Photography: Dominic Loneragan
JW MARRIOTT HOTEL
88 Queensway, Central, Hong Kong
+852 2810 8366
In a city where new luxury hotels pop up faster than a Starbucks in an airport, it takes more than a good renovation to remain at the top of the heap.
Add to that the ‘design’ and ’boutique’ boom that hit in the early 2000s, it’s like a war zone out there with Trip Advisor as the battlefield. Somehow through all of this the JW Marriott Hong Kong has remained strong and unshaken by trends. Standing the test of time by trading on the one thing that never goes out of style, on point service and an appreciation of
Overall, a stay here feels more like an event than a port in a storm. It’s the kind of place where 8 sharp suited staff greet you as you walk into the door and arriving in your room is topped off with a special tea service poured into pretty oriental porcelain cups.
There’s no escaping the attentiveness. It is everywhere. If you’re not careful it’ll infect you and you’ll start to expect this kind of treatment as standard, then you’ll be ruined. Breakfast at the JW Cafe (an ultra gourmet buffet that attracts plenty of outsiders as well as hotel guests) is accompanied by dozens of staff members, one to remember that you like a big table by the window each morning, one to make sure you watch your step leading into the dining room, and if you like, one to carry your plate for you.
There’s even a man whose specific job is to stand at the end of a very discreet corridor and open the connecting door between the hotel and Pacific Place mall for you. You could do it yourself but, come on, this is Hong Kong.
Some think the best views of of the city are to be found looking back across the harbour from the shores of Tsim Sha Choi on the Kowloon side. No going to lie, it’s a swell scene** but they’ve clearly never enjoyed a zesty G&T in the JW Marriott lounge watching the skyscrapers change colour in the sunset and the vibrant neon signs start to take over. Helps that a thick bush of trees frame one corner of the window, giving the impression that you’re in the world’s most luxurious hideout and the effect proves that no amount of plush can beat simple clever design. It’s truly awesome and creates this “you’ll never catch me” feeling, ideal for stressed out business travellers.
[**We’re kidding. The Tsim Sha Choi view will change your life.]
Rooms have been designed to capitalise on the views, so whether you’re in a deluxe or a suite, the windows are giant. Some of our preferred vistas are found looking back onto the trees and high-rise apartments that jut almost incongruously from the steep slopes of Victoria Peak. You’re guaranteed to ask yourself if the people in the apartments can see you but then you’ll shrug it off because it doesn’t matter anyway, in a city as densely populated as Hong Kong everyone’s an unintentional voyeur.
The cocooned effect extends through to the pool level and Fish Bar, where you can feel like you’re literally swimming between skyscrapers (the Conrad Hotel on the left and the Island Shangri-La on the right). If you’re familiar with the Hong Kong real estate market then you’ll quickly appreciate how special this patch of land is. “They could’ve skipped the pool and put whole other building in this space”, we heard someone remark.
This is where some of the JW Marriott’s old school sensibilities win out over newer hotels squeezing in where they can. The fact that they’ve retained this cleaver design effect as sacrosanct is a bigger symbol of luxury than any thread count or room service menu convey.
…dinner at Flint Grill & Bar on Level 2. Not your standard hotel restaurant, Flint stands on its own as a sophisticated yet unpretentious destination for some of the city’s best seafood and steaks.
… Ordering the Holy Smoke cocktail up at Fish Bar. One part 24 proof gin, blended with Japanese tea, super, lemon juice and a dash of white vinegar and rosewater essence (with a few drops of dry ice for effect), it’s a mystical broth that smells as good as it tastes.
Follow JW Marriott Hong Kong on Instagram @jwmarriotthk