Hong Kong excels at two levels: on the ground amid the colours, the chaos, and the sizzling, spitting, shuffle of human activity and then again on high, suspended in skyscraper glass, as miniature Star Ferries chug across Victoria Harbour.
The Upper House whisks you from one level to the other and does so with an immaculate sense of style and grace.
The entrance carries some big names (Thomas Heatherwick of the London Olympic cauldron fame and Hong Kong architect Andre Fu,) but its effect is understated. It’s only once you reach your room that the wow factor appears.
Designed with a soft harmony of bamboo, glass and cream, the spacious rooms make you feel as though you’ve come home. Home in the sense of relaxation, privacy, amenities and belonging, rather than in the sense of needing to take charge of your own laundry, gas bill and tax reminders that is. Home in the best way you can have when you’re on the road away from friends and family.
I stayed in one of the 21 Upper Suites, which had two entire walls of the living area given over to Hong Kong skyline watching and one substantial cabinet with complimentary sweets and biscuits (no minibar tagging here, soft drinks and snacks are on the (ahem) house.)
Technology is as you’d expect: flat screen TVs, iDevice docking, and great sound systems all synced up.
The bedroom continues the skyline worship with another two walls given over to the elements but that’s nothing compared to the bathroom. There, the bath sits like a throne on a pedestal in a room near surrounded by glass. And, yes, if you were wondering, you do need to close the blinds.
The dressing area makes travel a joy with its thoughtful lighting and ergonomic design and the range of REN toiletries provided in miniature takes the standard shampoo and shower gel combo to heaven and back with glycolactic skin renewal peel masks, dental floss, night cream, lip balms and more. There’s even an airline security bag provided should you wish to take them away.
Yoga classes take place in the small city garden (with mats in each room,) while cocktails come to life in either the Sky Lounge with its futuristic open fire or in the uber cool Café Gray Deluxe Restaurant and Bar on the 49th floor.
In each place, the views are fantastic. But at the end of the stay it’s the way they made you feel that will impress the most. Like a movie star at home. But in a quiet, Audrey Hepburn kind of way…
What I loved
The space (for Hong Kong)
The view (even in Hong Kong)
The indulgent bathroom
The service (I asked a question about Hong Kong walking routes. Within the hour a book on hiking the city arrived in my room along with annotated notes.)
The complimentary sweets in the minibar. Bring out your inner child, I say!
The toiletries top up (I’d been travelling a long time by the time I reached the Upper House. And such thoughtfulness was a gift.)
The bar & restaurant: great food, heart stopping views
Great location for access to Pacific Place Mall, Hong Kong Park and the tea museum in Flagstaff House.
What to know
Not for those fearful of heights
Pool and spa access is not on site. The gym is small but functional.
Not for those fearful of gadgets – check in and the guest services take place via iPad
117 rooms, including 23 suites
Lounge, gym, garden.
Free wifi, flatscreen satellite TV, interactive iPod touch, dual-temperature wine fridge, free maxibar snacks, soft drinks and beer (excluding wine and champagne), espresso machine, yoga mat, REN toiletries.
Doubles from £400 per night excluding tax and breakfast
I paid a reduced rate to stay at the Upper House for review purposes as part of the DragonRoute project in partnership with Cathay Pacific. As ever, as always, I was free to write about whatever I liked and I don’t always provide such glowing reviews. Read more about the DragonRoute over here and any small print you want to know about over here.
Abigail King is a writer and photographer who swapped a career as a doctor for a life on the road. Now published by Lonely Planet, the BBC, CNN, National Geographic Traveler & more, she feels most at home experimenting here: covering unusual journeys, thoughtful travel and luxury on www.insidethetravellab.com