09 Mar2010

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The Upper House. The opposite end of the economic spectrum from these previous posts here and here on “value” meals in Hong Kong, but you can’t say we don’t get around… An invitation to view this stunning new hotel on the upper floors of one of the buildings at Pacific Place on Hong Kong Island was enough to get us on the MTR from our more modest digs on the mainland… Friends of ours were treating themselves to this new (and rapidly being mentioned as one of the say Top 5 hotel properties in Hong Kong) mecca for the chic and ultra-chic crowd. It was rather striking, in a simply luxurious kind of way, sort of a high-rise Aman if you will. A cavernous driveway is punctuated with a large wall of stone blocks with discreet signage announcing you have arrived at The Upper House. The odd smattering of luxury vehicles parked out front is a Hong Kong pre-requisite for not so subtle bragging… a Maserati in fire red, a snazzy Bimmer, a Jaguar perhaps. No, this isn’t the Holiday Inn Golden Mile…

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From the driveway, one is greeted by hotel staff at a small reception desk, whereafter you are whisked up the escalators painted matte black and you alight at a “lobby” or sitting area of sorts, just off the bank of stunningly outfitted elevators. The first sign of attention to detail is apparent in the small but striking floral arrangements. This sculptural arrangement in a simple black vase made of horsetail greens with white amaryllis and a small sprig of phalaenopsis orchids. Contrast that with the outrageously gaudy, often massive but leaf filled arrangements you might see in larger “chain” hotels. The public areas in The Upper House weren’t drowned in spectacular flowers like say The Four Seasons in Paris, but this was restraint at its best.

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The sitting area was small by hotel standards, yet it seemed incredibly spacious as there was no one else there waiting or milling about looking for their day tour guides… Colors were muted celadons, greys, black, light browns, black and white. Outdoor spaces had sculptural forms of stone or other organic materials. Clearly, an interior designer placed great thought into furnishing this room. But despite its public nature, you could almost see this as being part of one’s luxurious home, and it didn’t feel institutional at all.

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I think couches, while as plain looking as can be, were from the venerable house of B&B Italia (I am guessing on this), while low coffee tables held interesting easy read books, chess sets, backgammon, etc. Wire scuptures were strewn around the space and strategic mirrored panels/dividers made everything seem bigger than it really was…

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At one coffee table, a book on Chanel was laid next to a metal form of a leaf, and a shagreen box of pale celadon stretched skin of rays. This last piece was almost certainly sourced in Cebu, where they manufacture some of the most incredibly stunning shagreen pieces that are exported to the rest of the world.

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Up the 49th floor, at the hotel’s “sala” or library/sitting room, are several sitting areas with phenomenal views of the city. Again, interiors are muted and fabrics and furniture luxurious. Mrs. MM and a friend thought they had amazing public bathrooms on this level, which also housed a small restaurant with a view of the harbour.

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Shelves were highly “styled” with knickknacks almost too perfect and matched to be realistic.

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The Cafe’s name is imbedded in the stone tiles, and you cross a “bridge” that is suspended over open air, some 49 stories above sea level. If you aren’t a fan of heights, this could give you the momentary hibbie-jibbies…

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…so look up instead to see through the skylight framed by blonde sticks.

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The 8-10 floors below this top floor houses the guestrooms, and an open “atrium” of sorts allows you to see several floors at the same time. Here, a view towards the elevator banks. Note the soft lightling and the edges of metal scultptures on the walls of the atrium. Thickly carpeted floors and a low density of guests makes for an unbelievably QUIET experience.

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Even room numbers are cleverly conceived, with strips of the wood veneer carved away until only the last layer diffuses the back lit numbers.

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The guestrooms are ENORMOUS by Hong Kong standards, with the smallest ones measuring in at some 70 square meters or so, and this one with a wonderful view of Victoria harbour from two enormous picture windows and a comfortable couch that hugged the view.

