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First look: One-Eight-One Hotel & Serviced Residences

23 Nov 2019 by Michael Allen
One-Eight-One Hotel & Serviced Residences / photo by Michael Allen

Background

One-Eight-One Hotel & Serviced Residences, which is set to open around the end of 2019, is the first hotel wholly owned and managed by Liu Chong Hing Investment, a Hong Kong conglomerate.

Where is it?

In the historic yet fashionable Western District of Hong Kong Island, just a few minutes walk from the MTR HKU Station, airport bus and tram stops. The Hong Kong Macau Ferry Terminal is also only 20 minutes by public transport, a half-hour walk, or six to 12 minutes in a cab.

What's it like?

When I visited in mid-November 2019, the hotel was still in the pre-opening stage. While some areas of the hotel are not quite finished, I was able to have a tour of most of the property.

The hotel has two entrances: a main one on Des Voeux Road Central, a main road along which the Hong Kong Tramways tram also runs, and another on Connaught Road West (the latter pictured below).

One-Eight-One Hotel & Serviced Residences / photo by Michael Allen

The entrance on Connaught Road West, where I first entered the property, is much smaller than the main lobby. There are three sofas surrounding three coffee tables where guests and visitors can sit and wait, as well as a small reception desk.

One-Eight-One Hotel & Serviced Residences / photo by Michael Allen

You’ll also find some vending machines here where you can buy a range of snacks and drinks.

One-Eight-One Hotel & Serviced Residences / photo by Michael Allen

The main lobby is considerably larger and better appointed.

One-Eight-One Hotel & Serviced Residences / photo by Michael Allen

I was impressed by the seating area, where there are sofa seats…

One-Eight-One Hotel & Serviced Residences / photo by Michael Allen

…as well as airport lounge style private chairs that can rotate a full 360 degrees.

One-Eight-One Hotel & Serviced Residences / photo by Michael Allen

Two Macs are also available to use.

One-Eight-One Hotel & Serviced Residences / photo by Michael Allen

The rooms

One-Eight-One Hotel & Serviced Residences has five room types. Over 75 per cent of rooms have views of Victoria Harbour. The five room types are:

  • Urban Room (31-33 sqm)
  • Harbour Room (32-38 sqm)
  • Upper Harbour Room (35 sqm)
  • Luxe Harbour Room (35 sqm)
  • Harbour Suite (70 sqm)

The hotel also offers Sky Residences, which come in sizes of 65 sqm or 100 sqm.

The first room I took a look at during my hotel tour was a 35-sqm Luxe Harbour Room.

The views from the room are great. You can look out at the Harbour and the ‘Instagram Pier’ (formally known as the Western District Public Cargo Working Area).

If you look down, you’ll see a large wholesale food market. In the distance is the Stonecutters Bridge.

If you look to the right, you can even see the International Commerce Centre, Hong Kong’s tallest building.

One-Eight-One Hotel & Serviced Residences / photo by Michael Allen

The bed is outfitted with a pillow-top mattress from Simmons.

One-Eight-One Hotel & Serviced Residences / photo by Michael Allen

To the right side of the bed (when you are facing it), there is a Sound Rise alarm clock from Soundfreaq, with two USB ports for charging your devices. There is also a box of tissues. Behind those items, on the wall, there are two additional USB ports, as well as a three-pin plug socket. The hotel provides an international adaptor inside a drawer on the other side of the room, so there is no need to worry if you’re arriving from a country that doesn’t use the same plug sockets as Hong Kong. In the middle of those USB ports and three-pin socket are switches, with labels in both English and traditional Chinese, controlling the lights and curtains.

One-Eight-One Hotel & Serviced Residences / photo by Michael Allen

I liked the design of the bedside lights, which seems to resemble bamboo canes.

One-Eight-One Hotel & Serviced Residences / photo by Michael Allen

Opposite the bed is a 49-inch television, as well as an armchair and footrest in the corner. To the left of the television is a small circular table with two chairs.

One-Eight-One Hotel & Serviced Residences / photo by Michael Allen

By the television area, there are plenty of sockets, including one mounted on the wall that has two three-pin sockets and two USB ports, as well as an ethernet port.

One-Eight-One Hotel & Serviced Residences / photo by Michael Allen

Also, if you flip up a panel underneath the television, you’ll find a further two three-pin sockets and two more USB sockets, as well as various ports for the television.

I can’t imagine a guest at this hotel running out of places to charge her devices.

One-Eight-One Hotel & Serviced Residences / photo by Michael Allen

To the left of that circular table there is a tea and coffee station, which includes a Nespresso machine (with coffee pods, creamer and sugar), kettle, and a basket of snacks.

One-Eight-One Hotel & Serviced Residences / photo by Michael Allen

Long-stay guests (those staying for 14 nights or more) benefit from getting a hot plate to cook on.

