It was The Trip of Many Hassles: hotel bookings, flight schedule coordination (Z did not have tickets 2 weeks prior to our scheduled trip), and itinerary planning (what the hell are we going to do there?). But I was glad that my friend Z and I took Hong Kong Phooey by storm!
It was my first time, and I really wished Hong Kong and I didn't meet in such circumstances: I was under a budget, I had to take unnecessary leaves from work, and lodging, for the first time in my seafaring adventures this year, is on me. No friends abroad to provide shelter (just a round of good drinks and tapas) this time. Z and I were literally left on our own devices coupled with mad researching skillz.
Good thing our VAIOs led us to this quaint boutique hotel called Mingle by the Park. Okay, okay. It sounded funny when I had to say Mingle by the Park to friends, to my parents, to the immigration officer, etc., when asked where in Hong Kong we are going to spend our nights, but Mingle provided more than we asked for.
CONCEPT and DESIGN
Mingle is a boutique hotel located in the heart of the heritage district of Wan Chai in Hong Kong Island. It's a 50-year old, 1960's "balcony" style "Tong Lau" residential building — typical architecture for the period — that captured the old, 60s, glamorous-as-far-as-glamorous-goes Hong Kong.
To give you a visual, if In the Mood for Love would be re-imagined for 2011, I would picture Tony Leung and Maggie Cheung having their affair right in this very hotel.
Mingle, as I see it, is designed to be experiential: you get transported into a different era everytime you get to a different floor. It is very evident in the photos in the stairwell (if you care enough to read the captions, which we didn't!) and the wallpaper that adorn every floor.
"Du", Azalea, is chosen for the 1st floor. When this flower blossoms, the Governor's House is open to the public. This is also where the reception area, decked as a traditional Chinese drugstore with all the mini cabinets, is located.
"Mei", Plum blossoms for Spring on the 2nd floor.
"Lan", Orchid for Summer on the 3rd floor.
"Ju", Chrysanthemum for Autumn on the 4th floor.
Picture taking stopped at the 4th floor because this was where our room was. Also, spot the difference between the 3rd and the 4th photo! Note: it's not the dollop of catsup on my shirt. Haha.
The rotary dial phone is such an anachronism among our gadgets, modern hair thingamajig, and MTR card.
Each floor also has a theme and each room has an item representative of the floor's theme. For the 4th floor, the Entertainment floor, I might be wrong, but there was a set of Chinese divination sticks, which I thought were incense sticks. LOL. Other rooms had traditional Chinese toys, traditional Chinese board games, and utensils. No two items are the same per room, so you really get a sense that the concept was very well thought of. Kumokon-cept! as my friends Mark and Lyra would say.
LOCATION and AMENITIES
Looking back, we couldn't believe how we struck gold with this hotel. It was situated a few meters away from the Wan Chai MTR station, making it very accessible via MTR to Hong Kong International Airport, Hong Kong Disneyland, Nathan Lane, and Kowloon.
Mingle is also sort of a fork in the road when it comes to traveling in Hong Kong. You either have a choice to revisit Hong Kong's Past OR Hong Kong's Present and Future. On one hand, you have the antique markets, the memorials, and the old houses. On the other, you get the shopping malls, the theme parks, the bustling Hong Kong cosmopolitan.
How do I know all of this? Foursquare! And Mingle provides their guests with a handbook of sorts of all the places to see and visit within the area. They also give MTR directions, too! It didn't matter if we didn't have an itinerary planned; Mingle already made one for us.
For your reference: where our room starts and ends. Don't ask me what Z was doing there.
Entrance to the bathroom. Check out our matching luggage!
Nice little bathroom. Dapat sideways ang pagpasok. Kidding!
As mentioned, Z and I stayed on the 4th floor and got the Double Value Room that can house two grown ladies. For approximately PHP 5,000 a day, you get a clean room with a cleaner bathroom, a must for us two picky budget travelers (such oxymoron! Haha).
Remember, we booked our hotel 2 weeks prior to this trip so prices may go down if you book earlier. And a word to the wise: Get rooms in the lower floor/s because there are no elevators!
No breakfast, too, but with the multitude of local eateries around, a 7-11, a McDonalds, and a KFC, there's really no need for a buffet breakfast we all know you wouldn't wake up early enough to have.
As an add on, there were FREE in-house movies and music in every room. I think Z and I finished around 3 movies during our whole stay there.
I definitely recommend Mingle by the Park because of it's value for money, location, concept and design, and overall awesomeness!
Mingle Place by The Park
143 Wanchai Road, Wanchai, Hong Kong
Reservations: +852 2838 1109 Fax +852 2838 2252
or visit www.Asiatravel.com to book online.