The EAST is located down the Hong Kong Island MTR subway line at the Taikoo stop. It's a lovely little neighborhood, where the sidewalks are far less clogged and the harbour views less blocked by other skyscrapers. There also happens to be a newish business district popping up herein other words, the area was ripe for a hotel like this.
Inside a basic room (the "Urban View"), which goes for about $130 per night, there's all the trappings you'd expect from a more expensive Hong Kong hotel, like the clean design, free and fast WiFI, complimentary water bottles, a nice espresso machine (the Senseo), plug panels at the desk for hooking your computer up to the TV, lighting controls on the bedside tables, and separate room for both the toilet and shower. Ah yesand we can't forget the Elemis spa toiletries in the bathroom and the little jar of candies next to the bed. Like the Upper House, the East puts iHomes in each room, including an iPad Touch already uploaded to the hotel's own app, which we used to make quick, eclectic playlists for our showers.
Speaking of showers...the bathroom in the roomsin every categoryare open floor plan, a kind of mini soft-loft. The toilet is in its own frosted glass room, of course, but the sink and the black glass partial wall behind it is the only real room divider. It lends a slightly exclusive lounge feel, as thought you're stepping into the restroom in some bottle service-only club that's probably underground. Read: it's dark in there. It was pretty and well-designed, but we could have used a makeup mirror and an option to brighten up the lights. The shower has an infinity baseno stepping on drainsand has both options of rainfall or hose showerhead.
The suite's bedroom area
We managed to peek into two other categories of room during our stay: a Suite (from $450) andour absolute favorite onethe Harbour Corner (from $215). Basically, if you book a room that has "harbour" in its category name, you're getting a high-floor room with a ridiculously good view over this end of Hong Kong's Victoria Harbour. We'd say that looking at it is like scenic therapy, but that'd sound stupid. On the other hand, "Urban View" rooms mean opening the wood venetian blinds to see...another building straight across, looking back at you. It's a typical HK view, but possibly shocking for those not accustomed to big cities.
As far as public spaces, there's an airy lobby right at street level (a street-level lobby is a rare thing in HK), and check-in is done paperlessly, as they have you sign on an iPad-like device embedded into reception's counter. Directly above the lobby is a bar, and FEAST, the hotel restaurant where a really great value-for-the-money breakfast is served. There are several price tiers, but we'd go with the one that gets you a choice of hot entree (mmm beef congee!) plus access to the copious buffet, including beautifully packaged juices (go for the kiwi!) made in Hong Kong.
If you're in Hong Kong when it's warm enough to swim, which is most of the year, the hotel's pool is quite breathtaking. The only thing to watch out for is all the surround condo neighbors watching you. If that makes you leery, head up to the top, 32nd, floorSugar Loungeopen from 5pm to 2am and boasting even better views than you can get from a suite just below.
[Photos and video: Cynthia Drescher for HotelChatter]
Disclosure: We stayed at the East as a guest of Cathay Pacific, while on another, non-hotels-related assignment.