Every Hongkonger knows that life in our crazy, fast-paced city wouldn’t be bearable without the occasional getaway. That’s why we’re bringing you “Suite Staycation“: a monthly review of some of the finest hotel suites in Hong Kong and Macau. Rated upon quality of accommodation, F&B and the perks which we experience — not to mention on pure ‘wow’ factor — our new column brings you in-depth analysis on where to spend your dollars when it comes to taking some well-deserved R&R.
Given the massive Victoria Dockside redevelopment project encompassing new attractions such as K11 Musea and Rosewood Hong Kong, and the slow but steady formation of the West Kowloon Cultural District, there’s perhaps never been a better time than now for obstinate island residents to make the cross-harbour trip. While the Tsim Sha Tsui promenade is a busy hive of activity these days with visitors flocking to the new sights, you can venture a little further up to seek out peace and relaxation in the quiet enclave of Hung Hom and neighbouring Whampoa.
Boasting spectacular views of Victoria Harbour without the elbow-to-elbow crowds, Hung Hom’s laid-back vibes and ample space make it ideally suited for the site of Shangri-La’s first flagship Kerry property in the SAR: Kerry Hotel Hong Kong, which opened in 2017. Billed as the city’s first urban resort, Kerry has been an indispensable boon to the neighbourhood, welcoming families on the weekends with its interactive programming, offering well-manicured public green spaces, and dishing up egalitarian eateries such as the wallet-friendly Dockside, which acts as a sort of community hub with live music in the evenings. For the purposes of a staycation, few hotels can outweigh Kerry’s selling points.
Located in Hung Hom Bay on the waterfront promenade, Kerry Hotel Hong Kong is easily accessed via a 7-minute walk from Whampoa Station (if you’re feeling extra lazy, you can grab a taxi from the station). The fact that it’s out of the way for business travellers makes it ideally situated for a staycation — you’ll find guests are mostly there for leisure, with the hotel boasting a distinct resort vibe. That said, you can reach most central locations in under half an hour; but we think you’ll find plenty to entertain over 1–2 days within the confines of the resort. If you really feel the need to venture out, explore the shops and local eats around Whampoa.
The brilliant mind of André Fu is at work once again in the gorgeously outfitted interior spaces: from the stylish and suave Red Sugar to the elegant Hung Tong, not to mention the well-landscaped gardens seamlessly blending indoor and outdoor spaces. One of the highlights is the lobby: Stepping into the hotel, you’re met instantly by views of the sparkling water, with natural daylight filtering through an impressive curved-glass façade spanning 8 x 80 metres. On one side, a Turkish onyx marble wall leads to the grand staircase and ballroom (the largest pillar-less ballroom in Hong Kong); on the other side, the stylish Lobby Lounge is filled with afternoon tea-goers nibbling scones and finger sandwiches.
When it first opened in 2017, Kerry was the first new hotel to open on the Kowloon waterfront since 1995. Various details in the design, concepts and execution of the hotel pay homage to the rich history of the neighbourhood — what used to be hub of the industrial era in Hong Kong, with its prime port-side location allowing for ease of shipping and trading. The Dockyard is so named for the old shipyards in the area; while Hung Tong — the hotel’s signature Cantonese restaurant — weaves in similar maritime motifs with red brick walls, metal gates, wooden vents and vintage chairs.
The Kerry Hotel boasts an impressive 546 guest rooms, yet rarely do the pool and public spaces feel crowded, given the grand scale of the property. Guest rooms are comfy and allude subtly to the dockside theme — with squashy navy-blue pillows arranged comfily on slate-grey sofas, and a plush carpet resembling ripples of water. Furniture made from solid aged timber also speaks to the industrial shipyard roots of the neighbourhood.
Over 60 percent of the guest rooms feature harbour views; from our Club Premier Sea View Room, we could view the sparkling bay on one side, and survey those lounging at the pool on the other side (which felt a little too close for comfort, but luckily the windows were heavily tinted). The 850-sq.-ft. space was indulgent for two people, a feeling maximised by the open layout of the room, which meanders from the spacious living room through to the pool-facing bedroom, and on to a roomy double-vanity bathroom and walk-in closet. A highlight is the small corner balcony — a cosy private nook for reading — and the king-sized bed with a luxurious feather duvet. All guest rooms feature complimentary mini-bar choices upon arrival, free videos on demand and a Handy phone.
There are a total of six F&B outlets at Kerry, which means you’ll be well-fed all weekend. Big Bay Café flies above stereotypical mediocre hotel buffets with seven cooking ‘pavilions’ offering plenty of variety. We particularly loved the ‘Stews & Casseroles’ pavilion, with hearty braises, curries and gumbo.
Those seeking refined Canto fare for dinner can head to Hung Tong, but we preferred kicking back at Dockyard on a Saturday night — possibly the best ‘food court’ in Hong Kong with an array of international food offerings, all at wallet-friendly prices and made fresh-to-order (our go-tos are the generously stuffed Indian samosas paired with an order of tandoori chicken). There are TV screens for sports enthusiasts, and an awesome live band which comes on at 8pm. The restaurant is also connected to the outdoor gardens — perfect for a post-dinner stroll. Finally, don’t miss a nightcap at Red Sugar — offering some of the best views this side of the harbour — or pop back the next morning for their Lazy Sunday Lunch on the terrace.
Service was top-notch across the board. In addition to the delightful free amenities and personalised touches that come in your room (free fruit basket!) — the staff at Kerry are well-trained to deliver exceptional service, without the lofty, self-important airs or stuffy formalities of some other luxury 5-star hotels in Hong Kong. If you’re in a Club suite, additional perks including quick check-in service and all-day refreshments for club members on the 8th floor Club Lounge.
Kerry’s location in Hung Hom and the family-friendly reputation of the hotel mean the guests you’ll be rubbing shoulders with are a far cry from the financial and suit-savvy types you’ll find in Central’s marquee hotels. For someone enjoying a relaxing staycation away from the island’s general hub-bub — this was a major plus. There’s a definite community vibe — families tapping along to the live music at Dockyard, girlfriends on a day spa at the pool, and couples enjoying strolls around the garden. That said, if your idea of a perfect staycation is one without any juniors running around — this may not be the best place for you.
The pool is a highlight of the experience at Kerry. It’s not the largest in Hong Kong, but the infinity pool has the best views in my opinion, seemingly spilling out onto the harbour with unobstructed views of the island. Grab a mojito with an order of fish ‘n’ chips and you’re set for the afternoon. The service here is also commendable: On a separate stay to use the day pass at the pool (HK$700), one of the staff thoughtfully offered me a complimentary cocktail after observing the particularly loud group seated next to me as I was trying to read. After a day at the pool, wrap up with a treatment at Spa at Base Camp — with 60-min massages starting from a reasonable HK$950.
Absolutely worth it, if the reasonable room rates can even be considered a ‘splurge’ (currently rooms from HK$1,400 per night, with Club Premier Sea View Rooms starting from HK$2,400). From the well-curated F&B venues to the views, the top-notch service to the spacious and comfy rooms — and most importantly, the laid-back resort vibes that pervade the hotel — Kerry Hotel ticks every box in our book for the ideal Hong Kong staycation.