One hotel group’s journey to forge a new path in luxury, in the heart of a bustling city
While legendary Venetian explorer and merchant, Marco Polo, is credited with bringing China to the forefront of early trade and travel routes, it was this father, Niccolo, who first ventured there. This spirit of exploration and discovery lives on in Niccolo Hotels; a subsidiary of the Marco Polo Hotels chain, which is owned by dynamic premier company, Wharf Holdings, Ltd.
The group’s latest quest, The Murray, a Niccolo Hotel in Hong Kong, is set to open up a new realm of contemporary luxury for the savvy, sophisticated traveler.
The remaking of an icon
From the days of Niccolo and Marco Polo to now, Hong Kong has evolved into one of the world’s busiest, most dense territories of the world. As a thriving global financial hub, things move at dizzying speeds, on a landscape that is ever changing. Cultural conservation, sadly, often falls to the wayside, or is lost in the throes of modernization. Niccolo Hotels is helping to change that, with its current undertaking to preserve the Murray building, whilst transforming it into a luxuriant urban oasis.
Located on Cotton Tree Drive in Central, smack between the hustle and bustle of the business district and the verdant sanctuary of Hong Kong Park, The Murray building is one of Hong Kong’s distinct icons. Built in 1969, the notable 27-storey office structure has won several awards for its eye-catching, energy efficient architecture.
“It’s what I like to call ‘Sexy Sixties Architecture,” quips Philip Schaetz, VP for Sales and Marketing, Niccolo and Marco Polo Hotels. “This project is set to be the pride of the Niccolo Hotels group. Building restoration and conservation is still a new thing in Hong Kong. Usually, a building is just torn down and rebuilt from scratch.”
Timeless beauty meets urban chic
With renowned architects, Foster + Partners, at the helm of the project, The Murray will be a showcase of luxuriant urban chic, seamlessly integrated with timeless integrated with timeless beauty. The hotel will redefine the standards of contemporary opulence with 336 stylish and rooms, a stunning rooftop bar, breathtaking views if the city, and a roster of signature restaurants.
Guestrooms will boast spacious accommodations (a rarity in Hong Kong, really) of 50-square meters or larger, and will feature the floor to ceiling, uniquely recessed windows for which The Murray is known. The windows allow for daylight to stream through, without direct heat from the morning sun. Room design will incorporate surfaces covered with rare stones, leather and textiles to create a sophisticated sanctuary for discriminating urban travelers.
“I am quietly confident this will become the preferred hotel in Hong Kong for visiting dignitaries, captains of industry and leaders in style,” shares Duncan Palmer, the hotel’s managing director. “They will appreciate the sophisticated and international standard of hospitality that the Niccolo brand delivers,” he adds.
A gem on the hospitality scene
As the first significant new luxury hotel to open in Hong Kong for many years, The Murray is expected to breathe new life into the city’s hospitality industry. Beyond that, it is expected to make a tangible mark on the global scene as well.
Already, there is quite a buzz about the project – the hotel takes its inspiration from the luxury retail market, and is poised to be a platform on which travelers who desire something more and people with a high degree of self-awareness come together.
“If Hong Kong is the Pearl of the Orient, The Murray is the Diamond of Hong Kong. Diamonds are forever, and the Murray will also be forever,” says Stephen Ng, Chairman and Managing Director of the Wharf Holdings, Ltd.
In the spirit of Niccolo and Marco Polo, chart your course and set your plans to discover new worlds of hospitality when The Murray, a Niccolo Hotel, opens its doors in October of this year.
For more information on The Murray, visit www.themurrayaniccolohotel.com
By ANGIE DUARTE