Hotel of the Week: The Murray, Hong Kong

The flagship property of Niccolo Hotels stands out for the way its designers have transformed a 1960s office tower into a chic urban retreat.

A N3 Grand Deluxe room at The Murray, Hong Kong. (All photos courtesy of Niccolo Hotels)

Why You Should Go

An ultra-luxe pad for travelers on the doorstep of Hong Kong’s Central financial district, The Murray is indicative of changing attitudes toward heritage conservation in a city that has garnered a reputation for tearing down much of its colonial-era architecture. Foster & Partners was recruited to carry out a sensitive revamp of the 27-story Murray Building, a government office block built in 1969 by British architect Ron Phillips. The stylish interiors and reconfigured outdoor spaces complement the original features of the modernist tower, which include monumental archways at ground level and recessed windows — the latter tilted at an angle to shield occupants from direct sunlight during the city’s subtropical summers.

Naturally for Hong Kong, dining at The Murray does not disappoint. Mián — the just-opened restaurant in a standalone pavilion formerly occupied by one-Michelin-starred Cantonese venue Guo Fu Lou — serves up dim sum and signature dishes inspired by the local cooking and China’s regional cuisines: think tiger grouper in a spicy Sichuan-style broth, or chilled mantis shrimp with torched chili and English mustard. Then there’s Popinjays, a glass-walled rooftop restaurant and bar with a wraparound terrace, where patrons tuck into modern French fare while enjoying panoramic views of the nearby parks, surrounding skyscrapers, and the slopes of Victoria Peak.

The bar area at rooftop venue Popinjays.

Inside the bathroom of a 50-square-meter N2 Grand room.

The Rooms

A pared-back residential style characterizes all 336 rooms and suites. These are predominantly black and white in appearance, with gold accents and pops of color provided by plush furnishings and artworks. Foster & Partners have made use of the building’s deeply recessed windows to create cozy nooks for writing desks, and layered each guest room with materials like wood and leather. Bathrooms feature a marble-clad shower area (those in the suites and higher room categories also have a standalone tub) as well as a heated Japanese toilet. The accommodation is incredibly spacious by Hong Kong standards; entry-level Superior rooms are a generous 38 square meters, while suites range from 75 to 225 square meters in size.

A couples’ spa suite at The Murray.

The modernist exterior of the hotel.

Things You Can Do

Book an afternoon tea session at Popinjays or kick back with a tipple at the chic lobby-level bar Murray Lane. Recreational facilities include an indoor pool and a small 24-hour gym, as well as five spa suites for treatments and customized half- and full-day wellness rituals. Outdoor yoga and tai-chi sessions are also offered, while personal trainers can be booked for guided hikes around Hong Kong.

The hotel’s location on a steeply sloping site above Central, though slightly awkward to get to on foot, does put you in close proximity to several sightseeing spots. The lower terminus of the Peak Tram is just a few paces away, as is the soothing greenery of Hong Kong Park, where you’ll find the Museum of Tea Ware inside Flagstaff House, the oldest British-colonial era building in town. Across the street from The Murray stands the almost equally ancient St. John’s Cathedral, which is well worth a visit for its airy neo-Gothic interior. Also within walking distance — but via a less-than-straightforward network of underpasses and stairways along Garden Road — is the five-hectare Zoological and Botanical Gardens, which first opened in 1871.

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A view of the Central skyline as seen from The Murray, Hong Kong.

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