The world of Wan Chai
ROOM AT THE INN
QUEEN’S Road East once ran along the shoreline of old Hong Kong, when junks jostled on the harbour and opium smoke wafted in the air.
These days the foreshore has moved, as more land is reclaimed from the harbour, but Queen’s Road East retains the vibrant bustle of its colourful past. Beside the wet market, where fish are wrapped and vegetables bagged for commuters’ dinners, Hotel Indigo Hong Kong Island stretches up into the sky.
A bronze dragon wraps itself around the building’s exterior, its eco-scales screening the sun while capturing power. The dragon is one of many design features that borrow from the stories and culture of the local Wan Chai neighbourhood.
More narratives can be found shimmering in the wall mosaics of the 129 guestrooms, in the lucky goldfish on bathmats and cushions and the blue images of martial-arts masters standing guard over the showers.
The hotel’s rooms are on the spacious side by Hong Kong standards and floor- to-ceiling windows make the space seem even larger. It feels like being perched high in a forest of skyscrapers — glittering modern buildings and historic Wan Chai tenements rise all around, and between them the lush greenery of The Peak.
People live up here, their washing strung from windows 30 floors up. As night falls, apartment windows light up, silhouetting their occupants as they move from room to room. It’s all hap- pening out there in the vertical city but when it becomes too much or you start feeling as if you’re being watched, close the blinds with the touch of a button on the bedside console.
The big, soft bed is in the centre of the room to maximise space. On either side are the buttons and dials for mood lighting, reading lighting, those whooshing blinds, music, television, phone and alarm clock.
At just 12m wide and 150m long, Hotel Indigo Hong Kong Island is a tall and skinny beanpole of quirky design and comfy accommodation. On the 29th floor, a cantilevered rooftop pool looks down through a glass bottom on to the streets of Wan Chai. Next door, the Skybar is decorated with Chesterfield sofas and celestial lighting, and its manga comic-haired staff are superfriendly and full of tips on things to see and do in downtown Wan Chai. With views over the sparkling city, the terrace is perfect on balmy Hong Kong nights.
Filled with bars and exotic ladies, Wan Chai once attracted the seamier side of life. Now it’s home to hipsters, artists and some of Hong Kong’s hottest bars and restaurants. Protected in its big, dragon hug, Hotel Indigo is perfectly placed at the centre of it all. Nellie Blundell was a guest of Hotel Indigo Hong Kong Island.
The hotel has 129 cleverly designed guestrooms