East Hotel – Tai Koo Shing, Hong Kong
I don’t stay in hotels in Hong Kong while I visit my family as I have somewhere to stay but this holiday was a little different. I was apart of my brother’s wedding and for a couple of nights I checked into a hotel to be with wedding guests and the bridal party. To be honest, I didn’t want to leave, what a home away from home this stay was. So much so, I had to return to the East Hotel to share this gem of a place with you all.
Most big hotel chains are located near Central which is super convenient so why look further? Hong Kong is not a very big place and with efficient transport links everything is super easy to get to. It is one of the cities with the least commute time in the world, your perception of things is far because you’re not used to travelling more then you have to. I have met people who don’t go out in places further then 10 mins from their house by foot, MTR or taxi. But with my recent discovery of Quarry Bay (check out my previous post on Mr and Mrs Fox), it was nice to stay in a different area for once and see Hong Kong from a different angle. The East hotel is a stones throw away from the up and coming Quarry Bay area, located in Tai Koo sitting next to Tai Koo Shing – a large shopping mall with everything you could possibly want including an ice skating rink, restaurants and a department store with a great food hall it also sits right on top of a MTR station.
The hotel was designed by CL3 Architects Ltd a Hong Kong based architecture and interior design studio, who created a very attention driven design to make sure that everything brings comfort to your senses in order for you to settle in quickly. I love how the artwork all around the hotel is from China or Hong Kong based artists and all are influenced by Chinese culture. The stairway in the lobby reminded me of the structure outside supporting the building itself securely to the steep slope behind it with the contrast to the structured panes of glass behind it. This is the first sight you see of the hotel when you emerge from the MTR.
The East Hotel is an extremely modern and sleek designed space which surprisingly doesn’t feel like a show home. The lobby is simple and modern with staff standing behind a beautifully lit desk with MacBooks waiting to help you when you approach the desk. Even when you sign for something at the main desk you don’t need a pen, you simply need a wacom tablet – I have only ever used these for CAD work, everything modern and efficient is packed into this hotel, a perfect reflection of the whole hotel.
Nods to Hong Kong are packed throughout the building, you can never mistaken where in the world you are. With Chinese symbols on each floor and Eastern artwork this slick space doesn’t feel disconnected to the scenes outside. This piece “Bamboo City” by Kum Chi Keung was inspired by the architecture in Island East. He found the buildings which surrounds the hotel similar to birdcages and creates a shadow which mimics the scenes outside the hotel.
When you get to your room oh boy are you reminded of the scenery outside the hotel. The floor to ceiling windows are incredible and you get a view of Hong Kong to drink in any time of day. I was lucky enough to have a harbour view room which is a constantly changing scene and loved lying in bed at night watching the boats, lights and everything move outside my window. But if you are lucky enough to book the corner harbour view room you get a bit of an urban view as well as a harbour view which surrounds your bed. Don’t worry you have shutter blinds and some black out blinds which are brilliant until you have to put them up in the morning and get readjusted to the light outside. The average room of the hotel is around 300 sq ft (28 sqm), plenty of room for a big comfy bed, bathroom, shower room with rain shower, workstation which is kitted out with conveniently located plugs, ethernet cables and free wifi, a 37 inch television which is easily hidden behind artwork if you don’t want to see it and apple TV (in selected rooms).
In this specific room you can make the most of the view from everywhere in the suite, even in the shower room and the bathroom while you brush your teeth. No matter where you stand you can make the utter most of the view. Even in the standard harbour view rooms, the bathroom area is open within your room, you only have doors for the shower cubicle and toilet. You better make sure you know who you’re staying with very well before opting to share, either that or you can go for a twin room or suite.
If you were thinking of splashing out the suites in my opinion are worth the upgrade. The first thing which jumped out at me other then having a huge room with an incredible view as you are on the 30th floor is a friendly little dinosaur. “Made in China” by Sui Jianguo is a series of dinosaurs in acid colours which inject some colour, humour and individuality to the suites.
