Loft in space
In the highly competitive hospitality industry, the shelf life of a hotel is limited to say the least but some hotels are so special, they transcend hype and trends like Hong Kong’s The Upper House. Even as it comes up to its 10th year, the property is easily and still one of the most sought after hotels in the city.
What sets this hotel, which sits 49 floors above Pacific Place in Admiralty, apart? For starters, there’s that spectacular view of Hong Kong’s Victoria Harbour and the city’s iconic neon skyline to the mountainous west. It’s complemented by the effortless elegance of its design, a tour de force by Hong Kong’s design wunderkind Andre Fu who combines Asian and Western inspirations in a subtle but gorgeous play on geometry, texture and materials.
Contemporary yet timeless, Fu’s public spaces manage to be both understated and impressive, an effect reinforced by site-specific and nature-inspired artwork which number over 400 in all. From renowned British designer Thomas Heatherwick’s Bedonia stone doorway façade and entrance, to Japanese artist Hirotoshi Sawada’s impressive stainless steel wall sculpture ‘Rise’ in the 38th floor Atrium, the thoughtful curation provides an reverential museum-like experience. Rather than the coldness associated with museums however, the pervasive mood is one of quiet contemplation – something Fu wanted to establish as the hotel’s raison d’être is to offer an ‘upward journey’ as a retreat above the bustling city.
Indeed, the 117 rooms are worthy of The Upper House’s lofty ideals and spacious havens of zen high about the city’s pulsing kinetic energy. Standard rooms are 730 sq ft (a luxury in a city where 500 sq ft apartments are common) while the two penthouse suites (RM18,000+ a night) are a staggering 1,960-sqft each.
Fu’s colour and material palette continue seamlessly here – soothing neutrals punctuated by deftly deployed accent jewel tones while natural bamboo and luxe limestone add refined touches. The window seats are cushioned so you can get as up close and personal with the view as physically possible while the massive bathrooms (all glassed and voyeuristically two way in the evenings) are absolutely decadent. The Upper House also recently teamed up with British wellness brand Bamford to offer a comprehensive new collection of in-room amenities using the finest natural and organic botanical ingredients – all the better to enjoy them in the dreamy bathroom.
At level 49, guests may wine and dine at the Café Gray Deluxe restaurant and bar or while the time away by the fireplace in the library. The signature views are very much in evidence here whether dining at the private booths or gazing towards the hills through the floor to ceiling windows. It also says something about the quality of the food (European inspired, Asian inflected) and the coolness factor of the outlets when the famously finicky locals flock to both bar and restaurant. And who can blame them when Chef Grey Kunz regularly introduces menus which make the best use of only the freshest ingredients, striving for locally grown, organic and seasonal produce wherever possible.
While Fu and Swire Group experts have set the stage for an unforgettable stay, the unquantifiable factor which has created and sustained a loyal following of repeat guests is the flawless service. From the paperless in-room check-in to the highly personalised, natural and intuitive level of service, guests quickly realise that they’re not really at a hotel, but have found a home to which they can return to, time and again.