Guests can swim to the glass-bottomed deep end of the Hotel Indigo’s rooftop pool for stellar views of The Peak. The high life: The Hotel Indigo’s bar.
杭州桑拿

In a label-mad city where big brands are devoured by consumers hungry for prestige, taking up residence in a boutique Hong Kong hotel bursting with individuality is a charming departure.

Beyond the vast marble foyers of the central district’s global hotel chains the Hotel Indigo in the gritty Wan Chai neighbourhood is 100 per cent authentic, old-school Hong Kong.

From the retro Susie Wong cushions in the foyer to the whole-wall murals showing 1950s street scenes, the hotel’s design signature takes its cue from the neighbourhood, a former red-light district where the famous novel and movie about the exotic woman of the night was set.

Add an aesthetic heavy with Chinese symbolism – the feng shui master no doubt shared top billing with the architects in planning this just-opened building – and you have one unique place to stay.

Everything means something here: a golden “dragon” embellishment circles the whole structure (wisdom and success), while goldfish adorn the bath mats (prosperity). The double happiness symbol is everywhere, while the number eight makes its presence felt with 138 rooms, and each floor has eight rooms for luck.

To Western sensibilities, the rooftop pool has a genuine, uncomplicated wow factor – it’s glass-bottomed, deep end juts out dramatically over the edge of the building, and taking an underwater peek at the street below is a fun distraction from doing laps. In the world of feng shui, however, the pool represents a shimmering dragon pearl (knowledge).

The pool area has a fantastic view of The Peak – where the richest folk of Hong Kong Island have their piles – and one can relax in a very funky poolside daybed to muse over the phone number-size prices paid for apartments there.

Best features for mine are the hotel’s cosy lounge area with computers, books, games, a flat-screen TV, fireplace and souvenir nook, where you can buy Indigo’s unique soft furnishings and accessories, and the top-floor bar with outdoor sitting area.

But the real star of the show is the location: there is so much to see on foot in every direction once out the front door (the strip of Queens Road East homeware stores easily took up a whole morning). The hotel is a five-minute walk from the MTR train station (if only our public transport was this easy and efficient), which in one or two stops will take you to major tourist areas.

The buzz outside starts down one side of the hotel, which is bordered by “toy street”, which is famous for its toy shops, knock-off gear, electronic gadgets and souvenirs. It’s busy, chaotic and exciting – the jumble of neon signs, the skyscrapers, the late-night shops and gravity-defying double-decker buses are all there as a wonderful contrast with the peace you can escape to in the hotel. Now that’s double happiness.TRIP NOTES

WHERE Hotel Indigo, 246 Queens Road East, Wan Chai, Hong Kong Island

HOW MUCH Rooms from $HK2300.

TOP MARKS The Handy Hong Kong mobile phone can be rented to guests at $HK68 a day (about $8) to make local calls and social media cheaper and easier — genius.

BLACK MARK The bathroom in a bedroom arrangement is a tight squeeze.

MORE INFORMATION

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Angie Kelly was a guest of Hotel Indigo and Cathay Pacific.

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.

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