mondrian hong kong

Photo: Mondrian Hong Kong

Mondrian Hong Kong is symbolic of one of two trends amongst hospitality providers that reached peak prominence last year. The first is the building of hotels over the graveyards of old buildings, which, in Singapore, is not hard to do given this country’s distaste for anything run down or remotely un-shiny (read: strata malls). 

The second is the one that fascinates me more — property proprietors taking over an existing hotel and revamping it from the inside out. In Singapore, a handful of hotels exemplify this — Conrad Singapore Orchard (former Regent Hotel), voco Orchard Singapore (former Hilton Singapore), Hilton Singapore Orchard (former Mandarin Orchard Singapore), and Pullman Singapore Orchard (former Grand Park Orchard). 

Okay. So, not just a handful, I know.

The same has since happened in Hong Kong — Regent Hong Kong (former InterContinental Hong Kong), Hyatt Centric Victoria Harbour Hong Kong (former Hotel Vic on the Harbour), and Dorsett Wanchai Hong Kong (former Cosmopolitan Hotel Hong Kong). The youngest of this motley crew of rebrands is Mondrian Hong Kong at Tsim Tsa Tsui, which opened in December 2023. 

Not a mere rebrand 

Still, it would be unfair and egregious to whittle what Mondrian Hong Kong has accomplished as a mere rebrand. After all, Ennismore, the parent company of Mondrian worldwide, did not simply take over The Panorama Hotel and give it a new coat of paint. Rather, it has lovingly embraced the former property’s curves and pointy edges (of which there are many) and gutted the interior, transforming it into a bright, cheery, and design-forward space that is not afraid of colours. 

mondrian hong kong
Deluxe King Room. (Photo: Mondrian Hong Kong)
mondrian hong kong
Harbour Deluxe Room. (Photo: Mondrian Hong Kong)

I take pains to mention Mondrian Hong Kong’s love for colours only because I stayed in too many properties last year that preferred the monochromatic, minimal touch. It’s clean, it’s seamless, but it’s also, pardon my French, boring as hell. Thankfully, the rooms at Mondrian Kong eschew Singaporeans’ bland love for “wabi-sabi” and “Scandi-anything”, opting instead for bold and unabashed hues. 

It doesn’t just stop at the fabrics and pillows, no. We’re talking bespoke carpets adorned with geometric coloured patterns, chandeliers reminiscent of lanterns, and chairs and tables giving mid-century modern contemporary realness. In each room, on the wall just above a bedside table, is a framed artwork by Angel Hui titled “Swimming in Blue-and-white”. Small Preiser figures are perched this way and arranged at random, resulting in 324 custom artworks for each room that are slightly different. 

mondrian hong kong
“Swimming in Blue-and-white”. (Photo: Artsy.net)

And while the interiors scream cool, it is outside at Hart Avenue that Mondrian Hong Kong’s edgy spirit truly manifests. Barely twenty steps away from the hotel’s lobby, a former money exchange shop lot has been bought over and made into “The Corner Shop”, an art space for small-scale exhibitions by local artists. 

Mondrian Hong Kong has dedicated this delightfully awkward wedge-shaped space to the art of the pop-up, envisioning it as the quintessential cornerstone of modern pop culture. On the week of my visit, Caroline Tronel’s iconic “Giant Crushed Cans” installation graced the space, inviting viewers to embrace sustainability and sparking conversations on environmental consciousness. 

It’s all super hip and super cool.

mondrian hong kong
The Corner Shop. (Photo: Mondrian Hong Kong)
mondrian hong kong
Giant Crushed Cans. (Photo: Mondrian Hong Kong)

Dining options

And if you came for drinks or food at Mondrian Hong Kong, an elevator at the side that cuts through the al-fresco seating area of neighbouring Jagger restaurant promises an entrance unlike any other. You can, of course, access the dining establishments by the hotel’s lobby, but what fun is that, especially when you can traipse through a narrow corridor, passing by diners mid-dinner and conversations?

mondrian hong kong
AVOCA. (Photo: Mondrian Hong Kong)
mondrian hong kong
Spritz your cocktail! (Photo: Mondrian Hong Kong)

If you choose to enter via the route less trodden, a glass-walled lift whisks you away to Mondrian Hong Kong’s 38th floor, where cocktail bar AVOCA offers breathtaking views of Hong Kong Island and Victoria Harbour. Here, menu selections come through an olfactory experience where a box of spray bottles allows guests to spritz a tasting of each cocktail on the menu before deciding on one for the evening. 

mondrian hong kong
Carna by Dario Cecchini. (Photo: Mondrian Hong Kong)

One floor above is Carna by Dario Cecchini, a contemporary Italian steakhouse created by the legendary butcher Dario Cecchini, featuring a nose-to-tail concept that utilises all cuts of meat, thereby eliminating waste and promoting sustainability. Still, I thought that the restaurant’s interior departed too sharply from Mondrian Hong Kong’s design sensibility throughout the property, here, opting for warm dark woods, dim lighting, and an opulent presentation that feels almost, well, startling.

Thankfully, the food was faultless, featuring large slabs of dried-aged ribeye and striploin carved and served tableside by a team of servers, all eager to serve me the best Tuscan cuisine can offer. 

Serious business

Still, of course, not all properties are perfect — that would be unrealistic. The shower area, for instance, drains quite glacially, as if the floor wasn’t adequately sloped, so the run-off into the drain was more swift. Water also splashes outside due to the open shower screen concept — a bane if you’re the type who showers aggressively. 

mondrian hong kong
The gym facilities. (Photo: Mondrian Hong Kong)

Noticeably missing are hotel amenities such as a swimming pool or an in-house spa service, which I thought should be par for the course. But this is Hong Kong, where space is at a premium, so luxury frills have to be measured against economic considerations of room occupancy. At least a well-equipped gym on the second floor overlooks bustling Hart Ave and is spacious enough for some serious rounds of HIIT. 

And while the lack of wellness offerings may be a deal breaker for some, their absence is why it’s safe to assume Mondrian Hong Kong is a business hotel. One that could comfortably accommodate business travellers simply looking for a place of fitful rest with a view that would take their breath away. 

mondrian hong kong
The hotel lobby. (Photo: Mondrian Hong Kong)

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the hotel’s impeccable service, which was clearly on display the day I left for a further three-night stay at The Upper House. Upon returning from lunch, I found my luggage dutifully loaded by the friendly folks of Mondrian Hong Kong into The Upper House’s car, ready to whisk me away across the Victoria Harbour. 

With stellar all-around service from the ground floor to the room (I cannot get over the cries of “Welcome back, Mr Zat!” that echo through the lobby upon my return), a bed that will knock you out like cough syrup to the system, and dining options that feel exhaustive, I could willingly forgive the missing pool. So would you.