The Mur­ray, Hong Kong, a Nic­colo Ho­tel

Business Traveller (Asia-Pacific) - - CONTENTS -

BACK­GROUND

The Mur­ray takes its name from the his­toric mod­ernist build­ing it oc­cu­pies, orig­i­nally gov­ern­ment of­fices, now con­verted into a lux­ury ho­tel by Wharf Hold­ings, which is best known for its Marco Polo ho­tels and Nic­colo ho­tels. Orig­i­nally de­signed by Bri­tish mod­ernist ar­chi­tect Ron Phillips in 1969, its most dis­tinc­tive fea­tures are the three-storey arches and re­cessed win­dows, mean­ing sun­light never hits them di­rectly, keep­ing the build­ing cool yet still giv­ing views out to the sur­round­ing parks and, now, much taller build­ings.

WHERE IS IT?

On Cot­ton Tree Drive, within the cen­tral busi­ness dis­trict and next to the green oa­sis of Hong Kong Park. The ho­tel is 35 min­utes by car from Hong Kong In­ter­na­tional Air­port and a ten-minute walk to the Cen­tral MTR sub­way sta­tion.

WHAT’S IT LIKE?

The ho­tel feels al­most bou­tique, de­spite its 336 rooms, helped by the fact that the foyer area is never busy. Liver­ied door­men take your bags while you check in on the lower ground floor – all gold, black and white, with mod­ernist sculp­tures – and a bank of el­e­va­tors whisk you up to the rooms.

ROOMS

The rooms and suites span 25 floors. En­try level is the 38 sqm Su­pe­rior room, fol­lowed by the Deluxe room at 47 sqm. More than 75 per cent are 50 sqm Grand and Grand Deluxe rooms. The rooms are beau­ti­ful in an un­der­stated way; doors to the bath­room have “magic glass”, which turns from trans­par­ent to opaque at the touch of a but­ton. Bot­tled wa­ter, tea and cof­fee, and a small bowl of fruit are sup­plied, and there is a twice daily ser­vice. Many rooms have free­stand­ing baths and have both power and rain show­ers, with Aus­tralian Grown Al­chemist toi­letries. There is a 24-hour in-room din­ing ser­vice, bar and fridge, free wifi, safe, lap­top recharg­ing and me­dia and video stream­ing on de­mand. Up on the 23rd floor are the most lux­u­ri­ous ho­tel suites: the Cot­ton Tree, Park, Pent­house and Mur­ray.

FOOD AND DRINK

The two main res­tau­rants, the Gar­den Lounge and The Tai Pan, are on the first-floor Gar­den Level, with a third, the Guo Fu Lou Can­tonese restau­rant, across a walk­way in an el­e­gant pavil­ion. I ate break­fast in The Tai Pan and one evening meal. There was a small buf­fet and a choice of one à la carte dish for break­fast, which I felt was a lit­tle lim­ited. In the evening, The Tai Pan serves both in­ter­na­tional and Asian dishes, and it is pos­si­ble to eat in­side or out. The Mur­ray Lane Bar on the lower ground floor was pop­u­lar, while Pop­pin­jays, the rooftop restau­rant and bar on the 26th floor, was dis­ap­point­ingly closed for a pri­vate func­tion.

MEET­INGS

The ho­tel’s main in­door event space is the Nic­colo room on the 25th floor, with a ca­pac­ity to seat 240 guests and host a re­cep­tion for up to 300. This space can be di­vided into a pre-func­tion room and up to eight in­di­vid­ual spa­ces with wall pan­els that slide back to re­veal 65-inch flatscreen TVs.

On the first level, The Arches is a semiout­door space – un­der those dis­tinc­tive arches – ca­pa­ble of host­ing car show­cases, art ex­hi­bi­tions and fash­ion shows. On the Gar­den Level, the 130 sqm Cot­ton Tree Ter­race is a ver­sa­tile out­door space for ca­sual events for up to 100 guests. There are six board­rooms on level two.

LEISURE

There is a small fit­ness cen­tre on level three, plus a spa with five treat­ment rooms. The gym has nat­u­ral light, but is quite small and could do with a lit­tle more equip­ment. There is also a 17-me­tre lap pool on the ground floor and a vi­tal­ity pool.

VER­DICT

This lux­ury ho­tel, in a sen­si­tively con­verted his­toric build­ing, is a fab­u­lous ad­di­tion to Hong Kong. Ser­vice is good through­out and both reg­u­lars and first-time vis­i­tors will gain a new per­spec­tive on the city from its cen­tral lo­ca­tion. Tom Ot­ley

Vis­i­tors will gain a new per­spec­tive on the city from its cen­tral lo­ca­tion

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