Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Hotel Icon: Designed to impress

I recently wrote a post about my dillydallying with my hotel choices for last weekend's Hong Kong trip. Anyway, we ended up at Hotel Icon, a new hotel that sits close to the likes of the Regal Kowloon, Intercontinental, and Shangri-la hotels in Tsim Sha Tsui. The hotel is still in a soft opening phase since April. It's that new! And it's that new that most taxi drivers don't even know where it is. So you need to show them a map or a hotel card.

The grand staircase at the lobby. Right underneath is the concierge desk.

Hotel Icon is a five-star hotel that boasts of an iconic roster of talents that comprise its design team, headlined by renowned architects Sir Terence Conran, Rocco Yim, and William Lim. The hotel also credits Dr. Patrick Blanc for its awesome vertical garden. And I tell you, the lobby alone already impresses.

The lobby. I've seen much grander lobbies from hotels here in Manila but this one is stunning nonetheless.

The hotel's design is modern contemporary, and offers a lot -- and I mean a lot -- of large open spaces that add up to its grandeur, particularly the lobby. The design also offers the lobby lots of natural light, which is most welcome.

The lobby's centerpiece is a pair of uniquely designed chairs that when put together, form a circle.

The front desk, which is a very well-lit area.

Hotel Icon has also upped the ante in terms of everything modern, including the front desk. There's no signing on paper upon checking in and out here; you do it on this screen below:

Another striking feature of the lobby is its vertical garden. Apart from marveling at it, it's also nice to know you're fed with enough oxygen even when inside the building.

Dr. Patrick Blanc, as mentioned, is credited for this stunning creation. He must be really good at it. After all, he's done more than 200 of these already.

The garden also extends to the hotel's ground floor restaurant, Green. How befitting.

Maybe it's just me, but I'm still not solved on the light-colored wood. I think dark wood looks more expensive. But then again, maybe it's just me.

My Bibe basking in the freedom of space. Lots of space.

Mickey Mouse, is that you? This trio of chairs cum tables accompany each of the two grand wooden seats.

There's also a restaurant at the rear end of the lobby, elevated though. Christened "Green," it shares the same freedom of huge open spaces and that awesome vertical garden as that of the lobby's. The colors here are dominated by black, gray, and white, with sudden bursts of mustard yellow. It was unfortunate, however, that we never got to experience this spot as we were only able to dine at the hotel's other restaurant, The Market.

Nice setting, eh?

The view of the restaurant from the second floor.

With this huge an amount of green, no wonder this restaurant was named Green.

While this post is mainly about the architectural design, I'd also like to mention the hotel staff who were just utterly efficient and very polite. They greet you with a smile ready on their faces. I also loved their uniform, which was kind of upbeat and less formal, something different from most hotels.

They were also very attentive. At one point we asked the concierge about their shuttle service (Oh, I didn't tell you about that; they have a free shuttle service around Tsim Sha Tsui every 30 minutes.) and were told that the next trip was about ten minutes away, so we waited at the lobby. A few minutes later a bus arrived, which we thought was it so we headed for the door. One hotel staff promptly stopped us and politely told us it was a different bus. Amazing, because that guy wasn't even in on our conversation with the concierge! Very alert! Clearly it's not only Hotel Icon's architecture that's designed to impress but their customer service as well. So props for that!

Room rates here start at around HK$1,500 a night for a city view room, and can go north of HK$4,000 a night for a club suite. Discounts are offered for advance bookings. Also, there's an existing offer where you stay for two nights and you get the third night free. That, however, is only for bookings made up to June 30 and for stays until September 8. So you need to hurry!

You might wanna see how the rooms at Hotel Icon look like. You can also check their website ( but you'll hardly find any real photos there, as the ones featured are merely renderings.

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