One-Eight-One Hotel & Serviced Residences / photo by Michael Allen

As well as utensils such as an oven mitt and spatulas.

One-Eight-One Hotel & Serviced Residences / photo by Michael Allen

There are also two drawers containing pots and pans, as well as bowls.

One-Eight-One Hotel & Serviced Residences / photo by Michael Allen

Another drawer is home to knives, forks and spoons, as well as Twinings tea bags, plates and a corkscrew.

One-Eight-One Hotel & Serviced Residences / photo by Michael Allen

In addition to the hot plate, there is also a microwave, toaster, and rice cooker, as well as cups and glasses.

One-Eight-One Hotel & Serviced Residences / photo by Michael Allen

In the wardrobe to the left of the kitchenette area there is a large in-room safe. In the bottom drawer is a reusable hotel-branded shopping bag. Guests also get slippers in two different sizes (one for men and one for women), as well as a shoe mitt and sewing kit. The hotel has chargeable laundry service and a laundry bag is provided alongside the aforementioned items.

One-Eight-One Hotel & Serviced Residences / photo by Michael Allen

Onto the bathroom, where you’ll find it stocked with Molton Brown amenities. Every room in the hotel is stocked with Molton Brown amenities, and you can even buy items from the brand in the hotel’s shop. The hotel provides shampoo, hair conditioner, body wash and body lotion from Molton Brown in each guest room upon arrival. Other amenities include hand soap, bath salt, shower cap, dental kit, shaving kit, comb, sanitary bag and vanity pack.

One-Eight-One Hotel & Serviced Residences / photo by Michael Allen

The bathtub is of a good size.

One-Eight-One Hotel & Serviced Residences / photo by Michael Allen

The sink is large with an attractive marbling pattern around it. Bar soap is provided, along with some Molton Brown lotion, a box of tissues and two cups.

One-Eight-One Hotel & Serviced Residences / photo by Michael Allen

The toilet is to the right of the sink and has a shelf on the side of the room.

One-Eight-One Hotel & Serviced Residences / photo by Michael Allen

There are additional Molton Brown toiletries in the shower, which includes a rainfall shower.

One-Eight-One Hotel & Serviced Residences / photo by Michael Allen

One final note about this room. I thought it was a nice touch that when you remove the door key card from the slot, the blinds will come down automatically. Similarly, when you enter the room and insert the card, the blinds will go up.

One-Eight-One Hotel & Serviced Residences / photo by Michael Allen

The second room I had a look at was an Upper Harbour Room. The room is similar to the Luxe Harbour Room, though can be connected to another room with two twin beds, making it ideal for families with children.

One-Eight-One Hotel & Serviced Residences / photo by Michael Allen

One nice feature about the twin room is the presence of a window seat, where either the children could play, or a grown-up could sit and read a book.

One-Eight-One Hotel & Serviced Residences / photo by Michael Allen

The third room I looked at was one of the Harbour Suites. When you enter the suite, to your right is a closet…

One-Eight-One Hotel & Serviced Residences / photo by Michael Allen

…where you can hang your coat, as well as a shoe rack beneath it.

One-Eight-One Hotel & Serviced Residences / photo by Michael Allen

The suite I looked at had a city view. It’s rather different to the harbour view in the other rooms, but has charms of its own. You can admire the concrete jungle of Hong Kong while at the same time enjoying a mountain view.

One-Eight-One Hotel & Serviced Residences / photo by Michael Allen

Of course, being a suite, guests in this room type get a living room. The sofa can be converted into a sofa bed.

One-Eight-One Hotel & Serviced Residences / photo by Michael Allen

The living room area is tastefully decorated. For example, with these flowers.

One-Eight-One Hotel & Serviced Residences / photo by Michael Allen

A sense of connection with local culture is produced by this framed painting of a street scene on nearby Hollywood Road.

One-Eight-One Hotel & Serviced Residences / photo by Michael Allen

In between the living room and bedroom, and opposite the bathroom, is an area where you can store your luggage.

One-Eight-One Hotel & Serviced Residences / photo by Michael Allen

The bedroom is similar to that found in the Luxe Harbour room.

One-Eight-One Hotel & Serviced Residences / photo by Michael Allen

Guests get a 55-inch television (six inches bigger than in non-suite rooms), a round table with chairs, as well as a lounge chair with ottoman.

One-Eight-One Hotel & Serviced Residences / photo by Michael Allen

A highlight of the suite is that, in addition to the city and mountain view, you also get a stunning harbour view from the bedroom.

One-Eight-One Hotel & Serviced Residences / photo by Michael Allen

In the bathroom, there are two sinks, making it convenient for a couple who want to get ready together in the morning.

One-Eight-One Hotel & Serviced Residences / photo by Michael Allen

There is a good sized bathtub.

