J Plus Hotel By YOO
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Historical Traveler Reviews J Plus Hotel By YOO Hong Kong
"jia" away from jia!
I assume you know what "jia" means in Chinese.
Depends on what you are expecting... no, it's not the Peninsula, the Four Seassons, nor the Landmark Mandarin Oriental... but you can safely consider this place home away from home, if you are staying at one of the suites.
Location, in Causeway Bay, you can walk to upscale shopping at Lee Garden and excellent dining establishments in the area - and don't forget the relatively new Opia, the hotel restaurant on the first floor, which serves eclectic cuisine... try the oyster shooter at least. The bar area is lively also.
Staff members, dressed in black, are very helpful and all with great attitude. They can literally arrange anything for you.
In the one-bedroom suite - I think they are called the junior suites, you will find a small kitchen, a working desk, sitting areas in front of and behind the flat-screen TV and DVD player, a dining area, and of course, a bedroom and the bathroom. Mostly white, Starck style decor, spacious enough to hold a party for 15 people comfortably. The bedroom is small, has its own little flat screen TV, a "smart clock", and a comfortable sleep-inducing queen size bed. Do not expect to soak in the tub though, because there isn't one. A smallish bathroom with glass-doored shower. There is plenty of closet space, in which you will find an ironing board, an umbrella, and a blanket. The kitchen has a refrigerator with a freezer component and microwave oven. Cooking utensils are also provided... good enough to cook a meal there, but why? There are too many good restaurants in Hong Kong! Hi-speed internet is free, so are local phone calls. I was curious and took a peek in a regular bedroom, it's rather small, may be half the size. For some odd reason, I find the "04" suites slightly bigger than the "03" suites, they are supposedly mirror images of each other.
Services... not too much really, they provide once daily room tidying and cleaning, good job I must say, also provide drycleaning. Think of JIA as an upscale service apartment. I am not sure about room service, but there is a menu in the room as well as information regarding food delivery services. The breakfast bar downstairs has drinks 24 hours, complimentary continental breakfast, and free wine between 6 and 8 in the evening. Want to burn off those extra calories, ask the staff for a pass to the nearby California Fitness gym at Lee Theatre Plaza. Also, do not miss out the chance to go to the exclusive Kee Club for dinner, the staff can make a reservation for you.
Anything bad about this place? I stayed there several times, about 50 nights in total, and I can't really think of anything strikingly negative. Well, the view is by no means spectacular to say the least; water pressure at times not the greatest; the noise actually not a big problem on high floors; not the best tasting coffee; yes, not the most opulent "Starck establishment" but nice lobby though; Opia's food quality can be haphazard - nonetheless I keep going back to Opia because of the staff and the environment.
Taxi are plentiful outside the hotel on Pennington Street. From the airport, take the Airport Express to Central - Hong Kong Station, then take a taxi. JIA is on the south-east corner of Irving and Pennington, ask the driver to drop you off at Pennington Street, as there is no stopping on Irving Street - unless you want to be dropped off at the Regal Hotel, which is located diagonally opposite JIA. If you have lots of luggage, perhaps you could call the hotel a few minutes prior to your arrival, the staff will be happy to come out to help. There is no doorman or bell captain per se.
I find the other reviewers' comments are overall fair. Remember in Hong Kong, like New York and London, space is at a premium. If you stay at JIA, go with the suite and you shouldn't be disappointed.
A few words about Causeway Bay... it is very crowded, but there is good shopping, ranging from the upscale boutiques like Bottega Venetta, Prada, Cartier... to no frill "down to earth" items. Sogo is an interesting department store to look at. Time Square also have many shops, like Lane Crawford - a more upscale department store, Links of London, Gucci... and restaurants. If you are a serious shopper, obviously you won't just stay in Causeway Bay, you will also go to Central and TST. Like Japanese food, try Wasabisabi; Chinese, try Water Margin, Fung Shing; sorry, I can't recommend a good French restaurant in Causeway Bay, you have to go to Gaddi's at the Pen. Want a eclectic "private kitchen" experience, try Ingredients.
Anyhow, JIA is a very special place... Opia has a very nice private room with a view of the kitchen, and an unprecedented function was held there in Summer 2005.
I am being tangential here, said too much, but I hope you will enjoy Hong Kong as much as I have been.
