“This is a house, not a hotel”
Located high above the luxury shopping destination of Admiralty’s Pacific Place, The Upper House is a serene, peaceful and impeccably designed oasis high above the busy city streets of Hong Kong. Created by noted architect André Fu, this understated, intimate and award-winning space features just 117 spacious, neutrally and naturally decorated guest rooms and suites, all with the feel of a residential apartment. The property is part of The House Collective and features André’s design aesthetic based around an “upward journey” from the ground floor monumental “Stone Curtains” façade by Thomas Heatherwick to the tranquil upper floors overlooking the bright lights of Hong Kong. A series of specially commissioned artworks accompanies the journey up the tower.
There are four restaurants operated at the property including the Mediterranean inspired Salisterra, The Continental Restaurant & Bar, The Japanese Matcha Tea Shop & Café and The Lawn, a secret garden hideaway within the hotel’s environs. With wellness being a key philosophy embraced by The Upper House, there are a range of experiences to enhance body, mind and spirit including yoga and meditation sessions, fitness classes, a 24/7 gym with the latest exercise equipment and in-room pampering using Bamford’s organic products.
The Upper House is part of the House Collective which includes The Temple House (Chengdu), The Middle House (Beijing) and The Opposite House (Shanghai).
The Upper House is part of Pacific Place, a mixed-use development in Hong Kong and sits literally on top of a four-level shopping, entertainment and dining shopping emporium full of high-end stores, luxury boutiques and the Hong Kong branch of Harvey Nichols. It is part of a quartet of large, luxury hotels including the Conrad, Island Shangri-la and a JW Marriott as well as an exclusive apartment block. The Admiralty MTR station is also close by to take you swiftly to Central or across the harbour to Tsim Sha Tsui.
The trendy Starstreet precinct of edgy shops, vintage boutiques, cafés and laid-back bars is well worth a visit and for nature lovers, the botanical gardens and hiking trails nearby will take you up to Hong Kong’s hills. The green spaces of Hong Kong Park are also just a five minutes’ walk away.
The Upper House is approximately 35 kilometres from Hong Kong International Airport which, by private limo from the hotel’s private fleet of BMW cars, takes around 30 minutes to reach the property. Alternatively, the Airport Express train departs from the airport’s main arrival hall every ten minutes to Hong Kong Station in Central, a journey of around 25 minutes. From there, the MTR to Admiralty Station will take you close to the property’s front door or a taxi may speed up the process.
André Fu’s design marries natural materials with the sophisticated, clean lines of minimalism, lending a pleasing symmetry and tranquillity to these spacious guest sanctuaries. Even the bathrooms are spa-like with a signature limestone bathtub and rain showers alongside artisanal organic Bamford body and bath amenities. There are separate dressing rooms as standard with guest room views overlooking the mountain or the harbour from large picture windows. Other amenities include flat screen televisions with IPTV and video on demand; 2.1 surround sound; a dual temperature wine fridge; Espresso machine with a selection of teas and infusions; a yoga mat; a complimentary in-room Maxi Bar and unlimited filtered water. Accessible rooms are also available.
The accommodation is split between two categories of Studio – Studio 70 at 68 square metres and the larger Studio 80 at 78 square metres – and three categories of suite – Upper Suites at 114 square metres and the André Fu Suite and the Penthouse, both offering 182 square metres of living space.
Wood, glass and stone are three of the main components of the spacious Upper Suites with large living spaces feeling more like a residential apartment than a hotel suite with a selection of precision-placed coffee table books and curated artworks on show. Window seat cushions look out over Hong Kong, mountains and the harbour, perfect for watching the day turn into illuminated night. The materials used in the rooms layer neutral coloured texture over texture to offer a sleek modern harmony with no added flummery, just beautifully designed pieces prizing function over mere excessive decoration. There are also fingertip control panels for lighting and electronics.
The André Fu Suite is named in honour of the abiding relationship between the hotel’s designer and The Upper House. This secluded, sophisticated and contemporary space is perfect for both relaxation or entertaining with a muted palette of mineral blue, dusty mink and pale ivory. Facilities include a dining table accommodating up to 18 diners; a pantry area with oven and induction hob and a spa area with twin massage beds. The similarly sized two-bedroom Penthouse meanwhile offers panoramic vistas over Victoria Harbour and Hong Kong’s bright city lights, offering an accompanying residential vibe, albeit on a large scale.
The obvious benefits of staying at The Upper House is that you are slap, bang on top of a prestigious shopping mall of epic proportions, enhanced in 2011 by British designer Thomas Heatherwick. Sign up for a Traveller Pass with Pacific Place for a whole feast of rewards and gifts when shopping in the mall.
