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Hong Kong’s best hotels since 1997 (Part 2)

‘Visually silent’ hotels and luggage kept in jail cells. Part two of Hong Kong’s post-1997, ever-changing hotel scene. By MARK JONES

Euromonitor recently named Hong Kong the world’s most visited city for the sixth year in a row: 27.8 million overnight visitors came to the city in 2016. Which is great. But Hong Kong has a lot of hotel rooms, and the recent decline in mainland Chinese visitors has led to what the industry calls a ‘softening’ of rates and a decline from the 80-90 per cent occupancy rates that were the norm until quite recently.

But timing is all; and in 2017, the stats suggest the guests and their lavish spending habits are returning. That’s welcome news for this year’s big openings (The Kerry, The Murray) and 2018’s (The Rosewood).

Here’s part two of Hong Kong’s best hotels since 1997.

Read part one of Hong Kong’s best hotels here.

Tuve, Tin Hau

Opened 2015

TUVE Hotel, Hong Kong
Credit: Matteo Carcelli

So what happens when a pair of designers with a thing for minimalism and raw concrete open a hotel (named after a Swedish lake) under an overpass in a not very gentrified area east of Victoria Park? Tuve, that’s what. The hotel’s own literature promises a ‘visually silent’ place where ‘an air of unfoldment and serendipity awaits’. It’s possible you may need a few more practical details before booking. So: it’s a boutique hotel in the Scandinavian style.

At ground level, the pipes and ducts that serve the building are encased in glass like museum exhibits. They love their materials here – any materials. The reception is like a chapel. Seriously. They play sacred music while a shaft of light falls on the serious young officiates checking your credit card details. The rooms are also silent as a crypt, but rather lighter. It’s an extraordinary place – unique for now, but there are apparently more Tuves to come.

East, Taikoo Shing

Opened 2010

EAST hotel Hong Kong
Credit: Michael Weber

The usefully named East can be found on the east side of Hong Kong Island. The Swire-owned hotel (Swire is also the majority shareholder in this airline) has also shown, with some success, that this needn’t just be an area where you live, work and hike.

Sugar on the 32nd floor is one of the city’s better rooftop bars: and there’s lots of competition. The bar and the rooms may not have the traditional harbour view, but they sure make the most of their position gazing over the sparkling South China Sea and the far reaches of Kowloon.

Tai O Heritage Hotel, Lantau

Opened 2009

Tai O Heritage Hotel, Hong Kong

The Tai O Heritage Hotel, on western Lantau Island in the traditional stilt village of Tai O, is one of Hong Kong’s preservation success stories. The charming two-storey colonial building was converted into Hong Kong’s most in-demand boutique hotel from a police station in 2009. Since its transformation, the hotel has lost none of its judicial character – there’s even a former jail cell turned luggage room on the ground floor.

You’ll need to book ahead. The nine bespoke rooms sell out fast: the prized corner room has a killer view of possibly Hong Kong’s best sunset, and, if you’re really lucky, the pod of pink dolphins that flirt in these waters between Hong Kong and Macau.

The Kerry, Hung Hom

Opened 2017

Kerry Hotel Hong Kong
Credit: Michael Weber

Designer Andre Fu’s second hotel is a bold and spacious building in the relatively quiet Kowloon district of Hung Hom. Note that word ‘spacious’ – not one you often see associated with Hong Kong hotels, or Hong Kong anything. But the new-build next to Whampoa Gardens makes the most of its ample footprint with sizeable standard rooms, a lobby you can get lost in and a terrace as big as the South China Sea (almost).

Speaking of which, the point of this swanky new ‘urban resort’ is surely to go forth on the water and play in the New Territories rather than spending all your time figuring out how to get to Central or Tsim Sha Tsui.

Cordis, Mong Kok

Opened 2004

Cordis hotel, Hong Kong
Credit: Michael Weber

This Mong Kok hotel was rebranded in 2015. It can be hard to find anyone who much likes, or who can always remember, the new name. But the hotel itself is a bold, on-its-game five-star with a generous Club lounge and Ming Court, a two-Michelin-starred Cantonese restaurant.

It’s tried hard to get guests to bond with the once scary locale, now increasingly an extension of glitzy Tsim Sha Tsui. A vast roof terrace includes a hip accessory still rare in Hong Kong: a food truck.

Hotel Icon, East Tsim Sha Tsui

Opened 2011

Hotel ICON HONG KONG

Another Kowloon neighbourhood, another buzzy and confident new boutique hotel. The Icon tunes into the growing Hong Kong vibe for everything innovative and green with electric cars and a dramatic garden wall on the ground floor.

The vertiginous restaurant Above & Beyond serves Cantonese cuisine alongside equally superb views, while the excellent Hong Kong Museum of History is just around the corner.

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