As I am moving out from HKUST this June in time for my internship in Central, I have been on the lookout for a few short stay serviced apartments in Hong Kong Island. I only have a few requirements, as follows:
- Monthly budget: HKD6,500 – 10,000 for a room (no sharing)
- In Hong Kong Island as I refuse to pay the extra toll for using the cross-harbour bridge especially on late nights
- A 10-minute walk maximum from the closest MTR (preferably the blue line)
- Queen-sized bed preferred, twin sized bed as a minimal
- Relatively safe and convenient area
Given the rush as June is only a few weeks away, I have been busy the last few days scouring for places to stay. In the end, I’ve visited 12+ rooms and managed to make my choice.
However, I realized that after spending a bit of time researching for this, I have gained a bit of knowledge about short-stay serviced apartment in Hong Kong. It would be a pity just to throw it away especially since there is no single resource in the internet that subjectively consolidates all the information in one go.
Hence, I am posting this for your convenience and viewing pleasure. Please note that unless I have stated that I have viewed the apartment myself, many of the feedback below was taken straight from the internet/horses’ mouth. Do note that people can be very fickle and what is good for one, may be terrible for the other.
This is the reason why I implore you guys to actually go and make an appointment to view these places before you make a booking. Hong Kong rooms can be extremely tiny so it’s good to have a look and compare at a few apartments to see what is most suitable for you.
Just a warning: many of these apartments are available for viewing 2 weeks max before you are to move in. If you make your call prior to that, there is a chance that there is still someone occupying the rooms and the landlord doesn’t even know if they’ll extend their stay. So the best chance of getting a viewing is 2 weeks before, but hey, won’t hurt to ask! 🙂
Again, there are some extremely negative opinions below that’s left by anonymous internet posters. Please take these things with a grain of salt. This would be a 2-part post so do wait for the rest of the list, which hopefully would come very soon!
Okay, so here goes:
I) W Studios (http://www.wstudios.com.hk)
105 Wing Lok Street, Sheung Wan, Hong Kong, Hong Kong, Hong Kong
+852 22418000, +852 28156866
The website doesn’t work, but for your reference, I have attached a photo I’ve googled off the Internet and some comments from various Hong Kong forums for your reference. And no, I have not visited this studio as yet.
1 – “I am in W at the moment. They are clean and functional and well placed.”
– “Eric is very difficult to deal with. I sent many email enquiries to which was indifferent response.”
2 – “It is mostly clean, has its own bathrooms, but quiet is not really guaranteed – the walls are very thin”
– “Aside from thin internal rooms it is located on Wing Lok street which ain’t the quietest place in the morning with the taxis leaning on their horns at the hiller street / wing lok junction. This is obviously less of an issue on the higher floors. As to whether you stay there or not, the guys who operate it are good fun so that’s a plus after that it’s all down to budget. If you want somwhere cheapish, then this is ideal. On the other hand, if you have 15-20K a month to wax on accomodation, then I’d stay in one of the hotel serviced apartment buildings.”
3 – “$6/7,000 is for their smaller rooms (Note: This was posted in March 2006). These are real tiny, about 300 sqf. But these smaller rooms are newly renovated and have been done quite nicely. Before booking just check with them if the rooms is one of the renovated ones. The management there are very nice and very helpful although they can appear a little disorganised even when trying to book. Not really a problem you just have to stay on them and they won’t get upset that you’re chasing them. I would suggest booking one of their rooms for a month and when you get here look out for a place of your own. If you speak to Eric he can help with this also. Sheung Wan is great and W’s location is very convenient to Central.
4 – Asked about the kitchenette:“Look at the website, under “kickbacks” they tell you what is included. I would not call it a kitchenette, more like an asortment of items you usually find in the kitchen, like fridge, hot plate, etc chucked in a corner.”
– “Eric`s a nice guy, just a little forgetful. Have you tried contacting them via Skype? Eric usually just sends out the bog standard e-mail response, which is the cost of the rental, and the bank details if you are interested. You need to arrange a bank transfer for deposit, they don`t accept credit cards.
W Studios wasn’t noisy last year, but I can`t really speak for it generally throughout the course of a year. The room was nice and clean. All the staff I met last year were very nice. No problems. I`ll be staying there in 3 weeks for nearly 2 months, so if it hadn`t of worked out last year I wouldn`t be staying there this year.”
4 – “I stayed there last year it’s perfect location near in the metro and tram and they are very accomodating look fo eric his a great guy and it’s walking distance to central district”
– “I’ve stayed in W studios a couple of times before. If you’re looking into staying there short term, then it should be fine.
