With four destination restaurants, spacious suites and soaring park views, The Murray defies Hong Kong’s reputation as a space-strapped city. Standing 25 storeys tall in the heart of Central, this 1969 landmark borders Hong Kong Park, giving it views of the financial district and leafy botanic gardens. The movers and shapers at celebrated firm Foster + Partners have treated the interiors to a top-to-tail refit, replacing old government offices with sumptuous suites, decadent marble bathrooms and sleek mid-century furnishings. The building’s not lost its 1960’s heritage, however, holding on to arresting arches and hooded windows, an award-winning showcase of design that shields the hotel from the subtropical sun.
Get this when you book through us:
A cocktail each at Murray Lane and a guaranteed upgrade for guests staying in any room category below the Signature Suite
Noon, but flexible, subject to availability. Earliest check-in, 2pm.
Double rooms from $293.74 (HK$2,300), excluding tax at 10 per cent.
Rates don’t include breakfast. The buffet (HK$325 for adults, HK$160 for children) includes fresh bread and pastries, cereals, fruit, cold cuts and hot dishes (both Chinese and Western). A la carte items start at HK$80.
Set at a 45-degree angle, the Murray’s recessed windows have won design awards for their ability to let in plenty of light without raising the room temperature.
There are no disappointments here: the smallest rooms are 38sq m with marble bathrooms and views of the city or surrounding park. From there on, they get increasingly indulgent: N2 Grand Rooms and above have freestanding oval bath tubs, and all the suites have separate living areas with sleek designer furniture.
There’s a heated lap pool in the spa area, with a wall of greenery on one side and loungers on the other, plus a large hot tub (known as the vitality pool).
The spa has five treatment rooms (three singles and two for couples), some of which have a private hammam or sauna. Rejuvenate travel-weary muscles with a tailored massage, or try a beauty treatment with Grown Alchemist and Kerstin Florian products. For a more in-depth session, book in with the hotel’s professional nutritionist, who’ll conduct body tests, put together a customised diet plan and even liaise with the chefs to create bespoke menus for your stay. Personal trainers are on hand to help you work up a sweat in the gym, or join one of the yoga, tai-chi or dance classes in the studio.
In the hotel, smart, snappy dressing will keep you right. If you’re planning on hiking to Victoria Peak, bring a sturdy pair of trainers – the climb takes a good 90 minutes.
All the common areas are wheelchair accessible and there are eight specially-adapted rooms.
In Popinjays, wander out onto the terrace with your pre-dinner drinks before settling into a table by the window. If you’re a party of four or more and looking for something special, book one of Guo Fu Lou’s private dining spaces.
Popinjays is arguably the most fashionable of the lot, so don’t be shy when it comes to dressing up. Mr Smith will need a shirt or jacket for Guo Fu Lou.
There are four. Popinjays, the rooftop restaurant, is named in honour of the cockatoos that reside in the park, paying homage to their bright liveries with blue furniture and vibrant artwork. The modern European cuisine is the work of chef Didier Quennouelle, who has put the full weight of his 25 years' experience into practice – opt for the four- or six-course seasonal tasting menu (available Tuesday to Thursday). Helmed by chef Ricky Chan, the Tai Pan also has an international lean, and the interiors of burgundy leather, black marble and gleaming metal have a touch of the brasserie about them. Housed in a two-storey pavilion, Guo Fu Lou is the hotel’s Michelin-starred Cantonese restaurant, where chef Andy Chan and his team prepare dishes that are rooted in Chinese tradition, but every inch adventurous enough to make this restaurant one of the city’s best. Garden Lounge, on the ground floor, is a more casual space for all-day light dining and the Murray’s signature afternoon tea, served Tuesdays to Sundays from 2.30pm to 4.30pm. The Garden Lounge is open for leisurely breakfasts every day from 6.30am to 10.45am.
