Great for frequent business travellers and the most discerning hotel critics
What is it? Small hotel
Will set you back: HKD 5,200 – 10,800 p/n
One week before our arrival at The Upper House, I received an email from the hotel’s Guest Experience team expressing how much they were looking forward to our arrival at ‘The House’ and to ask if they could make any restaurant reservations for us, from their attached list of recommendations. I thought this was a nice touch, but I quickly forgot about it until another few days passed, and another email landed in my inbox. This one contained a “Preference Form”, along with the weather forecast for our upcoming stay. Now they had my attention. The online form contained questions regarding our personal preferences for food and experiences, the reason for our stay and a few other questions regarding what we would like to do in Hong Kong and what kind of travellers we were (foodies, shopaholics, culture-seekers, business trippers etc). I couldn’t think of any other hotel that went to this much trouble to personalise their guests’ experiences and prepare for their arrival. I was already impressed, and we hadn’t even arrived yet! When we finally did arrive at Hong Kong International Airport, the driver from The Upper House greeted us at and lead us to the private limousine area of the terminal where the hotel’s Lexus Hybrid RX 450h was waiting to whisk us away to our inner-city “house”. The spotless, luxury car contained two bottles of cold water for the 30-minute drive to the hotel, with a “Welcome aboard” note informing us that there was WIFI readily available in the vehicle. A few minutes later, we were offered a menu with four options of light meals to choose from, to be delivered to our room to coincide with our arrival. After all, travelling is hungry work – at least, The Upper House thinks so, and we get the impression they know what they’re doing.
I find out from one of the staff at The Upper House that before this hotel came about, all of the rooms were serviced apartments, which explains the kitchenettes and the functional and roomy open-plan design of the rooms. The ceilings are a little low, a flashback to the hotel’s past, but this is really the only negative in the design of the rooms, which was unavoidable in the building’s update. They are beautifully light and airy, and the minimal design is effective at highlighting the spectacular views through the endless windows. The entire hotel is full of beautiful design details courtesy of the hotel’s designer, Andre Fu. One of the most sought-after designers in the Asia Pacific, his intention with The Upper House to create”a haven of calm and quiet taste” is clear every step of the way and I couldn’t have described the interior style better myself. The theme of pale wood, sky lights and minimal but striking design detail gives off an air of elegance and a quietly confident style, perfectly representative of this hotel that is as superb as it is understated. It’s not showy, and that’s because it really doesn’t need to be – its magnificence speaks for itself. Art lovers will relish the “upward journey” of the hotel, where, starting at the ground floor, there are artworks and sculptures that weave a narrative from floor to floor. The sky bridge with its overhead skylight is just beautiful, and this along with the many subtle design elements, creates a warm and relaxed energy that emanates from every corner of The Upper House making it a pleasure to be in.
The Upper House has your comfort sorted with its spacious, open-plan room designs. The beds are oversized with firm mattresses and comfortable pillows, the floor-to-ceiling windows that wrap around each room have both sheer and block-out blinds that open and close with the push of a button, and the main area of each room contains what The Upper House has cleverly named, the maxibar, which, wait for it… is complimentary. And it’s not just your average minibar, either, there are jars of Haribo lollies, M&Ms , biscuits, soft drinks and even beer, all on the house. The only things you will have to pay for out of the maxibar are the bottles of wine, and these are clearly indicated so you don’t get too carried away… which believe me, is easy to do! There is a gorgeous-looking Illy espresso pod machine ready for use in the kitchenette as well, so guests are bound to be caffeinated and happy… and we haven’t even got to the bathroom yet. The staff themselves claim that it’s the hero of every room, and they could be right. In our stunning room, the Upper Suite, the bathroom is absolutely massive and comprises of two separate areas- one dressing-style area with his and hers vanities, and the wet area, where not only is there an oversized rainshower, but a massive jacuzzi bathtub that takes centre stage, second only to the view of the city it is positioned to enjoy. The bathroom amenities provided are also taken to a new level by The Upper House, with beautiful organic REN toiletries provided for the shower and bath. Not only this, but the hotel also provides a take-home zip-up toiletries bag with miniature versions of the REN toiletries, two toothbrushes, toothpaste and mouthwash, all in under 100ml versions and alongside a clear, zip-lock bag so you can take them on your carry-on when you sadly leave The Upper House to catch your plane. How much thought this hotel has given to the small details is commendable.
