I’m currently investigating hotels in Hong Kong that can be had for US$200 or less a night.

A couple of weeks ago it was the turn of the Central Park Hotel in Sheung Wan. A 3* hotel that is used by many overseas travel agents who put tour groups there or those who are staying just one night in HK on a transfer through to somewhere else.

So, was it the “hip boutique hotel…in the heart of Hong Kong’s financial and commercial centre” that it claims on its website to be?

Nothing could be further from the truth.

For a start, when I last looked (yesterday), the financial and commercial heart of Hong Kong Island was definitely still Central and Admiralty, whereas Sheung Wan was still the heart of sharks fin and dried bark trade. But petty differences in geographical opinions aside, onwards to what I actually experienced.

After an unnecessarily long 15 minute check-in process, the first room I was assigned (2504 I believe it was) was so musty, and the atmosphere was so damp I couldn’t believe they’d dared give me the key. Uninhabitable.

Central Park Mould

The mould covered the entire wall

Keeping the door wedged open so as not to be overcome by the smell, I rang reception for a new room. As I was on the phone holding for a response, I realised that the odd pattern on the wallpaper I was staring at was in fact mould. It was all over the entire wall behind the bed.

I then looked at the other walls and found rising damp above the skirting boards, stained carpets and general scruffiness – and this was one of the rooms on the Executive Floor!

On to the second room.

I went to meet a porter on the 7th floor, and as soon as the lift doors opened the reek of stale cigarette smoke was thick in the air. I told the porter I wouldn’t stay in a smoking room as I had indicated on my booking reservation, so there was no need for me to see it, yet he assured me that it was just the corridor that smelled. Hmm, what a bloody stupid thing to say, and what a bloody stupid room to try and check me into when I’d asked for a non-smoking room, and already turned down one room partly because of the stench.

Against my wishes he hauled me into the room, and lo and behold, on entering it was more like walking into a smoking lounge at an airport than a hotel room. Having reiterated my request to change room, poor Mr Porter suggested that maybe all it needed was some air-freshener! Um…No…What it needs is a thorough gutting.

I tilted my head to one side and looked at him with pity, “That would be like spraying perfume on a pile of poo, dear. It’s still a pile of poo, and will still stink like a pile of poo, although probably just more rancid once the smell of pine and lilies has worn off a little.” He smiled back weakly in bafflement, as these were not the English words he was used to hearing. Poor chap, but by this stage I was gently fuming.

On the march again, and on to the third room.

This room was still shabby, dented and scratched, but at least it didn’t smell, but by now I was running so late that it would have to do.

I had a quick shower, where I noticed that the window frame didn’t fit properly so there was an air gap down the entire length of one side, and the loo was surrounded by a blooming stain of rust.

In the bedroom I also saw that not only was the bed so low to the ground that it didn’t even come up to my knees, but I also realised that it was rather short. Rather too short for even a person of just 5 foot 10 inches, which isn’t overly tall by anyone’s standards apart from probably the Mbuti tribes of central Africa. Livid and running late I had no time to do anything about it.

My night out was not starting well.

Central Park Hotel Horror

Rising damp, ill-fitting windows, leaking toilets

Later that evening, after a fine meal at a surprisingly empty Roka and a trip to the flicks, the bed as expected was found to be too short for Mr H, who had to sleep diagonally across it and I had to sleep with my knees round my ears (and not for any kinky reason at all).

In the morning before even 7:15am had rolled around, the cleaning staff were crashing about with their walkie talkies squawking at full volume, so the only thing to do was admit defeat, forego the lie-in and check-out as quickly as possible.

The night out was thus not a great success I’m sad to report, but at least it has given me the chance to reveal the full horror of the hotel to you here, and thus save countless others from a night of misery (and potential infection). I did wonder about reporting the hotel to the Food and Hygeine Department, but instead have settled for exposing the hotel for the disgusting, health hazard it most surely is through these pages.

Price: We paid HK$1308 (US$168) for a Garden View room for the night through Agoda, booked on the day. We ended up staying in a cheaper City View room, but I didn’t have time to argue once I’d finally settled on the 10th floor, and as we’d pre-paid it wasn’t worth my while walking out to find another hotel at so late an hour.