Hotel ICON in Hong Kong is the most innovative, forward-thinking five star hotel that I’ve ever visited. With its cool design, thoughtful touches and enthusiastic service, it sets the benchmark for luxury design hotels.
Located in vibrant Tsim Sha Tsui, Hotel ICON is well-placed for exploring Kowloon’s designer shops and restaurants and easily crossing over to Hong Kong island.
Owned by the Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hotel ICON also acts as a revolutionary teaching hotel, providing on-site internships for hospitality students and a research facility for professors. Many of Hotel ICON’s initiatives have been so successful that other leading hotels have adopted their methods.
As soon as I entered Hotel ICON after an overnight flight I felt instantly revived as I walked through a blast of powerful air-conditioning and was greeted by the lively staff, who were dressed in a cool uniform of pastel yellow and light grey.
The lobby is bright and airy with a soaring ceiling, a striking vertical garden (designed by renowned botanist Patrick Blanc) and a fresh aroma – small details that make it a pleasure to walk through the door.
Our check-in was organised from the comfort of the sofas at the stylish Above & Beyond club lounge on the 28th floor, designed by Conran and Partners. We were also warmly welcomed with a glass of Champagne and a selection of canapés and mini scones with jam and clotted cream.
Above & Beyond comprises a cosy lounge area, a slick bar and high end dining room. It has the feel of a private members club and offers daily complimentary breakfast, afternoon tea and evening cocktails and canapés to club level guests.
My Club 36 City & Harbour room was large and contemporary, boasting spectacular floor to ceiling views over Victoria Harbour and Kowloon. It is designed in neutral urban colours with dark wood accents and wooden floors and a large blue and grey jigsaw pattern rug.
Room features include a 40″ HDTV with NOW TV channels, Blu-ray disc player, BOSE sound dock, free wifi, a wifi phone with free local calls, a large work desk, a comfy leather armchair and lots of wardrobe space.
Hotel ICON offers an overwhelming number of thoughtful touches. In my room was a well-stocked stationary box, a smart writing set, cool notepads, plenty of Hong Kong tourism guides and maps and best of all, a shiny new HP printer.
My king-size bed was heavenly and luxurious, covered in crisp, fine linen. At each evening turndown there is a new treat to be enjoyed – during my stay I was given hand-made chocolates, macarons and chocolate dipped strawberries. I also loved the welcome jars of iced gems and haw strips to nibble on.
To make sure guests are never peckish or thirsty in their rooms, Hotel ICON offers a free mini bar filled with Diet Coke, San Pellegrino, Heineken and bottled mineral water, plus snacks including Pringles, mini Snickers and Twix bars and healthy cereal bars, replenished daily.
As if that wasn’t enough, another welcome home comfort is a Nespresso machine and kettle with a selection of Taylor’s of Harrogate teas.
The slick, expansive charcoal and white bathroom features a deep soaking bathtub with TV and a separate walk-in rainshower. There are plenty of fluffy towels, bathrobe and slippers, plus a handy washbag filled with grooming essentials.
The only thing that didn’t impress was the set of Leonard Paris Eau Fabuleuse bathroom products. I found the quality and scent unappealing and can’t help thinking that such a hip, design-led room warrants a more luxurious, globally-recognised brand like (MALIN+GOETZ), L’Occitane or Shanghai Tang.
During my stay, I made use of the complimentary accumulative HK100 dry clean/laundry credit, which is a usually over-priced service that I rarely use in hotels. Housekeeping came to pick up my dress in the morning and it was ready hanging in the closet freshly dry cleaned when I returned that evening.
Hotel ICON is made even cooler with its very own ‘fashion suite’ by designer and Hong Kong Polytechnic University alumni, Vivienne Tam. Inspired by her New York apartment, the Designer Suite by Vivienne Tam features smooth wood interiors, floor to ceiling panoramic windows and statement furniture such as a vibrant red sofa and a writing desk carved out of Japanese cherry wood. The suite is filled with Chinese artwork, most notably a portrait of ‘Opera Girl’ made entirely of Swarovski crystals.
Complimentary breakfast for club guests is served in Above & Beyond or The Market on the second floor. I enjoyed waffles and pancakes and yoghurt from the buffet while taking in morning views over the harbour in Above & Beyond.
The breakfast buffet at The Market is impressively extensive and chefs are on hand to cook eggs and hot dishes to order. It’s worth visiting both restaurants for variety, however I did personally like the tranquility, panoramic views and table service at Above & Beyond.
We were lucky enough to also enjoy a leisurely Sunday Dim Sum lunch at Above & Beyond during our stay. Even though the restaurant is on the club level, it is open to non-residential guests for lunch and dinner.
We feasted on Pan-fried Lobster with Egg White and Black Truffles, Steamed Shrimp Dumplings, Shrimp Siu Mai, BBQ Kagoshima Pork, Crispy Taro Cake with Whole Abalone, Bejing BBQ Duck and my favourite Shanghai-style Xiao Long Bao dumplings (filled with pork and a light broth).
Executive Chef Joseph Tse invited us into the kitchen to see his team and work and even demonstrated how to cook Pork in Sweet and Sour Sauce – a classic dish with his own contemporary flair.
Another place to dine at Hotel ICON is Green, the inviting ground floor cafe that leads on the from lobby. It’s a bright and airy space where guests can enjoy afternoon tea, light bites or a glass of wine.
A real highlight of staying at Hotel ICON is the fabulous outdoor heated pool with its expansive sun deck, pool bar and spectacular skyline views. Our Hong Kong itinerary was jam-packed, but on the last day, we spent a late-afternoon swimming before enjoying a enjoying a spa treatment at the hotel’s stylish Angsana Spa by Banyan Tree.
My wonderful therapist Krishna gave me a such a relaxing Hydrating Facial that I almost drifted off. It was the perfect way to end the trip and unwind before our evening flight.
An innovative feature at Hotel ICON is the private Timeless Lounge, which guests can use before their room is ready or once they have checked out. The comfortable lounge features complimentary Nespresso coffee, Taylors of Harrogate teas, soft drinks, magazines, newspapers and free wifi. It’s even possible to use the swimming pool and spa facilities, so you can stay relaxed and refreshed.
Hotel ICON is without a doubt one of the world’s best design hotels and a stay there is sure to be luxurious and memorable. It’s a fresh, modern take on the hotel experience and one of the most exciting places to stay in Hong Kong.
For more information and booking, visit: www.hotel-icon.com
Cathay Pacific flies five times daily to Hong Kong from London Heathrow. Fly to Hong Kong with Cathay Pacific from £589. To book your flights, visit: www.cathaypacific.co.uk.
Chérie City was a guest of Hotel ICON and Hong Kong Tourism Board
Photos by Chérie City and Hotel ICON