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Go back to the enewsletter Many had waited in anti

first_imgGo back to the enewsletterMany had waited in anticipation to see the stunning new Murray in Hong Kong. Ever since the 25-floor, open-square building was designed by Ron Phillips in 1969, some must have thought it would make an excellent hotel. Finally, on 15 January 2018, the Cotton Tree Drive building (re-imagined by Foster+Partners) opened as The Murray, a Niccolo Hotel, Hong Kong – and the first visitors, amazingly, were Ron Phillips and his family. They were welcomed by the hotel’s Managing Director, Duncan Palmer, and his Manager, Dean Dimitriou – whose office, interestingly, is behind a bevelled-glass wall at one end of the long reception area so that he can see what is going on.THE MURRAY lobbyThere are many notable features about the transformation of what, for nearly 50 years, was government offices, to today’s 336-room hotel. The ground entrance floor, a marble haven, is narrow, with no comfortable seating. Four alcoves offer private areas for stand-up check-in and check-out. Another, larger, alcove leads back into Murray Lane bar. Everything is sleek and clean, without undue fuss; this is not a hotel for addicts of frills and non-necessities. It seems as if Duncan Palmer has put his own highly cultured stamp throughout.THE MURRAY, Murray Lane DrivewayThe Murray Suite #2301 is absolutely gorgeous, with 225 square metres of design by Foster+Partners’ Colin Ward and Armstrong Yakubu. The main salon is an S-shaped space with stone-coloured silk walls, and dark wood parquet flooring enlivened by a soft avocado rug under the main seating. The seating, which is soft avocado, includes a six-seat, L-shaped Ninotti leather sofa, with unique cushions in sit-up-and-notice colours.The full pantry has a bright orange Smeg refrigerator. One of the wall artworks, all from Wharf Hotels’ Executive Chairman Peter Woo’s private collection, is a 1.5×1.5m oil of 11 tall poppies with leaf-free stalks. A glass-walled gym in one corner holds a Ciclotte bicycle, next to a 50-centimetre-high day-glo scarlet Calder-type standing mobile. Toiletries in the seriously oasis bathroom, and the powder room, are Grown Alchemist, from Melbourne. The hair dryer is Dyson, the air purifer Tom Dixon – and so on.THE MURRAY, Murray Suite Living RoomThere are hardback books everywhere, chosen from Kelly & Walsh in nearby Pacific Place by Dean Dimitriou, who has obviously learned a lot from Duncan Palmer. In one closet I have Fashion 150, and Socks: The Rule Book. The bedroom holds Hong Kong Food & Culture, The Monocle Guide to Drinking & Dining (note the order), and Urban Jungle: Living and Styling with Plants. In the living room are Eames Furniture Source Book, John Galliano Unseen, and Pattern: 100 Fashion Designers, 10 Curators (if I run out of inspiration I could always turn to that room’s iPad).I pause to call the concierge to ask laundry to come for some pressing, and get an instant response, using my name: “housekeeping will come”, which happened four minutes later; “What time you want back?”. I call concierge again, asking to have a boarding card printed out; it arrives 4.5 minutes after.THE MURRAY, Murray Suite BathroomRather than a spa manager, here, the hotel has a Director of Nutrition and Wellness: Josephine Chan, who will do personalised programs as required. I loved dining up in Popinjoys, up on the 26th floor, reached by a dedicated elevator from the hotel’s top floor. This is an indoor-out area, and many really enjoy being able to cocktail out on the terrace. The entire bar area of the L-shaped bar/restaurant is a mixologist’s heaven. Here, displayed cocktails include a blue macaw, in an appropriate china jug holding Montelobos Mescal, Ancho Reyes, yellow Chartreuse, fresh pineapple and lemon juice.THE MURRAY Popinjays Dining RoomMore sedately, we sit in the L’s other leg, at a grey-flecked white marble table. We drink Savigny-les-Beaune 2016 Simon Bizy & Fils, and nibble on four homemade breads in a black linen-lined silver bowl. A Beurre d’Isigny round, in a marble holder, is accompanied by a dipping sauce, and a round of guacamole. Chef Didier Quennouelle has suggested a special menu, but I go à la carte with a Popinjay’s salad that looks like a Royal’s hat and a bed of smoked eggplant from which rise ‘feathers’ of crudités and avocado. A turquoise Laguiole knife is brought, but not needed, for my four fingers of Japanese wagyu striploin with side of grilled asparagus; china is Haviland.THE MURRAY, Murray Suite DiningIn the morning I have the 24/7 Technogym to myself and watch a global final of ladies’ Crossfit. Showered, I head down to the lobby and go up 27 gold-edged black marble stairs from the lobby to the Garden Lounge, where tables are set with gold-rimmed Bernardaud. There is an elegant display of cold and hot dishes, and my slices of sourdough, brown and white and both and what I call ‘real’ bread are taken to be toasted and brought back with, as requested, an absolutely plain omelette. Taped music wipes out other guests’ noise. Upstairs, teeth cleaned, I emerge from 2301 to find a concierge waiting for my bag. Downstairs, the Mercedes-S no-password Wi-Fi is enabled, and I am off.Lead Image: THE MURRAY, Popinjays BarGo back to the enewsletterlast_img read more