The Kowloon side of Hong Kong is becoming a growing attraction for travelers seeking somewhere new to stay. On our recent visit we opted to stay in Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon, a quick drive from the island side of the city. It was here that we checked into the surreally decorated Luxe Manor boutique hotel.
The hotel lobby is located just a few steps from the sidewalk, but a world away from the hustle and bustle of the outside city. Inside, Antonio Gaudi is the inspiration behind the bulk of the designs, which are unusual yet harmonious choices for a front lobby. The ‘Old Master Q’ chair which sits as an exaggerated centerpiece, the oversized clock and compass laid out in the mosaic tile, and other lush trappings in gold, deep red and violet are more than mere whimsy. They serve as a creative and thoughtful ode to the Spanish architect. Mirrored walls, a crystal tree trunk, and two epic chandeliers light up the tiny lobby that’s designed–like something straight from the mind of Lewis Caroll–to transport you from the real world to a surreal new place.
After getting familiar with the lobby our tour continued, eventually spanning over 15 floors and 153 rooms. Luxe Manors rooms’ are billed as a modern reinterpretations of a European mansion by GR8 Leisure Concept Ltd., the Hong Kong based hospitality group that manages the property. Of the 153 rooms, six are comprised of themed suites; all of which provide a delightfully over-the top-experience. The David Buffery and Aedas Interiors conceived suites depict themes ranging from romance, royalty and illusion, to icecaps and desert landscapes. Whether Middle Eastern opulence or 1940′s glamour, each of the themes served up an overload of damask silk curtains, fur blankets, flocked wallpapers, plush oriental rugs, and carefully choreographed lighting. Yet for all their decadence the suites retained a satisfyingly homey aura. Making guests feel as if they are staying in a room, not a hotel, is the aim of the intimate, cozy layout that also extends to the standard and deluxe rooms. Added decoration comes in the form of the post-modern elements running rampant across the various suites; empty picture frames, patchwork mirrored walls, and painted faux fireplaces are some of the kitschy features that combine to create the effect.
Outside of the four walls of our room, we had ample opportunity to interact with the various staff members of Luxe Manor, who–according to their manager–are “younger and more enthusiastic” than staff at other Hong Kong hotels. Either way, they were certainly pleasant, helpful and accommodating. Other hotel attractions include The Dada Bar and Lounge where you can go to hear jazz music and mingle late night. The bonkers design and decor found within does not leave a single surface untouched, and there is an unmistakable element of the absurd in this Salvador Dali, Andre Breton and Joan Miro space. The Dadaist cultural movement (as the name indicates) is also a major point of inspiration in the clashing combinations and general rule breaking designs of this visually rich bar/lounge.
The hotels on-site restaurant is aptly named FINDS, an acronym for Finland, Iceland, Norway, Denmark and Sweden. This unlikely gem happens to be one of the few (perhaps only) Scandinavian restaurant in Hong Kong. Cocktail connoisseurs can also find a little slice of heaven at FINDS as head chef Jaako Sorsa frequently plays with molecular mixology in this creative, modern fine dining restaurant with contemporary accents.
Nearby offsite offerings include the sublime Kowloon Park with the Avenue of Stars, a number of noted museums–including the Hong Kong Museum of History–and some of the city’s best shopping malls like Knutsford Terrace, Knutford Steps, and Habour City malls.