Service apartment for 1 to 2 months near Causeway bay - suggestions needed.

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I'm going to be moving to HK from the US in either June or July, my plan is to stay in a service apartment for most likely 2 months, and during these 2 months I'll be visiting all over HK to determine where I want to be staying on a more permanent terms, say 2 to 3 years.
My company is in the Time Square building, so I figured living near there in the beginning is probably the best path to take during the first 2 months. Does anyone have any experience with which building(s) is a pretty safe bet? My budget can range from HKD $12K to $18K, the lesser the better of course. I would like a 1 bedroom place instead of a studio, but beggers can't be choosers, eh?
I've visited HK once and liked the Lan Kwai Fong area, some friend suggest Happy Valley, and another suggest Hung Hom... so anything is possible I guess.

Also, since I won't be bringing any furniture or electronics, can anyone suggest whether I should lease a fully furnished apartment (which I'll find while I'm there) for the duration of my stint, or rent an empty apartment and purchase my own furniture/electronics? My understanding is that it'll cost about HKD $1000 more for a fully furnished place.

Unsure of length of stay

Forgot to mention that I don't know if I'm going to stay in HK for 2 to 3 years, or 5, or 10, or forever for that matter... which is why I'm trying to do a cost analysis for whether I want to lease a furnished place.

thanks, Willis

furnished vs unfurnished apartment

For suggestions on serviced apartments, try this thread.

Furnished or not? It depends a lot on you. For the first few years I rented with a friend. Neither of us were very fussed about the appearance of the flat, as with work and going out to see friends it was really just somewhere to sleep. The places we rented typically had built-in wardrobes in the bedrooms (recommended, as anything to save space is good), no beds (locally it's not considered a good thing to sleep on someone else's bed, so expect to find your own), a 2-ring gas cooker & fridge in the kitchen, and a sofa and TV on a TV stand. Oh and the windows had aircons too. Doesn't sound like much, but HK apartments are small, so that just about filled it up!

In the first few months here I bought a bed, a desk, and a small hi-fi.

I don't remember us paying a premium on rent for that much furniture, it was just used as part of the sales pitch on what a great bargain the flat was.

If you expect to spend a lot of time in the flat, do a lot of entertaining at home (people don't generally, again it's too small), or are generally houseproud, going the bare flat route could be the better option. Otherwise I'd look for somewhere partially - fully furnished for your first lease (which you can break after a year), and then think about buying better stuff if you plan on staying longer after that.

MrB

Thanks

Thanks Mr.B, for some reason I keep forgetting that people don't do much entertaining in their apartments, which is why I keep thinking I want to have a nice and tidy place. I'll keep what you've stated in mind when it's time to search for a more permanent place.

Has anyone have any experience with this place?
http://www.horizonhotels.com.hk/en/index.html

Should I ship my furniture to HK?

Hi there folks, forgot to mention that my company is paying for shipment of my stuff to HK. After thinking about it over the last few days, it makes me think that it may be a good idea to ship my items there and rent a semi furnished apartment. The timeline at the moment as stated from the shipping company is that it'll take 5-6 weeks to ship my items via ocean versus air if I have large items, I'm thinking that'll be enough time for me to find a more permanent place so when my items gets there, there'll be a place to take it to...

So I'm thinking since I really don't have that much anyways, and the apartments in HK are small, it may be advantageous to ship what I have over there while renting a semi-furnished place, which would include the basic appliances (refridgerator, stove/overn, microwave), and I would bring my own furniture.

Here's what I have at the moment:
Loveseat, that can convert to a full size bed by pulling the seat cushions to the ground (very light)
Coffee Table
Floor Lamp
Night Stand
Night Lamp
32" LCD HDTV that's 110V-240V compatible, purchased for $600 here at COSTCO, debating whether to bring it or return it to COSTCO
Laptop, monitor, basic computer stuff

What are people's thoughts on me bring my stuff since the company is paying shipping cost?
Should I keep the HDTV? Would it be cheaper to buy one there?
If folks think I should ship my stuff, should I just go buy me a queen size bed here and bring it over since I don't need to pay for the shipping? Queen size Sealeys bed I can get at COSTCO would be aroun $500 USD
Along that line, should I buy other stuff here and ship? I'm thinking not?

Really appreciate all your opinions and help in this matter, as I need to make this decision in the next few weeks.

moving stuff vs buying it

Hi Willis,

I'm facing a similar dilemma, coming from the UK. I've got a bed, sofa, kitchen table etc, but they're all rather more suited to a small English cottage than an even smaller HK appartment. I'm not sure whether to ship my stuff (company paying), or whether it would be better to buy cheapish stuff out there.

Equally anything I do ship I will have to find room for in the apartment - if I ship my bed and decide it isn't appropriate / doesn't fit / the appartment already has a built-in bed, then what would I do with the bed I have now shipped over?!

Sorry I can't help you, but I lend you my moral support and await thoughts from the other users on the site!

Yours,
Ross

Sell all your stuffs on

Sell all your stuffs on Craigslist and buy furnitures from Ikea in Causeway Bay.
Rents in Wanchai, which is next door to Causeway Bay, is between 7k and 10k.
For that, you have to get help from the locals.