Small, but fine
We stayed at Jia 2 nights in November, and were very satisfied. OK, the rooms are really very small, if you compare with Hyatt or Shangri-la. But everything is very lovely, nice furniture, very clean. The staff was really helpful and friendly. The reastaurant Opia is superb! If you don't stay at the hotel, ypou should at least try the restaurant, but book in advance, it is always booked out. The bar is also very lovely. The only problem I had with this hotel, that might be an obstacle for my second stay at Jia, is the noise. Well, Hongkong is always noisy, and the Causeway Bay is really very crowded area, but still... Our room was on the 15th floor, but if you have just single glas window, you have 24-hour traffic noise directly in your room, so that was really not nice.
I highly recommend Jia
The hotel was fantastic. A previous reviewer mentioned a few things that any traveler should know abou it: the rooms are small, for instance. But most of the complaining in that review is uninformed and unreasonable. We stayed at Jia for 5 nights. I arrived before my fellow travelers and spent one night in one of the small rooms. Then we moved into the two-bedroom penthouse suite for the other four days. While the rooms are small, the penthouse suites are not small; they are quite large and were a great value. They could easily accomodate three adult friends (who don't want to sleep in the same bed), two couples or even three couples or a large family. There's a nice dining area, efficiency with great fridge; washer, dryer, work area with high-speed internet access. There are free sodas, waters and snacks in the lobby 24/7, and breakfast every morning that includes nice fruit, yogurt and pastries. The gym is a five-minute walk at most, and is large, has great equipment and great facilities. I would rather walk to use a gym like this than go to a small fitness center in a much larger hotel. Seeing the amazing collection of people who come to the gym was one of the most interesting things I did in Hong Kong. Also, with all respect to a previous commenter who did not think the location was great, I strongly disagree. If all you saw of Causeway Bay was the Times Square mall and the Sogo department store, I understand why somebody would not be impressed by the location of Jia. But there is a ton more in Causeway Bay, you just need to walk in the other directions. We loved staying there, in part because it's not as touristy as other places in Hong Kong, in part because of the great street and nightlife, and in part because you can get anywhere easily by walking to the subway stop, five minutes away. Finally, we were treated like royalty at Jia. The staff were fantastic, helpful, courteous and responsive. I can't say enough about them. If you are staying in Hong Kong more than two or three days, get one of the suites at Jia; you'll love it.
Not in the same league as the other Philippe Stark properties
My boyfriend and I stayed at the Jia Boutique hotel for two nights at the end of August while in Hong Kong just to check it out since all the travel magazines had been raving about it lately. We've stayed at a number of other Philippe Stark designed hotels around the world and let me just say, this one has got to be the least trendy and glamorous of them all - by a long shot.
I should have known that this place will not be the place of note that it is said to be when I called the reservations desk (which doubles as the front desk, concierge desk, etc, etc) and got a full 40% off the rates listed on the website for a standard room. For $130/night, you won't find the Paris Hilton set staying at this hotel. I don't know - maybe that's a good thing. It's just not what I was expecting when I made the reservation - again having stayed at the other Ian Schrager /Philippe Stark hotels.
Not that I can find anything wrong w\ the rooms. They are a great value - although they are a bit on the small side. We meant to ask to be upgraded to a Junior Suite which were only like $30 more - a real bargain! But we spent so little time at the hotel itself that it was not even necessary. We had a choice between the rectangular room and the L-shaped room and although I had told myself I wanted a rectangular room when I made the reservation, I found myself asking for an L-shaped room at check-in b/c Tracy (the receptionist, guest services rep, reservations assistant, and all around Inn-keeper) mentioned that most guests said these rooms "felt" bigger.
We walk into the room and it is tiny. I mean T-I-N-Y. there are two small side-tables squished between the couch and the lcd tv to make a "coffee table" that takes up the precious 15% of walking space there is in the room. Add to that 2 medium size luggages (they may as well have been oversize LV leather trunks the room was so small) and you have no room to move at all. Thankfully, there was an empty corner near the desk so we stacked the side tables on top of each other thereby recovering some of the lost floor space.
The room reminded me of a very, very small NYC studio - which is not bad in and of itself, but I just have a feeling that when you go on vacation you want to go a "step up" from what you are used to, rather than to what is in effect exactly what you are use to. Having said all that, if I was going to be having an extended stay in Hong Kong, I'd probably consider the Jia as a home base - but again, I'd go for the Junior Suite and make sure I got a much more sizable discount on the room rate. Otherwise I'd just sublet a real apartment.