I got to warn you though, they have these $6500K-a-week flats I think. They have an “old” version and a “new” version of those 6.5K flats. The old is better than the new. Why? Because the “new” is half the size of the old. They split some of the old ones and turned it into 2 apartments/rooms/closets?? While I was staying there, I was in an old room but had to move to the new one because they were fixing the pipes in the old room. I almost cried when I got the new one. It was so pitiable. My guitar would not fit beside the bed. My suitcase only fitted in the hallway. I can send you pics if you’d like.
As for other aspects — quiet, accessible, laundry pick up and delivered at your door, MOST of the staff are friendly and quite helpful.
I haven’t tried the “bigger” rooms but I’ve seen them and it is a bit more spacious the ones I stayed in. So you might have that as a better option.
From what I heard, the owner of W studios has another apartment building. “H Studios” which is in happy valley, if you’re interested.”
– “I have also stayed at the W-studios learly ast year, the rooms are very small and the furniture is so-so quality. Plus I heard that the owners just sold the place and it may be changed to a hotel for tourists.
I found the best value for money (including a great location with plenty of eateries and activities) is EmpireStudio, I stayed there from Oct last year to Jan this year, good size studios, quiet since they are on a high floor (they have 3 elevators in the building) and the building have 24 hour security doorman. Plus while I was there, they put in wired LAN internet now into all the studios, so faster internet access than wireless.
I know they are also generally quite full, since all there furniture is less than 1 year old and in great condition. They are also in the $7K to $9K price range. I think there website is www.empirestudio.biz
They are located in Causeway Bay, near Times Square and the MTR station is a short min walk from there.”
II) H Studios (http://www.pluff.net/index-2.html)
16 Tsun Yuen St. Happy Valley, Hong Kong
Name: Eric Manuel / Donna Tang
Tel: (852) 9866 8333 / (852) 9760 1846
Skype ID: ycire69 (9:00 am to 6:00 pm) GMT+8
Unfortunately, I haven’t had the chance to check out H Studios although their rooms look pretty sweet in their website, which btw unlike W Studios is working. I’ve collated the photos directly from the website as below (See? I remember to source photos!).
The downside is: the place looks a bit far though especially since it’s close to the race tracks. I normally don’t like to walk too long from the MTR especially since I do expect long hours and late nights during my internship. You know it’s a bit of an issue when the website doesn’t even include a map and even Google Map said it would be a bit of a walk.
Price range seems reasonable though from HKD 6,500 (lite), HKD 7,500-HKD8,000 (single), HKD9,000 (deluxe) and HKD10,000 deluxe plus. The site invites you to call at any time so this is perfect from overseas travelers.
Internet feedback: Rooms would be tiny (but then again, most places in Hong Kong are usually overpriced and super small so why complain). A past stay had said: “I have stayed in H Studios. Smallest room ever for HK$ 9,000 (something like 1.7m x 6m, bed, shower, toilet all in one room). But I have heard they have even smaller rooms for HK$ 8,000. W Studios is slightly bigger for about the same price. Both have good locations. Try to negotiate with these guys. They are rather chaotic and unorganised. Very frustrating when you want something done (like fixing the hot water or the wireless ) but good when it comes to payment (in the end i got a good deal with weekly payment ).”
2– “H studio – a little better space & amenities wise but don’t expect shelves or extra space for your belongings. Also, if your budget is “around” 5500 then H studio may sounds like the Four Seasons to you.”
III. Empire Studio
No. 2 Hysan Avenue, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong (Right behind The Lee Garden and a 10 minute walk from the MTR)
Tel: 6188-9658 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for viewing
Website: http://www.empirestudio.biz/ though there are no posts of photos as the owner prefers visitors to view the apartments personally
1 – “Empire – was better but unfortunately, no availability at the moment we needed it. This is the only service studio we would reconsider should we move from our current locale.”
2 – “I want to share my experience during my previous stay at Empire Studio for those that are curious, in fact, I have referred several friends from overseas since my initial stay and they along with myself all felt it was very enjoyable and one of the best value for money in HK Island.
My personal experience was that since it only had 12 units, you don’t get many people (and visitors) stopping by and therefore it is very quiet. Plus since the studios are at a very high floor in the building (around the 15th floor I believe), that also contribute to the quiet surrounding. I found the management and staff to be very helpful from the start and all the way through my entire stay.
The management is very responsive, they came within the same day to get a repairman to add more coolant to my aircon (when I felt that it was not operating correctly).
The only downside is that there studios are always in demand plus so many of there existing tenants simply extend their leases and that makes the availability even less.
I would recommend it to everyone and suggest you book in advance.”