The Upper House is all about caring for people, so wellness and healthy living is an obvious focus. They offer a wide range of complimentary group yoga, meditation and fitness classes alongside a monthly running club which takes guests around the leafy surroundings of the property. There is also a 24/7 gym featuring a range of top-of-the-line TechnoGym equipment, free weights with personal trainers on hand if required plus a selection of in-room pampering treatments using Bamford’s organic body and skincare products.
Art is an integral part of The Upper House experience so be sure to eyeball the series of specially commissioned artworks located throughout the public areas of the property including Hiroshjwata Sawada’s water inspired installation, Rise, in the inner atrium. The property also runs a series of intimate signature Up Close talks with tastemakers and innovators, sparking peaceful debates and collaborations.
The impeccable style credentials of this beautifully designed intimate property make a stay here as luxurious and enjoyable as it can be for any design literate traveller longing for the harmony and symmetry of perfectly presented contemporary minimalism.
With the residential feel of a home– hence it is a House rather than a hotel – it is evident that care has been taken with every element of the property’s operation from the look to the restaurants, to the faultless, courteous service and the wellness aspects. Sustainability is also one of its core values. I cannot really fault it as it has everything I need in a temporary luxury abode and I look forward to the time when I return home to my Hong Kong “House” once again.
The signature Salisterra restaurant ("Salis" meaning salt and "terra" meaning earth), offers all day sophisticated and sustainable dining at the top of The Upper House with a dramatic colonnaded wooden entrance leading out to panoramic views sweeping across the city and Victoria Harbour. Designed with colours drawn from the Mediterranean, the menus and curated wine list reflect that region with dishes created by London-based Michelin starred chef, Jun Tanaka.
The feel is that of a neighbourhood eaterie with the open kitchen adding a touch of theatre whilst the semi-private tables are ideal for the specially created sharing menu. Expect handmade pastas, grilled fish and meat, innovative vegetarian selections, and homemade patisserie. There is also an interactive private dining room for ten people and for roaming the green spaces outside, enjoy a Salisterra picnic hamper. For an intimate, romantic meal, book The Nightery with personalised in-suite dining with a difference from the Salisterra team with a curated dining menu and favourite cocktails and wines served alongside.
The Continental Restaurant & Bar on Level Four is a European-styled café and bar featuring a menu awash with classic flavour combinations drawn from seasonal ingredients. This elegant space features a tranquil all year terrace with leather-clad columns, polished white marble complementing dark wood accents and custom soft leather banquette seating. Enjoy brunch during the weekends with a large choice of brunch plates and delicious and tempting desserts.
A secret garden with laidback vibes lies on level six, The Lawn’s sunny outdoor space is perfect for sipping glasses of wine, light bites, picnics or enjoying pop up collaborations.
Matchali, a Japanese Matcha Tea Shop and Café is also located on level six of The Upper House. With ceremonial grade matcha sourced handpicked from a tea farm in Uji Kyoto, this pop-up offers a range of hand-whisked superfood drinks such as Matcha and Hojicha Latte, Pumpkin Spice Latte and Dirty Matcha, a classic Matcha Latte with a shot of Café Kitsune espresso.
Swire Hotels understand that they have the power and ability to effect change in their impact on the environment through their actions and decisions. Their company is all about people power and they envision creating a network of like-minded individuals who share the company’s values, are sustainably minded and have the passion and will to grow, inspire and innovate. Working with partners, both small and large, they aim to lesson their burden on the environment.
For example, The House Collective has worked with British wellness brand Bamford since 2018 to supply their in-room amenities. Originally packaged in plastic, the brand has proactively changed to aluminium as a positive sustainable solution. 100% recyclable, the tubes are tamperproof and hygienic as well.
The Upper House, one of The House Collective’s four properties, pro-actively follows a sustainable operation and continually looks to find ways to creatively craft experiences for their guests that are both eco-conscious and support the local community.
Since 2018, they have partnered with Hong Kong Down Syndrome Association to offer vocational training and job experience to its members. They also work with Soap Cycling to collect lightly used bathroom amenities for redistribution to those in need. The Upper House works with Mother’s Choice, a charity serving children without families and pregnant teenagers in Hong Kong. They provide hospitality training to the fundraising team and contribute donations.
Another community partner is IMPACTHK which seeks to provide the homeless with a connection to friends and the community at large, offering safe havens in the hope that eventually, the homeless will settle into employment with their own homes. In 2020, The Upper House collaborated with international architectural studio to design a one-of-a-kind Christmas Tree which was auctioned off with all proceeds going to the charity.