Attached to the lobby, Murray Lane is a seductive cocktail bar with a mirror like ceiling, leather lounge furniture and gold-toned artwork. Try one of the signature cocktails from the Tape, a list of drinks inspired by the surrounding financial district, or the Cassia, named after the pink-blossoming Cassia Javanica tree at the entrance. The rooftop bar in Popinjays is open Tuesdays to Saturdays from 5pm to midnight (1am on Fridays and Saturdays).
The Garden Lounge serves lunch (noon to 2.30pm) and dinner (6.30pm to 11pm). Popinjays serves dinner Tuesday to Saturday (6.30pm to 10.30pm, 11pm Thursday to Saturday). The Tai Pan and Guo Fu Lou serve lunch (noon to 3pm) and dinner (6.30pm to 10.30pm).
Breakfast can be served in-room and at other time you can order a wide range of hot dishes while the restaurants are open, with a reduced menu offered overnight.
The Murray is in the heart of Central on Hong Kong island, overlooking leafy Hong Kong Park.
Hong Kong International can be reached directly from most European hubs and larger US airports. Depending on the traffic, it takes around 40 minutes to drive to the hotel; one-way transfers in a Mercedes-Benz S Class (seats three guests) are HK$1,400. If there are more of you, opt for the larger Mercedes-Benz V Class (which has space for five) for HK$1,600. Our Smith24 team are on hand to arrange flights and transfers.
If you’re travelling light, catch the Airport Express to Hong Kong Station, then take a five-minute taxi to the hotel. If you’ve got anything more than a carry-on, you’ll be better off taking a cab straight from the airport.
You won't need your own set of wheels in the city – the public transport system is fast and efficient, and if you choose to drive, you’ll probably encounter traffic.
Worth getting out of bed for
One of the Murray’s biggest assets is its parkside location – the green space right outside means it isn’t hemmed like many other buildings in Hong Kong. To make the most of the vistas, have at least one dinner at modish rooftop restaurant Popinjays, which gets particularly lively around sunset. If you want to stretch your legs, the park immediately around the hotel is strewn with sculptures, making it something of an open-air art gallery. Once you've taken a turn around Hong Kong Park, stroll over to the Garden Road Lower Terminus, where you can buy tickets for the famous Peak Tram that climbs to Victoria Peak. Or, if you’re up for a challenge, forgo the easy option and hike the Central Green Trail instead. It’s no stroll in the park – the path is over three kilometers long and uphill all the way – but the lush greenery on either side makes it feel like you've left the city altogether. Back at ground level, there’s the Hong Kong Zoological Gardens and Botanical Gardens, just up the road from the hotel. It's on the smaller side, but you can see a range of monkeys, reptiles and birds, as well as exotic flowers. For an arts-and-culture hit that’s off the beaten track, head to PMQ, a set of Grade III-listed buildings filled with design boutiques, art studios and pop-up event spaces. Both blocks were originally used to house married police officers, before the government repurposed the buildings in 2010, creating a not-for-profit hub for Hong Kong’s creative industries.
Hankering after a hearty brunch? Try Fang Fang, a stylish pan-Asian restaurant in LKF Tower. Both the interiors and menu have one foot in China’s traditionalist past, and the other in its forward-thinking present. The fixed-price brunch menu gets you a starter, all-you-can-eat small plates, a main and dessert. Having started your culinary tour in the east, swing westward at Motorino, a celebrated New York-style pizzeria. We can heartily endorse the Cremini Mushroom, topped with its namesake fungi along with fior di latte, Italian sausage, garlic, thyme, pecorino, Campania olives and extra-virgin olive oil. Spread across the top floors of the Shanghai Tang Mansion, restaurant and salon Duddell's is the preferred haunt of Hong Kong’s art-inclined elite. A world-class art collection and inch-perfect interiors by Ilse Crawford make a fine backdrop for the restaurant, a Michelin-starred exercise in modern Cantonese cuisine. If you arrive early, head up to the verdant garden terrace for an apéritif. If you’re in the market for some serious spoiling, book dinner at Mott 32, a fine-dining restaurant with decadent Joyce Wang interiors and a menu by acclaimed Cantonese chef Lee Man Sing, who netted two Michelin stars for the flagship Mandarin Oriental. The Peking duck is a firm favourite: you’ll need to order in advance as it takes more than 48 hours to cook in the restaurant's custom-made ovens.
