Opening in late 2017, The Murray is set to redefine the luxury hotel landscape in Hong Kong. Positioned in Central, between Hong Kong Park and the Botanical Gardens, this iconic landmark building’s history began in 1969 with architectural design by British modernist architect, Ron Phillips. Built as a government building, the property’s original design was before its time with offices brightened by revolutionary energy efficient recessed windows providing indirect sunlight. Originally, the tallest building of the time, towering over the Hong Kong central business district from 27 floors, the new development will once again take Hong Kong’s luxury hotel landscape to new heights. Foster and Partners, a global architectural, urban and interior design studio known for restoring heritage structures and integrating them seamlessly with their urban environments is re-storing The Murray into a luxury hotel to embark on a new destiny.

Original design elements of the building’s exterior including the ground level three story archways and recessed window frames will remain with moderate adjustments to maintain the clean lines of the building. Re-design will include expanded window frames giving guests floor to ceiling views overlooking the city’ and Hong Kong Park from 25 floors with some of the largest rooms in Hong Kong at 50sm. Most stunning throughout the interior of the hotel will be the exquisite incorporation of all natural finishes and surfaces; including Italian Carrara marble, polished metals in a signature bronze stainless steel finish, leather, glass and handcrafted textiles from Asia and Italy. Foster and Partners are working under the direction of Colin Ward in Hong Kong and Armstrong Yakubu in London with a goal to provide a contemporary chic space for the modern traveler with a distinct sense of the destination and timeless elegance.

Five dining outlets positioned throughout the 27 floors will give sophisticated locals and travelers exceptional indoor and outdoor options for social gatherings. At the Rooftop Level, the restaurant, bar, and terrace surrounding an all glass private dining pavilion, The Aviary, will allow guests to enjoy views of the Peak and Hong Kong Skyline. Below on the 25th floor, the indoor Niccolo Room with flexible space will accommodate groups up to 360, or it can be divided into eight separate rooms. The Garden Level will provide outdoor space including the Cotton Tree Terrace, Murray Lawns, and a pavilion terrace offering outdoor dining under the heritage tree. At the ground level, the Lobby Bar will provide guests with a dramatic setting to enjoy the mixologists’ specialties while marveling over the stunning three-story ceiling.

Recently, the Murray announced an agreement with Fook Lam Moon Restaurant Group naming the hotel as the exclusive location of the city’s most prestigious Chinese Cantonese Michelin one-star restaurant, Guo Fu Lou. Andre Fu, renown designer and founder of AFSO design, will lead the design of this formal 90 seat restaurant including private dining for six to forty guests and an outdoor terrace.

In addition to this epicurean treasure, the ground floor Arches will provide the hotels’ most unique interiors, featuring a graduated walkway over three stories with views of Hong Kong Park and St. John’s Cathedral. This unique event space will offer an edgy option for creative events; namely, art exhibits, luxury car exhibits and fashion shows up to 500 guests. A culinary team led by Executive Chef, Fabric Lasnon will oversee the cuisine for events delighting guests with Pan Asian and Western creations.

Wellness enthusiasts will enjoy the spa services available within the privacy of their own room within one of the treatment rooms featuring an indoor pool. Customized super food menus will help guests recharge throughout the day, and jogging trails through adjacent Hong Kong Park will guide guests on quite retreats through city center greenery.

Beyond the gorgeous physical space and exceptional culinary team, Niccolo has brought on master hotelier, Duncan Palmer as Managing Director to oversee the positioning of The Murray as Hong Kong’s most prestigious hotel in Hong Kong. Prior to joining Niccolo, Duncan Palmer was Head of Design for The Langham globally and was successful in repositioning and developing many prestigious world class hotels; including, The Savoy, The Connaught, and The Langham. To learn more about Duncan Plamer’s plans to position The Murray as Hong Kong’s’ next world class hotel destination, please read our exclusive interview with Mr. Palmer.

 

Interview with Duncan Palmer, Managing Director of The Murray, Hong Kong

 TL: With an established career of repositioning some of the world finest hotels; including, The Langham, The Savoy, and The Connaught, what will be the most exciting aspect for you in positioning The Murray as Niccolo’s flagship hotel and Hong Kong’s newest luxury hotel?