Look at Happy Valley

If you're at Times Square, Happy Valley is an extremely friendly nearby neighborhood. There are several serviced apartments in the area - I'd recommend you check squarefoot.com.hk or just do a google search.

Keep in mind that there are differences between 'serviced' and 'furnished' apartments. Furnished apartments will typically be quite spartan, with maybe a cheap LCD TV and a few kitchenwares. Serviced apartments tend to be of higher quality and will usually include regular maid service, etc.

Better to shop

It is better to leave your stuffs at home & buy locally.  Hong Kong is small, and the apartment is also small in general. 

One major obstacle is the elevator.  If your furniture cannot be knocked down into sub-assemblies, then the last option is to climb the stairs - if the stair well is big enough.  But it will cost you extra for the labour. 

Simply bring along clothing & necessity, and spend some time & money shopping here.  We don’t have “late night shopping” nor “Sunday trade”.  Shops open from 10:30am till 10:30pm seven days a week in general, even on Christmas day or Good Friday.  The only exception is the Chinese New Year, but it means 2009 to you guys.

The shipping & labouring might cost more than shopping.

Sell, sell, sell; then buy, buy, buy?

My inclinations lie with the majority on this one. Moving to HK is a good chance to strip down your life a bit, lose the possessions that you're not really attached to anyway, and move on.

But of course you're not moving to a monastery! It's easy to buy all kinds of home furnishings here, they're routinely delivered to your flat, and you'll likely end up getting a better fit, i.e. given how small many flats are here, you really want to have the 'right' furniture. There's often not enough spare space to just dump in the stuff you've already got.

In your list, unless the items are heirlooms, or you're otherwise particularly attached to them, I wouldn't bother shipping them over. The TV could be the exception: it sounds as if you got it for a pretty good price (depends on the brand, of course), but then shipping costs for an item like that are going to be pretty high. So if you can return it, why not? It's not exactly difficult to get your hands on an LCD TV in Hong Kong!!

 

kitchen sink

You may experience the nightmare of “connectors, plugs & systems” on the “foreign” LCD TV if you ship it here.  plus... 

Probably you don’t want your landlady saying “everything but the kitchen sink” after looking at your stuffs.

Good luck,

isdl

TV and furniture

LOL, kitchen sink, I can so see the lady saying "Aiya, lei dai gum duo ye lei li dou..."

Ok so dound out I can't bring the TV, a little info for anyone that's thinking about the same thing in the future... most TVs made in the US are NTSC compatible, which is what mine is, and general broadcast in HK is PAL... I'm not a techy, so I listen to what they say and said "Oh... ok" haahaa

Last thing again folks, if my company is going to pay for shipment of my goods, is there a downside to it?

Some might ask whether my company can give me the money they'll use to ship my stuff, so I can use it to buy furniture.  The answer to that is a big "NO".  Don't ask me why they won't, frankly it doesn't make any sense to me, they won't even tell me how much they've allocated to pay to ship my goods.  Part of me want to just ship my stuff out of spite that they won't just give me the money and leave it to my discretion on what to do with it... haa  but ya know, it was my request to move, so I should be happy with any assistance they're willing to provide, so should I utilize it?

warts and all

we usually ship almost everything everywhere warts and all.  And even if its not designer fancy schmanzy stuff, it doesn't matter, because it is ours and it makes our place into a home.

In contrast, a friend of mine in the apartment block was allowed to take nothing except for some clothes.  She's got a fantastic apartment, all decked out in designer stuff rented from Indigo.  It looks great, but she says she's still homesick after 18 months because she just doesn't feel like its her home...

I don't know if its just a girl thing, but I like my own books and stuff around...

If they'll ship it anyway and you don't have techy compatability problems, at least you'll feel a little more at home. 

what to take

When I 1st came to HK I was on a 3-year contract & my employer would not pay for shipping or accomodation.

 I was living in a 1 bed-room flat in Chcago at the time. I gave away my vacuum cleaner, TV, VCR (it was back in 1992) to relatives & friends. I gave my couch to charity. I forget how I got rid of my chifferobe - but I had bought it used at a thrift store - so while I liked it, I was not extremely attached to it.

 

What did I bring? My pots and pans, 2 small rugs (1 African & 1 Afghani), my books, my plates and cups, & cutlery, and various decorations (pictures, tchothkes) and my linens(inmcluding favorite pillow), my Mac, my out-of-season clothes and my books. This took up 12 boxes (including my steamer trunk). I brought my in-season clothes & boom-box and a few novels and guides in my suitcases & paid a small overweight charge on the plane.

I rented a furnished place (a/c, TV, couch, bed, table & 2 chairs, 2-ring gas range, a few pots). While I waited for my stuff to arrive, I bought a cleaver, cutting board and chopsticks. & tea kettle.  I used the same steamer trunk that I had since my Freshman year as my coffee table (as I had been doing since I was 17). I only got a "real" coffee table when I married and my m-i-l gave us hers.

I would recommend - ship your linens, house decorations, non-electric kitchen stuff & favorite coffee mugs, books & dood-dads.  Unless you are VERY attached to your furniture - don't bother shipping it, especially if you may only be here for a few months.