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By Gayatri Bhaumik | November 11th, 2020

Perhaps it’s because of its unlikely location, but Hotel Icon is a bit of a hidden gem in Hong Kong’s hotel scene. Tucked away in TST, a good 10-minute walk from the closest MTR exit – and even further from the Star Ferry –  so it’s a bit of a hike to get here. But, for intrepid guests who are willing to give up the easy commute, a surprisingly comfortable, easy stay awaits.

The hotel is attached to the local hospitality training school, so there are frequently students-in-training on the job. But, that doesn’t mean you should expect subpar service. In fact, it’s possible the junior staffers here face greater scrutiny and therefore ensure that the service is up to the mark.

Hotel Icon has had an uphill battle this year, facing pandemic-issued border closures and competitive staycation packages from the city’s most luxurious hotels. So, to entice guests, the hotel has put together what might just be the city’s most creative staycation offer. In partnership with British audio brand KEF, three of the property’s spacious top-tier suites have been turned into veritable tributes to music, themed around CantoPop, British Rock, or Jazz. Called We checked in to see what all the fuss about the “KEF Music Memory Lane” was about and discovered a truly fun take on the average staycation.

First Impressions

Hotel Icon is an unassuming property, but maybe that’s why it makes such an unexpected impact. Anyone that’s ever been here is probably most familiar with GREEN, the bright, airy lobby lounge that serves bites and drinks all day long. But, the hotel clearly has a few tricks up its sleeve. On arrival, we’re quickly whisked up to Above & Beyond, a space that’s part club and part restaurant. Check-in here is somewhat lengthy – thanks to COVID, there’s plenty of paperwork – but efficient, and at least it’s in comfortable surrounds.

Hotel Icon KEF British Rock Suite

The Room

Minutes later, we’re shown up to a C80 Suite that’s been turned into a homage to classic British Rock. The Beatles and David Bowie take center stage here, with books and posters of the two legends artfully arranged across the whole suite. As we step into the suite, a playlist of Brit-Rock classics is already playing – very appropriately, a personal favourite, David Bowie’s Rebel Rebel, is blasting. It takes a moment to get past all the music paraphernalia, but then the suite slowly reveals itself, offering surprising touches at every turn.

The living area boasts a massive modular couch backed by an equally massive worktable; the fully-loaded AV system features KEF speakers that are five feet tall and a big flatscreen; and there’s a well-stocked minibar that’s completely complimentary. Moving into the bedroom, a plush armchair and ottoman are turned towards postcard windows that offer exquisite harbor views, while the California King bed faces yet another flatscreen and smaller set of KEF speakers. It’s clear no part of the suite has been overlooked – even the bathroom has been very well thought out. There’s a massive walk-in shower with a deep-soak tub (also offering fabulous views), a big double vanity, and a separate dressing area that overlooks the living area (though this can be closed off with a sliding door).

Really though, it’s the small touches that impress. There’s a filtration tap so that guests can enjoy a steady stream of potable water without the need for plastic water bottles, and everything seems to have been designed very intuitively. The only issue we really had was with the light switches, which were a little temperamental.

The Staycation

The first few hours of our staycation were spend cocooned in our suit, rocking out to a surprisingly well-curated playlist featuring major Brit-Rock artists like Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, Elton John, and The Rolling Stones. To our delight, we also discover that there’s a curated list of movies to match with the theme that can be streamed through the room’s Apple TV (Bohemian Rhapsody went on immediately). There’s even a special in-room dining menu of snacks and drinks to match the theme – apparently, the open-face sandwiches were favorites of John Lennon.

hotel icon above and beyond restaurant

Eventually, we leave the suite and head back up to Above & Beyond. From 5pm-7pm, they host an extended cocktail hour, so we’re able to enjoy an aperitif and hors d’oeuvres before dinner. Later, we head across to the restaurant and settle into a table (once again, with fantastic views) to enjoy an exquisite Cantonese meal. The food here is truly solid – and that’s when we realize this is exactly the reason that Above & Beyond has a loyal following of its own. Everything from the Crispy Five Spice Sliced Angus Beef Brisket starter and Hong Kong-Style Peking Duck to the Wok-Fried Prawns in Chili Sauce and Fried Rice with Crab Meat, and Sakura Shrimps is flavorsome and well-executed.

The next morning begins at The Market, Hotel Icon’s all-day buffet restaurant. The spread is perfectly respectable, featuring everything from a Chinese classics, Western favorites, an extensive bread station, and plenty of fresh fruits and juices. Grab a table in the alfresco courtyard for the best experience.

Later, we head back upstairs to work off breakfast at the hotel gym. Well-equipped and flooded with natural light, the gym is a good place to start the day – the only caveat being that some of the machines can be a little tricky to use. Once you work up a sweat though, the pool is right next door and is a great way to take a dip and while away a few hours.

Some Final Thoughts

Hotel Icon might not be the first place you think of for a staycation in Hong Kong. But, the package launched in partnership with KEF is certainly worth checking out. It’s realxed, comfortable, and truly fun. It’s a great initiative by the hotel to allow them to stay competitive in the local market. If you’re looking for a staycation that offers more than the norm, this is the one to choose. Certainly, music lovers should get in here before the offer finishes.

KEF Music Memory Lane at Hotel Icon – from $3,800

  • 1-night stay in a themed suite for two people
  • Complimentary themed in-room snacks and cocktails for two
  • Unlimited usage of in-room KEF speakers
  • Complimentary access to themed movies and Spotify playlist
  • Complimentary Club access with afternoon tea and evening cocktails at Above & Beyond Lounge
  • One-hour private music tour and $1,000 coupon for KEF Music Gallery

Looking for more in-depth stories about Hong Kong? Check out our city living section.

Written by The Loop HK for Hotel Icon.
The author was a guest of Hotel Icon.