Zooming down Queensway in one of The Upper House’s cool custom-liveried BMW X5s, I was at pains to recall any one interaction that felt like the highlight — or, for that matter, lowlight — of my most recent stay there.
In a city like Hong Kong, full of shouty over-the-top luxury accommodations, that observation should be taken as the highest of praises.
Known for its eye-bending views of Hong Kong Island, timeless modernist interiors, and a style of hospitality that is intimate but (by East Asian standards) decidedly soft-touch; I was unsurprised to hear that The Upper House had snagged 4th place overall — in the inaugural edition of ‘The World’s 50 Best Hotels’.
That accolade tracks with my earlier observations about consistency: in truth, the fact that every moment spent here weaves together in a singularly seamless experience is something that can be appreciated by every kind of luxury traveller.
Whether you’re a power-broking ArtBasel type (who has been a regular since the property opened back in 2009) or a casual visitor putting their frequent flier rewards to good use, we hope you take something useful from our Upper House hotel review. Now Q&A style.
The Upper House, Hong Kong
- Gold-standard service
- Soothing interiors
- Cool ambience, cooler crowd
- No on-site pool & spa
Hotel Review: The Upper House Hong Kong
Why is this a must-stay?
If you’re after world-class luxury lodgings for the duration of your stay in Hong Kong, there are any number of individually compelling reasons to consider The Upper House.
The second property ever opened by ‘The House Collective’ (an imprint of residence-style urban hotels, owned by the same company that owns Cathay Pacific – Swire Group) this hotel will be of equal interest to guests with a penchant for design; those who value a community atmosphere; or even locals looking for a well-situated catchup spot, backed by killer views.
Above all else, however, the reason to revisit The Upper House rests in the uniformly exceptional level of service you’ll encounter on (and sometimes even off of) the property. Here, the phrase “going above and beyond” isn’t so much a mantra as it is the guest team’s whole raison d’être.
Case in point: Whilst checking in, I offhandedly remarked that I’d forgotten to pack a tote bag, or some such similar accessory for carrying around my daily essentials. Not more than an hour later, one of the House attendants — most of whom are, incidentally, sharp multi-lingual Hongkongers in their late 20s and early 30s — took the liberty of dropping off a leather day-bag whilst I was visiting the property’s small, but excellently appointed gym.
At The Upper House, these gestures — proactive, considerate, never disruptive — are a regular occurrence; and they extend to everyone who sets foot on the hotel’s premises — even if you’re passing through for coffee or one of the (regularly updated) wellness residencies.
Tell us about the vibe
“Immaculate”, as Gen TikTok are so fond of saying.
Despite the fact that the property’s interiors are now going on 15 years, the bones of the fit-out —designed by local architect André Fu —are ageing incredibly gracefully (some might even say they’re not ageing at all).
Communal spaces are airily measured, clad in soothing accents of wood and stone; with the attendant lighting and furniture — much of it handpicked by Fu himself — lending the whole property a cosy, residential warmth.
On most sorties between public spaces and my room, I rarely ever saw another patron or had my peace and quiet shattered by excessive foot traffic: no doubt, in part because of the relatively small number of suites & rooms (117 total) and because of the painstakingly attuned acoustics of the building itself. (Swire had initially developed the property as a complex of high-end serviced apartments.)
However, it’s not just the proverbial hardware that’s so essential to The Upper House’s immaculate vibe. Over the years, travel writers from all over the globe have been quick to identify the “buzzy” and “well-heeled” crowd that tends to dominate here. More than a decade post-opening, that’s still very much the case.
Assail Salisterra Bar on a typical weeknight and it’s a good bet you’ll be bumping elbows with English fashion designers, award-winning food writers, and on occasion, full-tilt A-listers like Pharrell. (The legendary musician and Louis Vuitton Creative Director is a longtime guest.)
What are the rooms like?
Given the cinematic, wraparound views afforded by the property’s signature ‘Upper Suites’ — of Central, Wanchai, and West Kowloon across the harbour — this 114 sqm eagle’s nest is the ideal place to hole up for the duration of your stay.
Prices generally start at A$2,500 per night (excluding taxes and fees). To be sure, that’s quite the rack rate but this price is inclusive of breakfast; The Upper House’s signature complementary ‘Maxi Bar’; and some of the largest accommodations, at this budget, anywhere in East Asia.
Toiletries are by Bamford — the same brand you’ll find aboard Cathay Pacific premium cabins — and every suite comes equipped with its own filtered tap system, rather than the haphazard collection of mineral water bottles.
Each Upper Suite is conceived in a kind of fan-shaped layout, with the bedroom acting as connective tissue between the living space and wet areas. The latter, particularly in the wider context of urban Hong Kong, are downright palatial: consisting of neat, serenely styled touchpoints that make loafing around here (in the rain shower or freestanding soaking tub) a tantalising experience.
The Upper House’s original brief, as a series of high-end apartments, also means that any spa treatments must be delivered in-room: something that would be perceived as a shortcoming at a property where guestrooms are designed with a cookie-cutter sensibility. Thankfully, not here.
We’re feeling peckish: what’s for dinner?
Although there are technically only two full-service F&B outlets located on the property, Salisterra and Salisterra Bar, the House team compensate for this by making those spaces so damnably enjoyable to dine in.
The first of these is a relaxed all-day dining concept: where guests can take a selection of classic luxury hotel breakfast options or the Mediterranean-accented set dinner menu (~A$210) amid a room of curvaceous banquettes and partially enclosed window booths.
In this writer’s opinion, the real drawcard is Salisterra Bar, which connects the restaurant proper along with (and this part’s important) some of the most photogenic bathrooms in the +852.
Order one of ex-Yardbird mixologist Gail Lanorias’s signature cocktails (i.e. light, refreshing, in keeping with the theme of the restaurant) and settle into the bar’s ‘Green Room’ — ideally, half an hour before the daily ‘Symphony of Lights’ show takes place.
How’s the service?
Essentially flawless. Just in case I hadn’t already made myself abundantly clear.
There was a trivial hiccup, early into my stay, involving Guest Services being temporarily unreachable via phone; but as previously mentioned, such superficial stumbles are overshadowed by the degree of care demonstrated at every other turn.
Require a hand with some last-minute gift wrapping? Too easy. Angling for a reservation at a phenomenal local hotpot restaurant? On it. Need to borrow one of the hotel’s fleet cars for a (complimentary) lift into Lan Kwai Fong? That too, give or take 15 minutes, is a cinch.
Any other expert tips/highlights of your stay?
One of the keys to The Upper House’s decades-long staying power has been how its management cultivates social engagement and a citywide sense of community.
To that end, we encourage you to ask House team members about the hotel’s ongoing rotunda of industry talks and roundtable discussions — known collectively as the ‘Up Close’ program.
The property is also a well-known haunt for fitness fiends: owing to its complimentary weekend yoga classes and regularly scheduled monthly runs. (These days, the latter is run in tandem with Shelter Athletics, Hong Kong’s preeminent “social sports club” and community enterprise.)
The Upper House, Hong Kong
Address: Pacific Place, 88 Queensway, Admiralty, HKSAR
Contact: +852 3968 1000
The author stayed as a guest of The Upper House Hong Kong for two nights
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