It’s no secret that Hong Kong is one of the most densely packed places on earth. The vertical city is crowded with interchangeable skyscrapers and high-rises, which leaves little room for new developments.
In the case of its latest luxury hotel opening, The Murray, while the interior design might be new, the building itself is an old landmark. Formerly a government office building located in Hong Kong’s Central district, it has now been converted into a 25-storey hotel, boasting 336 guest rooms and suites.
The Murray was originally designed by British architect Ron Phillips in the late 1960s for the colonial government and was used to house various government departments. At the time of opening in 1969, the building was praised for its groundbreaking energy efficiency. Key features like windows that were meticulously oriented to avoid intrusion of excessive direct sunlight won it multiple awards.
Fast forward to today, and the building has been refurbished by world famous architect Norman Foster into a stylish, sleek and modern luxury hotel that aims to blend the past and future in seamless fashion.
At a cost of HK$3.4 billion (US$433.6 million) to develop, the hotel boasts 336 guest rooms and suites that are considerably spacious for this crowded city; more than 75% are 50 square metres or larger. Windows have also been enlarged to allow for more natural light and better views overlooking surrounding areas like the central business district, Hong Kong Park and Hong Kong Zoological and Botanical Gardens.
The interior is chic, bright and airy, using non-jarring earthy tones and luxury fabrics. Rooms include all the latest mod cons, free high-speed Wi-Fi, smart TVs and coffee pod machines. There is a 24-hour gym, day spa and indoor swimming pool.
Among the hotel’s five dining options include a smart lobby bar with premium artisanal spirits, wines and beers, an all-day dining garden lounge (try the afternoon tea) and the elegant Tai Pan serving international and pan-Asian classics. Opening by mid-year will be rooftop bar and restaurant Popinjays, with panoramic views, and another outpost of the Michelin-starred Guo Fu Lou Cantonese restaurant.
Conserving the city’s history
Hong Kong hasn’t always been the best at preserving its heritage, especially when it comes to historic buildings. However, The Murray hopes to change that and is part of the Conserving Central project, which aims to preserve what remains of the historic heart of the city.
The ultimate aim of The Murray’s new design is to ‘create a dialogue between the old and the new’, say its developers. ‘By breathing new life into the landmark Hong Kong property, we feel we have created a unique hotel and leisure destination for local and international guests to enjoy.’
The Murray 22 Cotton Tree Drive, Central, Hong Kong, +852 3141 8888