Monday, 26 March 2018

Travel: The Mini Hotel, Central, Hong Kong

mini hotel central hong kong review

An appropriately-named hotel if ever there was one... 

March started with Lauren and I meeting in the lobby of the aptly-named Mini Hotel in Central, Hong Kong. It's always quite surreal (in a good way) seeing a familiar face in an unfamiliar location and the start of a fun-packed three days exploring the city.

Located on Ice House Street, the Mini Hotel is a short walk from Central / Hong Kong MTR stations, the tiny cafes of Sheung Wang and the mid-level escalators. The location is the perfect base for exploring Hong Kong from. Yes, the rooms are tiny but it's Hong Kong - there's too much to do outside.

mini hotel central hong kong review

The hotel is easy to find but, slight warning, if you're walking from Central / Hong Kong MTR it a steep road followed by some very steep steps. Maybe take a taxi if you are not a light traveller... Spot the facade b the red vending machine and red post box.

mini hotel central hong kong review

The reception area has a lounge for chilling out / working and there's a vending machine stocked with snacks and travel essentials. The rooms aren't quite capsule hotel size but they are small! I am 5'1 and didn't really find this an issue - the room was spotlessly clean, towels were changed daily and I've had worse showers in 5* hotels. The wifi was free and, again, better than in some far pricier hotels I've stayed in.

mini hotel central hong kong review

The hotel doesn't provide much in the way of added extras - no breakfast (although there are a lot of options very nearby) and no toiletries. Given the tiny rooms and central location, I expected the hotel to be noisy at night but my worries were unfounded (or I was just exhausted from walking the vertical incline streets of Hong Kong and feel asleep the moment my head hit the pillow each night).

mini hotel central hong kong review

In a city which isn't particularly budget-friendly, the Mini Hotel was a great base from which to explore and at £200 (HK$ 2,200) for three nights it worked out as much cheaper than a traditional hotel or the quite uninspiring AirBnbs in the same price range.

Book here: 
Mini Hotel, 38 Ice House Street, Central, Hong Kong 

Saturday, 10 March 2018

Travel: Three Breakfast Cafes in Hong Kong

Yes, I went to Hong Kong and ate avocado on toast everyday. I know what I like. Here are three spots to get your avocado on toast fix in Hong Kong. Other breakfast items are available at them all.

1. The Cupping Room, Sheung Wang
287 - 299 Queen's Road Central

best cafe breakfast hong kong

Grabbing a seat at the bar in the Cupping Room was the perfect Hong Kong first day breakfast experience. The brunch menu is served until 5pm so there's no rush to get up early but the tiny cafe was pretty busy at 10.30am on a Monday morning. The avocado toast comes with mayo, ricotta cheese, almonds and radish on sourdough - a slightly different take on my favourite breakfast menu item. The house black filter coffee with oat milk on the side was delicious, too. Service was super speedy and while the tiny space doesn't really encourage one to linger over breakfast for too long, staff were friendly, taking our orders on a iPad to go directly to the tiny open kitchen, and we didn't feel rushed to give up our spots.

2. Brew Bros, Central
33 Hillier Street 

best cafe breakfast hong kong

Another small but perfectly formed cafe, Brew Bros was recommended by the team at Hilton Suggests who got in touch while I was in Hong Kong to see if I needed any recommendations. Obviously I asked where I could eat avocado on toast and drink good coffee. The Brew Bros HK$90 set breakfast menu has a range of dishes served with a choice of black or white coffee. The avocado on toast here was really simple but really delicious, served on a thick slice of sourdough. Another great spot for a speedy breakfast to fuel a day of exploring the city and my pick for a slice of HK cafe culture if I had to chose a favourite. 

38 Yiu Wa Street, Causeway Bay

best cafe breakfast hong kong

Hopping over to Causeway Bay for the third and final Hong Kong breakfast, The Coffee Academics is a bigger space so perfect for lingering over coffee and breakfast, and for doing a spot of people-watching. A chain across HK, Singapore and China, The Coffee Academics has a menu dedicated to, no prizes, coffee. There's also a mostly Western all day food menu. The breakfast menu includes avocado on toast and each dish comes with a coffee of choice. This was delicious but I would have liked a little more avocado, there was some hiding under the salad. Service is speedy and the food and coffee was great but this definitely felt more like a cafe that could be at home (and be a regular spot to drop into) in any big city rather than a quintessentially HK experience.


Thursday, 1 March 2018

Life: February Round-Up

This month saw me mark one year in Dubai, re-cap my end-of-2017 trip to India (New Dehli, Agra, Ranthambore, Jaipur and Amritsar) and continue to find new spots in my still-quite-new city.

February looked like this:

1. I got my creative fix thanks to We Love Art - an evening painting a grown-up "paint by numbers" fuelled by gin cocktails means that I finally have something for the walls of my apartment.

2. I finally made it to the adorable (and very Instagram-able) Boston Lane for lunch.

3. I'm still running! The Dubai Water Canal Boardwalk is a great spot for making the most of the "cooler" mornings.

4. I made use of my kitchen for the first time in...a while by making some vegan pancakes for Pancake Day (full disclosure but I made these at the weekend so I could Instagram them on the day itself because #content).

5. My bookclub read Pandemic by Sonia Shah - I'm not usually a non-fiction fan (I did a law degree so have had my fill of non-fiction) but this was an easily readable, well-researched and very interesting read. Not one to read over lunch.

6. The launch of Flair No. 5 made for a fun mid-week sampling gin-based cocktails in an urban jungle setting in DIFC. Shout out to the waitress who brought me all the veggie canapes.

7. I had my haircut for the second time since moving here! I've heard horror stories about haircuts here but can highly recommend Shakira at Pastels Salon.

8. I don't often do "business lunches" but I make sure to photograph it when I do - Zuma in DIFC is so good!

9. Brunching at home on avocado, eggs and sourdough because I'm still trying to tell myself this on Deliveroo is beyond lazy when it takes all of three minutes to throw together.

How was your February?

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