Anyway we decided to stick with the standard room. I meant to look at the Junior Suites, but didn't get a chance to do so being that we were out and about, but its really not a loss. The only thing I really liked about this hotel are the Toiletrees - which were superb. I also liked and made great use of the Luxe Guide to Hong Kong which si provided free in each room. Very informative and - although some suggestions were hits and others were misses - it really did help point you in a decent direction of places that are popular at the moment.
The beds were comfortable and the free broadband internet access was totally useful. I had a multi function printer/copier/faxer at the Island Shangri-La which I got totally used to having, but the Island Shangri-La cost 3 times what the Jia did - and lets just say, you get what you pay for.
We also intended to use the complimentary Gym passes one day, but on our way down to the lobby we passed a hotel guest who had just returned, was completely drenched in sweat, and casually mentioned that the gym is a 7 - 10 min walk from the hotel so we opted not to walk thru busy Causeway Bay dripping of sweat. On the website they make it sound like the gym is across the street or right next door - which would have been different.
I also have to mention "Y's" the "causual" restaurant in the hotel. I really liked the atmosphere but found the food to be pretty bad. (stay away from the gnocchi appetizer ay all costs!) Even worse, my boyfriend whole-heartedly proclaimed this as the "worst dining experience I've had yet in Hong Kong." And, mind you, our stay in HK had been full of mediocre dining experiences. Of course this shot any chances of us trying the more "dressy" Opia hotel b/c after the Y's debacle, the bf would not hear of us eating at the hotel again.
It's a pity too b/c Opea is the only portion of the hotel that lives up to the "trendy-Hot-of-the-moment" designation that's been granted to the Jia of late. So you don't get any well dressed and "well heeled" guests in the lobby - which is something that is ubiquitous in the other Philippe Stark designed hotels. We did see a number of very fashionably dressed locals ascend the steps to Opia - but that's basically where that whole scene ended. Also, most of the othe Philippe Stark hotels have pretty cavernous lobbies filled with all of these interesting signature furniture and design. The Jia in contrast had only a small room. The free breakfast was limited to coffee, soft drinks, and pound-cake. But again, for $130/night, I shouldn't have been expecting much more.
The reason I'm sort of upset is because when I was deliberating whether to stay there or not, I took into consideration only the rates posted on the internet, what the travel mags were saying, as well as the glowing reviews on Tripadvisor. I should have listened when a Tripadvisor member warned me in the Forums that the Jia is not the Shangri-La. The thing is, I wasn't expecting the Shangri-La when I booked to stay at this hotel. but I do feel that I've been the victim of a bit of the Bait-and-Switch tactic - ie lured in by promises of "trendyness" and quality at an expected price - and then given relative mediocrity at a bit of a discount. This hotel is listed on the "Hot List of 2005" of CN Traveler, which is really funny considering some of the other properties also on the list. Then again, the "hot list" isn't a guarantee of quality, but it's presence on said list sends a misleading idea.
Finally, I wasn't all that impressed with Causeway Bay to be honest. We didn't really explore much of it actually, but made our way around Times Square and Sogo. I wonder if my experience would have been different if we'd made it all the way down to the water's edge, but actually we spent our two days based in Causway Bay backtracking through different parts of Kowloon and Central which we'd visited in previous days.
I actually ran into another guest who was preparing to take a trip to Vietnam (which my bf and I decided to do at the last minute) and he explained to us a thing or two about the Visa requirements. It also turns out that the Vietnamese Consulate is less than a 10 minute walk from the hotel towards the Wan Chi district. But that's about the best thing I can say about the location - proximity to the Vietnamese consulate which happened to facilitate a totally random need that occurred out of a super of the moment decision. Of course a couple days later when I went back to pick up my Vietnamese visa I was no longer staying at the Jia - I was staying in TST - but getting to the Consulate was a simple matter of taking the MTR to Wan Chai and walking down Hennessy Road a few blocks. The proximity to the consulate wasn't really an issue besides the "oh the consulate is right here lets go check it out and see if our last minute trip is feasible" factor.
Anyway, you have been warned. Otherwise, I cannot really fault the hotel. the accommodations were cramped but sufficiently comfortable, the service ok for what it offered (except for the laundry - we were there for 40 hours and I gave in my laundry just after check in but was told I'd have to pay a 50% surcharge to ensure my clothes were ready prior to my checking out - making the bill about as expensive as the regular laundry rates at the Shangri-La for which you get your laundry done in 8 hours) the food was hit and miss and the location an unnecessary factor given the relatively small size of Hong Kong as a whole.
