Gazing over the glittering Hong Kong skyline, listening to the hum of the traffic far below, I pinch myself to check if this is real. Just yesterday I was at home in Byron Bay, and today I’m standing on the 29th floor of the newly opened Hotel Indigo Hong Kong sipping on a glass of champagne.
While the waiter refills my glass for the second time, I take a moment to admire the detail of the backlit bar close-up. Like a screen of chocolate and honey-coloured gemstone, it oozes sophistication… like the rest of the hotel.
It’s my first time staying at the hotel, but I’m in the unusual position of having visited already – while the building was still under construction. Back in March 2013 I walked through the doors of this same bar. Covered in thick dust and black plastic, nothing at the time gave away the glamour that was now before me.
The Sky Bar’s rich timber detailing, über cool wine fridges and distressed leather lounge suites provide a bit of Sex & the City luxury, while the feature wall of timber boxes and artworks show that Indigo is still part of the surrounding Wan Chai area.
It’s that connection to the local area that initially drew me to Hotel Indigo. While some hotels try hard to pretend they’re somewhere else, Indigo seems proud of its roots – incorporating several local features into its design. After only a quick look around Wan Chai as I arrived, I can see why the hotel chose this spot.
Transfixed by the backlights of the elevator, changing from red, to yellow, to blue and everything in between, I miss the door has opened on my floor. Swinging the door open to my Premier Suite, with its huge lounge and floor-to-ceiling windows, I have an immediate feeling of calm and relaxation.
The windows allow light to stream in and fill every inch of the room. The view below may not to be to everyone’s liking, towers of glass interspersed by buildings that look like they may collapse at any moment, but I love it. You can’t hear the street below, save for the occasional honking horn.
In the main living area, an L-shaped leather lounge takes pride of place. Leather-clad side tables (read: oversized footstools), a glass-top coffee table and a plush rug fill the otherwise cavernous space.
A Bose sound system and wall mounted Samsung TV provide a bit of tech bling, as does the Nespresso machine by the door. Good hotels have plunger coffee, great hotels have Nespresso.
Bringing a bit of Hong Kong culture into the room, there’s a subtle wall mosaic showing the Hong Kong street scene of old. Flashes of red break up the mostly black and white design, mirroring the red of the lounge and floor rug. By the door in the bedroom, there’s another artwork showing the old versus new of Wan Chai.
In the separate bedroom, there’s extensive use of natural timbers. Light and bright, the décor is quite simple but manages to create a feeling of luxury and space. The bed occupies the centre of the room, with its bed head doubling as a dividing wall and desk. Shiny buttons in the bedhead control the suite’s lighting and curtains.
Tip: Make sure you open every cupboard and blue lacquer box in the room, as unexpected surprises may be waiting inside.
Pretty much everything in this room is for sale, a bit like a live-in showroom. The vibrant orange cushions on the bed (which are unfortunately too big to sneak into my suitcase) have a striking feng shui goldfish design, and the bathmat is designed to look like a fishpond in the bathroom. I’ll take two.
Downstairs on the second floor, Café Post offers all-day dining with a good mix of western and Asian dishes. The décor has an almost Moroccan feel to it, and the outdoor dining area has a great view of the Old Wan Chai Post Office opposite. At the other end of level two, the library is brimming with books on the local area.
On the rooftop of the hotel, a gorgeous swimming pool juts out over the side of the building. Borrowing a fellow guest’s goggles, I can see down to the street below. The “dragon” that snakes its way around the Indigo’s exterior, chasing the pearl that is the rooftop swimming pool, is a thought-provoking element of the local culture. In Chinese mythology, the dragon represents power, strength and good luck.
Leaving the hotel, I take a stroll through the surrounding Wan Chai district. Right behind the Indigo is a huge street market where you can pick up everything from cheap souvenirs to live turtles (although I wouldn’t recommend that purchase). The lively atmosphere and friendly locals make the market an absolute must see.
Learn more about Hotel Indigo
If You Go
Hire the Handy Phone – Hotel Indigo offer a 3G phone loaded with Google Maps, Skype, transport guides and a currency converter, as well as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for just HK$68 (AUD$9) a day. Local and international calls are also included! Fantastic value for money.
Explore Wan Chai – Directly behind the hotel is the Old Wan Chai Market, and there’s a flea market at Canal Road East. Just down the road from the hotel is the famous Blue House, whose colour scheme provided inspiration for several of the design pieces in the hotel. My tip is to just lose yourself in the backstreets.
Take a ride on the Star Ferry – Crossing Hong Kong’s Victoria Harbour on a Star Ferry is a great way to see the city. Sure the underground trains will get you to your destination quicker, but it would be a shame to miss out on the magnificent views.
Ngong Ping 360 – Take the glass-bottom cable car up to the giant Buddha at Ngong Ping 360. The 5.7km trip offers plenty of time to soak up the view. On a clear day, which it unfortunately wasn’t on my visit, the Buddha is an impressive sight. Ngong Ping Village itself is a bit unusual, with a Subway and Starbucks close to the Buddhist monastery, but there are still plenty of cultural sights to impress.
Cathay Pacific operates daily flights between Brisbane and Hong Kong.
For more information, visit: http://www.cathaypacific.com/
– I travelled as a guest of Cathay Pacific & Hotel Indigo.