Island Shangri-La a more classic East-meets-West luxury. // © 2014 Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts
Feature image (above): The Horizon Club lounge at the 665-room Langham Palace. // © 2014 Langham Place Hotels and Resorts
Teleportation may only exist in “Star Trek” films and the distant future, but for now, we have the escalator at Hong Kong’s Upper House hotel.
Leading up from the property’s compact lobby through a long, cinematic and dimly lit tunnel, the escalator emerges within designer Andre Fu’s version of Zen Xanadu, with bright, Japanese-inspired cream and wood tones. A sky roof lights up the oval-shaped atrium that houses the guest floors, and a 49th floor bridge leads to Cafe Grey Deluxe, the hotel’s excellent restaurant and bar with eye-popping views, and the 24/7 Sky Lounge, where you might spot a famous designer, fashion model or Hong Kong media personality. The lobby is adjacent to Admirality’s upscale Pacific Place shopping center and Star Street’s enclave of trendy indie shops and cafes.
Spacious, uncluttered guestrooms, meanwhile, boast sandstone, marble and bronze art. Large bathrooms feature Ren bath products and bathtubs with grand views of the city’s skyscrapers, greenery-rich mountains and Victoria Harbour.
Of course, Upper House isn’t the metropolis’ only hotel to afford guests a truly escapist hideaway. Hong Kong offers multiple “getaway getaways” that incorporate unique, immersive surroundings and themes, from contemporary art nirvana to quintessential Asian luxury.
Modern-art lovers will find themselves surrounded by a museum’s worth of contemporary Chinese art at the 665-room Langham Place, located in the perpetually bustling, youthful Mong Kok district. Visitors can tour the world-class, 1,500-plus-item collection with a free iPod audio guide. The slick property’s bells and whistles also include equally artful restaurants such as the two-Michelin-starred Ming Court, a full-service Chuan Spa and a sizeable rooftop pool.
If Langham Place is an “art gallery masquerading as a hotel,” as the brand promotes itself, W Hong Kong in West Kowloon is more like an art installation doubling as a 393-room hotel. Cutting-edge design informs every nook and cranny, with several distinct room schemes conceived by Australia’s Nicholas Graham and Japan’s Yasumichi Morita.
Multimedia eye candy is peppered throughout W Hong Kong, from mesmerizing animation behind the check-in counter to a nifty elevator surprise (hint: look down). A favorite of creatives, celebrity sightings are not uncommon here, particularly in the buzzy Woobar. As a bonus, the hotel is conveniently attached to the Elements shopping center and Airport Express train.
Old School With a Twist
Set within an 1881 heritage building, Hullett House in Tsim Sha Tsui may symbolize colonial stateliness on the exterior, but its 10 eclectic suites are akin to a trip down Alice’s rabbit hole. Each 880- to 940-square-foot room is named after a Hong Kong bay and represents an over-the-top concept and scheme.
For example: the Ma Wan suite’s ornate Imperial China theme, replete with a Confucian Temple-roofed canopy bed; the Silvermine’s all-white take on Louis XIV-era France; and the Tung O room’s Trump-gone-Asian black-and-gold decadence. Hullett’s newly opened Champagne Gallery, built in the French Maison style, is no less exquisite, boasting premium bubbly and ornate chairs worthy of Marie Antoinette.
The towering Island Shangri-La, also adjacent to Pacific Place, represents a more classic East-meets-West luxury: marble floors, chandeliers and 565 rooms with floor-to-ceiling views. Guest or not, it’s worth stopping by for a glass-elevator ride between the 39th and 55th floors to take in the atrium’s sprawling 16-story-high mural, “The Great Motherland of China,” which is composed of more than 250 painted silk panels. It truly evokes another time and place ... and yet you still have access to Wi-Fi.