Header photo courtesy of Eaton HK
What is a boutique hotel, exactly? Unlike grand hotels that aim to provide unfettered luxury—which we’re not knocking, by the way—boutique hotels specialise in hospitality with a singular point of view. A common characteristic of boutique hospitality is its focus on aesthetics, so you’ll often find that properties have been designed around a certain theme or look. You might not get an infinity pool or full-service spa, but what boutique hospitality offers is a one-of-a-kind experience.
From design-led hotels inspired by Chinese mythology to mahjong-themed hostels, Hong Kong has a lot of good boutique options. Read on for some of our favourite boutique hotels and hostels in the city.
One of the best things about boutique hospitality is being able to stay at a hotel that pays homage to the culture and personality of its home city—The Fleming, a design-led hotel in Wan Chai that was unveiled after a large-scale renovation in 2017, is one such property. Upon stepping inside, you may suddenly be struck with a sense of déjà vu: With its palette of rich blues and greens, brass hardware, and reversible wooden chairs in the lobby, The Fleming looks like the Star Ferry as designed by Wes Anderson. Its on-site restaurant, Black Sheep’s Osteria Marzia, keeps the maritime theme going with its seafood-focused menu of coastal Italian fare.
The Fleming, 41 Fleming Road, Wan Chai | (+852) 3607 2225
Design buffs with a soft spot for angular Brutalist structures and the work of Japanese architect Tadao Ando—specifically for his use of light and shadow—are sure to love this 66-room industrial-chic hotel in Tin Hau. Inspired by Kim Høltermand’s moody photo series of the fog on Lake Tuve in Sweden, Tuve is a hotel that doesn’t shun the cold, but embraces it and makes it its own. Every detail—from the strikingly beautiful steel folding doors by the main entrance to the sandalwood-scented Le Labo amenities—has been carefully selected to be in harmony with the property.
On the ground floor (behind those imposing metal doors), you’ll find Superhooman, the hotel’s pet-friendly restaurant which serves Instagram-friendly breakfast and café fare during the day and slings espresso martinis at night.
Tuve, 16 Tsing Fung Street, Tin Hau | (+852) 3995 8899
If the Mid-Autumn Festival is one of your favourite holidays and you’re a fan of bold, more-is-more design, then add The Mira’s boutique sister hotel—Mira Moon—to your to-stay list. The design of this vibrant Causeway Bay hotel is inspired by the Chinese legend of Chang’e, the moon goddess who is said to live on the moon with a jade rabbit, and whose story is the basis for the Mid-Autumn Festival. Think rabbit lamps, sumptuous red upholstery, Chinese porcelain, and floral motifs. The 90-plus rooms are split into four categories—New Moon, Half Moon, Full Moon, and Moonshine Suite. For a lovers’ retreat, book one of the larger rooms with a free-standing bathtub—if you snag one of their special romance packages, they’ll even fill the tub with ruby-red rose petals.
Mira Moon, 388 Jaffe Road, Causeway Bay | (+852) 2643 8888
Located in the historic Yau Ma Tei district, this building has been passed down through generations of the Lo family and was once a successful seafood restaurant before its current life as an art hotel. The approach here is a delicate balance of tradition and modernity: The geometric headboards and wallpaper lend the rooms a distinctly Chinese touch that feels like a nod to the previous generations, while the in-room iPads and biodegradable toiletries give everything a millennial spin.
Lo Chi-ching, the family patriarch who bought the building, made supporting local communities and nurturing Chinese art and culture part of his life’s work. As a tribute to him, Lo’s descendants have filled the property by work from local artists and created a dedicated “Art Community Zone” which acts as an exhibition space and performance venue.
Tung Nam Lou, 68 Portland Street, Yau Ma Tei | (+852) 3708 7788
With its retro-chic décor, slick restaurant and bar concepts, and strong community ties, it’s no wonder that Eaton HK is beloved by local artists. The rooms themselves are understated and unfussy—all clean lines and graphic prints—with the occasional millennial luxe touch, like Himalayan salt lamps and Grown Alchemist toiletries. The real draw at Eaton—besides that highly Instagrammable and dramatic escalator ride at the entrance—is the focus on communal spaces. Visit Eaton House, the 1970s-esque two-storey co-working space, to get some work done, or tuck into some fish and chips at the international food hall, Flower Years. Fancy a tipple? Head to Terrible Baby, Eaton’s ultra-hip rooftop bar for some cocktails. On most weekends, you can catch one of the city’s rising DJs on the decks.
Eaton HK, 380 Nathan Road, Yau Ma Tei | (+852) 2782 1818
Part hostel, part exhibition space, and part event venue, this eleven-storey industrial-cool institution has been a grassroots creative hub for years. The aesthetic here is similar to a vintage store stuffed with colourful and interesting bric-a-brac, but with a very Hong Kong-specific look. (Seriously, there’s a gigantic 香港 neon sign out on the terrace.) But beyond its stylish surrounds, Wontonmeen is also a space for the Sham Shui Po community. Since tourism is essentially non-existent right now, the hostel has partnered with local NGO Christian Concern for the Homeless Association to shelter those in need. On top of that, Wontonmeen’s owner has turned part of the hostel into a recording studio for local musicians, and provides food from the hostel’s café to local street sleepers.
Wontonmeen, 135 Lai Chi Kok Road, Lai Chi Kok | (+852) 6904 0918
Affordable accommodations don’t have to be drab—just look at The Mahjong, a colourful, quirky hostel in To Kwa Wan. Named after the classic Chinese tile game, this kitschy-cool boutique hostel features mahjong-themed flooring and soft furnishings, and even encourages residents to connect over a game or two in the large common room. (If you don’t know the rules, you can check out our beginner’s guide here.) The dorms are clean, bright, and stylish, and the deluxe queen dorm even has two bathrooms. For peace of mind, female travellers can also reserve a pod in the female-only dorm, which is decorated with a mural from local street artist Bao Ho.
The Mahjong, 10–16 Pak Tai Street, To Kwa Wan | (+852) 2705 1869
For a deep dive into Hong Kong history, spend a night (or more) at Mei Ho House, which is a hostel and privately-run museum managed by the Hong Kong Youth Hostels Association. The building is the last surviving Mark I H-shaped resettlement block—a type of public housing that was erected in Shek Kip Mei to house the victims of a large-scale fire in the 1950s. Today, the building has been carefully refurbished and converted into a hostel, complete with themed rooms, a historic exhibition about the structure, and a five-storey retro café.
YHA Mei Ho House Youth Hostel, Block 41, Shek Kip Mei Estate, 70 Berwick Street, Sham Shui Po | (+852) 3728 3500