It’s hard to be a hotel in Hong Kong.
So much competition, location, price, amenities, brands, and then there is the F&B on top. So we checked in to the Murray hotel with some trepidation, but we were quickly proven wrong…
New Kid on the Block, with an Old History behind it
Hong Kong has one of the most fascinating histories and the change which has gone on in the last 50 years has been exhilarating – and so too the experience for travellers.
The Murray embraces its colonial past with open arms. It’s beautiful to see luxury meeting style in a wonderful rejuvenation of an iconic landmark. To understand the building, we need to go back in time to its roots, to 1969 when it was first built.
Originally a government office building, 27 stories high, housing some of the key decision making bureaus of the Hong Kong government. It was sold off in 2011 and stood there vacant for many years, that is until Wharf came along and gave it its new lease of life, thanks to a bit of help from Norman Foster.
Foster+Partners stepped in and accepted the challenge to re-design the architectural and interior finishes, and bring the building into the 21st century.
The building houses 336 spacious suites across 25 storeys. There are 5 exquisite dining choices, the most alluring of which is a rooftop restaurant and bar with panoramic views. I think the word ‘style’ is best applied to everything The Murray does. Unlike a lot of hotels where health and wellness play second fiddle to the core experiences of sleeping, eating and drinking, The Murray places great emphasis of keeping it’s guests fit. There are running trails leading out from the hotel’s doorstep. The Murray is an urban oasis in the heart of Hong Kong surrounded by magnificent views of the city, Hong Kong Park and the Hong Kong Zoological and Botanical Gardens.
The night we were there, we went up to the 25th floor to sip on some of the Murray’s signature cocktails, Popinjays, taking its name from the cockatoos along the neighbouring Garden Road. Chef Didier Quennouelle has 25 years’ of experience and is serving a modern European-inspired menu.
One floor below there is the Niccolo Room with a capacity of 240 guests seated or receptions for up to 350. There’s an Executive Floor with State of the Art Conference Rooms – something that will be useful as a lot of Hong Kong companies have their Board Meetings in Hong Kong.
The bedrooms are luxurious and comfortable. One of the things we loved about the Murray is its proximity to Central. We have stayed in the past at Admiralty but in the Hong Kong heat walking to Central is a bit of a challenge. Not with the Murray. We could easily slip on a suit and tie, walk across to our meetings and still not even break a sweat.
Redefining City Hotel
The Murray is a fantastic hotel and a great choice for all sorts of travellers to Hong Kong, even those who fancy a bit of a staycation. One guest we met actually used to work in the building and has long since retired and moved back to the UK. He was there with his wife and with a bit of help he was able to find the same place he had sat at his desk all those years ago. The window was the same, the view was the same, and looking at the joy in this man’s face, he was still the same, taken right back 50 years ago, lost in thoughts and memories.
Now for the Food..:)
Taipan is The Murray’s ground-floor out-of-this-world restaurant. Breakfast oozes sumptuous feasting with tables overflowing with home-made jams and freshly-baked breads, fruits and yoghurts, dumplings and omelettes. We stayed for dinner and by far our favorite dish was the grain fed chicken breast with citrus jam, onion marmalade, and grilled leeks along with a lovely glass of Domaine Jean Fournier, Bourgogne Rouge, Burgundy, 2015.
Written by: Max Johnson
Credit: HK Tatler for the Video