Characterised by its cobbled stone steps and rows of quirky costume stalls that hit particular peak crowds during Halloween, Pottinger Street is a quintessential staple in Hong Kong's CBD. With a history dating back to the 1850s, the street was named after Hong Kong's first governor Sir Henry Eldred Curwen Pottinger and is one of the oldest recognised streets in the city. Though, it has seen some vast new changes, from its busy new restaurants to its plethora of boutiques, hair salons and the lot, its namesake hotel sits quietly amid the bustle. The Pottinger, Hong Kong honours its heritage street with a mix of colonial British interiors mixed with contemporary Chinese elements. We check in to the urban sanctuary for a one-night stay in one of the hotel's luxury Signature Suites.
Location, location, location. One of the most notable features of The Pottinger. To have a luxury boutique hotel smack bang in the middle of Central, only footsteps away from Queen's Road, is unheard of and an ultimate rarity in Hong Kong. The Pottinger fills this gap and provides a sleek hideaway for guests wanting to stay in the city centre.
We checked in on a weekday afternoon and we were greeted warmly by the friendly staff for check in. There are six luxury Signature Suites (the second largest accommodation option) at the 68-room hotel and each has its own name – Wellington, Hollywood, Connaught, Stanley, Li Yuen and Central. Guests can also opt for the Classic Room, Deluxe Room, Corner Studio, or for those willing to splurge, the Pottinger Suite.
The open-plan layout of our Signature Suite made it feel warm and homely from the moment we stepped in. There was a study and lounge area, then the bedroom followed by an expansive bathroom that included a large bathtub with views. We peered through the window to watch the humming city and a birdseye view of the city's most famous streets.
Black and white photos of old Hong Kong by photographer Fan Ho adorned the walls while subtle Chinoiserie furnishings lit up the room, paying tribute to the city's history.
The bathroom was equipped with a bathtub, shower and marble interiors for a nod to its elegant and sophisticated façade.
Dinner at Gradini | Image courtesy of Faye Bradley | CSP Times
There are four restaurants onsite The Pottinger – which is a rather pleasant surprise given its quaint size. We tried Gradini Ristorante E Bar Italiano, a traditional Italian restaurant offering a romantic aura perfect for date nights. The restaurant is currently offering a very reasonably-priced three-course (HK$498) or five-course option (HK$538) which includes delicacies like the beef carpaccio and the grilled beef tenderloin with foie gras. We were a bit disappointed with the service which was rather meek but this was uplifted by the starter dishes which we'd come back for.
Other restaurants at The Pottinger include the two-Michelin-starred Ta Vie for French-Japanese gastronomy and The Envoy, a contemporary diner with a terrace most popular during its high-tea sittings. For dessert, head to Venchi for fresh gelato.
We were immensely impressed by The Pottinger's very own speakeasy spot, nestled beside The Envoy. You have to ask for a keycard from the restaurant in order to nab a seat at the hidden bar, which, even on a weekday, was full – and it's first-come-first-serve. Luckily, we managed to get a table – and by table, we mean bar seat since there are no tables – and with front seat viewing of the bartender, we were delighted and unashamed to coo at the making of the cocktails.
Named “Invisible Cocktails”, Room 309 takes away any preconceived notions of cocktails of colour, brought to life using this chemistry lab mechanism — here, the spirits and ingredients are redistilled and centrifuged to remove any colour while preserving all of the aromas, resulting in a clear tint and bringing an innovative flavour that’s worth the wait. Behind the bar, award-winning bartender Jojo, who has featured in several bartending competitions, took the lead on our drinks.
Room 309 Bar, The Pottinger | Image courtesy of Adam Thompson | CSP Times
We ordered from the Signature Cocktails. First, we had the Translucent Toaster, made with sunflower seeds, infused with Herradura reposado, D.O.M Benedictine, mescal, Pandan syrup, milk and lemon juice. Next, we tried the Crystal Old Fashioned, made with re-distilled peanut butter bourbon, homemade wood chip bitters and banana concentrate. There's also a variety of bar snacks – we tried the scrumptious prosciutto-wrapped with scallops, an indulgent bar treat, to say the least.
The Pottinger, Hong Kong is a unique find among the region's luxury hospitality scene. The Signature Suite is without a doubt worth booking, providing a spacious accommodation that looks over the district from its panoramic city view. There's a selection of noteworthy restaurants to choose from, while the brilliant bar option adds to the overall experience. The Pottinger looks to celebrate the city's rich heritage by combining an east-meets-west theme. However, for those who require a fitness and wellness fix, that may prove difficult as there is no gym or spa at the hotel. But fret not, Central houses a plethora of boutique and luxury spas for every budget, while the fitness scene is at no shortage, many of which offer one-off classes for vacationers. For a humble, luxury-boutique break in the city surrounded by some of Hong Kong's best offerings, The Pottinger is the place to be.
The Pottinger, Hong Kong, 74 Queen's Road Central (Hotel main entrance:, 21 Stanley Street), Central, Hong Kong, +852 2308 3188