Renovated Mount Davis hostel offers stunning views for just HK$130 a night
Renovated hostel on Mount Davis, which costs from just HK$130 a night, is attracting more mainland guests to marvel at its stunning location
Hong Kong saw the world's biggest price jump in hotel prices last year, but there is still one way to get a million-dollar view for a budget price.
One of the city's oldest hostels has undergone a HK$9.54 million renovation in a bid to attract more local and mainland visitors and promote wider acceptance of hostelling culture.
A stay at the Jockey Club Mt Davis Youth Hostel, perched 269 metres atop Mount Davis in Pok Fu Lam, costs from HK$130 a night for Hong Kong Youth Hostels Association (HKYHA) members and offers stunning views of Victoria Harbour.
In comparison, a harbour-view room on the top floor of the Peninsula hotel, at 117 metres, costs at least HK$7,128 a night, while a room at the Ritz-Carlton in the city's tallest building, the International Commerce Centre, will set you back at least HK$6,050. The average hotel rate in the city is HK$1,270.
Since the Jockey Club-funded renovations were completed earlier this year the hostel has seen a 10 per cent rise in the number of mainland guests, who now make up 30 per cent of its clientele.
"The hostel is much nicer after the renovation and it's very cheap for Hong Kong," said Kuo Kuo, a 22-year-old traveller from Shandong , who stayed at the hostel twice in the past year.
But he thinks Hong Kong hostels need more than a revamp to attract mainland visitors.
"Many parents from the mainland don't want their children to stay at hostels because they think it's safer to travel in a tour group," he said.
For Kuo Kuo, the opportunity to meet travellers from all around the world at hostels beats tour buses and "boring" hotels.
Travellers wanting to stay in the city's youth hostels have to register for a membership card before booking. Membership rates are from HK$50 a year.
According to a spokeswoman for the HKYHA, those who stay at Hong Kong hostels are in their early 20s and 30s, even though the seven hostels in the city have no age limits.
But the spokeswoman said that older adults and local young people might not find the hostel culture appealing.
Mt Davis offers shared accommodation in dormitories, as well as in two-, four- and six-bed rooms. While the hostel provides cooking supplies and a shared fridge, guests have to do their own cooking, shopping and washing up.
"Hong Kong's young people are often pampered at home," the spokeswoman said. "They might not be used to doing chores, and expect more than we offer in the hostel."
Taxi driver Leung Koon said locals might be avoiding the hostel for another reason.
"Foreigners don't know that Mt Davis is haunted," he said, intriguingly.
Hostel manager Jessica Wong Wing-chee related the ghost story: "A taxi driver dropped off a guest at our hostel and was going back down the hill when a girl waved at him from the side of the road and got into the taxi. When he turned around a while later, she wasn't there."
For those who are not superstitious, want a budget mountaintop retreat and can't find a taxi, the hostel provides a free shuttle service to Sheung Wan.