“Miss Gorman, you are staying in one of our Club Rooms so there is a separate check-in for you on the 28th floor.”
Ooo how nice, I thought, as I followed the impeccably dressed employee around the lobby’s large circular couch/work of art towards the lifts. Hotel Icon operates a paperless check-in so when we were seated at the private desk the greeter took me through the process on a smart iPad, which I then signed electronically. I was given one piece of paper though – it was a very long list of everything included in my stay:
Complimentary breakfast in either the Market Restaurant or Above & Beyond private lounge
Complimentary Afternoon tea
Complimentary Evening cocktails and canapés
Daily complimentary use of a Club meeting room for 1 hour
And late check out
There was a large chance I was never going to leave this building again.
Then I was led to my room and my jaw literally dropped. The floor to ceiling windows had Hong Kong harbour perfectly framed in them. I took up residence in the leather armchair that was strategically positioned facing the view and munched on some iced gems that had been left as a welcome treat. Did I also mention that all rooms at Hotel Icon come with complimentary minibar that is replenished daily? And a pillow menu? And a stationary kit? And Ferrero Rocher? Seriously, I was going nowhere.
Then just to make sure you are really, really comfortable the turndown team leave a note on your bed:
“Missing Something? Perhaps we can get you something – a cup of warm milk and cookies? Ice pack? Air purifier? A drop of lavender in your bath?”
Yep, I’m never leaving now.
Actually there was one thing missing if I’m going to be very particular – there was no clock on the bedside table, at least not that I can find. I could (and did) use my phone but often when you are jet-lagged and wake in the middle of the night it’s good just to glance at the time, which often indicates you should roll over and snooze some more. So I’ve just filled out the online survey and I have no doubt there will be a clock in my room (maybe all rooms) by the next time I return.
Because Hotel Icon is like nowhere I have stayed before. Aside from the celebrated design, location and service, the hotel also functions as a research and training centre for its owner the Hong Kong Polytechnic University. The hotel acts as a testing ground for new innovations in the fields of technology and design, responding instantly to the feedback from guests. They have recently dedicated 3 rooms to the Tomorrow’s Guestrooms project, a global competition to shape guestrooms of the future, and are trialling all sorts of new developments including interactive concierge services via the TV. Currently the guest rooms feature high-tech facilities such as a portable IP phone that guests can carry with them around the hotel, so they never miss a call to their room and can make free local calls. My room also featured a wireless printer; I could print out documents simply by attaching them to an email.
Current students are given a platform to showcase their work – guest floors 10 to 20 display prints featuring the designs of students from the Institute of Textiles and Clothing at Hong Kong PolyU. Altogether the hotel features of 100 works of art, curated by award-winning Freeman Lau, to reflect Hong Kong’s cultural spirit and capture the guest’s imaginations. A famous alumni of the PolyU got to design her very own suite – the Vivienne Tam Designer Suite is inspired by her New York flat and respects the principals of feng shui. It also makes the most of that splendid view.
Another place to take in the awe-inspiring scenery is from the hotel pool. With an open-air location on the 9th floor swimmers can stare straight out to the harbour, so can the runners in the gym which accompanies it.
My favourite spot though was the Above and Beyond Club Lounge on the 28th floor. Styled as a cross between a library and a private members bar it was the perfect setting for afternoon tea and later the cocktails, which were served at the same time that the symphony of lights lit up the city below. The Market restaurant where breakfast was served is styled on Hong Kong’s famous wet markets, but designed by Sir Terence Conran it has the elegance you would expect of the design veteran.
Located in Kowloon’s Tsim Sha Tsui East the hotel is close to the shopping opportunities of upmarket Harbour City, the outlets of Granville Road and transport hub of Tsim Sha Tsui. But to make it even easier for guests the hotel runs a free shuttle bus every 20 minutes to these key stops. (When I just missed the bus one morning rather than make me wait 19 minutes for the next one the staff popped me in a taxi and paid for that instead – now that’s service!) There is also a free shuttle to Kowloon Station approximately every 12 minutes. From there the Airport Express can whiz you to the terminal in 21 minutes. Which is unfortunately what I had to do when the time for me to leave the Icon came around all too soon. But if I ever find myself heading back to Hong Kong I know exactly where I’ll be staying, I’ll be ‘tomorrow’s guest’ coming back to see what master feats the hotel is performing now.
Hotel Icon was recently named “Best Value World Hotel” in The Sunday Times Travel Magazine’s Value for Money Awards 2013. They are currently ranked No 2 out of 524 hotels in Hong Kong on Trip Advisor and amazingly you can stay here for less than £200 per night. Please visit the Hotel Icon website for more information.
Huge thanks to Hotel Icon for hosting me for the purpose of this review. I was genuinely and thoroughly impressed!