You only live once
The Fleming, Hong Kong
Words: Damien Woolnough
25th July 2018
Hong Kong is replete with luxury hotels but born-again kid on the Wan Chai block, The Fleming, has the boutique market comfortably cornered. Think of it as ground zero for a pre-wedding shop-a-thon to secure suits, accessories and your last wild nights as a couple instead of husbands.
The Fleming lobby
The unassuming seventies structure first opened as a hotel in 2006 but landed squarely on the style radar of Monocle-minded travellers when it remerged in October 2017 with an emphasis on design and service.
Without the harbour views of its rivals, the hotel’s owners called on Hong Kong design firm A Work of Substance to transform the 66-room property using the territory's historic Cross Harbour Ferry as an inspiration.
The result is a sleek and unique bolthole that employs nostalgia to deliver contemporary expectations of top level design without trading on twee, kitsch or camp (ok, it’s a little camp).
Narrow red lacquer elevators with sensuous rounded entrances, 'Do Not Disturb' signs resembling ship instruments and industrial brass lights meld into an appealing urban maritime theme. No anti-nausea pills required.
"We are aiming to be the hotel of choice for style-conscious travellers"
An extra large room at The Fleming
"We are aiming to be the hotel of choice for style-conscious travellers who want to feel plugged-in to who’s who and what’s what when they come to Hong Kong while still being reasonably affordable," says John Hui, owner and creator of The Fleming.
When my partner and I arrived after navigating the train system from the airport we squeezed into the elevator to travel to the first floor reception. The lobby is seriously cosy and contained (read small), without the marble and gold touches of The Fleming’s big boy rivals. Space is at a premium here.
We were quickly escorted to our room , which still had the satisfying sparkling look of a property out to impress. The urban Wan Chai view made us realise that we were far from Sydney, but we quickly drew the curtains to wash away the grime of economy in the bottle green bathroom.
The rooms are not big, but they are well-designed for ease of movement and dominated by a comfortable bed that can handle nearly 200kg of Australian men (just the two of us, to be clear) and contemporary art work.
Lets get down to basics, all of the rooms feature Wi-Fi, an integrated mobile device with a concierge app and Luxe City Guide, flat screen TVs and Apple TV.
To be honest our addled brains ditched the online service for one-on-one contact with the flirty and friendly staff who sorted out last minute requests for haircuts and shaves.
With such a tiny lobby the only chance for people-watching and spying on other guests happens in the hotel restaurant Osteria Marzia, an Italian outpost where they make coffee that might even satisfy Melbourne visitors.
A continental breakfast at Osteria Marzia was included in the stay, which kept us going until our first dumpling stop of the day before heading to every Lane Crawford store in Hong Kong.
While Wan Chai has a bustling nightlife the hotel is positioned away from the noisy crowds but close enough to Ebeneezers Kebabs to hit your hangover on the head at 2am after an evening of bar-hopping.
For a boutique experience and grand shopping expedition in a bustling city, The Fleming is the perfect place to drop anchor.