As does a bubble chair hanging from the ceiling in the corner, perfect for sitting and drinking your complimentary coffee and tea provided in the room in the mornings.
A bath at the end of your bed is the perfect place to unwind and take in the view (don’t worry there are not tall enough buildings in view for people to spy on you) as well as your shower which is located right next to a floor to ceiling window. It is a great space to be a bridal suite, perfect for some beautiful timeless photographs, trust me we tried it out.
Did I mention that they use Elemis spa products? BONUS! These made the rain forest shower even better, excellent scent and they are in large bottles in the shower room so you don’t need to use sparingly.
Another feature which I have never experienced before as I don’t stay in many hotels is the convenient “Handy” phone which comes with every room.
This handy little device can go out with you and provide free 3G, wifi hotspot and free local and international phone calls to several countries including the UK and US. It also helps you discover Hong Kong with helpful tips and lists of things to do in Hong Kong, places to visit and discounts if you present your handy phone. It was an extremely useful bit of kit in the hotel and one that every wedding guest who stayed at the hotel raved about – including me! However, be warned if you loose it you will incur a fee so definitely look after it.
The hotel tries to operate as greenly as possible, reusable bags are available in each room for you to take out to shop with as Hong Kong charges for plastic bags when shopping. They also provide small bottles of water so there is less wastage, the toiletries are packaged in recycled material and in a canvas bag so that each individual item can be replaced and there is less packaging and waste. Even when providing the breakfast buffet they want to reduce the amount of wasted food, with sufficient half buffet and the rest made to order. ‘Feast’ is the East Hotel’s only restaurant and provides all day dining including room service. From western to eastern food whatever your taste they should have it mainly covered, if you want to work off your food then you can visit ‘Beast’ the hotel gym located on the 4th floor.
Open 24 hours complete with private individual shower / changing rooms with your own towels so you can shower and change at your leisure after your work out or swim (there is a heated outdoor swimming pool).
The gym is well equipped with weights, cardio machines all facing the urban landscape outside, it makes it a completely unique space to work out.
If staying indoors isn’t to your fancy then you can easily take two mountain bikes out of the gym and go and cycle around the area to your hearts content. Complete with helmets and a lock you can cycle somewhere and take a break if you fancied.
East really does cater for your every need including a space to play, ‘Sugar’ is their rooftop bar which has become a bit of a destination place to come, drink and unwind. I discovered that pretty much all of my local friends have been to Sugar for a drink or two to soak up the view. With comfy outdoor seating, heaters, a large cocktail list, nibbles and an incredible view it is a perfect place to come after a hard days work or busy day sightseeing. I recommend the mulled wine (on a cold night) and all the cocktails were done well I couldn’t complain about any of them. The little fluffy pork bao were great, as was the thin based pizzas, if you want something fun with your friends then order the smores kit. Perfect for soaking up the alcohol and who doesn’t love melted marshmallows?
I can’t stop recommending this hotel to anyone not just those in Hong Kong for business. Ok it was originally designed for that purpose but I don’t know anyone who wouldn’t fall in love with this highly efficient, comfortable and beautifully designed spaces. The more I found out about the space, the environmental awareness that the East Hotel has, and the hospitality of all the staff, it made me fall more and more in love with the place. I didn’t want to leave.
If you are planning a trip to Hong Kong, a staycation in a different part of Hong Kong then put the East Hotel on your list of places to stay. I know that it is a WHOLE 20 mins by MTR from Central but it is nice to see a city from a completely different perspective in a beautiful setting.
Where do you normally stay in Hong Kong? What do you think of the East hotel? Let me know in the comments below.
A big thank you to the East Hotel staff for letting me come back and photograph the hotel for this blog post. For more information about the East hotel please visit their website, please note that room costs differ from harbour to urban views and on times of the year.