gardens. Tourists should definitely pay a visit to Hong Kong’s star attraction, Victoria Peak, which is also home to the well-known Madame Tussauds wax museum, and the peak tram is a short 5 minute taxi ride or a 15 minute walk away from the hotel, making it extremely convenient for guests to visit this must see place.
The hotel also seems to be quite a popular choice amongst businessmen, especially for those with appointments within the area and prefer a pocket friendly accommodation. For once, the hotel has quite a convenient location and is located rather close to numerous office towers, such as Citibank Plaza, Bank of China tower and the International Finance Centre (IFC), which is considered the heart of Hong Kong, housing offices of a plethora of large companies. With a free shuttle bus service right to the doorsteps of these colossal towers, it is not hard to see why Bishop Lei International House is a hotel worth considering for many.
High- end shopping options are also commonly available, with brands such as Coach, Gucci, Prada and IWC having numerous boutiques around the Central area. Guests of Bishop Lei International House will have no problems satisfying their desire for luxury goods, but the inconvenience comes when searching for the cheaper shopping options at night markets. This is because there are no night markets located near the hotel and the most you will be able to find are some small shops along the lesser-known streets selling a limited range of souvenirs and “replica” goods. Thankfully, Central station is an interchange with access to four different train lines, and taking the red coloured one will bring you to places like Mongkok and Yau Ma Tei with 15 minutes. These two stations host several famous street and night markets, such as Ladies Market and Temple Street night market.
The lobby definitely wasn’t the nicest looking one, nor was it the most comfortable due to it’s small land space. I must say that the entrance and lobby fell short of my expectations for a 4 star hotel. I had expected something with more grandeur and class. However, the confined walls, somewhat warm lighting and soft comfortable sofas made it feel rather homely. Perhaps it was not just me who felt at home, because during my check in, I noticed several other guests getting comfortable at the lobby chatting with one another.
Hong Kong, being such an oriental independent state, is a Chinese speaking state, where most of it’s locals converse in Chinese or Cantonese on a daily basis. Hence, it is not unfounded for guests to worry about communication problems with the hotel staff. However, I was pleased to find out that the front line staff at the reception were well versed in English, without any hard to comprehend accents! They were also friendly and helpful when I asked for directions unlike the stereotype that the locals were unfriendly and rude.
Overall, my check in was a smooth and pleasant experience, though I felt that the hotel should upgrade to a more high-tech and modern system (they were still using files, forms and bulky keys) to make the procedure even more efficient.
The journey to the room was not exactly a very comfortable one as the lifts were very small and cramped. It was barely sufficient to fit 5 persons with luggage and the claustrophobic would definitely dislike the lift. However, speed and efficiency is the quintessential in Hong Kong and the hotel made things right by making available three fast lifts to serve the 20 plus floors.
One addition to each floor which I found particularly useful was the automatic leather shoe brush which was found in a corner by the lift lobbies.
The brushes were made for both brown and black leather shoes – the most common colours – and did a wonderful job of brushing off dirt from them. All you have to do is stick your feet into the machine for a couple of seconds and your shoes will be much cleaner by the end of it. I was rather impressed by this service provided and it clearly showed that Bishop Lei International House tries hard to meet the needs of it’s many business travelers.