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An enormous king sized bed laid with crisp linens and wool blankets was beside a hidden bank of desks, amenities, munchies, etc.

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But the really amazing “ooh” factor was to be had in the bathrooms, some 1/2 of the entire space of the hotel room. With a free-standing bath, more stunning views and space enough to hold a small cocktail party.

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I checked out the “made for Marketman” sized bath tub and fiddled with the controls for the “in-wall” television in the facing glass panel. I am not typically a fan of baths (more a shower person) but I could definitely get used to this one. :)

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Twin sinks and mirrors are a recipe for harmonious marital bliss and the place was decked out with all kinds of doodads and body care products. Sculptures were strewn here and there. Fabrics were subtle but of the finest quality. Other materials were all modern yet Asian, with veneered bamboos, abaca like fibers, etc. were all used so effortlessly.

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Another plus? The “maxi-bar” as opposed to the standard “mini-bar” in most hotels. At this maxi-bar, stocked to the rafters with chips, mentos, salted nuts, and other goodies and drinks and champagne, guests can EAT EVERYTHING THEY WANT, with the exception of the champagne which you have to buy. Heehee. In true pinoy fashion, you could make up 5-10% of the cost of the room if you just made “baon” all of the goodies in this “maxi-bar”. Our friends stuffed a couple of cans of Diet Coke and a dozen almond snack packs into our bags before we left. :)

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The bar also had an illy nespresso machine, and several dozen cartridges for making your own cup of espresso. Now that is cool.

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At roughly US$400 for their smallest rooms and as much as US$1,000+ for this this luxurious suite with views, and all the amenities, I actually thought this was very good value when compared to other luxury hotels in Hong Kong. I know it’s a lot of money, but if you earned it honestly, why not? If after eating, shopping, sightseeing, harbour gazing, luxuriously bathing, snacking and laying on the bed watching television you feel a little chilly, you might also run back down to the lobby to borrow one of these Hermes throw blankets rolled up on the couch for added warmth. Now that’s a final touch of class only a few would appreciate.

The Upper House
Check out their details in the link above.

 

COMMENTS:

  1. lanilee says:

    I discovered your blog about six months ago and spent about two weeks reading ALL the entries — from the very first to the latest. I’ve been a lurker since then. This is my first time to comment. I would like to thank you so much for taking the time and sharing your experiences in cooking and traveling with the rest of us.

    Mar 9, 2010 | 2:22 pm

     
  2. Quillene says:

    WOW!

    Mar 9, 2010 | 2:46 pm

     
  3. emsy says:

    it really does look like the house of a really well-off family with good taste, which i like. don’t you just hate when you go inside a hotel and get accosted by gaudy towering sculptures and flower arrangements and attendants? adds to the stress.

    Mar 9, 2010 | 3:41 pm

     
  4. joan says:

    That bathtub is huge considering it fit your long legs MM! You had to try it didn’t you? hahaha The simple yet elegant floral arrangements are the ones that we will be placing in our hotel. I’ll have GM see this post pronto!

    Mar 9, 2010 | 4:25 pm

     
  5. Joyce says:

    sublime elegance

    Mar 9, 2010 | 4:26 pm

     
  6. Jack Hammer says:

    Wow Indeed !!! You really have great friends, Yes…a bath is truly wonderful if you are in a city like Baguio. USD 400 does not seem to be too much….the Taj Mahal Hotel in Bombay Basic rates start at USD 1000/night

    Mar 9, 2010 | 5:26 pm

     
  7. Deedee says:

    Who gave you permission to take photos of my pad? Hehehehe.. Just kidding MM!! Spectacular!

    Mar 9, 2010 | 6:00 pm

     
  8. Artisan Chocolatier says:

    OH WOW!! Cafe Gray of Chef Gray Kunz has moved his operations from New York (Time-Warner Building) to the top floor of the Upper House. Awesome!!!

