A sense of arrival awaits guests at Swire Hotels’ small luxury hotel in Hong Kong, The Upper House. Rising above Pacific Place in Admiralty, the hotel’s Asian influenced and timeless design reveals an understated calmness throughout.
As the name suggests, the idea is to lead you up, up and away from the city’s babble into your ”home away from home”, somewhere between the 43rd and 48th floors – a journey that begins with a wall created by Thomas Heatherwick (English designer of London’s Olympic Cauldron) entitled Stone Curtain. Beyond that, there’s a soothing entrance – no noisy lobby or reception – from which guests glide, via an escalator, then a lift, into a hushed Asian world of wood, glass and limestone. This is a no-rush zone: You can’t jab at the usual close-door buttons in the lift because there aren’t any.
A subtly-lit driveway then leads to a dramatic 13-feet high textured nickel front door, enveloped by floor-to-ceiling glass walls that appear to sit on top of pools of water. Inside the entrance, a circular bamboo enclosure, ‘the Lantern’, marks the beginning of the ‘upward journey’ along a dimly-lit escalator with walls lined with bespoke lamps leading guests into Level 6, flooded with natural daylight, featuring ‘The Lawn’, a lush grassed area for relaxing with cocktails and bean bags for lounging under the sun.
The rooms are fantastic! Although that’s pretty much a given in a high-end Hong Kong hotel. What distinguishes the Upper House is its spaciousness: Their standard room is 730 sq ft in a city of 500 sq ft flats. The huge bathrooms are an exhibitionist’s dream: A wry notice warns that at night the eye-widening view through the windows “may be two-way”. Every room has a comprehensive amenity kit by British company Bamford, free snacks and drinks (including beer) and a yoga mat.
As highlighted, the room layouts offer lavishly-abundant space including 300 square feet bathrooms with walk-in rain showers, dressing areas and free-standing bathtubs with breathtaking panoramic harbour or island views. Lined with Italian ‘Perlato Svevo’ natural limestone floors and Beige Turkish ‘Terre d’Oriente’ limestone walls, the bathrooms are simple, sexy and uncluttered.
My favorite part of the ‘journey’ is Level 49, which showcases the architecturally intriguing Sky Bridge. Infused with a skylight above a 40 metre high atrium, the Sky Bridge leads to the Sky Lounge and signature restaurant & bar, Café Gray Deluxe.
That said, The Upper House is one of Asia’s best boutique hotels, truly, a destination in itself.