Thursday, 21 December 2017

J Plus Hotel by Yoo, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong

J Plus Hotel by Yoo
1 Irving St,
East Point,
Hong Kong

 The Location 

This is the 2nd boutique hotel we stayed in HK. The last one was Mira Moon. Initially, we were thinking to stay in Mira Moon again, having some good vibe about the place. But there's a considerable price hike since our previous stay. So we thought we search for another place that's also located in the convenience of Causeway Bay or Wanchai, but more affordable price. J Plus fits the bill (literally).

Office building, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong
Offices that surrounding the hotel

While J Plus is situated at some small street of Irving Street (and Pennington St corner), which even the taxi driver hadn't a clue, and he looked in his 50s. He had to call the hotel for direction. While the street maybe small, it's certainly not far from where all the actions are in Causeway Bay. While it's officially located in East Point, it's about 5 minutes walk from Causeway Bay's SOGO shopping mall, which would be considered as the center of Causeway Bay.

Looking out from 1 of the hotel window, i caught a glimpse of the circular sky-bridge. For the locals, or the frequent HK shopper-tourists will instantly recognize this landmark.

Circular walkway, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong
Circular walkway, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong
Left:  the circular sky-bridge as viewed from my hotel window
Above:  the circular sky-bridge as viewed from street level

This tiara / ring shape sky-bridge is located on Causeway Bay's main thoroughfare of Hennessy Road, and isn't far from SOGO shopping mall - the mecca of Causeway Bay's shopping. (Actually SOGO marks the end of Hennessy Rd, and this ring sky-bridge sits on Yee Wo St. Who cares where Hennessy Rd ends and where Yee Wo St starts?).

Move aside, Sydney Opera House, Guggenheim Museum in NYC, or Olympic Bird Nest of Beijing, make room for the Causeway Skybridge / Skywalk /Walkway (take your pick).

I couldn't decide if it looks like a tiara or a wedding ring.

Circular walkway, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong

Let's climb up and get into the structure, and gawk at its many curves (or waves)...

Circular walkway, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong

Circular walkway, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong

You probably insist on looking at curves from all angles...go on whistle...

Circular walkway, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong

Circular walkway, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong

Circular walkway, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong

For a skyway, it's rather photogenic. Standing on it is the best way of admiring / wincing at the traffic of HK: dense, chaotic (although these photos say otherwise), and so many modes of transports.

Public transportation, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong
View from the skywalk: buses tram, and minibus down below

 The Hotel 

This is an old boutique hotel, and their piecemeal upgrades overtime are evident everywhere. For example, they have 2 lifts of 2 different brands.

Austin Powers
Austin Powers is the man of the 1960s,
but he comes back in the late 1990s
(after being defrosted by Dr. Evil). Yeah baby!

Instead of letting their old age be a liability, why not make it an asset? Instead of a face-lift, which is costly, why not tarting the wrinkled face up with interesting makeups, jewelries and accessories? Yeah, baby!

Hotel hallway, J Plus Hotel, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong
Elevator's hallway

Lobby, J Plus Hotel, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong
A corner of the hotel's lobby. Palm chair on the left, and (the less obvious) sedan chair on the right.

For this purpose, they adopt a retro 1960s period. Let's not try to look younger than you're. Face up (no pun intended) to your old age and make it interesting. Well, they're a bit eclectic, and not at all confined to the 60s. Assorted element of psychedelia, New-Age, low-tech, and other funky paraphernalia are thrown in here and there.

Of course, the tight space in HK hotels - all real estate in general - take some getting use to. You'll likely get a spatial shock (in addition to cultural shock) on your 1st arrival in HK. At least while it's a little cramped, your squashy reality is relieved by being transported to the make-believe of the days gone by.

You can book hotels with more space, which is usually due to your missing arms and legs because of the cost. I much prefer to live with less room, but more limbs.

 The Room 

Living room, J Plus Hotel, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong
Living room and bedroom is thinly and apparently divided by a curtain to increase usable and optical space.
In countries like HK and Japan, you often see clever solutions to (lack of) spatial issues.

Bedroom, J Plus Hotel, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong

Light switch, J Plus Hotel, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong
These old style light switches are hard to find nowadays

While the retro decor is eye-catching, there're some technical issues because this is an old hotel after all.

Tap head, J Plus Hotel, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong
Y shaped tap head

This tap head, for example, looks interesting (but opposite of retro), is hard to grip than an eel with soapy fingers. Being a aspirant greenie, i always turn off the tap / faucet when i happily lather my face. I found myself unable to turn on the water. Of course, the solution would be to let the water running while applying soap to your face.

Why do they use this sleek modern looking tap head instead of the retro cross head, which is soap-proof? This sleek design clashes with the retro style. Is it because it looks like letter "Y", as in Yoo?

I also had some challenge adjusting to the exact water temperature in the shower. Again, this is a minor issue.

Perhaps, a slightly more serious security issue is the mechanical lock being used as supposed to electronic ones where the hotel can change with every check-in. But they resolve this issue by having a security staff on the lobby who seem to remember every guest who stays here. Although he stopped me, and asked me if i'm their guest (this is why i know about the security staff). He didn't remember me because i checked in quite late.

Lock, J Plus Hotel, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong

The video streaming of a few channels is a bit jerky.

However their supply of their "Handy Hotspot" is quite handy, allowing us to use our mobile phone in HK without any additional sim card. I suspect many boutique hotels have that facility provided. It was true with Mira Moon.

They also provide bowls, chopsticks and microwave oven, which could be handy for takeaway or doggie bag food. You don't get a kitchen in a typical hotel.

Kitchen, J Plus Hotel, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong
Kitchen: microwave and tableware are in the overhead cupboard

The complimentary coffee and deserts (and wine in the evening) in the lobby is also nice while i blog and nag about the nagging issues of the hotel.

Overall Score:  7.5 / 10
While their design is unique and playful, they do have some technical issues, which perhaps associates with lower operational and fixed costs in order to to bring lower rates to their customers.

For example, the costs of electronic locks are quite expensive (with miles of cabling installation, and software). By providing mechanical locks, they pass the saving to us. Just put all valuables into the room's safe when you're away. You should do that even if you stay in a 5-star hotel with electronic lock anyway. When you're in the room, put on the chain lock for your added peace of mind. Again, this is just good commonsense practice regardless of how many stars your hotels have.

For its quite central location, its rates are reasonable. On balance, we're reasonably happy with the stay.

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