If you are young and on a budget you may find the novelty in the Jia hotel: for some the Philippe Stark thing is new. if you've stayed at other Ian Schrager properties, you will probably expecting something a bit more 'luxe - as I was - and be disappointed. Anyway - always remember - you get what you pay for. Not even the magic of Philippe Stark can stretch $130 into the $400+ it costs to get a top end experience in Hong Kong. I feel silly for expecting it would.
Fantastic - Excellent
Stayed in this hotel at the beginning of October. Excellent location, excellent service - a must for everyone who doesn't like large hotels.
Like a Second Home
Causeway Bay, where the hotel is located, is edgy and not far from the center of town. Shopping in the area is not bad. Both restaurants in the hotel are highly rated, and the bar is cozy. The rooms are modern and very functional with kitchenettes. The California fitness club gym is only a 7 minute walk from the hotel. All in all, thanks to a hotel booking website called Tablet Hotels, we were able to book this hotel at a great rate and experience a new hip hotel we would have never known about.
Great serviced apartments
Great serviced apartments in Hong Kong - stayed for extended business trip and it was made the trip much more pleasurable. The hotel feels very lux but young and trendy - much better than the usual run-of-the-mill business hotels.
Great extras - free broadband, free temporary membership to a huge gym nearby, free washers and dryers, huge DVD collection where you can borrow anything for free, and free sodas and wine at happy hour, etc. Convenient to everything in Causeway Bay and a block from the subway. (Tip: the hotel is relatively new so a lot of cab drivers don't know where it is - it's right behind the Regal so I would usually direct them to that. If you're taking the airport express to Central, the complementary bus also goes to the Regal.)
The upscale resturant is very good (Opia?); the downstairs resturant only so-so but reasonably priced for HK. Staff is a little less helpful than at bigger hotels and housekeeping would show up at 8 AM but hopefully this will iron itself out in time. Small thing but if you need a loud alarm clock with a snooze button, make sure you bring your own (the one in the room is a little too trendy for those bells and whistles).
Great restaurant, too!
Dont miss the Opia Restaurant at the Jia. Head Chef, a young Australian, Dane Clouston under the auspices of Teague Ezard from Melbourne does an a-m-a-z-i-n-g job. Soooooo talented. Dont miss it!
Quality through and through
We found the JIA hotel whilst searching the internet and it has been a real find. Not only is the location superb; the staff are friendly, the rates are reasonable for Hong Kong and the quality of the rooms is fantastic.
Not being great fans of overly fussy hotels, but still looking for that distinctively higher level of quality in a hotel, JIA did not disappoint. They did everything perfectly. The facilites are just superb with a wonderful adjoining restaurant next door, serving typically Cantonese dishes without the concern that you don't know what you're eating!
If only there were more places like this all over the world! This Philippe Starck inspired hotel has hit the right cord with me - affordable excellence. All too often I have been disappointed by website photo's and for once, this hotel has lived up to them. Don't expect the most spacious rooms, but then you are staying on one of the most populated islands on earth! You don't get room service and mini-bars stacked with overpriced goods, and that's exactly what I love about it. Hong Kong is a crazy, busy place and this hotel provides a piece of tranquility which I thought would not be possible to find!
JIA IS SUPERB!!!
We stumbled across JIA when we were researching boutique hotels in Hong Kong. It's relatively new, so it's not widely advertised on the web... But if you phone the hotel direct you're sure to get a good price. Particularly while it's still new and 'undiscovered'.
The rooms are absolutely AMAZING!!! The design is by Philippe Stark and, staying in just a normal room, we felt as if we had our very own studio apartment in Hong Kong! If you appreciate good design, then you'll love hip and trendy JIA. There were so many great little touches in the room, and the public spaces!
The hotel's location is also fantastic. The Causeway Bay area (where JIA is located) has everything... Great shopping, great bars and restaurants -- and there are hardly any tourists around so it feels like 'real' Hong Kong! The location is perfect for hopping on a tram to Central or other parts of the island.
The staff were perfect, and the breakfast bar is an amazing concept. We can't recommend JIA highly enough!! This must be one of the best boutique hotels in the world!
TripAdvisor Reviews J Plus Hotel By YOO Hong Kong
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