The Upper House is a smallish hotel, unusually positioned above the JW Marriot, which means that The Upper House has the monopoly on all the rooms with views! For this reason, the lobby is positioned on the ground floor, but an escalator then takes guests up to the second lobby where the elevators to all the rooms are positioned. Being on the smaller side, it doesn’t have some of the expected amenities of other five-star hotels such as a pool or a day spa, however this is compensated for heavily in every other outstanding element of the hotel. There is a lovely outdoor area and bar, ‘The Lawn’, where guests can enjoy a secret garden away from the harsh lines of Hong Kong’s cityscape, where lounges, cold drinks and bar bites await at the end of a long, hot day. It is in this space that the hotel provides complimentary yoga classes every weekend, and to this end there is also a yoga mat provided in every room in the hotel.
Of all the five-star hotel experiences I have had, The Upper House tops them all, by a long shot. Where do I begin? The welcome meal and car ride aside, there is the seamless check-in process that takes place in the comfort of your room on an ipad rather than at a desk in the lobby, for a start. Each room is allocated a Guest Experience staff member, who, throughout the duration of your stay, will do everything in their power to ensure your stay at the Upper House becomes the benchmark for all future hotel visits. The Upper House experience is utterly personalised, with staff members remembering your face and your name, and keeping abreast of your comings and goings, plans and outings. There is a written greeting on the TV welcoming you by name when you first arrive in your room, and the staff check in on you by telephone during your stay to find out if there is anything they can do for you, such as book a restaurant or give any local recommendations. During our stay, the staff discovered it would be my birthday the day after we left Hong Kong and sent up a special dessert with a handwritten message unexpectedly on our last night which was very thoughtful, as were the beautifully wrapped Upper House gifts we found in our room on arrival.
Perhaps one of the best examples of just how outstanding the service at this hotel is, is when I mentioned to our guest services member, Alistair, that we loved trying the local food of new places we visited, and that after Hong Kong we would be going to London. A few hours later Alistair appeared at our door with two unexpected gifts – two Little Books of Luxury on both Hong Kong and London, and a book on the local dim sum of Hong Kong with a handwritten note. The thing about The Upper House is that the dedication to each guest is so sincere that I was often left speechless and humbled during our stay there.
Cafe Gray Deluxe is frequented by hotel guests and regular Hong Kong locals alike for good reason. The views of Hong Kong are out of this world, and so is the food. Mr T. and I went all out with a three-course meal and wine, which we enjoyed in our prime corner-seat location with panoramic Victoria Harbour views. It was one of the highlights of our short stay in this massive city-state. Our waitress was fantastic, and this indicated that the service here is no less perfect than it is everywhere else in the hotel. We were offered a complimentary glass of champagne each to start our meal, and when our main course took slightly longer than she would have liked to arrive at our table, she kindly brought us an extra entrée, free of charge to make up for the wait (which, by the way, was not long at all). The wine list is incredibly extensive and the Modern European food is to die for. The oysters were exquisite, the Caprese salad was fresh and tasty, and our orders of short rib and steak respectively melted in the mouth.
Even after dessert the show wasn’t over, with the waitress bringing to the table a large serve of home-made chocolate chunks, which were also given to us to take away when we couldn’t possibly get through them all. The food is indulgent here, but we all need to indulge every now and then, and Cafe Gray Deluxe is the place to do it while in Hong Kong. The breakfast menu is no less delicious, with local and multiple international platter options or single, a-la-carte options as well. Many of the room prices include breakfast, so we recommend sampling something different from the menu everyday to get your fill of the Cafe Gray Deluxe experience.
The Upper House is located in Central on Hong Kong Island at Pacific Place, a multi-storey luxury shopping mall where two other hotels aside from The Upper House are also located. There is an MTR stop here - Admirality - to get you everywhere you need to go in Hong Kong, while local attractions and foodie destinations can be reached by a short taxi ride. Central is where all the action is so it's a great spot to base yourselves on a business trip or a short stay in Hong Kong. Click here to book your stay at The Upper House.
big-city hotel experience that is impossible to fault.