One-Eight-One Hotel & Serviced Residences / photo by Michael Allen

As well as a shower with rainfall shower head.

One-Eight-One Hotel & Serviced Residences / photo by Michael Allen

Here’s the toilet:

One-Eight-One Hotel & Serviced Residences / photo by Michael Allen

Food and beverage

The hotel has three dining outlets: The Tea Room (second floor), The Common Room (third floor) and The Light (a 31st floor rooftop bar). During my hotel tour, I was able to see the first two, though The Light wasn’t ready to view yet.

Let’s start with The Tea Room, which is inspired by Hong Kong’s distinctive “Bing Sutt” (冰室) dining culture.

One-Eight-One Hotel & Serviced Residences / photo by Michael Allen

This all-day diner serves authentic old Hong Kong favourites as well as “contemporary creations”.

One-Eight-One Hotel & Serviced Residences / photo by Michael Allen

I liked how the walls were lined with photographs depicting various classic Hong Kong scenes. A spokesperson for the hotel told me the hotel’s owner wanted to contribute something to the local community and so has kept prices relatively affordable at around HK$50-60 for lunch (US$6.4-7.7) in the hope that people from the local area will come and dine here.

One-Eight-One Hotel & Serviced Residences / photo by Michael Allen

Onward to The Common Room, which unlike the populist Tea Room, takes its inspiration from the elite institution that is Oxford University. The hotel’s director Chirstopher Liu holds a Master of Arts degree in jurisprudence from Oxford and was inspired by his time there to bring a flavour of the campus to Hong Kong.

One-Eight-One Hotel & Serviced Residences / photo by Michael Allen

“I still remember my good old university days at Oxford when we would spend hours at the JCR (Junior Common Room) just chilling and hanging out. What’s lacking in the JCR is we never had decent food there,” writes Liu in an introduction to The Common Room’s menu.

“At The Common Room, I hope to re-create the same casual and warm ambience but at the same time offering you a wide range of comfort food – covering meat, seafood and vegetarian dishes – that you would not mind having over and over again.”

One-Eight-One Hotel & Serviced Residences / photo by Michael Allen

References to Oxford are spread throughout the restaurant, whether it be on the placemats…

One-Eight-One Hotel & Serviced Residences / photo by Michael Allen

…or the pictures hanging on the wall…

One-Eight-One Hotel & Serviced Residences / photo by Michael Allen

There are also other, quirkier decorative items, such as this fun lamp.

One-Eight-One Hotel & Serviced Residences / photo by Michael Allen

The back room can be booked for private functions.

One-Eight-One Hotel & Serviced Residences / photo by Michael Allen

There is also a private dining area of around 37 sqm, which can be used either for private dinners or for other activities such as watching sports matches. The room can be divided into two sections, or used as one large section. Below is the first, smaller section.

One-Eight-One Hotel & Serviced Residences / photo by Michael Allen

And below is the larger section.

One-Eight-One Hotel & Serviced Residences / photo by Michael Allen

Leisure facilities

On the fifth floor is the 24-hour Health Club.

One-Eight-One Hotel & Serviced Residences / photo by Michael Allen

There is a good amount of equipment in the health club, from treadmills and striders…

One-Eight-One Hotel & Serviced Residences / photo by Michael Allen

…to weights. The gym is also well-lit with natural light coming in from the windows. The view isn’t as stunning from the rooms, however, since you are only on the fifth floor.

One-Eight-One Hotel & Serviced Residences / photo by Michael Allen

COOL Water branded bottled water is provided for Health Club users.

One-Eight-One Hotel & Serviced Residences / photo by Michael Allen

Towels and hand sanitiser are also provided.

One-Eight-One Hotel & Serviced Residences / photo by Michael Allen

Meeting space

The hotel has four meeting rooms:

  • The Space I – 30 sqm
  • The Space II – 33 sqm
  • The Space III – 104 sqm
  • The Space IV – 35 sqm

The Space I and The Space II can be combined into a larger event space, as you can see below.

One-Eight-One Hotel & Serviced Residences / photo by Michael Allen

I also had a look at The Space III on the fifth floor, though it was still partly being prepared for opening.

One-Eight-One Hotel & Serviced Residences / photo by Michael Allen

Verdict

A well-designed hotel that will be great for business or leisure stays. The property is well connected to the MTR, tram and Macau Ferry Terminal. If you have time and the weather is nice, it’s a pleasant walk along Hollywood Road to Central (this is how I got to the hotel as I had a meeting in Central beforehand). While I didn’t get to try any of the dining outlets yet, they showed great promise, and I found the Oxford University theme of The Common Room to be charming. The leisure facilities are also good for a property of this size and price point, while there are several good options for meetings if you need to hold one.

one-eight-one.com/

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