Old Hong Kong Hotels and Boarding Houses | Gwulo: Old Hong Kong

Old Hong Kong Hotels and Boarding Houses


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Hotel d'Europe, situated in the Hollywood road,
Stag Hotel
British Hotel
Oriental Hotel (bought by the Hongkong Hotel Company)

Hotels.—The Hotel accommodation in Hongkong is not equal to the requirements of the place. The best establishment is that of the Hotel d'Europe, situated in the Hollywood road, but this is frequently overcrowded on the arrival of the mail steamers from Europe or the North. Besides this are two or three others availed of chiefly by single men, of which the " Stag Hotel," the " Argus " and the " British Hotel" are the most respectable. At the time of writing the "Oriental Hotel" is still in existence, but its site and business having been purchased by the " Hongkong Hotel Company," recently established, this establishment will soon be closed. This company has been set on foot to supply the great want in Hongkong of a building suitable, not only for passing travellers, but those whom want of means or inclination would induce to become permanent lodgers at reasonable rates. The ordinary tariff at the better Hotels now existing is three dollars per day for boarding and lodging (exclusive of wines) each individual, children being the subjects of special agreement

In addition to the Hotels there are many thoroughly respectable boarding houses, an establishment next door to the Hotel d'Europe being the best known and most frequented. Boarding out is, however, under any circumstances an expensive arrangement, and intending residents are strongly advised to take immediate steps to become independent in this matter.


To add some more information of the hotel, it was located at No 2 Hollywood Road, corner of Hollywood Road & Pottinger Street, and its manager was L. Lion. Does the name ring a bell to anyone?


  Talking about old hotels can anybody recall a small hotel named if I remember corrrectly Wanda Hotel?. I believe it was near Kowloon City off Prince Edward Road


The Hotel d'Europe was on the site now occupied by the Central Police Station building on Hollywood Road. It went out of business in the spring of 1874 and was taken over by the government and used as the Civil Hospital after the earlier hospital was destroyed in the September 1874 typhoon. The new Civil Hospital (ex Hotel) was then demolished with explosives under the supervision of governor John Pope Hennessy during the Great Fire of 1878.

No privacy for hotel guests who sign the register:

Feb 14, 1921 - The Hongkong Telegraph

Hotel Lists:

Hongkong Hotel
Peak Hotel
Carlton Hotel
St. George's House
Station Hotel
Repulse Bay Hotel
Palace Hotel

so where were the Palace, and Station Hotels?


As far as I know, the Palace (corner of Hankow and Haiphong Roads) and Station Hotels (Nathan Road) were in TST.


Any old pictures of the Oriental Hotel? I have some notes from the Carl Smith Collection that say my great great grandfather - Jacob Fritz Shuster - was the owner, back in the 1880s.

Photos are not likely to appear, as it was tucked away on Wellingon St, away from the more photographed areas, but the Oriental Hotel used to advertise on the front page of the local newspapers in the 1870s and 1880s. There's one on the front page of the Hong Kong Daily Press for Dec 25 1878, to get you started, but that was before Jacob's time.

Thank you! Am going to look for it.

You cannot imagine how much you people have helped me in my research - the things I have learned in just a few days has been amazing. Thank you all.


Some time back David posted some very detailed info about The Stag noting that my great grandfather, John Olson, was involved in the premises and was granted a liquor licence for the place.

He subsequently transferred the hotel in the early 1990s - see Carl Smith and www.thehongkonglegacy.com

I wonder has anybody come across a picture of the Stag in the 1880s - 90s? Also I would be interested in any pictures of the building on the site today.



Hi Sean, I've been on the lookout for Stag photos as the hotel featured briefly in my book, but I've never seen any. Coincidentally its adverts often appeared beside the Oriental's in the newspapers. The Christmas date above is one example.


cheers, Adam

Hi Adam,

Interesting about the Oriental. One of the Carol Smith cards I have has my great grandfather as manager of the Oriental Restaurant at the same time has he was proprietor of the National Tavern.

I assume the Oriental Hotel would have had nothing to do with the Oriental Restaurant.

Hope you find a picture of the Stag Hotel as it was. Have trawled all sorts of sites and places for it but no luck.


Hi Sean,

What a coincidence! I learnt that information of my great great grandftaher from the Carl Smith Collection Cards.

One of the card reads:

Shuster, Jacob Fritz

1879 - Steward, Sailor's Home

1880, proprietor, oriental Hotel

1882 - Overseer of works, Hollywood Rd

(I assume that he was the proprietor for a very short time). In 1884 he was already working at the Sugar Refinery.

Another card has a list of dates and it reads:

"Oriental Hotel

1879, Oct. 28 - GM. - proprietors, Stockhausen and Rose

1879, Nov. 6 - CM - Oriental Hotel, Mr. J.E. Shsuter carries on from this date as a First Class Hotel, Nov. 5, 1879

1880 - Apr. 22, DP - Auction, Oriental Hotel Buildings (details)

1880, Jan. 1 DP - from this date, Oriental Hotel, 5 Nov. 1879 carried on by J.F.Shuster -- thoroughly renovated and refurnished.



Something must have gone quite badly wrong for Jacob Shuster around 1881. Overseer of Works was the very lowest rung on the civil service ladder, a job often given to stranded Europeans. From hotel proprietor to works overseer, with a year absent from the Jury List in 1881, suggests some kind of personal disaster. Perhaps ill health. The answer probably lies somewhere in the newspapers of 1881.

Hi Ana,

Think we are talking about two different places and certainly two different times. My great grandfaher, John Olson, was manager of the Oriental Restaurant in 1867 according to the Carl Smith Archive card I have.

Also, I am not at all sure that this restaurant had anything to do with the hotel of the same name. In that year my great grandfather also obtained a liquor license for The National Tavern which subsequently became the National Hotel.

You will see my posting to Adam asks has he information regarding the restaurant.

Sorry I can't help further.


Yes, I must admit I found it very strange that he would be the proprietor for such a short time. And, in fact, the date 1881 is written but it has nothing written in front. I have made a search under Shuster and Oriental Hotel for 1881 in the old newspapers and nothing came up. Any more suggestions?

His wife Rebecca died in February 1880 and the Auction of the Oriental Hotel Buildings begins in April. Could that be it?

1880 - Apr. 22, DP - Auction, Oriental Hotel Buildings (details)

1880, Jan. 1 DP - from this date, Oriental Hotel, 5 Nov. 1879 carried on by J.F.Shuster -- thoroughly renovated and refurnished.

Sean - sorry, no idea about the Oriental Restaurant.

Ana...the dates of his wife's death seem relevant, but it's hard to know for sure. Perhaps he lost the will to run the place, or took to the bottle, or the Hotel was in her name....so many possible reasons. You could try searching both papers (there were only the China Mail and Daily Press at that time) between Feb and April 1880.

I found this very interesting article online that mentions the Oriental Hotel in a document aigned by Carl Smith (I wonder if it is the same Carl Smith of the CSCC.


Yes, the same man, a respected local historian and longtime resident of Hong Kong who sadly passed away in 2008. In full, The Reverend Carl T. Smith. A brief bio here: http://www.royalasiaticsociety.org.hk/newsletters/2005/2005_11.pdf 

Just found this Carl Smith Card with the following data: (wonder what it means?)


Must have been an amazing man. What a shame they don't put his cards online. Must be like in Portugal - they are afraid people will start coming after their ancestors property, so you have to sign a document stating that you only want it for research purposes.