Checking In at Hullett House

Amid all the modernity of Hong Kong, the Hullett House offers a taste of its past. Its building dates back to 1881 and used to house Hong Kong’s Royal Marine Police, but after a massive refurbishment by the city’s Aqua Restaurant Group, it reopened in 2009 as a gorgeous abode with seven restaurants and 10 suites, which have since remained some of the most favored in the city. The Hullett House has changed ownership since June 2013 and is currently owned and manage by GR8 Leisure Concept Limited.

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Exterior of Hullett House

The Look: On the southern tip of Kowloon, the hotel sits as a Victorian-era beauty with a white colonnaded facade and wood-shuttered windows. Inside, it speaks to the many faces of bygone Hong Kong with a mixture of designs throughout its rooms and restaurants, each different concept reflective of a different part of the city’s history, brought to life with bespoke and antique furnishings. The hotel was also named for Richmond William Hullett, a dedicated botanist who discovered the Bauhini flower, which is featured on the city’s flag, so it’s only natural that the hotel is fronted by beautifully landscaped gardens and leafy palms.

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The interior of Kat O Suite.

The Rooms: The 10 unique suites here are each named for a different bay once patrolled by the marine police—the Silvermine Suite, the South Bay suite, the Deep Water Bay Suite—but they’re anything but nautical in their designs. Each suite is unique with a different theme, ranging from British countryside to sensuous 1930s Shanghai, and though the concept may sound over-the-top, it’s been elegantly pulled off here by keeping furnishings minimal (and thereby maximizing the luxurious room sizes of 75 to 100 square meters) and instead exuding their personalities through rich colors, lighting, and wall designs instead. And for all their nods to the past, the rooms are happily tech-savvy as well, each with a Sherwood surround-sound system hooked up to a 37-inch LCD TV and an iPod dock.

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Mariners’ Rest bar interior with the original holding cage area at the background.

The Appeal: Despite the limited number of suites, Hullett House has seven restaurants and bars to pick from, each with a different cuisine and design. Notably, there’s the Mariners’ Rest British-style pub, whose adjoining drinking rooms were once the police station’s holding cells; the decadently French-style Champagne Gallery; and the meat- and seafood-restaurant Stables Grill, whose walls are paneled with wood reclaimed from an old Chinese ship.

An aerial view of Kai Tak Cruise Terminal. Source: Hong Kong Tourism Board

An aerial view of Kai Tak Cruise Terminal. Source: Hong Kong Tourism Board

The Surrounds: The hotel is set in the heart of Tsim Tsa Tsui, close to the luxury shops of Canton Road and steps from Kowlon’s pier, from where the Star Ferry shuttles back and to Hong Kong, giving easy access to downtown. Also nearby is the Hong Kong Museum of History for those in want of enlightenment, Hong Kong Disneyland for those in want of entertainment, and—for those in want of the perfect picture—every evening at 8 p.m. is a and sound show titled “A Symphony of Lights” out on the pier.

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Handy, complimentary smartphone available in all suites.

For those in the know: Don’t worry about your cell phone here, as the hotel provides each guests with a mobile phone that come with free unlimited local calls, free international calls to selected countries, internet access, and a built-in travel guide of the city.

Hullett House; 1881 Heritage, 2A Canton Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon; 852/3988-0000; doubles from HK$ 9,000

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