388 Jaffe Road, Wan Chai, Hong Kong, miramoonhotel.com, 91 rooms starting at $228.
This boutique hotel collaboration between rock star designer Marcel Wanders and property design company Yoo (whose founder is none other than Philippe Starck) is the darling of the moment for design aficionados. The 36-floor, 91-room hotel in the up-and-coming Wan Chai district of Hong Kong fills a niche in a destination long on stately escapes, such as The Peninsula and Mandarin Oriental, but short on hip hideaways. From the first-floor lounge to the penthouse, every element of this visual cross between Magical Mystery Tour and Through the Looking Glass has been carefully thought out. A moody house-music track plays in the lobby and bar accompanied by a ubiquitous subtle violet scent created just for the hotel. The staff's Grace Choi-designed day-and-night outfits seem a backdrop for a contemporary and experimental pièce de théâtre.
Mira Moon is in the district of Hong Kong that most fills our celluloid-driven imaginings: Wan Chai. Well on the road to gentrification, the area still pulsates with The World of Suzie Wong bars and alleyways to fuel our Bruce Lee/Lucy Liu imaginary stunt heroics. The hotel isn't a far walk to Causeway Bay shops, the MTR (Hong Kong's excellent metro system), an easy stroll to the legendary Star Ferry and Victoria Harbour, and nearly next-door-neighbour to noodle and seafood joints worth discovering with rows of stiff hanging ducks and cloudy fish tanks full of the day's specials.
The flamboyant, whimsical and colourful property is inspired by a Chinese moon festival fairy tale and visually retold by designer/mogul Wanders. The result is a theatrical confection of red and white enamel, gold lanterns, carved wooden chandeliers, elaborate mosaic and porcelain vases that showcase traditional crafts of Chinese artisans and a Euro-chic sensibility. There's a "Where's Waldo" element in the hotel as you search for Chinese fairy tale characters: rabbits, goddesses and archers peeping out from the carved ceilings, etched into mirrors and incorporated into light fixtures. (Look for the winged red rabbit lamps floating over visitors at the reception desk.) At the same time, a matte grey sofa that undulates throughout the lobby is punctuated by Wanders's signature red tulip chairs and gives the space an undeniably ultra-modern feel.
EAT IN OR EAT OUT?
With roughly 11,000 restaurants in Hong Kong, it's hard to stay inside any hotel restaurant for long, but pause for one evening for chef Guillermo Delavault's bold experiments in Chinese/Spanish crossover cuisine. At Mira Moon's oddly monikered Super Giant restaurant, Delavault prepares tapas with a Chinese twist. A classic Cordoba style salmorejo is a creamy gazpacho borrowed from its host country and garnished with a pungent Chinese preserved egg and delicate boquerones, or white anchovies.
Mira Moon's minibar may be the most interesting snack cabinet in hotel history. You'll find complimentary East and West treats such as the Hong Kong specialty dragon beard candy, Wah Yuen Tong Tea, Arizona Pomegranate Green Tea and V8 juice. More fun is the not complimentary but really cute silver cocktail shaker and mini bottles of Grey Goose vodka with a cocktail recipe card for DIY mixologists.
IF I COULD CHANGE ONE THING
On the ladies-only floor there is a very special "Ladies Survival Kit" with the cool Two Girls brand powders, lotions and bath milk. I vote for equity and hope these survival kits become available on the mixed floors, too.
The writer was a guest of the hotel.