    Now, we don’t have to go far to enjoy the gastronomic creation of the Chef’s Chef.

    Chef Gray is known in the industry as Mr. Clean, that some people will even dare eat straight from his kitchen floor. He believes in clean and completed kitchen work. He believes that cleaning the ingredients in a surgically clean environment is the way to create food and bring it to a perfect state.

    Mar 9, 2010 | 6:45 pm

     
  9. giancarlo says:

    I agree with most. This looks like apartment of your coolest/most chic friend. The laid back luxurious style is very refreshing.

    Mar 9, 2010 | 7:01 pm

     
  10. junb says:

    Simply luxurious !!!

    Mar 9, 2010 | 8:14 pm

     
  11. Jen Laceda says:

    I LOVE this hotel! Thanks for sharing your lovely experience. At $400 US per night – with all the amenities and conveniences (and space) you get, it’s totally worth it! If this were NYC, London or Paris, it would easily go for closer to $1000.

    Mar 9, 2010 | 9:25 pm

     
  12. millet says:

    “but if you earned it honestly, why not?” i couldn’t agree more. that’s what it’s all about, MM… that says it all. thank you for saying it.

    Mar 9, 2010 | 9:35 pm

     
  13. Mom-Friday says:

    So chic and elegant, LOVE the interior design! I agree it really doesn’t look like your typical hotel. Thank you for sharing, at least I got to “experience” this fabulous hotel through your photos :)

    Mar 9, 2010 | 9:49 pm

     
  14. Nina says:

    MM, not only one learns the latest from your blog, it’s also educational. Shagreen box….. if it was me, I will plainly describe it as a display box but of course with you, it’s a detailed description. Thank you, I learned something new again this morning.

    Mar 9, 2010 | 9:59 pm

     
  15. jan says:

    always been a MM fan with occasional activity on the poll question but never been the type who will leave a comment…until now that is:) i’ve been fortunate enough to visit upper house in my last HKG trip and i just love it. you wrote so well that i can just visualise it all over again.

    Mar 9, 2010 | 11:10 pm

     
  16. ragamuffin girl says:

    Did you eat at Cafe Gray? Hubby tried it yesterday and said the views, design and ambience were all decidedly much more striking than the food. I’d still want him to bring me there on a date though. :) Heard the views are STUNNING. And Upper House had a secret soft opening where people in the know could come in, eat, sleep in the rooms FOR FREE for a whole month (rumors say)! Wow, and of course no one thought to share this wonderful piece of freebie news to the general public, possibly fearing a mass deluge that would make the place less than sophisticated, so lil old me (who was so not in the know), only read about it when it was over. How’s that for luck?

    Mar 10, 2010 | 12:47 am

     
  17. aly says:

    i like their minimalist style.

    Mar 10, 2010 | 12:54 am

     
  18. rain-NYC says:

    Hi MM. love yoour digs in HK! off topic- I’ve been following your blog for several years now and lately has been craving Danggit. Of course I found it in one of your posts from 2006. I’ve tried googling where to find or buy Danggit here in the tri state-NYC area but to no avail. I’ve never seen them in the huge asian supermarkets either. Do you know where to buy Danggit in NYC? help pls!

    Mar 10, 2010 | 1:21 am

     
  19. Marichu says:

    Wow! Bow!

    Mar 10, 2010 | 1:46 am

     
  20. Vicky Go says:

    Non- ostentatious luxury! Tastefully done! Understated elegance! Only wish I had the dough to spare – but there’s always a choice & a hard one – when spending one’s hard earned moolah w the view of making it last esp in these turbulent financial times!

    Mar 10, 2010 | 1:51 am

     
  21. mei kwei says:

    thanks MM, wish i was in your shoes. nice photos. have you visited brunei’s empire hotel?

    Mar 10, 2010 | 2:42 am

     
  22. thelma says:

    i like the interior design.it has indeed a feel good atmosphere.

