We are planning to move to Hong Kong from San Francisco in the next 6-8 weeks. I was just in HK for a 2 day stopover and did a quick swing-by to get a feel for the neighborhoods. We are considering Disco Bay, PV and 101 Repulse Bay and I'll share some initial impressions.
I found Disco Bay very different from PV and RB. I think if you go on vacation and like to stay within an all-inclusive resort, then PV and RB would be for you. Most of the facilities are within the cluster of buildings. If you go on vacation and like to stroll around and never stay at your hotel except to sleep, then you may like Disco Bay better. I tend to be the latter, so take that into consideration as you read my comments. I did not really see many flats or houses, I mostly focused on the neighborhoods.
Disco Bay. I arrived on Sunday morning at by 11am, the plaza area next to the ferry pier was PACKED. There were lots of people and families everywhere, but not to the same density as say Causeway Bay. You got a lively buzz without feeling overwhelmed. No cars are allowed and the streets and sidewalks are very wide. There are lots of paved paths where I saw lots of runners and cyclists (the hardcore kind in jerseys and padded shorts). It felt like a master planned community from a US suburb transplanted over to HK. I did notice a few drawbacks. From the outside, you can hear the planes take off from the airport. I've been assured that you cant hear it from inside a house, but can't confirm. From the plaza, you get quite a strong whiff of exhaust odor from the ferries. Finally, the beach is an order of magnitude worse than Repulse bay. I saw some bottles and trash lying around.
ParkView. I arrived later in the afternoon at Parkview (~14:00). The facilities seem wonderful there and comparable to 101 RB and the Disco Bay resident clubs. The only real store I saw was the supermarket, everything else was just residential high rise. The Serviced Apartments seem very nice, though one of them smelled of mold and mildew. I hardly saw any people walking around within the compound, though lots of cars went to and fro. There were some people in the gym, clubs, etc, but as others have said, I wouldn't know there were so many people living there. Outside of the compound, I did see lots of people walking around Tai Tam Country Park and a few folks in the reservoir. I noticed that the sidewalks were significantly narrower and the walks significantly steeper. I have a 5 month old and pushing him around or carrying him around would be challenging. The views, however, are absolutely gorgeous and you're surrounded by greenery.
101 RB. I arrived her at around 15:30 on the same Sunday. The serviced apartment that I saw was quite nice and I think we're going to try and stay there for our first month in HK and see how we like it. The views are terrific and there were more people out and about in the courtyard with all the shops and the Wellcome. Probably due to the fact that there is outdoor seating and an atrium in the shopping complex, something PV lacks, or was not readily apparent to me. It still does have the all-inclusive compound feel like PV, but to a lesser extent. Even though the building is right next to the beach, I found it hard to actually get to the beach because of the steep steps. There was also a constant stream of traffic on Repulse Bay road. Once I got on the beach, the walk was nice, but I did see the large buses with tourists parked close by. There were lots of tourist groups walking along the beach as well. The beach itself was quite nice and I saw lots of kids and families there. The sand was absolutely gorgeous and there is a nice roped off section for swimming. The Lido shopping mall is not open yet, I dont know when it will, but that would make the area a bit more attractive to me, though I'm sure it would also draw many more tourists as well. When it came time to go back to my hotel in Wan Chai, I had lots of trouble finding a taxi (a first for me in HK). Could just be the time of day. In any case, the taxi ride was a bit long to me, given the traffic. A friend also warned me that the minibuses tend to be unsafe because they are privately owned and the drivers tend to speed as much as possible to make more trips and make more money. Not sure how true this is.
Net/net for me, across these 3 neighborhoods, Disco Bay is a strong first, followed by RB, with PV being last. I like the concept of taking our son out for casual neighborhood walks and I'm an avid runner and cycler. I do not see how I could do a 10km morning run or bike ride outdoors anywhere else other than DB. The commute to Disco bay is a bit more inconvenient and may be a little longer, but the ferry has Wifi and I can work during the ride, something I probably couldn't do in a taxi or bus.