Just north of the botanical gardens, speakeasy Stockton is inspired by the rakish and disreputable drinking holes found in 19th-century London. All the hallmarks of the best sort of dive bar are in evidence – leather armchairs, exposed brickwork and a fine selection of single malts. If you like the sound of a bar that threatens to eject patrons who request Jägerbombs, this is the place for you.
We arrived at the Murray in central Hong Kong towards the end of an Asia book tour for our Flower Color Guide. After teaching and lecturing in front of packed audiences in Seoul, Singapore and Guangzhou, we were very weary travelers.
What an absolute delight, then, when our cab pulled up to the Murray. From the vast marble lobby and enthusiastic clerks at the door we knew were in for a treat. Sure enough, our (several) oversize suitcases were whisked up to our room on the 23rd floor while we checked in.
Before we get to the room – and, oh boy, we will – we must address some of the details. A vast wall mirror and tufted velvet bench adorned the many elevators – perfect for an outfit selfie; why else are there mirrors? Leading down the dark wood hallway to our room were accents of black marble and calming recessed lighting. (This hotel gets lighting).
Now, about the room… It’s chic, in a word. Totally beyond chic, probably. A gorgeous floral arrangement provided by Ellermann flowers – who were hosting our book tour stop in Hong Kong – waited for us on the bedside table. A perfect welcome gift.
Size-wise, there was plenty of room for two to have a lavish and comfortable stay without crawling all over each other. The design felt very modern and gender neutral; nothing skewing too feminine or masculine. Dark wood floors, white linens, and pops of vibrant velvets were all easy on the eye. Immediately we raided the mini fridge for snacks and fell onto the bed.
Oh, the bed! Just what these two weary travelers needed: super soft linens, a wonderfully plush comforter with a perfect not-too-hard-not-too-soft mattress and pillows to match. We obligingly passed out for a cat nap before unpacking.
As two New Yorkers living in very small studio apartments, we know all about maximizing closet space. This room had ample closet and drawer space for us to spread out all our outfit options and comfortably store our luggage. We especially appreciated the cloth laundry bags and plush robes waiting for us.
Onto the bathroom… It’s a white marble and gold fixture paradise. The toilet and tub separated from the sink with sliding doors and privacy-glass options. All amenities were Grown Alchemist: a personal favorite. The tub featured a waterfall soak and jets which you better believe we took full advantage of. We always judge a hotel room by its bathroom (doesn’t every design-obsessed city dweller?) and we were both pleasantly surprised at both the aesthetics and functionality of this space. A little oasis during our hectic Hong Kong schedule.
Elsewhere, the lobby lounge is perfect for people-watching (the Murray attracts some of Hong Kong’s most fashion-forward travelers) and cocktail sipping. We both enjoyed a late afternoon drink taking them all in with some light bites (try the chicken wings). Our mornings were fuelled by breakfast from the main second-floor restaurant where a bountiful spread of fresh fruit and pastries and eggy concoctions galore greeted us each morning.
The pool area was another favorite spot: a gorgeous layout with a cold plunge pool, a lap pool and a lush overgrown green wall. Our schedule didn’t quite allow for a visit to the spa (although we snuck a look at the facilities and it looked fabulous) but we did put the hotel gym to good use on our off time and both were impressed with the selection of cardio machines and weight options.
This was only our second trip to Hong Kong for work and we absolutely fell in love with the tiered, winding streets and bustling city energy. The Murray was our perfect sanctuary to unwind and freshen up; a relaxing home base to recharge. Until next time…
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