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RB - "best areas to stay" depends on your criteria for what defines a best stay and what you value... For example in Sydney recently, I ignored all the best hotels and rented an apartment on Manly beach. Slept and woke-up with the sound and view of the ocean, and for me the ferry to town was a cool inconvenience.
Spend some time researching the sites I suggested and others and I'm sure you'll do well. After all, isn't the planning half the fun of the travelling experience?
Their rates can vary widely and sometimes can be had for a bargain (relatively speaking).
Regarding which area to stay in, it all depends on what your interests are and what you want to do.
If shopping is your thing, then I would go for Tsim Tsa Tsiu which is on the southern end of Kowloon facing Hong Kong island. Here you can go to the major shopping centres, like Ocean Terminal and Harbour City but you can also go for less mainstream venues like Granville Road and the Mong Kok night markets on Temple Street.
We'll probably need more info to provide better assistance.
Thanks for further replies. We have never been to Hong Kong before. Will be a 4 night stopover followed by 4 weeks in Europe so shopping is not part of the equation. Basically want to get out and see what is there, drink & eat & see how the locals enjoy life.
If you are looking for the restaurant/bar scene then I would plump for the island.
There are numerous hotels ranging from Central to Wan Chai that will certainly fit the bill. The Excelsior in Wan Chai usually has rates for about HK$800 per night and its located very close to the MTR rail system.
In terms of venues you can go to Lan Kwai Fong which has numerous establishments. Another place to go that not many tourists know about is to take the escalator up to Mid-Levels. There are stacks of bars and restaurants dotted amongst the streets.
Given the lifestyle of Hong Kong, you don't have to go far to experience it. It is a city that never sleeps.