The best boutique hotels for a Hong Kong staycation
This boutique hotel in Jordan doesn’t just offer stylishly designed rooms and amazing facilities – it also flies the banner for progressive causes and consciousness-building. Your stay here includes everything from free Tai Chi classes and neighbourhood walking tours to the option of booking a suite with its own recording studio. All rooms come with natural, chemical-free bath products, local artwork and books devoted to social issues, too. And while the rooms may be on the small side, you’re not expected to spend all day in them.
If you wander around the property, you’ll find collaborative workspaces, radios and TVs broadcasting content that discusses social change, and a food hall serving everything from noodle soups to sustainable cocktails. One of the best places to experience the community-oriented vibe is Terrible Baby. The bar serves great (sustainable) cocktails, for starters, and it also has a huge terrace as well as a music room, where you can mix and record your own tracks.
After a year-long renovation, The Fleming reopened in 2017 with a design that refocused its lens on old Hong Kong. This 66-room boutique hotel in Wan Chai now incorporates the art deco aesthetic that once was so prominent in the city’s skyline. Throw in splashes of Star Ferry green, if you will, and sleek nautical features – long horizontal lines with smooth, ship-like curves; porthole-shaped mirrors; brass fixtures – and you might feel as if you’re berthed in a steamer on a voyage overseas.
Wan Chai was one of Hong Kong’s earliest settlements, and that history still exists in several places. From The Fleming, you can easily spend a day taking in all the sights along the three-kilometre-long Wan Chai Heritage Trail – from Guangzhou-style verandahs to the trio of buildings named after their colours (green, blue, yellow). Or you might just want to pop in to Osteria Marzia on the hotel’s ground floor and bask in the maritime vibe this excellent Italian restaurant emanates.
In 2019, the former Marine Police Headquarters – one of just 120 declared monuments in Hong Kong – was reopened as House 1881, a swish heritage hotel standing conspicuous among the luxury malls in TST. All ten suites boast features like French doors, dark wood furniture and marble floors that recall the glory of bygone times. But even if the days of stately architecture have passed us by, the hotel is doing its best to keep Hong Kong history alive. Step into the back of Sergeant’s Bar, and you’ll find three holding cells once used by marine police to lock up pirates and drunk sailors. The old horse stable block, meanwhile, still features its original wooden doors. Look hard and you might even spot the pigeon houses that once sheltered the police’s passenger pigeons.
If you stay here on the weekend, make sure to visit The Market at House 1881, a local makers’ market put on by FWD in the courtyard. Running until 6pm every Saturday and Sunday from now through April, the market showcases a wide range of locally made products, from HK Lovecraft’s German-style beer to Bagel Baggo’s adorable handmade accessories.
Up-and-coming Wong Chuk Hang has a lot to offer, from excellent art to craft beer tours. It feels like a city away from the city, and there’s no better place to base yourself for a little urban exploration here than the hip Ovolo Southside. Drawing inspiration from 1980s pop culture, this pet-friendly, former warehouse-turned-hotel boasts an incredibly cool aesthetic – think music videos from the ’80s playing on TVs in the elevator, colourful artwork across the hotel and rockstar-inspired suites. And that’s before you factor in the views. If you score a corner room, your floor-to-ceiling windows take in the sea, the surrounding hills and the cable car climbing up to Ocean Park.
Make sure to enjoy happy hour on the rooftop before eating dinner at Komune, easily one of the best restaurants on the Southside. The all-day drinks and dining venue pays serious attention to detail in everything it does, from its jet-black squid ink linguini with baby octopus to the flamboyant Chinese Ink, a potent, rye-based cocktail served in a paint-dappled cup that overflows with fruit.
It’s all about the details at this boutique hotel on Austin Road. Opened in early 2019, Page148 takes active measures to boost interaction between guests and locals. The hotel has replaced the usual lobby with an excellent café called Page Common. Guests check in at this front desk-free café, where locals linger each day over excellent cups of coffee brewed with beans from Ideaology, a roaster run by the folks behind Barista Caffe, and plates of what might be the best tiramisu in Hong Kong. Marshall speakers, old-school phones, luxury bath products in refillable bottles and drip bags of the hotel’s signature coffee blend await in rooms that overlook either the harbour or the verdant Kowloon Cricket Club.
But the hotel wants you to get out and explore the city in a new light. Hence the unique – and very fun – ‘Urban Explorers’ series. Buoyed by beautiful graphics and in-the-know information, this series of travel itineraries has been curated by different locals, including the founders of Streetsign HK and Bakehouse founder Grégoire Michaud.
Located beside the Hebe Haven Pier in Pak Sha Wan, this stylish spot is the very definition of ‘away from it all’. Unless, of course, you own a yacht, in which case this is where the action is. Several dozen boats float in harbour, making The Pier a prime perch for taking in all the upscale nautical activity. There are 40 spacious rooms and suites, the latter of which boast fully equipped kitchens. All come with terraces overlooking the harbour or the lush hills opposite. On the rooftop, there’s a beautiful rooftop pool – complete with sun-loungers – and space to sit out and soak up the sea views.
The hotel has its own restaurant – Wa Theater, a Japanese fine dining venue filled out with light wood décor – but you can also shuttle up to nearby Sai Kung for excellent seafood along the shoreline. Michelin-starred Loaf On is always a great choice for fresh seafood, or you can go slightly further afield and enjoy a one-of-a-kind dinner at One-Thirty One, a private kitchen in a refurbished village house offering refined European fare.
The Pottinger may be located just steps away from Hong Kong’s biggest party hubs (LKF, Soho – all the nightlife your heart desires), but you’ll quickly find there’s more to discover here than the bottom of a Tsingtao bottle. This award-winning boutique hotel is decorated with images of old Hong Kong taken by photographer Fan Ho. The artist’s shots reveal a side to Central that has rapidly disappeared as the neighbourhood has gentrified. The spacious rooms and suites, meanwhile, feature artwork and décor with an Eastern flair. These touches give The Pottinger a beautiful duality: past meets present, East meets West.
As of 2018, the hotel is also home to master mixologist Antonio Lai’s hidden cocktail den Room 309. The establishment joins The Envoy, another of Lai’s bars, within the hotel, as well as two-Michelin-starred Ta Vie.
Located at the western edge of Hong Kong, this hotel feels a world removed from the CBD and its frantic work-day rush. Not to mention it’s one of only a few heritage buildings where you can stay overnight in Hong Kong. Built in 1902, the former Tai O marine police station now boasts nine rooms named after the Hong Kong Naval Police Force ranks. So much of the original space has been preserved and refurbished – from the Chinese-style tiled roof and corner turrets to the wooden casement windows and fireplaces – that the hotel now offers three guided tours each day.
One of the perks of staying here is, of course, its proximity to the Tai O fishing village, the historic – and very photogenic – community known for its stilted houses and seafood products. The hotel offers guided tours that take in the fishing village’s stilted houses and ancient temples.