Holiday Inn Express Hong Kong Soho, which debuts officially tomorrow, prides itself in the promise of providing not only hassle-free stays, but also running an operation based on sound “green” principles. The city's latest hotel addition is located a few minutes' walk from the colourful dining precinct in Central from which it takes its name.
Kaivin Ng, area general manager-Hong Kong and Taiwan, told Business Traveller: “Thanks to the passion of our owners, Yau Lee Group, for the environment, we are able to do this.” The construction company, established in 1958, has identified the 274-room property as a showcase for unique and sustainable energy saving practices.
These innovations include giant solar panels on top of the hotel building working in synergy with a hot water-heat pump to run the water system with less reliance on electricity; rainwater collection areas whose contents are used on the plants onsite; CO2 emission sensors in function rooms that help regulate the level of air-conditioning; motion sensor controls in guest corridors to that turn off unnecessary illumination, especially when natural light is already present; and an 18-metre vertical green exterior which is used to reduce incoming heat to the building, among other things.
In the guestrooms, slotting in one’s keycard immediately turns on the air-conditioning and draws the curtains apart – which automatically close when the occupant removes the key card, thus minimising outdoor light and reducing energy.
Running in tandem with these earth-saving strategies are the Holiday Inn Express standards, based on the limited service philosophy. Ng remarked: “Our ‘no more, no less’ policy is focused on our particular customers, whom we regard as the ‘everyday heroes’. They are people, who travel usually for work, thus contributing to the wellbeing of their family and society.”
He described their needs as straightforward – “breakfast, free internet, a comfortable bed and a good shower”.
These features are all available in the guestrooms, including floor-to-ceiling windows, which create the illusion of space, 26-inch wall mounted flat-screen TVs, queen beds and iPod docks. The mini-fridge is left empty for the occupant to stock, and this further helps to speed up check out as there is no need for the staff to monitor. As further evidence of the hotel trying to be a good corporate citizen, artwork in the guestrooms are sourced from a local charity that leads learning-challenged individuals to discovering their potential.
For more on the hotel, visit www.hiexpress.com.cn
Margie T Logarta