DP: The Murray will be the newest luxury hotel to open in Hong Kong after a few years. Positioning this hotel alongside some of the city’s best is what excites me the most. Last year, while skiing in Zermatt, I considered that I call the Matterhorn, the mountain of all mountains. Seeing the Matterhorn, I was inspired by the idea of making The Murray the Matterhorn of hotels. Along the way, a strong team of experienced and passionate hoteliers have joined me to position this iconic landmark at the very top of the market.  Being surrounded by a very strong team, who are driven to create something which the people of Hong Kong will be very proud of is quite thrilling.

TL: The design of three story archway at the entrance of the Murray is quite dramatic and unique to Hong Kong. Can you describe the sense of arrival that guests will experience at the hotel?

DP: The dramatic arrival into The Murray is progressive.  It is rare in Hong Kong to have a stand-alone building with its very own driveway.  The approach up Cotton Tree Drive and down Garden Road, into the Hotel’s courtyard and around the old Cassia tree is akin to arriving into a grand private home.  The excitement continues when you pass through the imposing arches and enter the sophisticated, contemporary urban chic lobby.

There will be a degree of serenity and calm in the arrival experience unique to The Murray.  No other hotel in Hong Kong has a private road which gives a sense of destination, a feeling that you have made a discreet yet exceptional entrance.

TL: What makes a great hotel bar in terms of service, atmosphere and clientele, and what will the Lobby and Rooftop Bars offer guests distinctive to The Murray and Hong Kong?

DP: Great bars are places for stylish and sophisticated interactions with customers. While personalising and tailoring a cocktail to the customer is essential, the personality and right talent of the people you select for this role will make a difference. Probing a customer with the right finesse can open the senses.

The lobby bar is a Wall Street-style, trend-setting space serving handcrafted cocktails shaken or stirred by engaging mixologists. Open early in the morning to serve freshly baked croissants and a quick cup of the city’s best brew, the lobby bar will also offer a light lunch menu. The main bar in the hotel however is the stunning rooftop bar and restaurant with breath-taking views of the business district’s skyline and The Peak. The flamboyant and energetic atmosphere will feature conceptual cocktails, sharing platters and tapas.

TL: How will the variety of food and beverage concepts and atmospheres offered throughout The Murray create a special destination for both locals and international travellers? 

DP: Five restaurants and bars for the 336-room hotel will showcase a variety of contemporary urban chic dining destinations, which will be less formal than many hotel establishments yet stylish in their own way. Each of the concepts’ design will set the stage, platform and atmosphere for each unique space. The Murray’s restaurants and bars will be places to see and be seen while managed by a team who distinctively engage our guests.

TL: With all natural finishing, can you describe the approach to curating artwork for The Murray? 

DP: The Murray, as part of Niccolo Hotels, is driven by a brand ethos which is inspired, in part, by luxury fashion retail.  Art has been selected keeping with this theme and the positioning of each area.

TL: I understand that a specific scent has been formulated for The Murray. Can you tell us about this process and where this signature scent will be found throughout the hotel?

DP: The scent which will be used by Niccolo Hotels is still being formulated.  The creation of the scent began with a thorough assessment of the brand and what it stands for, and the people who consider it an iconography and extension of themselves.  An expert “nose” then suggests the base, middle and top notes for the scent, which will be used at the lobby level and most of the common areas to uplift the arrival experience.  The scent will also be used to create some gifts and retail items, such as diffusers and ambient sprays.

TL: What are some examples of personalised luxury experiences around food, art and local culture that guests will be able to experience at The Murray?

DP: Niccolo’s City Insiders, which are a new breed of in-the-know concierges, will impart personal insider tips and open doors to the cool, the new, the hip and the happening around food, art and the local Hong Kong culture. As they are plugged into the local scene, our engaged hosts have an undeniable energy and zest for life. So, whether you fancy a wet shave on your way to the office, a visit to an artist’s studio to shop for a new painting, or a hunt for an original Macintosh raincoat, we’ll have a talented team of people who’ll make your stay unique and personal.

 

Photography & Video have been provided by The Murray.

The Murray Hotel’s USD 1 billion-dollar development, led by Fosters and Partners, will give a new life to Hong Kong’s iconic heritage building. Boasting a contemporary urban chic design, the hotel will offer 336 guest rooms and suites over 25 floors with 1,900sm of the city’s most flexible event space, many with outdoor terraces and views of the Hong Kong Park, the Peak and the Skyline. Most distinctive will be the Arches, a three-story event space complimented by Hong Kong’s finest Cantonese Michelin star restaurant, Guo Fu Lou with the design concept led by Andre Fu. This iconic landmark property will be the flagship hotel of the Niccolo Brand by Wharf Hotel Development. Opening late 2017.

 

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