Causeway Bay Boutique Hotel J-Plus

UPDATE: This is now an historical article because the J-Plus Hotel permanently closed in May 2018.

Philippe Starck was the first designer to launch a boutique hotel in Hong Kong; the property was originally called the JIA meaning "home" in Chinese. After an ownership change it became J-Plus in 2012. If you're looking for a residential style hotel that caters to Europeans, with no pool and not too many kids, the J-Plus is highly recommended. We spent a week there recently.

The Hong Kong Airport is clean and modern, and two one-way train tickets from the airport to Hong Kong's Central District cost HK$110 ($14 US) and the trip takes 24 minutes. The train worked exactly as advertised and from the train we took a few steps to a steady steam of taxis, arriving at the J-Plus Hotel within minutes. Although the hotel's address is on Irving Street, tell the cab driver Pennington St. because they won't know where Irving St. is. The entrance is 'discreet', meaning you could fit all the signage in your carry-on bag. There is no hotel parking but the Lee Garden just across the street has a large carpark.

The small hotel lobby is like a stage set cluttered with most of Philippe Starck's signature furniture. From behind an ornate writing desk Stephen hands us our one and only key. No swipe cards here, and the room has a deadbolt which you need to remember to lock manually when you're out. Unlike most modern Hong Kong hotels there is no extra layer of security, such as requiring a card to operate the lazy elevators.
The slightly cramped and low-lit hallways and elevators are just a setup for the bright expansion that is your room. Our apartment-style suite immediately felt like home and, as a former apartment building, the walls are thicker and more soundproof than a typical hotel. Love or hate Starck style furnishings, the room layouts are very hospitable; light neutrals palette with six or seven distinct spaces. Tinted mirrors and lighting by Flos make for a welcoming feel. Old and new, hard and soft, matte and reflective, flowing and framed. 
The hotel has only 56 rooms and does not cater to tour groups. It has the intimate intimate feeling of a small European hotel. During the included, and satisfying, continental breakfast you will interact with other guests because there is no actual breakfast room… just squat on a gnome's head in the lobby. Or take your bounty to the open-air second floor terrace where you can relax with a morning view of the bustling Causeway Bay neighborhood
Room service at J-Plus means that one of the friendly staffers will bring you a meal from any of half a dozen neighborhood joints, at original menu prices, so you're just into the tip. There's a nice Japanese noodle shop next door, and Pacific Coffee is just next to that although you'll find 24/7 espresso and cappuccino in the hotel lobby. Across Irving Street is the best Dim Sum in town.
The room kitchenette has a regular range top and pots and pans, in addition to the microwave. There is a small fridge and separate freezer. It's just three blocks to the Welcome grocery store to get everything needed to cook for yourself. You can also do laundry with two washers and dryers hidden behind wood partitions on the second floor terrace. This outdoor laundry may be used free by any guest and sure beats wringing out your undies in the sink. 
The building penthouse has been converted into a small fitness room and a conference room suitable for groups of about a dozen. A favorite home away from home for the creative crowd, J-PLus is the perfect location if you're visiting Hong Kong with a group for Art Basel.

Joe Vitale Jr.

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Xavier Toscano

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