The Kerry Hotels brand is part of the Shangri-La Group (for a review of the property in Shanghai Pudong, click here) and is the group’s fourth property in Hong Kong (for a review of the Hotel Jen, Hong Kong, click here). To read more about the background of the hotel pre-opening, click here).
WHAT’S IT LIKE?
It is a 16-storey, slightly curved new-build that calls itself an urban resort and creates that feeling as soon as you drive up the ramp under the porte-cochère and see the extensive harbour views, swimming pools and greenery on the terraces in front of the hotel.
Designed by André Fu, known for his work at Hong Kong’s Upper House hotel and Singapore’s Fullerton Bay, the lobby is spectacular but also deferential to the view (unlike, perhaps, the Grand Hyatt in Hong Kong, which, lacking a view, is all about the hotel).
The windows span 80 metres and open on to a waterfront terrace and garden with topiary hedges, so while you are inside the hotel all the attention is on the view out beyond the windows. This theme of inside and out is reflected by two monumental bronze sculptures by Taiwanese artist Ju Ming, one of which is inside the hotel by the grand staircase up to the ballroom and the other is placed in the outdoor water feature on the terrace. When you bring your gaze back in to the lobby you’ll see walls clad in Turkish onyx, while sofas flow and curve their way around the central tea station/bar.
There’s still a fair amount of construction continuing in the local area (although the noise was not obtrusive while I was staying), so nearby options for shopping and dining are limited or rely on the hotel shuttle service. The week I stayed, Hong Kong was being battered by the edge of the first typhoon of the season, although you had to look out of the window to know this was the case.
WHERE IS IT?
Next to the Hung Hom pier (connected by ferry to North Point district on Hong Kong Island) and a short walk from the famous Whampoa land-locked “ship” shopping centre and MTR station.
Some 60 per cent of the 546 guestrooms have harbour views. They range from the 42 sqm Deluxe City View room to the 294 sqm Presidential suite on the 16th floor. Corner rooms benefit from extra window space, and there are four rooms, on the fifth and sixth floors, with their own internal balcony.
All rooms offer free films on demand and a free minibar on arrival, have plenty of power points, a good sized desk to work from and lights that have several settings but most importantly can all be turned off from the bedside at night-time. Air-conditioning is effective and able to chill the room very quickly. Club rooms (located on floors 15 and 16) and suites have access to the eighth-floor Club lounge – this offers late check-out (until 4pm), daily breakfast, evening cocktails and canapés (5.30pm-7pm), soft drinks during the day, pressing of one suit, and shoeshine on arrival.
RESTAURANTS AND BARS
The hotel has enough eating establishments to ensure you could stay in the hotel for a week and not eat in the same place twice (well, apart from breakfast). There are five restaurants, although in practice it seems many more because two of them have diverse menus prepared from different cooking stations.
On level three there is the all-day dining Big Bay Café, offering a choice of cuisines and methods of cooking – Steam, Grill, Chill, Fry, Stew, Dessert Lab and the Nook. It has both indoor and outdoor seating with views of Victoria Harbour. I ate here one evening and it was extremely busy (in a good way), and obviously had a lot of nearby residents and families using it for a night out.
Then there is Dockyard on level one, which again is aimed at local office workers as well as hotel guests and is all the better for it. It is right on the harbourfront and has a choice of quick-service kiosks alongside a fully serviced bar. The design is industrial-style, and the bar and nine kiosks serve a range of cuisines that you eat in an open-plan seating area – Western, Thai, Vietnamese, Japanese, Korean and Indian favourites, plus Chinese noodles and desserts. On Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, Dockyard hosts live bands. It even has an app to order the food and receive special offers.
Fine-dining restaurant Hung Tong also has views over Victoria Harbour and towards Hong Kong Island. It offers a contemporary Chinese menu in a setting that takes guests back to the historical heritage of Hung Hom as a dockyard, so, like the next-door bar, it combines modern and traditional design, with rough red bricks, vintage-inspired leather chairs and tinted glass pendants. There are two private dining rooms for special occasions and events.
The bar – Red Sugar – is similarly impressive, with a corridor leading to a neon installation by local artist Adrian Wong, walls of rough-cut granite, and a traditional bronze fireplace. Best experienced in the evening as the lights of Hong Kong Island begin to glow, the glass back wall makes it a magical place for a drink, and there’s also a large outdoor terrace (out of bounds during my typhoon-affected stay).
These are outstanding, with a huge range of possibilities and some very, very large spaces. Pride of place should probably go to the pillarless Grand Ballroom, which can be split into four and accommodates 1,250 people for a banquet. It has rock crystal chandeliers, a 15-metre LED video screen and an extensive harbour-view foyer. A second ballroom, the Hung Hom, can seat 1,000 guests for dinner, and there are six other meeting rooms of varying sizes.
The hotel has an outdoor pool and a large 24-hour gym with a spinning (cycling) room overlooking the harbour. At the time of my stay, the spa was not yet open.
A lovely hotel – luxurious without being ostentatious; large and yet intimate, partly because of the clever, instinctive design and furnishings, and partly the excellent service. The meeting facilities are superb. The location is likely to be an obstacle for some, and ideal for others (I caught the ferry every day to get to North Point and our offices in Quarry Bay). It’s nothing like a Shangri-La hotel, but you can feel the confidence behind the brand – even though there are currently only three Kerry hotels in total. Well worth trying.
Internet rates for a midweek stay in a Deluxe Sea View room in October start from HK$2,200 (US$281).
38 Hung Luen Road, Hung Hom Bay, Kowloon; tel +852 2252 5888; shangri-la.com