    Mar 10, 2010 | 4:34 am

     
  23. thelma says:

    i like the interior design.it has indeed a feel good atmosphere.

    Mar 10, 2010 | 4:34 am

     
  24. Issa / You Want to Be Rich says:

    The hotel is beautiful but I think I would rather spend US$400 on shopping and sightseeing than for a shut-eye (no matter how luxuriously unforgettable it must be). The most I spent was for a villa in Amorita (Bohol) – which was $300, a night. That had a private plunge pool, though and an open shower (sinfully wonderful!). But since then, paying so much for a hotel room no longer seems right. But then, that’s just me. More power, MarketMan!

    Mar 10, 2010 | 2:43 pm

     
  25. apple says:

    $ 400 a night is pretty standard. is that high or low season rate? how’s the service?

    Mar 10, 2010 | 9:04 pm

     
  26. Marketman says:

    apple and others, my apologies. Apparently the room in these photographs were a complimentary upgrade from a studio… The rack rate for this room, that is some 1,230 square feet, or roughly the size of 3 or so normal tight HK hotel rooms, is roughly US$1,000 or so. The smaller suites at 700-800 square feet start at US$400 or so. As for the service, I wouldn’t know, I didn’t stay there.

    Mar 10, 2010 | 10:59 pm

     
  27. jacq_yu says:

    love this!!!!!now i just have to think about where to get the moolah to spend here…thank you for posting this ;)

    Mar 10, 2010 | 11:06 pm

     
  28. Nephew says:

    Ah, the 2009 Z4 (maybe an M-class?). I love that car, it’s the zippy cousin of my 3-series. But I’d need a crane around to get in and out.

    Mar 12, 2010 | 3:55 am

     
  29. Tony says:

    I have stayed at the Marriott and the Conrad on top of Pacific Place many, many times, at the company’s expense of course. I cannot imagine where they found more space for The Upper House.

    I always liked the convenience of going down in the elevator to other floors in Pacific Place so I could eat in Grappa(far superior to the ones in Manila), La Cité, a reasonably good French restaurant and even Dan Ryan’s on a Sunday morning for a bloody mary after a Saturday night out in Lan Kwei Fong. Good dim sum restaurant on ground floor too.

    Those were the days!

    Mar 12, 2010 | 12:28 pm

     
  30. zap says:

    Very elegant. Almost too perfect and sparse for me, on the brink of being cold. The bathtub looks fun though. If I am made to choose between this and the typical over-the-top hotel decor, I’d also choose this one.

    Mar 12, 2010 | 8:31 pm

     
  31. manolo says:

    cool . – in true Filipino fashion -i’ll try to copy the interior design..ehehe

    Mar 15, 2010 | 11:47 pm

     
  32. Nelson says:

    I stayed at The Upper House January 2010.The rooms are SUPERB. I even got a free upgrade for the room. They tried to be paperless so if you need anything for the in-room dining or if you need some information on the hotel, its just a touch away… All rroms are equipped with an itouch. All the food and drinks at the minibar are free except the wine but the sodas, juices, water, cookies, mentos, M & M, nuts are all free… And the cookies are scrumptious.Ang sarap! The coffee that comes with a mini expresso machines in all rooms are delectable. The T&b are spacious and they have the most complete vanity kit! I also had lunch at Cafe Gray.. one word to describe the food…deliciouso! It was truly an exceptional experience to stay at this hotel. This hotel deserve a five hearts from me.

    Mar 27, 2010 | 8:26 pm

     
  33. Mike says:

    Do have a source for Shagreen in Cebu?
    On a somewhat similar topic do have a listing of specialty food shops in Cebu
    I am moving to South Leyte shortly but will need to source my fave items in
    Cebu and this would save going thru all the posts
    No need to post
    Mike (from the UK) -now in HK
    Perhaps easiest to meet In Cebu sometime

    Apr 7, 2010 | 6:17 pm

     
 

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