InterContinental Hong Kong
THE LOOK It's been almost five years since the beloved Regent Hotel was re-branded as the InterContinental Hong Kong. Thankfully, the incredible views of the skyline are unchanged, and the lobby and pools are still just feet from the water. Everything else, however, has just gotten an upgrade, with subtle Asian touches.
THE SCENE Young ad and film execs in jeans and Puma sneakers pitch ideas over drinks in the lobby, while heavy hitters from Asian first-world economies like South Korea and Japan do major deals. There's also the occasional middle-American tourist group and a growing number of mainland Chinese.
THE ROOMS Guests used to complain about the drab interiors, but no more. The 495 rooms are now awash in earth tones with cheerful splashes of imperial yellow (on the headboards and tasseled silk throws) and have every possible high-tech gadget, from iPod docks and Bose surround-sound systems to Aquos flat-screen TV's. The desks are gently curved and big enough for spreading out work. Unfortunately, bathrooms seem to have missed the update (the marble is overworn and the lighting is too bright). But who cares when you're at the hotel that's got the most epic views of Victoria Harbour.
THE SERVICE There's a casual confidence about the staff, who are happy to impart recommendations on the best noodle stalls or shops in the area. An on-duty chef actually stopped to point us in the direction of the new Steak House restaurant; the concierge was able to compile an address list of eight hot restaurants, clubs, and cafés quicker than the best personal assistant.
THE AMENITIES You don't need to step outside to eat well here. Savory salads are served in the lobby. Decadent corn-fed chicken burgers and Wagyu rib eyes are delivered in the lipstick-red Steak House. Alain Ducasse's Spoon is overrated and overpriced for dinner (entrées push past the $60 mark), but at its demure Spoon Bar, you can curl up in an eel-skin chair for sweeping Hong Kong vistas and an à la carte menu (unusual for Asia). The next tenant will be Nobu, set to open in November.
DIRTY SECRETS The lobby empties out into a mall; the corridors are dark and configured in a zigzag, so it's easy to become disoriented every time you return to your room.
NICE SURPRISE Yoga and tai chi classes over-looking the skyline in the morning.
18 Salisbury Rd., Kowloon; 800/327-0200 or 852/2721-1211; www.intercontinental.com; doubles from $500.