Hotel Indigo Hong Kong Island;
246 Queen's Rd. E., Hong Kong; 1-877-660-8550; ichotelsgroup.com/hotelindigo; 138 rooms and suites from $269 per night.
A cool, glassy spire recently installed in the heart of Wanchai, one of Hong Kong's most vibrant and historic districts, Hotel Indigo is very much a reflection of its surroundings. Just opened in May, Indigo offers a boutique feel and a contemporary take on its traditional neighbours, with a commitment to telling the community's stories . Funky lighting throughout carries on Wanchai's history as a place of neon and nightlife. Card drawers and Chinese lettering on the furniture in the Skybar recall a nearby lane once lined with greeting-card vendors. Rubik's cubes and miniature cars on your pillow at night echo Tai Yuen Street. And a giant gold dragon wraps the building, with a glowing pearl – the rooftop, glass-bottom infinity pool – in its mouth.
Sitting right in the centre of Wanchai (think: tea rooms, open-air markets and tiny shops packed with tropical produce), a few steps out the door will take you to the very best of old Hong Kong Island. Ask at the front desk for an illustrated map, which will guide you to landmarks, temples, colonial buildings and quieter enclaves such as Sun, Moon and Star streets, which offer great cafés, wine bars and a little respite from the hustle and bustle.
While rooftop pools may be de rigueur among East Asian hotels, very few throw in such a thrill. Cantilevered a vertiginous 29 stories over the bustle below, you can stare down through the pool's glass bottom – and be thankful you're not stuck in the matchbox-sized gridlock.
If I could change one thing
Small and hip is great, but "boutique" usually equals "no concierge," and that's true here. While front desk staff are helpful and attentive, in a city with as many options as Hong Kong, it would've been nice to have a expert to advise on dining, transportation and attractions.
Whom you'll meet
Well-travelled, savvy and often youngish men and women who have seen their fair share of faceless luxury hotels and desire something more personal and rooted in its surroundings.
Room with a view
In a neighbourhood as packed as Wanchai, great views can be hard to come by, but my room – 1903 – gave a great perspective out of the floor-to-ceiling windows. I could take in a cross-section of the best of Hong Kong: skyscrapers, street traffic and Victoria Peak.
Eat in or eat out?
Stay here for their lovely breakfast, breads are baked fresh each morning by a pastry chef who opened up shop nearby after decamping from the Four Seasons. For dinner, check out the Top 10 local restaurants provided in Indigo's in-room compendium. No. 4 looks good: If you're headed to the dim sum at Fook Lam Moon, the guide advises: "best to wear pants with an elastic waist."
The writer was a guest of the hotel.