In 2014 we took a family holiday to Hong Kong to take our 3 kids aged 5, 7 & 9 to Disneyland. We struggle to find reasonably priced accommodation due to the fact that we need 2 rooms as hotels rarely accommodate 5 in one room. This means that we also have to pay 2 full room rates. This means that a 2 week holiday would cost the same as a 4 week holiday for those with only 2 kids.
A friend at work happened to mention how she used AirBNB whilst she was travelling in Europe with her family and found it so much cheaper so I thought I would check it out. I’m so glad I did!
Our first AirBNB experience was in Hong Kong. I wanted to be based in Tsim Sha Tsui (TST) on the Kowloon side, this is where I stayed last time and I felt I knew my way around pretty well. I searched a number of properties and found one located Granville Rd right in the centre of Kowloon. The apartment was ideally located but the information provided in the posting said it was only suitable for 4 people. I contacted the owner and asked if it was possible to have 5 people in the apartment but the children are very small.
The owner replied and advised it was up to me but did highlight that the apartment is very small and he wouldn’t advise we did so but if we felt we could manage he was happy to let us have it. Craig and I discussed it further and decided that we would be spending very little time in the apartment and if we could save money on the accommodation the money would be better spent on other things. So I contacted Tu and advised that we would be able to manage and we would love to stay in his apartment. For me the main attraction was the location, it was right were I wanted to be and only 3 blocks walk from my sister & brother-in-laws hotel.
The apartment was approx. $90AUD per night, for all of us. We would not have been able to get a hotel anywhere in Hong Kong for this price and then we would have to pay for 2 rooms. This apartment was also right in the middle of TST not far from the corner of Nathan and Granville Rds. We had some much we wanted to do in Hong Kong and we knew we would not be in the apartment other than for sleeping. I knew the kids would be exhausted after Disneyland, Ocean Park, Macau day trip and the Peak Tram just to name a few, so accommodation was something I was happy to skimp on whilst in Hong Kong.
Tu had provided me with details on how to get to the apartment before we left Australia, we were instructed to get the A21 bus from the airport and then get off at stop 26 on Nathan St. Tu was going to meet us at the bus stop and help us with our luggage and show us the apartment and how everything works. There was a small communication breakdown over the bus arrival time in Nathan St, due to me relying in Wifi but being in Hong Kong, Wifi was easily accessible and the disaster was averted. As he confirmed, Tu met us very promptly and helped us with our suitcases and the apartment was less than a 5 min walk.
Now I do have to admit that I may have bitten off my nose despite my face a bit here as I was told the apartment was small. In the excitement of saving a huge amount of money I may not have considered that Hong Kong small is much smaller than Aussie small! Craig and I were a little surprised about just how small the apartment was but you know what, for 5 nights we made it work. We were very rarely in the apartment and we only ever slept there and it served its purpose very well. What I must highlight here is that our kids are exceptionally small for there ages so this made it very manageable for us. If the kids had been any older would not have been able to fit.
The apartment was exactly as expected from the photos on the website and it was clean and tidy. The bathroom was small but functional, I’m not sure if this is common place in Hong Kong as I have never seen it before but the shower was over the toilet which meant that everything go wet then you had a shower. I expected that this was going to be a nightmare and it would remain wet all day but the whole bathroom was dry every evening when we returned to sleep. So that was a relief, it was actually really hot whilst we were there and incredibly humid.
There was a main bedroom which had a double bed in it and enough room for our suitcases, all 4 off them. Please note the photos were taken as we were leaving as I thought I should take some in case I wanted to do a post about – you can see I’m new to this! There wasn’t enough room for all the suitcases to lie around open but this did encourage me to be tidier as there wasn’t room for things to be flown around. I would open the cases get out what I needed and then zip them up again and put them away. It also meant that the kids weren’t able to get into them and pull stuff out all the time. I also used packing cubes this time which were awesome, I cant recommend them highly enough. We got ours from Kathmandu and if you get them on special like I did, they are often 3 for $25AUD.
The kids slept on the pull out couch in the sitting room. At first we thought how is this going to work but the kids were so exhausted every night they pretty much fell asleep within 30 seconds of their little heads hitting the pillow! I think had they not been so tired it might have been somewhat more difficult. I must admit though that first night both Craig and I were thinking we were going to have a sleepless night with them bickering and kicking and carrying on but honestly, there was none of it! We were up each morning getting ready and you know what I find with kids, less room less mess! So it worked for me on this occasion!
The apartment also had quick wifi which enabled us to FaceTime home which meant that nan and pop got to relive the excitement each night whilst it was still fresh in the kids heads. My sister was staying in a 5 star hotel a couple of blocks away and they wanted to charge her a ridiculous amount to use wifi in her room. So much so that they gave it a miss. There was also a small fridge for milk and water and tea and coffee making facilities within the room. There was also towels and bedding for the pull out couch. There was air conditioning in both the bedroom and sitting room which we turned off when we left and it worked well and cooled the rooms down very quickly when we returned and put them on, there was no need to leave them running whilst out.
The location was awesome, located right across the road was The One shopping mall with everything you could possibly need. There was a Starbucks right next door to the building where we had breakfast most mornings. There was also a 7/11 right around there corner were we could get water, top up our Octopus cards and they even sold beer, Craig would grab a couple of the evening to have whilst getting the kids organised for bed. It was also one block from the TST MTR station which is really central to everywhere you need to go. Exactly where I wanted to be.
This apartment would be perfect for 2 adults and 2 kids, just like that post advises! I could not recommend Tu and his apartment any more highly, its in the prefect location, its clean and tidy and the apartment building was very quite. I think we were the noisiest people in there. I also need to highlight here just how much money this saved us which meant it could be spent on other things, like spoiling our little rat bags and also meant that we were able to afford a stay at Shangri La Tanjung Aru for 5 nights at the end of the holiday when I celebrated my 40th birthday.
So would I do it again? Yep sure would, its one of the perks of having exceptionally small children! Have you ever had an experience like this were you have been concerned but it all turned out ok? Leave your comments in the box below and you can also subscribe to our blog to keep up to date with what else we get up too.