So I checked in to the LKF (Lan Kwai Fong) Hotel in Hong Kong yesterday afternoon, after a long sleepless overnight flight in from Dubai.
I was looking forward to an afternoon of relaxation in what was promised to be a luxury boutique hotel.
Check in was harmless enough – fast and efficient, but the first bad sign was the 15 minute wait thereafter for my suitcases to arrive. I know it’s a small matter, but it’s a serious pet peeve for me … having to wait for suitcases once in the room.
I quickly forgave this, as the room was nice. A good size for Hong Kong (about 60 square metres) with a good desk, nice seating and a big soft comfortable bed.
I don’t know what it is with these boutique hotels, and how close they come to being so good … but inevitably fall short. In addition to this LKF Hotel, the beautifully located Miramar Hotel in Barcelona is another that falls agonisingly short. On the other hand, a shining example is the Upper House in Hong Kong …. They got it right !
So what’s wrong with this hotel? Firstly, I should disclose that I am probably not their target audience. Its location is right in the heart of Lan Kwai Fong … the heart and soul of Hong Kong’s nightlife. I chose it because it is 20 steps from out new Hong Kong office. The hotel is modern and very slickly decorated. It has a great bar on the top floor (which I only saw as it becomes the breakfast room in the mornings).
After ordering a rather acceptable Linguini Bolognese from the room service menu, I had an early night and was asleep by 9pm. Predictably I woke up at 2am. This may have been from jet lag, or maybe from the noise outside. If it wasn’t the noise that woke me, it was certainly the reason I couldn’t go back to sleep! I should have known this was going to be an issue when I was given ear plugs at turn down service instead of a chocolate. This will be the single main reason I will not stay here again … that kind of disturbance is not acceptable for me in a hotel, and I was on the 17th floor !
But I also feel this hotel has fallen into an all too common trap. They have hired a great designer, and at first glance, everything is aesthetically pleasing but …..
The iPod / MP3 option in the room is via a loose cable attached to an old style amplifier (not concealed), and at full volume, is just about the right sound level for casual listening.
There is a great desk and nicely concealed section for power ports, but only 2 !!! ? and no other power points in the room anywhere else ! I even had to unplug my computer from the desk to use the iron. Why can a new hotel not get this right? No power points by the bed at all !
On the contrary, an over elaborate array of buttons by the bed side to control the room lighting. You can have any setting you like, for any mood or moment, but at night when you need to turn on a simple light to get to the bathroom …. there is no way to know what button to push, other than by guesswork and trial and error,
The bathroom is beautiful. Spacious and a big size tub. Powerful taps also that filled the tub promptly (not usually the case in most hotels), but the way it is positioned, you have to get into the tub to access the taps thanks to a well positioned shower screen ! And the shower rail is set about a foot too far back and most of the water misses the tub and splashes around the edge of the bath. Apart from being a cleaning nightmare for the housekeeping staff, it means bending and stretching to get your head properly under the shower head !
On the plus side, the internet is fast (although wired access only), the TV is a good size and positioned on a clever hinge to allow clear viewing from all over the room. The bed is very comfortable, and an Aaron chair provided at the desk. The room service was fast (and tasty) and the valet service was fast and efficient when I asked them to polish my shoes.
However, I can’t endorse this hotel as it falls short on detail. I may be nit picking, and for many people these points are hardly enough to write off a hotel, but for me, in all products and services, it is the detail that makes or breaks a business. Getting the big picture right is easy. Sweating the detail takes effort and dedication, and required consistency to keep a set standard. It’s from examples like this that this lesson is reinforced in my mind.
So LKF hotel …. Thanks, but no thanks.