Yoo Hotels describes itself as “a global design group created by leading property developer John Hitchcox and Philippe Starck”. The hotel group is expanding, with a raft of new openings planned in the coming years everywhere from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and Boracay in the Philippines in 2016 to Bali and the Cotswolds (UK) by 2018. It has two brands: Yoo Collection and Yoo2. This property is in the Yoo Collection.
WHERE IS IT?
On the corner of Pennington and Irving Street, a two-minute walk from entrance F to Causeway Bay MTR Station.
WHAT’S IT LIKE?
Quite a mouthful, especially if you’re trying to tell the taxi driver where it is. Better to say the Regal Hotel in Causeway Bay, which is on the other side of the street. Formerly the Jia Hotel which opened in 2004, this hotel has been refreshed in a HK$10 million makeover with a striking new façade.
First impressions are confusing: the foyer is half lobby, half art gallery, with lots of colours, mirrors and glass panels in exotic frames. It’s slightly surreal, particularly if you are jet lagged, though you can quickly pick up on the Chinese motifs of coins, dragons and bamboo, even if you trip over one of the steps leading into the lobby or to the lifts while you are getting your bearings. It’s certainly very Starck, with imported European furniture covered in bright, artificial fabrics, and the art changes periodically with different exhibitions.
There are 56 rooms in total (32 studios and 24 suites) in four categories: Studio and Studio Plus (35 sqm) and Suites and Suites Plus (72 sqm). All are a good size – the hotel was originally built as serviced apartments and designed as such. There are 24 floors in total, though the elevator only goes to 23 and the fitness room (very small) is accessed by some stairs up to floor 24. All rooms have flatscreen TVs, an iPod dock and fully equipped kitchen including fridge, electric stove and microwave. My Suite was large and had several distinct areas, including a work area with desk and good angle-poise lamp, a chaise longue, a window seat hidden behind a pale curtain, a kitchen area, a bedroom and a separate bathroom. In front of the TV was a blue fake sheepskin rug, and on the ceiling a painted mural. The hotel has free high-speed wifi, and also the use of a Handy mobile phone with free local calls and free international calls to some destinations (US and France among them, UK was about to be added after I left). It also allows you to create a hotspot using the device, which means I could stay connected for no extra charge using my own phone to connect to this wifi hotspot as I explored Hong Kong.
BARS AND RESTAURANTS
There are none, though apparently on the first floor there is space for an eatery and the intention is to open a Japanese restaurant there. The ground floor offers a continental breakfast each morning and in the evening a lounge service of cakes and wine (coffee, tea and juices are available throughout the day).
On the top floor the hotel has a small room which can be booked if you are staying in one of the higher suite categories.
The distinctive design will put off as many as it attracts, but it would be a shame to be distracted from what is an excellently located hotel with good-size rooms and friendly staff.
- PRICE Internet rates for a midweek stay in July start from HK$2,612 (US$337) for a Suite.
- CONTACT 1-5 Irving Street, Causeway Bay; tel +852 3196 9000; jplushongkong.com