1a – “Cozy – fuggetaboutit. Tiiinnieee and old. Unless you’re antisocial Jeffrey Dahmer type that doesn’t mind living in ratholes w/ nonexistent sunshine…”
1b – “I’m staying in thoe cozy studios and they’re small, but nevertheless i like it The Wireless Lan works and the maid is very good. Moreover i like the advantage of the closeness to the time square, because you’e able to eat very
cheap in the food court and the for sure the shopping centre . End the end it’s up to you, but don’t expect not too much… I would life like a king in europe for this amount of money, however it’s only for 2 month in your case…. “
2 (http://hongkong.geoexpat.com/forum/53/thread6920.html) – “Warning: Cozy Studios
Hello. New to this forum and also not usually the type to post, but had to warm ppl about this scam. Have lived at their Causway Bay location for over a month, and it’s terrible. first off, the tiny unit smells like a sewer all the time, then there’s a humming noise whenever the neighbors use their bathroom fan, you can hear whenever someone literally farts on the other side of the wall, there are ants crawling everywhere, and of course the broadband internet they promise is really a shared wireles so most of the time it’s slower then dial-up. worse yet, it hasn;t worked for a few days and they refuse to fix it.
Above all else, management consists of really hostile, annoying people who enjoy seeing tenants squirm and suffer and make it clear they are only interested in your money, it’s your fault for being an idiot and living there. every time you call somebody else shows up, and the managers are so obnoxiously uncaring it’s amazing.
And if you check their website the price list is wrong, i think the cheap rooms are never really available probably because they don’t exist, everyone ends up paying seven thousand or more.
Stay away from them. I will leave soon, and will check this forum to see if anyone responds.
Do you think contacting the consumer board will help? who else regulates housing in this city?
Thanks for listening.”
V. Studio Studio
Rent range: HKD6,500-12,000 monthly for 150-320 square feet
Tel: 2805-8000 or 2845-8000 (Wanchai and Sheung Wan) / 9187-8000 or 9866-8333 (Causeway, North Point)
Was fully booked when I called – the rooms looked impressive from the Internet. Then again, never really trust the photos as it’s better to look at it for yourself:
Unfortunately, I saw a fellow blogger and past Studio Studio tenant give some really negative feedback here. It does remain subjective though whether the author was just super picky and has not yet acclimated to the sizes and conditions of Hong Kong apartment on average. As they say, you really get what you pay for.
here quotes: “Studio Studio is absolute crap. Don;t ever use their service. It’s a joke of a company.”
Last one I found was quite adamant of their stand:”DO NOT use Studiostudio
I had an absolutely terrible experience with studiostudio, and i wouldnt recommend anyone to use their service.
They advertise they add tv, internet, and laundry service, as well as a few other things. I can say categorically that they utterly failed to provide a reasonable service to me. the tv was broken, the internet failed every other day or so, and the laundry lady was never on time when she was supposed to be.
One irritating little procedure they do is start spamming you from around the 20th of the month with these “final reminder” notices, reminding you to pay your rent. every day they slip these under your door, as if you are too stupid to remember the 1st of the month.
The manager never wants to speak to tenants face to face or over the phone, and instead sends a filipino person who cannot speak a word of english OR cantonese. Although they try to be helpful, the situation is ridiculous.
when i was about to move out, they pulled some crap and tried to tell me they were keeping my deposit. i told them absolutely not, and they proceeded to PADLOCK my door so i couldnt get home after work.
These people are complete crooks, running a shabby business with no sense of customer service whatsoever.
although they may be cheap, you definitely get what you pay for.”
I actually saw this place today. Overall, wet market in the street aside, I was very impressed with the building, the new lobby, security, and the clean rooms. The photos on the website of course look better but at least they don’t stray too much from the originals. Given a bit of dirt and simplicity aside, the photos do look like the real thing. What’s better, there is ample closet space provided despite it just a steel metal rack where you can hang your stuff, and a very small kitchenette.
The only downside is that minimum rent is for at least 1 month, the one month required deposit if it matters to you and its distance from the MTR.
No kidding — the apartments is in between the Fortress Hill and North Point MTR (though it’s closer to the latter). I am guesstimating at least a 10 to 15-minute walk walk here to North Point MTR. As a lazy bum, this is already quite far for me on a daily basis and I felt that given my past experience of living in North Point, I prefer a more bustling area.
Meanwhile, if you don’t mind the walk and wet market which I can assure you should be relatively safe (Add note: I lived in North Point before right below the wet market for over a year and had NO problems whatsoever), this would be a terrific place for you. 🙂
Regardless, to be fair, here are some feedback from the Internet:
1 – “I am currently staying at 112 apartments but this is only a temporary arrangement (Thank god!).
The interiors are new. But depending on which unit you are assigned to, it can actually be very small (< 200 sq. feet nett) and crammed. What’s more, it’s located along Chun Yeung Street, which is a wet market, and it can be rather filthy, so be prepared to trample over dirty streets downstairs.”
To be continued…