The Murray, Hong Kong, a Niccolo Hotel
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.
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.
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.
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.
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