In June 2014, a 68-room boutique hotel debuted on the upper steps of Pottinger Street, named for Hong Kong’s first governor—Sir Henry Pottinger—and one of Hong Kong’s oldest stone lanes. It’s tucked just far enough away from the business and bustle of the Central district to feel decades away. In celebration of its location in old-yet-modern Central, the Pottinger blends Chinese heritage and European flair; the sunlit rooms are adorned with blue-and-white vases, cream leather chairs, and pink flower-and-bird wall panels that combine Eastern motifs with Western painting styles. Room decorations, including jade pendants (symbolizing prosperity, longevity, and peace) and tea sets were chosen from Central district shops. Six suites are named in honor of local streets—Hollywood, Wellington, and, of course, Pottinger—and black-and-white photos of Central taken by world-renowned photographer and film director Fan Ho in the 1950s and '60s further celebrate the neighborhood, one of Ho’s favorite places on Earth. Guests discover that the markets and street stalls depicted in the moody photos are still right outside their floor-to-ceiling windows. In-room documentaries about Fan Ho and Pottinger Street bring the whole experience to life.
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In recent years, Central Hong Kong has established itself as a hotbed for art and heritage. The Pottinger hotel is located on Pottinger Street—the city's first stone slab street—and is surrounded by lauded art institutions such as Gagosian Gallery and the newly transformed Police Married Quarters complex (PMQ). Central is where the first Chinese-run photography studios in Hong Kong were opened, and many camera stores still stand near the hotel. The area is known for shopping—which ranges from the antique stores of Hollywood Road to ultramodern malls—as well as for old and new dining. Local dining traditions include ramshackle dai pai dong stalls such as Sing Hueng Yuen, egg tarts at Tai Cheong Bakery, and the roast goose at Yung Kee Restaurant in the hopping Lan Kwai Fong nightlife hub.
Need to Know
Rooms: 61 rooms, 7 suites; from $345. Check-in: 3 p.m.; check-out: noon. Dining options:The Pottinger has two restaurants, a cocktail bar, and a confections shop. Housed in a grand hall with heritage molding, Gradini Ristorante specializes in classic Italian dishes such as Tuscan sausage pasta and salted sea bass. Holytan whips up Japanese cuisine using French techniques, and the Envoy bar pays tribute to Sir Henry Pottinger with a high tea menu infused with cocktail pairings. Spa and gym details:There is neither a spa nor a gym on-site, but Pottinger guests have complimentary access to a gym down the road.
Who's it best for: History and photography buffs looking to explore one of Hong Kong’s oldest streets. Our favorite rooms: The six suites, each named after a different street in the Central district, are the most spacious and residential in style, with separate living rooms. But the mid-level Deluxe Rooms facing Pottinger Street have the best views of the street stalls and the city life that unfolds around them. Heritage tour:The Pottinger has put together a self-guided heritage tour that takes in, among other things, an old Catholic church, the emerging neighborhood around Tai Ping Shan Street, the Man Mo Temple (built in 1847), and the oldest market on Gage Street. The hotel’s map suggests doing some parts of the route on the historic Hong Kong tram and other parts with the help of the Central-Mid-Levels escalator, the longest outdoor escalator system in the world.